Ilakullutat at the first paragraph. That word has a lot of parts to it, but one small part of it is respect for Elders. We show our respect to Elders by giving them already prepared or already cooked food, cleaning their house, do chores for them, because in our culture we believe that real Elders\’ minds are very strong. So if you help many Elders their strong minds will help you live a successful life.
Also in the word is that we respect Nature. We are supposed to know our environment, we are supposed to know all the animals in our area. One way of learning about the birds, we have a story that we learn when we are little, and it takes about five days to tell. It\’s about a small bird losing its mate, and the bird is trying to find another mate. And all the birds come to her one by one, from the biggest to the smallest, and the hero bird is the smallest. And we learn all the birds, their sounds, their colors, their names. The reason why it\’s so long is because we have lots of birds in our area.
So those are just a few little examples of what\’s in there, what\’s involved in there. Ray was showing the iceberg. That\’s just the bottom, just a part of it. When we are using this in our Yaaveskaniryaraq Program, when we read, the Elders that are involved in our program, when they hear it, they have tears in their eyes.
The School Districts also use this as the foundation when they are developing their curriculum. And they also have it posted everywhere, and in the classrooms. You can hear little first graders, kindergarteners, reciting this every morning.
The people who go through this program are community people. They are not being taught by outsiders but by our own Elders in the communities. And those who are taking this program, start teaching their children, start talking to their children, start taking their children to do subsistence activities. They become very proud of who they are. And the Elders that are involved in this program are very very happy, they are very willing to share their knowledge with younger, with young married people, very happy that they have been asked to share, and to teach what they know. Also, when they are teaching, they use very high language that people have forgotten, or don\’t know.
Just in the last few years the Elders that have been involved in the Yaaveskaniryaraq Program, half of them have already died. So it\’s very very important. When they die they take away with them a vast amount of knowledge that people should know, or have to know, or should learn. Here in Japan, we were in the Tochikubo Community, and we had older people sharing their knowledge with us, and we also had school children with us. And one of the comments by the school children is, \”I have a lot to learn.\”
And there\’s more that I could add but since we\’re short of time I\’ll stop here. Treasure your Elders, treasure your environment, so that you can treasure yourselves.