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Learning the Inuipat Ways This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   In my grandmother's family, traditionusually passes from mother to daughter, but it skipped my mother andpassed to me. My grandmother is Inuipat; she comes from a very smallvillage in Alaska. Teller has a population of 250 Inuipat natives and islocated in the northwest section of Alaska, 73 miles northwest ofNome.

My grandmother and I have been together since the moment Iwas born. She has been teaching me the Inuipat way of life brought downfrom our great-great ancestors, which includes sewing, learning thelanguage, fishing, building fish camps, seal hunting and many othertraditions.

At times I sit and listen to my grandmother's storiesof when she married my grandfather at Mary's igloo, and of how she hadthree native children who died as young men in the early '60s. Mygrandparents eventually adopted my mother. Just listening makes me feelcomfortable.

The sound of my grandmother's voice has the spiritof an eagle; the touch of her hand has the gentleness of a winter sky asshe walks through life, day by day, teaching the Inupiat way. YesterdayI finished making my beaver hat, and she realized I'm growing up the wayshe and my grandfather wanted me to: smart, caring, sharing, honest anddependable.

I have a younger brother whom my grandmother istrying to teach the ways of life, but he has a young heart that is eagerto be a young kid. Maybe he'll learn the Inupiat ways, just as I willcarry on our way of life to my

children. I pray my childrenteach their children ...






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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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