Sharing our cultures through networking

by Peter Twitchell

I’ve always had this good feeling all my life about belonging – starting at home in the community in the region of Bethel, Alaska – I was a Yupiaq Eskimo.

As a young lad my Dad told me that my grandfather was an immigrant from Liverpool, England. Adams Hollis Twitchell. He was of English Scottish heritage.

When I was a young lad I was often asked at school by my teacher “what nationality are you?” I always said “Eskimo”.

The Eskimo tribe Yupiaq meaning “People” Tribe.

All my life I heard the language of the Eskimos of southwest Alaska and all my preteen years my language was stored in the files of my brain. It took a year or two for me to speak my native language fluently and many more years to learn adjectives and adverbs in communicating the language of the Yupiaq people.

In my late teens I became aware up groups of natives throughout the land, for example: the north Canadian Eskimoes, Eastern Siberian Eskimos near the Bering Sea, the northern Canadian Eskimoes, Labrador Natives, and most of the tribes of Alaska as I became more and more aware of who I was.

1981 I was invited by Hans-Pavia Rosing to the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. He was the President from Greenland. I was invited to Greenland and there realized there were Greenlandic Eskimos who identified themselves as Inuktituts, and they spoke their language, the English language, and they also were fluent in the Danish language as Denmark had settled in Greenland.

The years passed and I became familiar with the Lower 48 Indian Tribes as an employee of the Bethel Broadcasting KYUK radio and TV. There was much unfinished work as satellite broadcast programs throughout the world. I realized, as the Eskimos of Alaska, Canada, and the Indian tribes of the contiguous United States, that we needed to participate in modern communication networking using satellites to tell our stories and share our cultures with the people of the world.

Today I can turn on the television set and enjoy listening to Eskimos and Indians from across the globe sharing their cultural heritage and values they inherited and practice. We proceeded to share our knowledge and programs with our children and people of the world. No matter which entities or tribes you’ve come from and belong to, I can say we are better people today – understanding and knowing our cultural heritage and where we came from. It’s been an educational trip listening to all the other cultures and their way of life.