News and Events of the Bering Strait School District
Saturday November 25th 2017
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A Bad Choice

by George Otten

In the Anchorage Daily News, Renee Crow stated, that, “When we chose to speak in English to our children instead of our own language, we are choosing to allow our language to die.”Even in Stebbins our language is dying out slowly because we mostly speak in English and not our own language.

My Yupik culture is fading slowly.

One reason my culture is fading slowly because younger people are not speaking in Yupik. Younger people like teenagers can’t carry on with a conversation with elders. They know only a few Yupik words like “Waqaa’’ because they mostly speak in slang and rap language. Yupik languages still can be learned if teenagers start to practice Yupik language from elders or Yupik teachers.

Not learning the Yupik ways of life is also causing our culture to fade. Most of the teenagers are not practicing the Yupik ways of life. Some teenagers show a lack of knowledge: when they go hunting the hunters don’t know how to read the weather and skin the animals. They don’t know how to do those kind of skills because they don’t ask elders to teach them or they don’t watch elders and learn.

Younger people are not respecting their elders. Young people are showing lack of courtesy because they don’t listen very much to their parents and elders. They don’t give respect because they always talk back to parents and elders.
Some people even display a lack of pride because they sometimes don’t care and make a fool out of themselves. When they make a fool out of themselves is when they don’t know how to Yupik dance, don’t understand Yupik language and can’t hunt animals for food.

People in other communities are showing lack of understanding of their own culture. People that don’t understand when a person is speaking Yupik to them will say, “I can’t understand what are you saying?” The person who was speaking will be ashamed of him because he can’t speak his own native language. They should start right there and ask, “What is this word? how do you say that word?” Use a bilingual dictionary.

Our culture is dying slowly because we don’t teach children the Yupik ways of life and Yupik language. Parents are speaking in English instead of our Yupik language because they are starting to forget how to speak in Yupik language. The elders are ashamed at us teenagers because we are not practicing the Yupik language and the ways of eskimos dress and act. This is why my culture is fading slowly in our community.

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