by Peter Twitchell
When I was a boy of 3, 4, 5 years old I remember being taught Love, and realize now, it was the foundation on which the Yupiit People began their day, each day of the year, 365 days.
It (Love) was the basis of Daily Life, before and after I was born in 1950. As we got more and more colonized joining mainstream America our daily instructions began to change. Our focus changed too. It was called K through 12.
We were learning new things and learning new skills. We began to compete in school in ways that divided us into the smartest, the strongest, the fastest. We learned to compete. There were winners and losers, the smartest and those who were slow learners.
The girls began to put make-up on, so there was the prettiest and the plain Janes.
There was a sense of money too. The well-to-do and the indigent and poor. The meaning of Love changed course.
I was moved recently after the raging fires burned people out of their homes. Many were left homeless.
One person stepped up to help an Elderly couple with housing on his grandpa and family’s property. He offered housing for the Elders, until they could rebuild. He was living and putting into action those things our parents and grandparents taught us about Love back in my boyhood.
Wow! Love in action! Our Ancestors were cheering one of their own ON! Kudos for the Athabascan man who was living what his grandfather taught him about Love, and sharing, and caring, and not turning a blind eye on someone who just lost a home.
Wow! Love is still alive in 2019.
I want to recognize Elder Ap’a Frank Hunter and my iluq David Chanar who loaned me their bass guitars and amplification when I was unable to access my own equipment in the months of June and July.
Again, genuine Yup’ik Love in action. Unselfish, genuine concern for a fellow musician in need. Again these men didn’t turn a blind eye to their fellow man. Their act of genuine Love was showing compassion, concern for my welfare.
It really warmed my heart and eased my mind. You will benefit with long life. Quyanaqvaa, thank you very much.