Sunday, June 26, 2011

So different!

It is so very amazing to me the EXTREME difference in villages in this region...the land and the people! There are three different tribes in this region....Siberian Yupik, Central Yupik, and Inpiat....all three speak a different language. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know the cultures and trying to understand the people. I have made such dear friends.
When I was in Savoonga two weeks ago there were three funerals that week. The entire village seemed to participate. Savoonga has 700 or like 694 of the deaths was a suicide, a young man 18 yrs old ...and the other one...a young man who had went missing last winter...there were search teams all over looking for his was assumed he went through the ice...well he did and they found his body washed up in his funeral was the same day as the suicide. AND then there was a PRECIOUS little boy whom I saw back in March, 8 months old whom died. His body had been lying in the armory while I was there waiting for his funeral because that was the coolest place to keep his little body. What a sad village and village trip it was... Because the clinic closed and the only store closed for the funerals ...pretty much the entire village shut down. After almost every funeral there is "Eskimo dancing"... I was invited to see the Eskimo dancing, at which I thought it was a great honor to even be invited. But in my heart I had to wonder if it was not "wrong" some WEIRD tribal dancing like you see in the some witch doctor stuff. Boy was I wrong!! It was the most humbling experience I could ever witness. The men all sat in a row....with their I believe walrus skin drums with ivory sticks. They all were singing/chanting in absolute unison while beating their drums in their Siberian Yupik language. Then the ladies would stand up and so eloquently dance to songs. Some songs some would get up and dance and other songs others would get up and dance. When I asked what the songs were they were chanting they said they were telling a story...of the person that died, in honor of them. It was in no way "evil"!! I just got chills watching. The sorrow and sadness. I had my video camera for work with me and wanted to film it so badly but didn't dare out of respect for their special ceremony. I will remember that day forever.

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