Friday, May 18, 2018

School's out !!!!!

Felt Tip Pens, Children Drawing, Drawing The schools in Alaska tend to run from mid August to mid May and for us, yesterday was the last student day. When I moved up here, I was told the reason for letting out so early in the year is to let families take advantage of fishing season because they relied on fish for winter food.

People are already out hunting, fishing, and gathering both eggs and greens.  In addition, its both commercial fishing and fire fighting season so those who are 18 and over apply to work at canaries and to fight fires.  These two professions provide money to families for the year. 

This year, there is only summer school for second graders who will be going into third grade but the school usually provides lunches for a couple weeks after school ends so the children in the village receive at least one healthy meal.   The local Coastal Regions office also provides a summer program for students to learn cultural items, work in the village, and other things. 

Other than that, many families pack up and head off to fish or berry camp for the summer.  Every family has an area by the river that belongs to them so they can camp, catch fish, cut and dry them for winter.  The preparation depends upon the type of fish because some are dried whole while others are cut into strips before being dried.

As soon as school ends, families are gone.  Long time ago, before the churches and schools arrived, families moved from area to area based on the time of year.  All the natives in this area tended to be more nomadic but as western civilization intruded, they became less nomadic and started living in towns with schools.

In many ways summer is good because its hard to go to bed when it does not get dark until after midnight and the sun is up early, early like 4 AM.  During the summer, people switch over to a sleep when they need it rather than based on time.  I know from personal experience that its easy to start something at 6 PM but not be aware of the time until midnight.  It goes so fast.

When school starts in August, the parents will be ready to hand the students over to the teachers so they get a bit of time to themselves and the teachers will be ready to be back at work.  I'm hoping to provide a bit more information on the older way of life.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

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