A New Teacher's Experience

A New Teacher's Experience
Posted on 01/16/2023
Carson Family

Last year, I turned 50. I realized that soon, I will be taking care of elderly parents and all four of my children will be going in their own directions. I was experiencing boredom with the life I was living in the same place I had lived my whole life in North Carolina. 


Our first flight to a village

Sooo... I decided to fulfill a years-long dream of going to Alaska and here I am!


So far, I have successfully flown with three of my children (who had never flown before) and established a home in Nightmute, Alaska. We have learned how to pluck ducks and geese on my kitchen floor. I have learned to "professionally" pack sodas, cheese, and eggs in a suitcase for traveling.


Learning to ice fishWe've learned to make crisco ice cream (akutaq), moose stew, and musk ox steaks. We have learned how to catch pike and smelt through an ice hole with a hook and a string tied to a stick (manaq) and then chop off their heads and tails, gut them and pick out the parasites before frying them up for supper. I've also gotten to pick crow berries, blueberries, and cranberries and held a mammoth bone found on the mountain.

All that is amazing, but best of all I've gotten to see my oldest son make friends with just about the whole village, be invited to steam bath (maqi) chats and challenges, earn his Yup’ik name and be told that he is a "good Native" even though he is a blue eyed redhead. 

I've seen my daughter receive and wear her own Native headdress and participate in the Yup’ik dances (Yuraq), cheered for her competing for her 1st time in NYO (Native Youth Olympics), and watched her bring in her first duck from hunting. 

Learning to pluck ducks and geeseMy youngest son has driven a snow machine, helped bring in loads of wood for others, and presented his first catch to the oldest elder in the village who is 104. Special thanks to the Sunny and Dock families here at Nightmute.


Yes, it has been tough some days but, overall, this is probably the best experience of my life. 


Deniece Carson


Nightmute, AK

A photo album of Deniece's first semester is available here. 

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