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Testimony

Submitted to the
Alaska Natives Commission
in connection with a hearing at

Nome, Alaska
September 21, 1992

ALASKA NATIVES COMMISSION
JOINT FEDERAL-STATE COMMISSION
ON
POLICIES AND PROGRAMS AFFECTING ALASKA NATIVES
4000 Old Seward Highway, Suite 100
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Witness List | Exhibit List | PDF Version

ALASKA NATIVES COMMISSION
HEARING
Nome, ALASKA
SEPTEMBER 21, 1992

Frieda Larsen

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Maybe what we'll do is we'll take about a seven-minute break around -- oh, have we got another?

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Frieda was here.

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Frieda? Oh, great. Okay. Good. Let's hear from Frieda. Frieda Larsen? (Pause.) Go ahead.

MS. LARSEN: I come to say my piece, 'cause I was so unhappy last few years when we couldn't do no fishing and we had to pay $7 for a dry fish. I had to pay some dry fish for $7 apiece. I'm a widow, but I -- as long as I have $7, I bought some, until I learned the dried fish in Teller are even cheaper than that $7, so I had to take a trip to Teller to buy some bundle from Teller. And this summer I was just talking to ladies at the senior center over here a while ago, a lot of them -- the few that went fishing this summer made their own dried fish. They felt so relaxed they say, cause knowing that they won't buy that expensive dry fish.

And so I would like to see that subsistence be like before, not to stop us from fishing, 'cause us elder people don’t have no strength to go out to the sea to set a great big, long net. I know I couldn't do it. But when they give us this summer a chance to fish in the river, I go on and go fishing and feel good about it. And the ladies that was talking with me in the center while ago said:

"I hope we still have subsistence given to us - every summer, 'cause those rivers won't get empty."

They don't get empty before we become a statehood. We fish every summer. Lots of it. Lot of people don’t have no dogs now to feed the dogs, and we just want to get it for -- enough for ourselves. This summer we got enough -- I know I just made -- I just get -- filled my fish rack. That’s enough for me. I just watch the river -- all black river go to the river. We get that way. We don't waste the food.

And like Margaret was telling, few days ago I had problem with one of nu -- one of my relatives staying with me, and give me kind of bad time about -- perfectly abusing me about the liquor. I don't drink. I never play with alcohol all my life, and I have problem with one of my nephew bringing in by hiding some liquor into my house; bringing in some that other funny -- they smoke -- what's the stuff they smoke? I can smell it, and yet he tried to say he didn't. I could smell it. I told him I could smell it. I find two bottles of beer in my house, too. I spilled them, 'cause I don't want that. We don’t do that. I know they do that, 'cause I can notice sober man and drinking man, too. I told them:

"The face of the person is bare. We don't have fur on our face. It shows."

So I said:

"I wish you don’t do that anymore."

I have him in my house, because he didn't have no home to go to; but I finally got wise, and I court ordered him other day. Now I feel relaxed. And this why we have to -- I wish they would do something about that, you know, because it give us lots of heartache, lots of abuse; and we can raise cain with them until they're sober. Then I was really scold him the next day for what's he trying to do. So when I finally got it fixed where he can't come into my house unless he made up his mind he's not going to drink anymore, he hides it. Only thing I could help you now, you go to alcoholic center, get yourself dried up, then I might welcome you home again. Lots of -- it's not only me that's abused by alcohol from their relatives. That's very bad in this Nome, Alaska. A lot of us Natives are having lots of heartaches from our -- my kids -- my three kids -- my two girls never do that, and my boy, he used to do that before -- when he was young kid, but he get kind of bad, but he don't do it all the time. I'm glad he's not doing it anymore, and that relieves me from my worries. Lot of us is worried about those things. About how some part of their family going to come home. And I wish they would do something about that. That's one thing that abuse so many Native people up here -- the oldsters from their kids.

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Okay. So it sounds like maybe this abuse of alcohol and then the-- side effects of it is not being taken care of adequately by state or federal agencies or maybe community, local?

MS. LARSEN: Sometimes it look like that (laughing), you know, yeah.

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: And then do you -- can you see some kind of a tribal -- within your own people how we can maybe resolve it?

MS. LARSEN: I just don't have no idea how they would resolve it, 'cause lots of parents --

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: It's --

MS. LARSEN: -- trying to help.

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: -- it's -- to me, it sounds like it's a problem not --

MS. LARSEN: Yeah, it's very --

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: -- being solved by society.

MS. LARSEN: Uh-huh (affirmative). I think if they think of something to kind of try and solve that, to even help, lots more parents would be helped.

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Yeah, yeah,

MS. LARSEN: Yeah.

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Okay.

MS. LARSEN: Okay.

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Thanks.

COMMISSIONER ELLIOTT: Do you have any Spirit Camps, such as Minto has in the Interior, which is for the treatment of those who are suffering from alcohol --

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Civunelmic (ph.) -- like Civunelmic (ph.) --

COMMISSIONER ELLIOTT: -- or trying to combat it.

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: -- or have you heard of Civunelmic (ph.)?

MS. LARSEN: Yes, I think they have them here. I wish they would have a little bit more, you know. (Laughing.)

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Yeah, okay. Thanks.

COMMISSIONER ELLIOTT: Uh-huh (affirmative).

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Could we take maybe about an eight-minute break, and I think we, got all of them (indiscernible).

MR. FAGERSTROM: Okay.

COMMISSIONER TOWARAK: Thanks, Robert.

(Off record.)


 

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