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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Sikik's Story: An Inuit's Tale
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Friday, April 02, 2004

Rated "G" by the Author.

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An Inuit lady living in Barrow, Alaska, writes about herself.

Hello! My name is Sikik Grace Eegeesiak, and I am Inuit (formerly called "Eskimo", but "Eskimo" is not a very nice term, and so we prefer to be called "Inuit"). I live in the northernmost point in Alaska, in the city of Barrow. I am 40 years old, and I am the very youngest of 13 children.

I have four sisters and eight brothers, and all live near Barrow or in Barrow. They all have their own lives; but me, I stay at home with Mother and Father and take care of them the best way I can. Mother and Father are in (reasonably) good health, but they ARE slower than they used to be, and they don't see as well or hear as well; so I have to help them.

My brothers are named Matu and Mattaq (they are twins), Igri (he is known as "John", "Igri" is Inuit for "John"), Kipanik, Asayak, Miniq, Aqsuk, and Lootevek, and my sisters are named Oolik, Naiomi, Navarama, and Nauja. All are married with kids of their own, but they DO come and see me and Mother and Father and try to help out whenever they possibly can. Our parents are now in their late 80's, and their names are Nalaru and Aksamirq. As I said earlier, they are not as young as they once were, and they have some health problems, which requires me to help them on a daily basis, as it is getting harder for them to get around.

Life here in Barrow is very difficult at best, and it gets brutally cold up here, especially in the winter. Life is very harsh here, and if one isn't careful, the brutal cold can very easily kill someone who isn't used to the harsh or unforgving conditions. There isn't much to do here unless you go to the city of Barrow, and our world is almost always covered with snow. The summers here are very brief, and in the winter, darkness can last for hours, with only the Northern Lights lighting your way. You also have to take into consideration the ever-present danger of wild animals such as polar and grizzly bears; bears are known to attack humans, and they will be more than happy to make a man, woman, or child into a tasty snack if they are hungry (or desperate) enough. We also have seals, moose, elk, caribou, and all kinds of birds, including seagulls, trumpeter swans, owls, eagles and hawks, crows and ravens, and cranes. We even have plenty of fish including salmon and whale. The food supplies are very plentiful here, and like our ancestors, we do our hunting by way of dogsled or on foot, and we carry guns, spears, or knives with us as our weapons. We do a lot of praying to the Great Spirits Above to help us with our hunts, and we pray for their protection and wisdom as we go to catch food for our families.

Some Inuit still do live in igloos, but most nowadays have houses or live in apartments; but we still retain a lot of our traditions. We make a lot of our clothes by hand, or we eat foods like seal, caribou, moose, goose, whale, or bear. We are a very resourceful people, we Inuit, and whenever anyone is in trouble, we go out of our way to help them; and when one is sick or dying, we stay with that person and offer prayers to the Great Spirit to help them. If they die, it is a time of great sadness. When someone dies the whole town comes out to help support the deceased one's family and friends. We also have times of great joy, such as when a boy becomes a man or a girl becomes a woman, or we celebrate a successful hunt, or the Northern Lights or the summer solstice and the start of winter. We are a very happy people, and we are more than happy to show visitors who come our way of life and our culture.

Like many Inuit, we Eegeesiaks primarily speak our native language, but when we are in Barrow or taking care of our shopping, banking, or whatever, we speak English as well as any American or English-speaking person. But it still amuses us when people who are NOT Inuit attempt to say a few words or phrases in our language, the language known as Inupiat. Inupiat is a very gutteral and harsh sounding language, but to us it is very beautiful, and it is the language of Our People. I have spoken Inupiat since I was a small child, and I continue to speak it now, but I also have since learned English, so I can have more opportunity to succeed in life.

I am a very happy, and a very pretty woman, by Inuit standards. Like many of our people, I am short and roly-poly in build, with nut-brown skin, crinkly eyes that tend to "disappear" whenever I smile or laugh, and have stick-straight, blue-black hair that falls to just below my shoulders. I usually wear sweatshirts or jeans inside, but when I am out, I am usually dressed in my traditional parka, gloves, warm pants, and my mukluks. I look like a typical Inuit whenever I am dressed in my outerwear, and people find me to be very adorable, especially tourists, who are always wanting to take my picture (which I detest highly, as I fear that getting my picture taken may anger the Great Spirit).

Well, that is my story. I will write more soon. I have to get off the computer, as it is time for me to give Mother her evening bath and for me to give Father his meal. I am also going to look at the Northern Lights; now is Northern Lights Season up here, and I want to enjoy the nightly spectacle that the Great Spirit has so blessed us who live in the Artic with! I love to sing and dance as I watch the Lights, and I love to think that they are singing and dancing right along with me! Until then, take care, and thanks for letting a lonely Inuit share her story!

~Love, Sikik Grace Eegeesiak, Barrow, Alaska, on Friday, April 2, 2004, 10:14 a.m., Alaska time. (We are an hour behind California Time.)






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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 4/4/2004
Karen

This is another wonderful story, you never cease to amaze me...
God Bless
~Michelle~
Reviewed by Rebekah Rosie Lang 4/4/2004
Wonderful story!
I learned so much!
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 4/2/2004
(((karen)))

excellent, visual story! enjoyed your foray into the Northland!

(((HUGS))) and love, karla. :)
Reviewed by George Carroll 4/2/2004
A brief glimpse into an Inuit life in the Artic and very well done in this lovely story.

Love and hugs
George
Reviewed by Sarah Tagert 4/2/2004
great write, loved reading this!

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