In February 2012, I was home in Mountain Village for meetings and Yup’ik dance festival. My grandma was interviewed by MSNBC.com on the topic of ‘extremes’ in America. This story is about ‘age extremes.’ The oldest population in Sumpter, Florida. The extreme is the youngest population which happens to be in the Wade Hampton Census Area. Jim Seida, MSNBC photojournalist, and his colleague were in St. Mary’s which is just upriver from Mountain Village.
They got a tip about the conference and Yup’ik dance festival, so they came down river to film and conducted interviews at the festival. I introduced myself to Jim and he said he had coverage of youth and needed to talk to an Elder who survived TB. I told him about my grandmother and he was interested. She agreed to talk to them.
Jim and his colleague said of entering her house on the hill, “It feels like home.”
Not sure when the segment will air?
My hairstylist, K.J., requested a group of young women to answer a broad question, ‘What does it mean to be a feminist?’ Below is my response which was published in her book for her senior project at UAA:
In Annette Jaimes’s article, “American Indian Women: At the Center of Indigenous Resistance in North America.” She argues that Native women activists, except those who are “assimilated,” do not consider themselves feminists. Feminism, according to Jaimes, is an imperial project that assumes the givenness of U.S. colonial stranglehold on indigenous nations.
In Alaska, in 1971, Congress did away with Native sovereignty with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) which created thirteen large regional corporations, 200 smaller ones, 44 million acres of their choice land and large amounts of continual money in exchange for Aboriginal rights.
Forty years later, there are still arguments about tribal sovereignty and ANCSA, however one thing is for certain, as T.T.P. (Inupiaq) said in a recent magazine interview, “We are making our mark.” Alaska Native regional corporations, non-profit associations and tribal organizations, are being run by Alaska Native women.
Growing up in the city in the 80’s, it was not cool to be “Native.” At school, I was called derogatory names, people threw things at me and if I could pass as another ethnicity, I would welcome it. A couple years ago, my sister wrote on her hand, “N.P.” and I asked her what that meant and she said, “Native Pride.”
Feminism or not, assimilated or not, there is a Native movement and empowerment of women. Not all chiefs are men.