Vaa Tseerii’in, Funny Gwich’in Stories and Games

Kenneth Frank

Abstract

Introduction. Kenneth Frank, a Gwich’in from Arctic Village, describes himself as a “young Elder.” Kenneth grew up learning many traditional skills and has continued to seek out traditional knowledge as an adult. For him, the details of traditional stories and lifeways are very important to learn and share with others. Like many of the Elders, he likes to teach and pass on his knowledge. Rather than bemoan the loss of traditional culture, Kenneth believes strongly that necessary skills and knowledge are available, even if sometimes hidden from easy access. As Kenneth puts it, “They (our ancestors) cover it with a blanket, but it’s never been lost. Its still right here. . . . All we’ve got to do is uncover it and just start to work with it.” Kenneth’s statement reflects a vision of his culture as a living, evolving entity rooted in tradition, but far from lost or even fading. It is a perspective of strength and resourcefulness that for me will always come to mind whenever I hear someone talking glibly about this or that group of people “losing their culture.” WHA

  • Kenneth Frank, P.O. Box 26, Arctic Village, Alaska 99722

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