What does marine conservation mean to you? How do you engage with marine conservation at school and/or at home?
To me, marine conservation is the act of taking care of our lands and the habitats that our marine life lives in. Our ancestors believed in protecting our land, the water and the life that lives among the land and water. I believe that it is our duty to continue their work. Marine conservation is also important for food preservation, especially for Native communities such as my own, and it is important because our climate changes everyday.
What are your future educational and career goals? What are the top three things that are moving you toward those goals?
I am currently a junior in the Elementary Education program at UAS. I would like to finish college to get my teaching degree and go home to Selawik to teach. I’m so excited to begin my career and especially get the opportunity to connect with my students seeing as we all had the same upbringing. Driving me toward my goal is the idea that my future students will get to see that a person just like them got to leave the village to get a higher education and telling them every day that they can do it too. A few ideas that I already have to teach my students about marine conservation is to apply this topic to science class and teach them about climate change, particularly what it is and how it impacts marine life and our lives personally. I feel teaching these to my future students will further make a difference in our environment for their generation and future generations to come.
Another thing moving me toward my goal is my grandfather (Taata) Johnnie Ticket, he has been one of my biggest supporters and always stands by my side. He taught me all that I know about the Inupiat Ilitqusiat. The Inupiat Ilitqusiat are a set of eleven values of the Inupiat culture that we live by such as Respect for Elders, Respect for Children and Respect for Nature. My grandfather has been my leader and has helped me discover all of the goals I wish to accomplish. He is my reason to move forward in my education and fight for a better life without as many mountains to climb as he has had to. And of course, my mother Tillie Ticket, you are my rock and your encouragement means everything to me.
Can you share a memorable story from your past when you felt a relationship to the ocean or waterways?
My favorite memory from growing up in Selawik are the days my mom took my brother and I out of school to go ice fishing with my family. We packed up our snow machines with our gear and food to last us the whole day and took off to the lake. We would drive out a little more than an hour outside of town, auger out our fishing holes and sit and wait until we caught something. I was nine when I caught my first fish out on the Selawik lake and since then, the Selawik lake has always been my dream place to be.
When I was a young girl, we would come home with about fifty shee fish a day. I remember spending hours after a day of fishing to cut and package all of the fish we caught. The most important thing about fishing to me was always delivering the fish to our elders, I loved making sure they had something to eat. Marine conservation is not only important for the shee fish in the Selawik Lake, but it is incredibly important for the habitat around the fish.