Pioneer School opens in Mertarvik

Pioneer School opens in Mertarvik
Posted on 10/22/2019
Mertarvik from the air

Students in the new Pioneer School at Mertarvik are in their second week of school. As construction continues in the new village, families are slowly moving the 9 miles across the river, up the hill to the new village of Mertarvik, being built as a response to the erosion threatening Newtok from the Ninglick River. The newly established Pioneer School will be housed for the next couple years in the Mertarvik Evacuation Center. Both schools will continue operating simultaneously while the migration is taking place.

Students arrived the first day, accompanied by parents, and ate breakfast cooked by the camp kitchen. The school site administrator, Dr. Elizabeth Ruff, shared the plan for safe travel to and from school during this transition, and Elder George “Cimiugaq” Carl came to welcome the students to the historic first day of school in Mertarvik, urging students to do their best and be proud of their identity and their language. The students also opened and accepted a flag from Senator Murkowski.

This video is a fascinating look at what is involved in the relocation project from Newtok to Mertarvik. Regular updates about the relocation project can be found on the Newtok Relocation News webpage.

Picture credit of Mertarvik from the air: Elizabeth Ruff

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