Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Walk for Tsucde – Day 29

Walk for Tsucde - Day 29. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Walk for Tsucde – Day 29. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

Today, I joined Walk for Tsucde on a seven mile stretch between Chugiak and Eagle River. We walked on the trail. So far, they walked from Dot Lake all the way to Eagle River. The Walk will conclude in Anchorage on May 31 at the Alaska Native Medical Center.

They have been fortunate to get news stories, like in the Alaska Dispatch, KTUU Ch. 2 News and Fairbanks Daily Newsminer. You can learn more about the Walk on the Walk for Tsucde website and Facebook and Twitter pages.

I was inspired by the walkers. Fred John, Jr. came up with the idea for the walk to raise awareness about Alaska Native rights. His brother, Harry John, and Tazlina (husky) has been walking with them since the beginning. Three ladies from Tetlin joined them along the way. Another relative joined them half way. They each have their own reasons for walking. One common theme was for future generations.

They believe the grandmothers are walking to them. Tsucde means grandma. It is a walk to honor Fred’s late mother, Katie John. They have received a lot of support from people along the way. People brought them food and other comforts. Some offer encouraging words via phone and social media. Others have made monetary donations.

Becky Semler and Fred John, Jr. start out early on May 29 in Chugiak. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Becky Semler and Fred John, Jr. start out early on May 29 in Chugiak. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

Walking with them on this relatively short stretch made me think about a lot of things. I was reminded of the importance of physical fitness. I felt so grateful to be outside, to hear the birds and water flowing when we passed. In today’s world, it is so easy to just coast along and keep busy. We forget to live in the present.

The purpose walk also reminded me of the struggles Alaska Natives and rural Alaskans face in being able to fish and hunt in their local areas. It was an honor to walk with these individuals for a short distance. Organizers invite people to join the walk and come to the celebration on May 31.

Walkers on May 29 between Chugiak and Eagle River. Photo by Becky Semler
Walkers on May 29 between Chugiak and Eagle River. Photo by Becky Semler

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