Memories of Home

The vilage of Newtok on the Ningliq River. (Photo by Jackie Schaeffer/ANTHC)

by Martha Kassayuli

Walking around the tundra feeling nostalgic.

Then feeling of sadness struck, that we wouldn’t stay at home forever.

Trying to think back where we used to play around and eating wild berries.

But as I look into the future, all this will be vacant and dead looking,

even if life resides here.

Thinking back where we used to pick wild berries and veggies

And knowing that our memories will be there.

However, I may have memories, but I no longer remember many of my days.

So I try to make the most of what I have now, before I no longer have time to do so.

My memories lost from me, but the land will never forget.

It remembers my first step, my first talk, my first laugh, and it’ll remember every moment

I went through.

It knows that I am a human, and it knows when I was happy or sad,

Yet, it never judged me for doing that.

All these years, the land took care of me, no wait, it took care of all of us.

It has provided us with many edible food and drinkable water.

It also warns us with danger zone whenever we walk through the land.

No matter what we do, it is always there for us from the start.

It did not fail us, only when we misuse what we need the most.

The land may change its shape and size, but it still has what we need.

We may forget what we want and what we need, but the land never forgets.

The land is a beautiful place to visit, however, it can strike us without warning.

We need to start taking care of the land, before all this becomes a memory.

My days of this land where I have grown up will be memorable.

It may take years that I may slowly forget what I have done,

But the land will always be here, with the memory it holds from our ancestors to the next generation and beyond that.

The land of our home is growing smaller and smaller, but the memories will lie here.

But we won’t live with the memories we shared with the land.

Having to move will break the bond we have with the land here at home, but a new one will appear.

Moving to a new home, is like having to change the chapter for a new story to begin.

Martha Kassayuli is from the village of Newtok, but has relocated to Mertarvik.

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