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Native Pathways to Education
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I˝upiaq RavenIñupiat Ioitqusiat

A Special Publication of Alaska Newspapers Inc.

"Those things that make us who we are"

Portrait of a People - By the People
Originally a supplement to The Arctic Sounder

Avoid Conflict

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Shelly Reeve

The anger rose inside of her
She was so mad that she could not stir
Her heart was pounding with fear
Her fists were clenched and her eyes started to tear
She ran away from him as far as she could
And as far as her legs would

He had beaten her so many times
That all she could do in her head was make rhymes
The time had come
As he drank his rum
He had been thinking
That his life had been ruled by drinking
He treated his wife so bad
When he thought about it, it made him sad
He would try to control it
His anger would just boil while he’d sit

When he was young he was taught to talk it out
Instead of being mean and making someone pout
Now since he was drunk and his life stunk
He would avoid conflict until the end
He set this rule to never bend

He tried to apologize
But his wife couldn’t sympathize
Through all these years she’d lived through pain
And now maybe her life would gain
Respect from her husband
And she felt love
In the relationship flew the peace dove

We have to talk
Maybe go for a walk
This is the time we have spent
Look at where it has went
Do you know how I feel
I want to change, I want to heal
As he said this
She decided to give him a kiss


Alcohol Abuse
Paula J. Octuck
Kotzebue High School

I grew up around the abuse of alcohol.

My mother’s ex-husband was badly into alcohol. He drank every night. Then he would come home and beat on my mother. Every once in awhile it was also on us kids, too.

When I was growing up, I was the second oldest in my family. My older sister was uusually the one that tried to save us every single time.

I had three younger sisters and one younger brother. She would either try and call for help or find a way to get out of the house and get someone to help us. She got beaten almost as much as my mom.

The past two years of their marriage was the hardest. The Women’s Shelter became our weekend home. The thing was, he would not go too far on the alcohol on weekdays because we had school and my mother had to go to work. But on weekends, he would go get drunk, come home and find a reason to beat on my mom or the rest of us. There were many times we had to run and hide in one of my aunt’s homes.

Once, in the past two years, my mother made an attempt to leave him. We moved out of the house, rented an apartment and hid out there, not telling anyone but our closest family where were were. But his sister moved in down the hall from us and saw us and told my stepfather.

Then, a month later, behind us kids’ back she made up with him and took him back. We remodeled our old house because no one wanted to rent it and we moved back in. Everything started all over again.

After that he said he had changed. He said he would never beat my mom again. We all got used to the arguing and were relieved he never fought my mom again. Soon, he began to beat her again though, and she finally got the courage to leave him permanently. My mother divorced him and now the wounds he made in our lives are healed and we are moving on.

I guess I am telling you this so you would know that alcohol is not a great thing. Once you get beaten by a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, don’t go back. They will think that if you come back once, you will come back again.

The two messages I have are: Don’t get into alcohol and don’t get into a relationship where there is violence because it can scar you for life.

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Avoid Conflict
Photo courtesy of Christine Ahlalook

Avoid Alcohol,
Avoid Conflict

Kotzebue High School
11th grade

Avoidance of conflict is a very important value, not only to the Inupiaq, but to people of all societies. Greed, hate, anger, jealousy, drugs and alcohol are some of the things that provoke violence and violence doesn’t solve anything.

People should learn to control themselves and their actions and avoid getting into fights because there are enough. problems in this world already.

Alcohol is one of the biggest problems. When a person is intoxicated, they don’t have control of their actions because the alcohol shuts down part of their brain. Violence doesn’t make things better, it only causes more problems.

Avoid Conflict
Photo courtesy of Christine Ahlalook

David Russell
Kotzebue High School
12th grade

The Inupiaq Values of our people in NANA region give a meaning of love, kindness, happiness, sharing and caring. These values are the roots of our unity with one another.

For generations our Elders made sure it was our responsibility to follow these values. As they were taught the same way, they teach us today. The honoring and praising of God and his great creations is in my mind, first and most important. Respect for Elders is the second, not to mention one of the most important, Inupiaq Values.

The value of humor also plays a large role for our people. It gives happiness and laughter which is greatly needed in the harsh reality of depression, peer pressure and low self esteem. All this and more are now in the minds of today’s children and teenagers. How can we help?

Well, a start lies in the hands of the value, Avoidance of Conflict. It is in the minds of the strong willed that today’s youth are under attack by peer pressure which includes the alcohol and other drugs. Family fueds are becoming more and more of a problem in our community.

In most cases, it has been an alcoholic father who beat on both mother and child. I feel a lot of experience because I have lived through it myself for 17 years. It hurts so bad to see something like that happen to family. It becomes unbearable both physically and mentally.

It would be a much better place if this did not exist in families. All the values of our Inupiaq culture form the roots and the backbone of unity and peace within each of us.

Religion and the belief in God is what keeps me strong willed as the values of our heritage keep the unity of our people together as one mind.

Together, with the help of the all mighty Lord, only though him, all things are possible.End Article



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Last modified October 19, 2006