Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Interview with the Elder

For a class I am taking I had to interview an elder.
Ask her what her youth was like.

I spoke to Maggie, an elder in Kasigluk. She spoke to me about the way life was in this village when she was younger and the way things have changed.

Maggie was raised in Kasigluk and went to the BIA school, which now is the teacher housing build that I live in.

- Is the second oldest of her siblings.
- Grew up in this village.
- Went to the BIA school (that building is currently teacher housing)
- Is the aunt and grandmother to several of my students.

When Maggie was younger:

- They used a dog sled to travel everywhere.
- They did not have T.V., lights, gas or oil heating.
- They used a wooden stove to heat the building. It was very cold in the morning and it was her job to stoke the stove to heat up the house.
- The curfew was at 9 o’clock. She was always afraid of getting caught by the police. Because they would come around, from house to house at curfew, checking to see that everyone is at home.
- People used to help each other. They would go from house to house cleaning, doing laundry, and helping. They would never ask for money. Now people don’t help each other. They always ask for money.
- The school was only one room and taught 30-40 students.
- She would go berry picking after school and would go on overnight trips to pick berries.
- She did not have homework. She would get all her work done before leaving the building.
- After school they would go skating on the pond behind our village.
- There was no clinic, only health aids.
- She was scared of the teachers and the elders. Even today she gets nervous when the principal calls or when she has to talk to teachers.
- You did not talk when an elder was talking. You respected them and listened to them.
- Her father would go hunting for days at a time. He would check the traps and bring home otter, beaver, and mink.

I really enjoy listening to elders speak.... when I can understand them. They have such interesting stories. I think, at times, how adventurous it would be to live when they lived. But then I think about all our "luxuries" that we have now that make our life easy. Of course, they say when life is hard, it makes you stronger, so... what does that say about me?
talking to maggie made me think of all the time i spend drooling over electronics and toys.

How would i have survived without a laptop and an ipod and a digital camera and a... (the list goes on)?
Elder Smelder.
I think II'd rather die at 40 with one great story--than live to be 100 with lots of mediocre stories.
That's not to say I don't respect my elders.
Even my grandma will tell you that I'm the grandchild that calls most.
My wife is going out of town for a couple of days.
So I thought it would be nice and watch a movie that I knew she would enjoy. I’ve learned to differentiate the differences of “guy flicks and Girl movies”. Needless to say I choose a girl movie. It was a movie called, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”. It is truly an entertaining movie, with a great story line. The movie is about five sixteen year old girls and a pair of jeans that some how fits them all. The movie tells of there summer adventures while wearing them. The movie has in it laughter, jokes, and a lot of tears. No I’m not writing this in any attempt to become a film critic. The one thing that I loved about the movie is that one of the characters, as a summer project was filming a documentary of people in her life and how they were losers. Something happened, I’m not telling, as not to spoil the story, but she had a complete turn around. The young girl realized that everybody had a little loser in them, and that was as important as how they really are. This gave her the opportunity to look at people differently.
paul... whoever you are,
whats your point? i mean, not to be rude... but huh?

i read your comment and the only thought that went through my head was "wha?"

thanks for reading, and do come again...
but, my head is still spinning from the confusion.
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