January 9, 2017
“I want to learn the way you elders did. I want to be able to carry on our culture to our next generation. I do not want to be a village without our culture.” – Rachel Kobuk/Butuq, St. Michael
My name is Charlene Kobuk I am from a small village called St. Michael, Alaska. I work with AmeriCorps and the City of St. Michael. I work with a bunch of youth. Last year I went to a Resource Basket training in Nome, Alaska. At the time, we didn’t have youth leaders in St. Michael. I was the one to come up with what we were doing that day. After the Nome training I said to myself let me try this youth leader thing I keep hearing about.
While serving as a youth leader this year, the opportunity came up in the Fall to take youth to Washington DC to learn to become better leaders through HUD and Close Up. So I took the chance. In DC the youth learned how to speak out more, and got excited to try and bring our culture back to St. Michael. We came back home were on a run with it. The youth leaders talked to the youth at school, then decided to talk with elders and adults at the basketball tournament. This is what they came up with.
My name is Komeon Pete and we want our culture back because most of our elders know most of it and their grandkids do not know their Yupik names or what it means. All our elders are dying with them and kids really want to know what their Yupik name has to do with them. We will need our elders to teach us our culture. We the kids need to know our culture from our elders that know about us.
Pass to Alvin
My name is Alvin Washington/Boyuk, we would like our culture back because we the youth want to learn how to speak Yupik. I am very disappointed that our youth do not know Yupik and all the elders are dying with this knowledge.
Pass to Esther
My name is Esther Helen Otten and we all want our culture back. Us youth want to learn how to speak Yupik, to know Yupik. I am a little disappointed that our generation does not know our own culture. It is sad when you look at it, it really is. I am here asking the adults and elders to please teach us our culture. I do not want our Yupik life fading away from this island.
Pass to Rachel
My name is Rachel Kobuk/Butuq and I would like our culture back because I have noticed our culture is dying with our elders. What are we going to say to visitors when they ask what our culture is made of or about? I want to learn how to speak Yupik. I want to learn the way you elders did. I want to be able to carry on our culture to our next generation. I do not want to be a village without our culture. How did we dress back then? What is this village without culture? A disrespectful village that does not care?! I am pretty sure others would want to learn Yupik and other culture activities. I’d be more than happy to carry on our culture to our next generation!
I am very happy from how much I have learned from this training and my job to better the youth and our future because the youth ARE OUR Future.
AmeriCorp/ City of St. Michael