Name: Iñuraaq Kaylene Evans
Hometown and/or current city: Sitñasuak, Alasks / Nu’uanu, Hawai’i
Current job or title: Artist
Degree title: MA Indigenous Politics
How do you currently engage with conservation and/or cultural activities?
I use poetry, photography, and videography as a form of storytelling and advocacy of our culture and environment. I ground myself in subsistence living, so I love to harvest, prepare and share our healthy and nourishing foods. I continue to bead, sew, and learn jewelry making. Although living in Hawai’i, I practice my values and connect to local and Native communities. I speak ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi and am learning weaving, as a way to continue to connect to the land and Native peoples.
What is something about our people, culture, and communities that make you feel proud?
I am so proud of our generosity and our resilience. I am so proud of how we recognize the abundance of the world and our land is such a precious gift and that what we harvest and create must be shared to keep the cycle of abundance flowing. I am so proud of our resilience: our hardworking nature and our effort that is helped through humor. We know how hard conditions are, yet we stay humble and humorous to get through it.
What is an issue that is important to you that you think people should get more involved with?
Healing individually and collectively: our mental health is so vital to our sense of worthiness. We must feel deserving of healthy and happy lives. We must feel deserving of a healthy and happy environment. We must first feel worthy of protection, safety, and joy – only then can we advocate for those same conditions for ourself, our community, and our land.
What advice do you have for current and prospective Caleb Scholars?
Do not lose yourself in western education/systems. Yes, it is critical to be in those spaces and to learn – but only as long as it is advancing your sense of self, your sense of power to represent yourself and your community in good ways. Do not allow these institutions take away your power. You and the community you come from are more than enough. Your elders, your people, and your land will always be there to be invaluable resources of knowledge and love.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about yourself or your experience with CSP?
I am thankful for the continued opportunities to be apart of this community. I appreciate the CSP that recognizes the power of our voice as Iñuit and as individuals who represent our families and communities. Sharing my own voice has been the most healing and empowering thing and I attribute CSP’s support and belief in me as integral to my journey.