Travel Weary

Is about how I feel right now. I’ve been traveling a fair bit lately, and I’m exhausted. The conference I am at right now in Shaktoolik was really eye-opening. It was about English Language Immersion and how to help English Language Learners become successful in school, giving us employable classroom strategies to aid in student success.

The real highlight, though, was in the cultural workshops we attended today. Native Eskimos talked about the rich cultural history in the BSSD and the impact education has had upon their culture. More than anything, these Professionals gave me back a bit of what I’ve been losing: Hope. Hope for my students, and for their futures. And an affirmation of why I am here: to help these students head in a direction that moves them forward. The one thing these Native professionals all had in common that struck me: their belief that they cannot go back. As much as they love their time-honored culture, as much of it they would like to preserve (and are preserving), they all recognize that they cannot go back to a hunting/gathering subsistence lifestyle; they MUST move forward. They must carve out their own place, a new role in a familiar land, among familiar faces, while retaining a heritage that is partially forgotten. An incredible and daunting task to be sure. And an incredibly daunting task for all teachers here who are trying to help them move forward.

And… I tried several native foods tonight at the wedding celebration here: some caribou, eskimo icecream, pickled mungtuk, salmonberry/rhubarb soup. I think that is all I tried. Enough strange things went into my stomach tonight. We’ll see how my stomach processes all that. đŸ™‚