WELL-BEING

On the North Slope and in Barrow women and men have important but complementary spiritual, social, cultural, ecological, and other roles. These balanced roles support families, lands, and communities. With modernization and development, women and men continue to find balance as they seek wage work, continue subsistence life, and care for family and community. Gender studies on the North Slope provide an opportunity to learn more about balance and holism in leadership. By honoring local perspectives on gender that diverge from Western perspectives, communities tap into different sources of strength.

“And so it really causes me to wonder how the role of the elders is going to be, perceived for one thing, and change as a result of that. I can’t imagine, you know, I’m gonna be getting there, you know, not too long from now [laughter] hopefully. So I’m trying to think, what is my role going to be as an elder? And you know, in the work that I do, we have in the Iñupiaq Learning Framework we honor our elders and we have performance expectations that relate to the elders and having respect for them and so we have, we’re working with kids to have them thinking about, oh you know what the role of the elder is and how does an elder become an elder and what is their role going to be as elders and what are the qualities that make up these, the elders. And so I’m feeling like hope is not lost because at least in the curriculum work that we’re doing, we’re acknowledging that we have to thinking about that, elderhood. We’ll see where we are in 10 or 20 years”

“I see Iñupiaq parenting, or Iñupiaq child rearing practices changing a little bit. I think the men have had a hard time because it’s very very hard to be a subsistence hunter and be providing a wage economy. It’s virtually impossible to do subsistence right and be tied to an 8-5 job, it’s just not possible. And that’s so I think it really effects men’s identity, you know their sense of who they are.”

“Tautukkiga aŋayuqaaksrativut Iñupiat aŋayuqaguurut, naaggakaa iñukkuksaiñikun allaŋasuugaaŋŋuqtuq. Uvva isumatigitka aŋutauruat paapaŋatun siġġaġnaksirut, usii siġġaġnaksirukkiaq aŋuniallaŋatisivluni aŋuniallakkagman aasii qaġapkatisivluniḷu iḷatkannun qanuqtilaaptiŋni savagman taniktuqhuni. Savagmata 8uqlaaqpan 5uqlaaminaglaan nakuuŋitchummiuq savaqhutiñlu aŋuniallaqtiḷaaŋanik, savaŋitchuq tainna. Aasii aŋutim iñuusiaḷģitchuq pianiŋaruq.”

“These roles are very important in the family unit as well as in the family crews as well as in the regional unit. It’s not like other places. If you’re a part of a whaling family and you grow into the roles of the harpooner, the responsibility is for the whole village. You’re harpooning a whale, yes you’re one harpooner, but the strike is for the whole community and the distribution goes to the whole community. … And there’s a value system that’s different than other places.”

“Tamatkuniŋa irrusit nuimanaqtuagiksut iḷatkagmun, aġviqsiuqtit iḷauranunlu, nunaaqqinunlu North Slope Borough-kunnii. Ullagniaŋitkaatigut nunaaqivut. Aġviqsiutiksran aġviguurutin iḷagiigniñ aglisuivlutin qanuq savagniagiktutin kapuqtisuḷaamnik, qaunaksrigilluatagikpin nunaaqini ikayusugniaqpich iñuit. Kapuqtisirutin aġvigmik, ii, kapuqtirutin, aglaan satkugmiñ nunaaqqinitimnun ittuaq suli autaaqsimñik autaaqtillugi nunaaqqinun. Tamana kaputqiluaŋa uiŋŋasuktuqsuli qaunasrigai qaunaksrilluataqtuq niġitqillaavlutik ukiutchaurami. Tainnaassii qaunaksrisisuuruq iḷatkatun ikayuvlutik nunaaqqiniñ. Tavra taamna allaŋŋuuruq ullaqpagmi matumunaglaan uvvali Iñupiat Values.”

“Well, one of the things I saw were women that are in my life that siaqpik. Siaqpik means you are standing tall and your head lifted up. Whatever you may face, you face it like that. And I have seen women well in their 90s and still here. Carry on and in much adversity and much pain. They carry on and hope they’ll be better tomorrow yeah. And many of them have passed but they don’t realize how they have shown that, that we seen it and we know what it is and we do have it. It is- we’re a part of our mother, part of our grandmother, part of our people.”

“Taapkua aġnat iñuusiġamnun tautuktuaŋa taapkua siaqpiksrauruagguuq siaqpiŋŋaruat. Siaqpik taamnakii sivuniġiruaq inna, makittauvluni takisilaamnik suli niaqquni qiviagnaqsiruq. Sumiḷiqaa tainnasuurutin pilġusiniaqłaagmiutin pilġusimnik. 90 year old-kunnii maaniitut akkupauŋaraq nanmaktaktutsuli anniġnakkun siġliġniukkunlu. Piyumiñaqsiruat nakuuqsipayauniaqtut iḷaani. Piiqsauruat utuqqanaat tainnammiuq siaqpivluni siaqpigmatigutsuli qiñiqtuaqtitka. Aakauruaqagmatigut”

“This is the positive part of Native people. We have our way of life. We still hunt. We still hunt whales. We still hunt caribou. We maintain OUR culture. And I heard it from the young people when they immerse themselves and find out, learning about their language or whatever, talking in their language, just gives them, what is it—it’s just like WOOOW! Identity, yeah, identity.”

“Uvvakii Nativekut suaŋŋaqpaqłuni. Iñuusivutiqaqtugut. Aŋuniallasugaatigut. Aģviliasugaatigut. Tuttuliasuugaatigut. Paisavugmiŋ pianiksraurugut iñuulluataqtuagut. Naalakktuaqtitka nutaqqaģmiñ tamaktua nutaqqat iḷisagiagvluni Iñupiuraaqhutik sunakiaq uqaqtuaqtut uqautisuvumnik, aitchuqtiŋa sunauvva, innavsaaq “ARAQHAA!”. Iñuŋmiñ iḷisimaksraģai , taamna iñulluatagisuugai. Tavrakii nutaqqaurat paqiñŋaitkaat kiñaliuvva imña atakii taniayaammiuvluŋarut, Mexican-miuvluŋarut, Native-miuvluŋarut. Iqimmaktuŋa uvvauvva, national children. Munaqsisuuŋarut iñuich Iñupiat.”

“I took my Iñupiat values back, I take the best part of western world and Iñupiat world and try to have harmony. When there’s so much chaos around sometimes. To have that little piece.”

“Iḷitqusiamitqaagluŋa qiviaqtuŋa, Iñupiapiagmiñ iñuusivluni aasii tanintugmiñ iñuusivluniḷu iñuusipkagaatigut tutqiughutikkun. Piaḷaktisuugman iḷaani nunaaqinmi. Tutqiutiksraqagmatigut mikiruuramik piqaqtugut aglaan. Aniiqsugiakkaģma, aniiqsugiaqamnun, taģiugmun saniģaniituam pisuaqtitkiga pisuagiaguktuŋa.”