Sometimes transformation only takes place when we’re forced, through pain, to see what’s broken.
Yet again, I was on the phone with a man in a hardware store who felt he could talk down to me simply because I was a woman with a question.
Growing up in Unalakleet, I remember meals of uuraq. Boiled humpies, onions and potatoes filling our bowls. Smells and tastes that say home.
There are so many reasons why Laureli Ivanoff loves her hometown on the Bering Sea, it's hard to keep count.
My mother grew up in a house where her parents spoke Inupiaq to each other. I grew up in a house where only English was used. And because of that, I was excluded.
When it became time for me to see this man face to face, we realized one sobering truth about rural Alaska dating. “You literally live $1,000 away,” he said — three flights and a day and a half of travel.
On a November day while visiting Chicago a few years ago, I looked at my great-great grandpa Stefan’s drawing of Unalakleet and he became a human being.
More than ever, I feel all good things. My thighs are soft. And they’re as strong as the birch trees. I stand. In the cold I will stand. And walk.
If I was resolute on making a change in the new year, it would be this. I open myself to be in the lives of others. I welcome others into my own life.
UNALAKLEET — One of my favorite things to do on this earth is walk in beautiful places. Being in the open air, marveling at the world and being humbled by views makes me feel both strong and small, and happy to be alive. So when my friend Emily told me we should go hiking in … Continue reading Native. White. Friends. For racism to disappear, it’ll take all of us.
UNALAKLEET — I had just gotten back from picking cranberries. The air was cold and crisp. My favorite time. No mosquitoes and still warm enough to enjoy an afternoon picking berries in the hills with a lunch of dried fish, Pilot Bread and coffee. Back from a weekend of hunting with my friends Greta and … Continue reading Why can’t media portray the rural Alaska I know?
NALUQ — There’s something about being out in the country 10 miles up the Kobuk from Kiana. In the open air. Having the freedom of a river. Feeling the grounding of black spruce trees. Hearing the lightness in heart from friends’ laughter. And eating a breakfast prepared on a Coleman stove in a warm cabin. … Continue reading My eyes smile again: A caribou hunt up the Kobuk River
UNALAKLEET — He remembered a time she and I picked out music together. I imagine we were in front of her big, black stereo, weeding through her CDs. She had a lot of them. A song we picked was “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and he thought that was cool. “You and your mom were such good friends,” Charlie said. “We were … Continue reading Remembering Ma, and finding the magic in life every single day
UNALAKLEET — “Do people think you’re crazy?” I asked him. After 45 minutes of getting to know this man, it felt safe to ask and get an honest answer. “Generally everybody,” he said in his classic French accent. We both smiled and I nodded my head, yes, with understanding. Except I don’t think … Continue reading Frenchman paddles into western Alaska town after 7,000-mile trek across North America
UNALAKLEET — I was 13 years old and beginning to think rubber boots were ugly. Maybe I should wear sneakers down the coast instead. When she was 13 years old, she quit school to raise four younger siblings. She thought about what to feed her brothers and sisters, and lighting the fire in the stove … Continue reading Saying goodbye to Gram