Saturday, March 20, 2010

Brevig Mission, 1968

There are seven degrees of separation they say. Though experience is telling me it's more likely there are only three degrees. We hear so many stories of people who travel about the world, meet and chat with strangers only to find they have some sort of connection. It's a small world we muse.

This is one of my favorite and most special small world stories.

My friend Krista is a pharmacist and was working in Minneapolis at the time this connection was made. She was chatting with a coworker of hers, Steve, only to find that he had been stationed at the Port Clarence coast guard station in 1968. Port Clarence is a LORAN coast guard station located 15 miles outside of Brevig Mission.

In the spring, many people from Brevig go out to "Spring Camp" which is on the same sand spit as Port Clarence. Here people hunt for walrus and seals and search for bird eggs. It's a tradition many people continue to partake in each year. As soon as school lets out, people pack up their snowmobile sleds with camping supplies and drive 15 miles across the sea ice to their camp. They also tow along a boat. People generally stay until the sea ice is gone. They arrive by snowmobile and return by boat. It was during spring camp, more than 40 years ago, that Steve had photographed some people from Brevig.

Krista contacted me to let me know about her coworker and about the photos he had taken. He generously offered to send them here since they would mean a lot more to the people of Brevig Mission.

He was right. Soon after the photos arrived, I brought them around to a few households to help me identify the people in the photos. The photos brought a lot of joy and memories to everyone.

I've had the photos for over two years now and I finally got them scanned. My plan is to print of multiple copies and deliver them to the families of the people captured by Steve's camera.

Siblings Ines, John and Ben

Inez, is grandmother to many of my students.
One of her granddaughters in particular looks EXACTLY like her.
I have taught the children and grandchildren of John and Ben as well.

This is Lily.
She is an elder now and the matriarch of a very large family.
Maude Weyanna

The children have proven to be a bit more difficult to identify.
The gal above continues to be a mystery.


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