The last month has flown by. From February 27 – March 2 I attended the Alaska Library Association annual conference in Anchorage. On the first day I attended a pre-conference with the enthusiastic “Librarian on Loan”, Jennifer LaGarde of North Carolina. I learned how to use new digital tools (like the i-Pad, phone, etc) for educational programs for schools. She provided shocking statistics of “why technology matters”. For example, worldwide, in our poorest communities, we will only get more devices. There is more access to mobile technology than running water, and parents will have a cell phone even if they cannot afford a hot meal for their kids. And the gaming stats are even more shocking. She cited that 1.7 million students in the US drop out of school every year, and 5 million students play 45+ hours of video games per week. So the purpose of our workshop was to understand why technology matters and how to use it productively in a classroom or library setting. In an upcoming library event, I’d like to incorporate the digital quiz sites we learned about.
My favorite workshops were “Culture and (Mis)Communication” with Father Michael Oleksa. Anchorage is the second most culturally diverse city in the United States and Mountainview is the most diverse neighborhood in the US. Father Oleksa provided different definitions of culture: 1) the way you see the world, 2) the Game of Life as you understand and play it, 3) the Story into which you were born. Each of these definitions was explained using stories and examples to make for a captivating presentation. He explained how, when miscommunication occurs, whoever has less power suffers the consequences. Other highlights from the conference were listening to keynotes from seasoned storytellers, watching the Iditarod, and a lunch with Alaskan authors (I sat next to Jackie Ivies). It was an inspirational and energizing four days.
On March 3rd we drove to Kenai to meet the former owner of the Upik Fur Company to see the condition of the fur equipment that the family is interested in selling. We are contemplating how we can turn it into business for Igiugig if there is interest. Shortly after returning home, IVC had a regular monthly meeting on March 7th. And this week kicks off the seasonal influx of visitors: ADF&G completing round II of Whitefish studies, artist Apayo Moore completing a mural at the school, the Superintendent of Katmai, Alagnak, and Aniakchak Parks and Chief Ranger making their introductory rounds; Sherry Johanson with BBAHC Behavioral Health to do suicide, drugs and alcohol prevention with the community. We now have two new DVDs at the office, one about Katmai, and the other on suicide prevention if community members are interested in borrowing them.
We are also planning for the ETT Course to take place from March 28-April 7th and our one day fun-filled carnival on April 5th. So as the days are growing (colder!), longer, and brighter, we are keeping plenty busy. I have also passed my Yup’ik midterm and this is what I have to say: br> Angnirtellruunga akertellrani unuamek. br> I was happy when the sun was shining today. br> Angnirtuq. (He/she/it is happy).