From the land of saints, the faithful Orthodox in Unalaska, Alaska wish you a Merry Christmas. This evening was the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord. Tomorrow we begin our tradition of following the Star of the East. For three nights we will visit parish homes and sing carols. We call it starring as we carry a large, decorated star and the star spins as we sing.
The title of this post is in Unangam tunuu, or the Aleut language. We also say the phrase in Slavonic. Khristos Razhdayetsya!! Slavite Yego! And in English. Christ is born! Glorify Him!
The Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska hosts a traditional culture camp in Unalaska. Camp Qungaayux^ is designed to bring Unangan Elders, Mentors, and Western science biologists together with the younger generation in order to teach both Traditional Knowledge practices and Western Science principles which encourages cultural and environmental awareness.
So in 2003, I talked Caleb into helping his brother teach the kids how to construct model kayaks.
In 2004, I talked Caleb into working with his brother Mike, in teaching the kids how to construct a full-size iqyax^, or skinboat. His brother couldn’t make it so Caleb ended up teaching by himself.
In 2005, Caleb taught the kids how to cover a full size iqyax^ by actually covering the one built the year before.
In 2006, Caleb, with HIS mentor Lee Post, taught the kids how to articulate a Baird’s beaked whale.
In 2007, 2008, and 2009 Caleb taught the kids how to construct traditional drums.
2007 was actually the last year I coordinated camp, so I don’t think that the Tribe knows what a jewel they have with Caleb. The secret to Caleb is that he had never taught a class before 2003. He had never made a model kayak. He had never constructed a full size kayak. He had never covered a skinboat. He had never thought of articulating, let alone articulated, a whale. He had never constructed a drum. The secret to Caleb is presenting him with a problem and giving him the time to explore it and solve it.
So when the Tribe asked Caleb to teach at Camp again this year, and they asked him to do drums again, I said, “Drums? Again?” And Caleb’s other cohort who first suggested the whale articulation, Reid Brewer, reminded Caleb that they had the sealion bones from two years ago……
….and the deal was sealed. So, I am going to try to follow Caleb along in this project. Not by being intrusive and all in his face with the camera and questions, but by using the photos he takes himself, and listening to him when he comes home lamenting his woes. Hmmmmmm, I see he forgot the camera today.