Alaska Native culture, Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Reflections from Amy Modig

Amy Modig shared some thoughts this morning with her friends and family. I enjoy reading thought-provoking stories. She allowed me to share her story with Athabascan Woman Blog readers. Amy is Deg Hit’an Athabascan originally from Shageluk and Holikachuk.  

Friends and Family,

I’ve been thinking a lot about racism and exclusion. No matter how far I’ve gone and the fun and interesting things I’ve done, there has always been an awareness of where I came from.

Amy Modig and brothers, Billy and Ralph. Courtesy photo
Amy Modig and brothers, Billy and Ralph. Courtesy photo

In this picture, my two brothers – Billy on the left and Ralph on the right – and I stand in front of our house here in Anchorage. I was 4 or 5 when we came here. One time I sat in a grand ballroom at the Omni Sheraton in Washington, DC. I suddenly remembered being a hungry and grubby little Indian girl and I remember thinking with wonder, what am I doing here?

I don’t take things for granted. I am always amazed and surprised at the beauty that surrounds us, not only naturally, but in the buildings, the rooms, the cars, the roads. In Tanacross, my dad taught us the history of the mountains, the river, the creeks and the 100s of years of stories that commemorated the whole land there.

Not nearly so deeply, I’ve learned about many other parts of Alaska. And I am trying to build compassion for the racists and see it as a declaration of feeling disconnected, alone and afraid. Not because I want to be so good, but so I can escape the rage and pain that storms inside me when I hear of yet another mine being built, another fight to reopen ANWR, another favorite stand of trees being leveled for a new building, another half a million people dying from tobacco, another shooting, another homeless child.

Each new story of erosion and climate change, makes it very clear that we need to learn to cooperate and look for ways to protect each other. All of our children need to learn to survive and to be friends, regardless of race, education and wealth. They will need to live in peace to survive.

Blessings on this lovely fall day,

Thank you Amy Modig for sharing your story!