My visit to Akutan has been a lot of fun. The stories we have gotten so far have been great. There has been a lot of joking about who has a story and who doesn’t. I swear, everyone we talk to tries to point us in another direction by saying “I know who you should talk to…”
This morning we facilitated the much awaited conversation between April Dawn Pelkey and her husband Demetri Tcheripanoff. (Thank you April and Demetri, so much for coming in and allowing us to hear your story.)
After laughing (trying not to make any noise) and crying and laughing again, and watching April interact with her husband, and hearing about her life, it really got me in a pensive, thinking mood. I started recalling the stories from Hugh, Darryl, Joe, and then April, Demetri, and Christopher Tcheripanoff this afternoon, and I was overwhelmed by admiration for the love of place that was revealed in all of the conversations. As someone who believes, to the depth of my soul, that the best place on earth is the Aleutian Islands, and that I belong no where else, it was humbling to find the same sentiments here on Akutan Island. It is uplifting to know that everyone has worked so hard to keep Akutan vibrant and growing. And equally important that there are Unangax of the “young generation” stepping up to the plate to carry on the work and traditions. Believe me, if I wore a hat (which I can’t because I look really stupid in them) my hat would be off to this community.