Monday, May 11, 2009

Reflections on 50 Miles from Tomorrow

Paul and I have just finished reading 50 Miles from Tomorrow by William Hensley which has been a source of a plethora of information and insight.
Some of the new things we have learned:
NANA stands for Northwest Arctic Native Association and is one of 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations established in 1971 with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
The circumstances surrounding the Native land claims was fascinating. I think it is something worth knowing as an American citizen. Had the American government treated the Natives in the lower 48 similarly, our countries landscape and our relationship with Native Americans would be vastly different.
I am sad when I read about the systematic nature by which the state and the church attempted to purge the Alaska Natives of their cultural heritage and language. I look forward to discovering more about the native culture. I was talking to someone today about the fact that Americans rarely feel the need to assimilate into other cultures. I look forward to digging into what makes up the Inupiat world and trying it on for size.

As we encounter the culture, Paul and I hope to reflect the properties of silly putty. We are what WE are, but at the same time we are impressionable. We can be molded and transformed to reflect things around us, yet we are uniformly the same. We want to hold fast to our faith and our value system all the while enjoying and embracing something beautifully different from what we know.

I found on the NANA website the Inupiaq word of the week. Check it out:

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