What are your thoughts on marine conservation?
I was raised in Unalakleet where I was taught to respect the land and the river. When I was in high school, my life revolved around sports. I heavily relied on my family to provide. Once I was graduated, my interest in learning how to put food away and preserving as much information about my culture from the elders grew. It also sparked an interest in my “future” family as well. I began to ask questions like: If I don’t learn how to preserve, yet conserve, where will my “future” family get the food that I grew up on? What must I do to help conserve and protect the species that I love so much, so that my kids will have access to these resources? If it wasn’t for my ancestors, who relied heavily on fish, seals, whales, and walruses for thousands of years, without their practices of conserving and upholding a balance with nature, those animals wouldn’t be here today. That realization is when I became interested in marine conservation.
And your future plans?
I plan to graduate in December 2015. My hopes for the future are that my Inupiaq native language will be restored and strengthened. Also, that the next generation will have access to the rich resources and foods that both my ancestors and I have survived on.