Our sacred land

by Peter Twitchell

Who is teaching our kids about our sacred Tundra land, air, and sea? We the people are the stewards of this land to take care of it as we would an infant child with care and love.

When I see a young boy walking down the street with both parents mom and dad and openly tosses an empty pop can or candy wrapper on the ground, I stop and wonder. Both mom and dad don’t correct the boy and the trash bin is just a few feet away.

They continue walking on their way to the boat to return home to the village. Is it just a common practice of our families when they’re visiting villages or Bethel or in their own village? I wonder.

Let’s just take a look at the 1950s. When we were growing up we were told by our Elders the land is a gift from God and to keep it clean. If we were out camping we were told to bring our trash home for proper disposal or bury it where animals cannot get to it.

Our Elders such as Wassillie B. Evan, Edward Hoffman, Adam Kawagley, Matthew T., Charlie Guinn, Joe Andrew Sr., Tom Nelson, Old Man Waska, Shorty Mezak, Alfred Lake Sr., Tim Williams, William Lomack, Lillian Lliaban, Maggie Japhet, Grandma Spein, Grandma Lucy Beaver, Helga Dull, Jesse Oscar, Liz Dillon, Grandma Hannah Pitka, Balassa Nicholas, and others stressed trash awareness and spoke with the voice of authority.

A lot of our Elders have moved on. Who’s speaking in there stead today? I wonder.

They said if we pollute our water, land, and sea, the animals will become sick and we cannot eat processed food, it’s not healthy for our body.

We will pollute the air, sea, and land as long as we continue to trash it.

They said sacred Mother Earth will become sick in years to come but for the grace of God we are still in existence today.