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Monthly Archives: August 2008

about Kwig is, like any of the tundra villages, everything: food, lumber, supplies of any kind, must be brought in by bush-plane (Cessna), this is most stock (food, mail, etc.) or via barge or water vessel (large items, i.e. furniture, construction materials, etc). Due to the distance and specialty of the transport, shipping costs are considerable. This causes two effects. First, you can pay upwards of $9.85 for a box of Cheez-Its, albeit a large box (20 oz. or so) but surely you must understand the plight of anyone, such as myself, struck with any kind of sweet or processed oriented craving. The second result of exorbitant shipping costs is no one wants to pay for flying or shipping anything out – even if it’s lost utility or becomes irreparable. This has led to mounds, even entire hills of junk. 

I am not sure if it is this monetary wary mentality that has bred an inconsideration for trash containment, but parts of the villages, those accruing major traffic, suffer from litter. 

next to b-ball court

next to b-ball court

 One elder used the term “spoiled” to describe the youth in reference to the litter, which can be seen just off the boardwalk anywhere in the village.


Strange skies for two nights in a row – Checkout the pictures. I finished washing my dishes at the school and noticed the sky on my way to the cabin; it was about dusk and it just got stranger.

I thought it was the reckoning, but prettier, I’m guessing.

More shots of Kwigillingok. Hey, Suburbia, Kwigillingok.

Found out only two days before the first day of school that I will be teaching Drama! I couldn’t be upset or even flabbergasted, no one else knew either, it was a last minute elective addition. Also, I signed up for this student teaching position under the pretense of potentially teaching subjects beyond my endorsement. Most teachers, as in 3 or 4 of the 6 teach English and math, or Science and Math, or History and Drama. Fun times at Kwig High!

Berry picking is a tradition in Kwig. Salmon berries, unique to the tundra, grow all over the ground, somewhat like strawberries. The residents dedicate  much time to foraging, much like the men do during hunting season (fowl, seal and walrus). The Yup’ik make a dessert with mashed berries, Crisco and sugar. It’s, ah, really sweet. But you can eat it frozen or tepid.

A photographic account of my first two days in the village.

The village has a radio tower through which the school and entire village receive internet access and some phone service. There are a couple of burn sites in which all paper trash is disposed of – food scraps are dumped in a designated area where the sea gulls have there way with it. Next to the school is a wooden basketball court frequented by most of the children on a daily basis.

Hello, Hi and Howdy.

Welcome to the journal and documentary of my student teaching experience in Kwigillingok, AK. I have been here for all of 40 somewhat hours and the acclimation has been swift; in part to the welcome I have received from all, fellow teachers, the Yup’ik villagers, youth and elder alike.  — The total daylight, the sun sets around 11p.m., suggests summer, yet the temperatures never exceed the 50s; and nights/mornings are in the 40s. I have met this climate with little concern but the residents speak of the winter winds that enter from the Bering Sea and sweep over the tundra like an incessant inlaw. So, won’t that be nice.


The seclusion of the village has not hindered its progression if only slowed it. There is new technology and advances constantly being imported and incorporated. Last spring the toilets and “sewer system” amounted to a toilet seat and a bucket – waste carried away, by the producer, to a designated area of the village. Upon my arrival a handful of incinerating toilets had been installed in existing homes and an entire apartment complex, equiped with such contraptions, is near completion. Water must be distilled and hauled from a common site, the school – which seems to be the center and basis for the community. As for my cabin, it is the model of efficiency. img_0299One does not waste steps on empty floor space; front door, kitchen, toilet, bed. Oh my.