First Day At Norton Sound! :)

First day went great—it was mostly just orientation, getting my schedule and meeting people in the clinic! Once again, everyone is so welcoming!


Official employee of Norton Sound Health Corporation. I like how the badges just say our first name and basic title. 🙂

I love NSHC even more after today—not just because I get access to the community center, or that I get paid leave for “hunting and gathering” in my contract. 🙂

But also because of how much they focus on caring about each other and honoring the local cultures. I found out I also get to go on a village trip on October 1st either to the village of Wales or White Mountain!!!!




Here’s a small excerpt on how to prepare for village trips:


We had introductory cultural lessons as one of our sessions in orientation, and I learned a little about the Inupiat, Yupik, and Siberian Yupik, and some principles of caring for them in a culturally sensitive way.

Here are a few highlights (pictures from the packet we received):OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Included in our packet as well was an interesting excerpt of a story from an indigenous writer, Paul Tiulana, about how he grew up on King Island (I’ve written some of out below). And wisdom and poetry from their culture~OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were also given handouts with a handful of Inupiaq words:
Quyanna – Thank you                        Nigi – Eat
Tailuu Aniyun – Thank you oh Lord   Sinik – Sleep
Alaapa – cold                                     Uva – Here
Eyuk – Yes                                         Manaaq – to fish
No-me – No                                      Kataq  – to fall
Ahraa – Gee or oh dear                    Anna or Aaka – Grandmother
Kii    – Go ahead                               Nanuq – polar bear
Kilamik    – Hurry up                         Qanuq it pin?   How are you?
Iizhagii     – scary                              Uvlaluataq   – good morning

The art on the walls of the hospital is AMAZING! It’s like a museum in the hospital with all of the culture, arts, crafts, animals and indigenous clothing featured around! I will show some of it tomorrow. There are so many more details from today, too much to share, but much to cherish. I look forward to a day of clinic tomorrow…

Paul Tiulana’s Story
by Vivian Senungetuk and Paul Tiulana

“My name is Paul Tiluana. I am from King Island. King Island is in the Bering Sea, northwest of Nome, Alaska. We Eskimos have lived there as long as anybody can remember. Our Eskimo name for King Island is Ooq-vok which means “place for winter.” It is a rocky place and steep. We built our houses on stilts because there was no flat place on the sides of the island.

“I was born sixty-five years ago, before any white man had lived on King Island. They named me Tiulana after my grandfather. That is my Eskimo name. I did not get the name Paul until I was baptized. The priest gave me the name Paul. That is my Christian name and everybody calls me Paul now.

“I can remember back to when I was seven or eight years old, what the older folks said to me. In living I was taught to be respectful to others. I was taught to follow all the rules about living in the village, so that I would be a respected person in the future. You see, if I did not help the older folks, they would be inclined not to help me, because I did not obey the rules. The more obeyed their counseling, the more they gave me their ideas as I grew up. Every day counseling came from my uncles and aunts and my grandfathers. Also my cousins had to counsel me.

“If we obeyed the older persons, they made us toys for being obedient. They gave us anything that we wanted to when they saw that we were going to be really obedient persons, even if it was hard to make. My father made a bow and arrow for me. In the springtime, about April, when the snowbirds came to King Island, we used to hunt them with bows and arrows. And every time we killed a bird, we put a little notch in the bow, so  we could tell how many birds we killed year to year. Mom cooked the birds for us. I had to be obedient for the older persons and they made me the really good arrows that I wanted. 

“I lost my father when I was nine. He went out hunting on the ice and never came back. From then on my Uncle Olanna, my dad’s brother called me “Dad.” Everybody called me “Dad” even though I was a little boy…
Section Two * October Is Icy Month
“At King Island we lived by the weather. We had certain activities every month and we named the months according to the activities and the weather. 
I will start with October. the name for October in the King Island dialect of the Eskimo language is “icy month.” We call it “icy month” because ice starts to form below the village among the rocks at this time. Ice starts to form from the bottoms of the Bering Sea.
“We call November “going up to the back of the island and hunt there.” There is a long Eskimo word that means that…..”
Orange sliver
The end of my day.

4 thoughts on “First Day At Norton Sound! :)

    • Thanks Suzanne! I know, I feel so lucky to get to be here! In many ways it reminds me of the “homeland”, Papua New Guinea. 🙂 Which makes it even more awesome. 🙂 Hope you guys are doing well! I really hope I get to see you one of these years! I wish it would’ve worked out when we were so close… Anyway, take care and thanks for your encouragement! Lots of love to you and your beautiful family. 🙂

  1. Pingback: A “Day Off”

  2. Pingback: Flying to Wales. Russia Sighting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge