I have learned that is important to hold yourself accountable and responsible for your own life. I have learned new ways of thinking and evaluating situations that are so much broader than the walls of my own mind. I have learned that it is okay to be compassionate, and humble and to feel everything so deeply – rather than trying to mask those feelings or act like they simply aren’t there.
We began by recording the traditional place name, which I learned and will forever refer to the place as, which is “Tr’inalaii.” We then recorded the story of where Tr’inalaii began and the importance it held in her life.
From the moment I jumped into the boat to head my Jijuu’s fish camp, I could literally feel my mind ease and my body begin to let go of tension and stress.
This class consists of eleven graduates, all from our little community of 900 people. To me, this class represents hard work, persistence and intelligence.
On the day that I was born, my Jijuu Christie Thompson gave me my Gwich’in name, “Gwikitch’ihkh’eh”, which means “In Return” because, as she said, I was the life given after his life was taken.
He was humble. He carried himself with a calm sense of confidence. He was a son and a brother. He was a man of the Lord.
I have made it a personal goal of mine to always carry my camera with me when I spend time with my Jijuu, because she’s always teaching me something new – from tanning a moose hide to setting a net under the ice in -40.