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Family and Community

Home  >  Family and Community  >  Family Collections  >  Sharp
Sharing Tradition
By Amy Crawford

Suzanne's grandparents were discouraged from speaking Inupiat; they were required to speak English. By the time Suzanne came around, Kotzebue was a place of mixed fluency so she possesses limited comprehension and fluency in Inupiat. Her own mother has limited fluency, but her stepfather was raised with an Inupiat-speaking grandmother, so her girls are exposed through the stories he told.

Her older daughter, Janelle, on her own initiative, listens to language tapes that teach the basic Inupiat greetings. Suzanne says that in order to accurately understand and remember Eskimo history, it is important to read books written by Native authors. They do their own share of writing too. Janelle remembers and records stories recounted to her by Suzanne's stepfather. Both girls have written poetry rooted in a keen sense of place that carries on the tradition of learning about the land and animals.

Suzanne, Janelle, and Rachel wait to watch the Iditarod restart in Willow, Alaska

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