I am Inupiaq Eskimo

Uvulaalautaq. Avunga Atiga Qagigluilaq. Anayuqaakka Warren and Bessi Sinnok. Kigiktami.

Good morning. My Inupiaq Eskimo name is Qagigluilaq. My white fox name is Esau Sinnok. My parents are Warren and Bessi Sinnok. I am from Kigiktaq, known as Shishmaref, Alaska.

I am Inupiaq Eskimo. I am proud to say that I am from Shishmaref, Alaska, a community of family and friends that have been around for time immemorial. My Inupiaq heritage can be traced back 4,000 years from our ancestors telling stories shared through every generation. Shishmaref is known all around the world for our artwork. Our artwork includes sewn seal skin mittens, slippers, hats, and hand carved walrus ivory artwork. These are some examples of how talented carvers and sewers are in the village.

Shishmaref is about 3 miles long, and about 0.25 miles wide. There are about 600 people living on the island. We have been living on Shishmaref for over 100 years, with colonization happening in the early 1900's with the first school being built on the island. About 29% of the population are living under the poverty line.

We have been living off the land and the sea. We hunt seals, walrus, caribou, moose, musk ox, rabbits, ptarmigans, and waterfowl to name a few. Recently, a few hunters in Shishmaref caught a whale and brought it to shore. It was during the summer time. Everyone celebrated and were grateful of the catch, as everyone in the village got a share of the catch. We may not be rich in monetary resources, but that doesn't mean we aren't rich. We are the richest people in the world in my view. We are rich in culture, values, family, and most important, food.

I am very blessed to be from Shishmaref, Alaska. Our culture, identity, dancing, singing, arts, and many other aspects of our life are what makes us a very unique Inupiaq Eskimo village. I carry in my veins countless generations of one of the strongest warriors and survivors in history. I am very proud to be Inupiaq Eskimo, yet humble.

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