Sharing goes a long way

by Greg Lincoln

Carl Lincoln of Toksook Bay builds his own taluyaqs to set in the cold freshwater streams for blackfish. Here he wades in a slough to check his trap at Qalulleq on Nelson Island. Photo by Jimmie Lincoln

Hello friends. I wanted to say a heartfelt quyana to our sharing community. Bethel is a sharing community. It is one of the nicest things that we love about living here. A few years back there was a study about what folks did with their subsistence catch and a very high percentage of it was given away to others.

And not only Bethel, but it is everywhere in our native homeland, the Yukon Kuskokwim region and beyond. When I taste the fish from our rivers, the seafood from our oceans, and the bounty of the land like these blackfish, I am just blown away with how good everything is. You are what you eat, and what you eat becomes a part of you.

Kelly says quyana for your gifts – the moosemeat, lush fish, the frozen aged whitefish, the dryfish. Thank you all.

And now as inevitable as time that passes, we have reached year three since the loss of our beloved. Amongst us all are folks like us, we are many. Grieving outwardly and inwardly at the same time has slowly given way to grieving inwardly. The outward appearances of grief diminish, but the grief is still there and always will be – the same deep empty longing and yearning.

When you look at me, and when I look at you, we both see the same person. But that is only on the surface. Inside of this shell we are nothing of who we used to be. Grief changed us forever.

And, as friends are, you have all been so kind, your words of encouragement and support have uplifted us when we need it so badly. Your loving acts of kindness will never be forgotten. Three years have gone by, but it still feels like yesterday, and sometimes it feels like it is not true and in your mind there is that battle that rages. There are also those who remembered, quyana.

Folks, thank you for being patient with us, we who can be so set in our ways. How do you change a stubborn person? By thoughtful reasoning, careful, and kind conversation and patience. It takes time but it can be done.

Carl Alaaq Lincoln with his successful blackfish trap. Photo by Jimmie Lincoln