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Strange thought

It is funny, the other day I was telling the girls I ran into one of my sisters who lived out of town at the store and she lives in town now. One of the twins was saying to me "Hey, mom, if she is here maybe we should move down there (down there meaning Atka where our distant family lives now) for a year or something."

Wow, what a strange thought! I do want to go visit there some day and have a ton of cousins and such there but none I know very well enough to say "hey, we are coming to visit and will be staying on your couch! see you soon." The cost to fly there for all 5 of us is prohibitive and they are planning on doing some college courses here in town next year too.

I was telling them what we can do is think about it seriously and write up a sort of proposal and apply for a federal grant for my idea which I still need to picture fully. I said we (or mostly me but all them too) will need to make up a plan and details and a timeline and costs and all that stuff to show we are serious but that is a very fun idea. How I want to discover what Aleuts were like 'prehistoric-like' -if that is a word. But how to discover all of this when much was lost over time. I think many hold pieces of the puzzle, stories and thoughts passed down from mother to daughter that I can collect to help form a picture of it.

One of my sisters applied for one for writing a book but I haven't heard if she got it or not since I haven't talked to her in ages. But it is kind of growing on me as I think of it. I will have to think of it but can write it up as a sort of 'finding my roots' approach but from a feminist sort of viewpoint since I think it is a part of me so will always keep that as part of "me".

I would love to go to Attu since I have pictures in my mind from my mother's stories about growing up there. What gets me mad is my mom's village is now a navy station and bird watchers paradise instead of our home. Attu Island and it makes me wonder when will we get our lives and heritage back???????? According to the census data from 2000 it has "The racial makeup of the CDP was 18 White, 1 from other races, and 1 from two or more races. 5 of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race." I love how they gloss over the part about the Natives being forced out and not allowed to return like we all just decided one day to pack and leave! Sigh, some days it is really a 'beating head against wall feeling" wanting things to change but knowing no one else besides us really cares enough to help change it. But I am hoping that will change as more people learn about us and other Alaskan Natives and the crisis we are in. Here is a blurb about how the Navy pictured us and makes it sound like we had a choice in moving to Atka. Navy Station and want to point out that this is my mom and my heritage they are talking about. I would love to write up a proposal of some sort to get it back! I think I read there are vague plans of this around but will need to find it again and see what is happening with it.

But I was thinking of it a bit because of the computer game I am planning and designing right now. It is set in a sort of fantasy version of Alaska and is meant for (minority) woman. It is a role-playing type one, the kind I enjoy playing best, and will hopefully be fun and educational though the words I used are made up they are based a bit on actual Aleut words. But somehow my mind went from thinking about this game and thinking we should go there.

It must have been picturing the landscape that made me want to actually go there and see it with my own eyes. I can picture it since my mom often talked of it with me so I have her images of it in my heart and wonder if i will see it differently or will my daughters.

I think part of it was reading Dr. Edonna that really inspired me to go out and talk to people and "do it"...

But it is why I enjoy coming here since never know what I will be reading and what will inspire me and that is what makes getting to know all the woman on here so fun and makes me want to go meet some Aleut woman now too!

A funny thing, I was going to head outside to think and saw it was snowing again, big fat snowflakes. I told my daughters and one said 'What, snow, now?! Why?" and I was remembering what someone once said about snow being like a form of protection that can happen when the group prays for protection and thinking someone on here must be praying for us and our safety. So thanks!

Maria

Comments

I think it is very important to help people realize we are not a dying race but a vibrant one. It states on their page this:

The native population, though never thought to be very great, slowly diminished over the years, continuing even after America assumed ownership of the island in 1867. At that time, the island's population numbered over a hundred. Seventy-five years later, when the Japanese invaded the island, there were only 41 Attuans left. Following their internment during WWII and the subsequent relocation to Atka, Alaska after the war, the number of native Attuans can be counted on one hand.

From my mom alone there are about 35 children, grandchildren (4 are my daughters) and great-grandchildren alive and well. And she is just one of the 41 Attuans they quoted. I think it is very important to let them know that you can not count her children alone on one hand! This kind of misinformation drives me crazy and makes me want to run there and have a staring contest or something since I don't believe in violence.

It really makes me feel ill to see some of the pictures of all those white guys there when we were forced off. And for what? So bird watchers could go visit there? Please!

Anyway, that bird page does show the beauty of the island. Not "Navy Town Alaska" but "Stolen Beauty" should be it's name from them! Ok, enough ranting, I am off to bed. Hugs and love,

Maria

Maria de Chirikof's picture

some humor

What really made me smile about all of this is when I asked my daughters if they would want to go live on Attu if we ever get the chance their only questions were "does it have electricity?" and "does it have internet?" We were talking and thinking we would probably need to bring some sort of a greenhouse structure with us since we are what I call 'turning vegetarian' where we rarely eat meats (peperoni pizza probably being the one exception).

I will need to seriously try to find where I had read that we might actually get Attu back since I would definately move there and the girls said they would love to try it. But we are from the 'big city' so it would be a change since there would be no Blockbusters or Starbucks, movies and coffee are what we (well myself for the coffee) would miss most.

It is kind of exciting picturing it and I hardly dare to dream it can become a reality!

hugs,

Maria

susana's picture

daughters..................

what are your daughters names?

from susana.....

<-$U$@N@->

Maria de Chirikof's picture

Hi again

The oldest is Tatiana, then comes Marina and Olga and the youngest is Anisia. My mom picked their names and gave them all good Russian names since these are the names they would be baptized in for the Russian Orthodox church. They are all on the verge of going out into the world but with the economy crashing they might end up living at home a few more years while they go to college here.

It will be very interesting to watch them form into the woman they want to become.

How are you doing?

Maria

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