Have you visited us in Kugluktuk, or just visited our community, and made some friends? Would you like to share some blog thoughts about Kugluktuk's goals and dreams? Contact us and we'll set you up here on our blog page.
The more the merrier so there's no pressure on you to blog all the time ... even though Kugluktukmiut and others would love to read what you have to say!
A huge thanks to Ariel Tweto for keeping in touch, and for wanting to blog. Thanks for touching our hearts in Kugluktuk. All your friends and fans you met in the Kitikmeot communities say: Koana!
Ariel's Story Part 1 May 5, 2014by Guest Blog on 2014-05-06
HELLO KUGLUKTUK….I am back and this next entry is near and dear to my heart. I have been very busy with many projects on the go which I will update you all soon….but it is going to be some amazing things!
This next blog entry is part of my short story I am writing about what I have endured throughout my life and what I am doing about it. I call it, I Don’t Cry Anymore.
Would you cry if a loved one died? I don’t anymore.
Here is my story.
When I heard about the last 3 suicides I did not shed a tear. Even though they were people I loved, for some unexplainable reason my emotions were numb. Is it because suicide is so ordinary now and I’ve become use to it? Is it because I don’t have any tears left?
I want to cry again. That may seem like an odd thing to want, but it’s not as odd as feeling as if you can’t feel anything. I want to cry like you should do when a loved one passes on, but nothing comes out of me other than a few four letter words. Instead of being sad, I get mad. I get frustrated because I feel so helpless. Suicide shouldn’t happen this often, and it does in many places around the world. According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, an average of one person dies by suicide every 16.2 minutes. Don’t you think that is ridiculous?
Suicide shouldn’t be an option. Nowadays, it’s not a surprise when it happens, especially where I am from and in other northern regions. I often find myself thinking, who is going to be next? Isn’t that horrible? I think a lot of us from the village silently think the same thing. But I am going to make a change from here on out. I am going to do something instead of just sitting back and wondering when the next suicide will happen.
Here is my plan.
I am going to give suicide a dose of its own medicine and bully the crap out of it. I want suicide to commit suicide. Wouldn’t that be nice? It will be the one time when people will be happy to hear about a suicide. And that will be the last time it will ever occur. I want kids to read about suicide in their history books and think, people actually did that? I want to pick up the phone when my parents call and for it to be good news. I want people to feel like their lives are worth living and for them to find their purpose. For kids to set goals and dream big. For adults to be inspired and live life happily ever after. But how do we do that? How do we end it? How do we make people who are considering to end their lives reconsider and find hope? I’m sorry but I don’t know the answer yet, but I do know that if we start bringing awareness to this epidemic, if we start having a dialogue about it, if we break the stigma that comes along with suicide, then we can figure out how to put an end to it.
My hope is for people to start talking about suicide after reading this. I may offend some of you in this article and I’m okay with that. I’ve lived in LA for a few years now and one thing I learned is that if you offend people, they will talk about it. I’m not saying that’s a good thing but it is true. I want people to get riled up if they read about something in here that doesn’t float their boat. I want folks to get riled up if they relate to or agree with me. I encourage you to tell your friends, coworkers, mom, and twitter followers about this epidemic. Tell your Facebook friends and your tinder and match.com dates. Okay that may be a bit much…I’d wait until the 2nd or 3rd date to bring it up. Just do me a favor and talk about this issue and your feelings towards it with someone. As we all know, creating awareness is the first step to a solution.
One of the biggest realizations I’ve noticed since involving myself in suicide prevention is that people have a hard time even saying the word suicide. When I was growing up in Unalakleet we used to go sliding on a hill named Suicide Hill. It was called that because it was a steep and scary hill, so the name made sense. Just recently the name was changed! Even small instances like that are evidence of how severe this really is. Just because we shove an issue under a rug doesn’t mean that it is not there. It is there, more than ever! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in an April 2013 issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that, “more people now die of suicide than in car accidents”. That is insane to me because we hear about car accidents every day. We have to learn to be okay with talking about suicide as well. We can’t be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it. We need to learn how to talk to our loved ones if they are sad, lonely, or just not themselves. There needs to be accessible places where people can go to get help. For people in Alaska, those places have to be in the village or in a nearby hub, not in other places such as the Lower 48, Norway or even heaven for that matter.
Hope you have enjoyed the first part of my story…it has taken me a bit of time to write this and I do feel it is part of my healing with the things that I have had to deal with and in particular one suicide by an amazing guy. My next blog update I will share more of my story. Please tell people about it, tell people to read it and listen to people talk about it. We are all together in this battle and we all want to Pop Bubbles and live in a World of no suicides, where we do not have to be afraid to fail and we can always Dream Big and be motivated to live life to the fullest.
Until Next Time Kugluktuk,
Learning from Each Other & Making New Friends:
Ariel's Popping Bubbles 'Kitikmeot Tour' begins in Kugluktuk (the backdrop for the Blog)
Ariel Tweto's visit to Kugluktuk (March 24 - 27, 2014)
The connection between the Iñupiaq of Western Alaska and Copper Inuit of Kugluktuk goes back several generations . This spring, the connection comes alive. Ariel Tweto is coming to Kugluktuk to inspire people to dream big, and to value the importance of setting goals.
Ariel's visit does come with a message about bullying and suicide prevention. The message is fresh, passionate and down-to-earth, like Ariel; her natural zest for 'giving back' inspires everyone with a new way of looking at ourselves and the world around us ... to find a purpose, to develop a good work-ethic, and to go beyond the confines of living in a self-made bubble.
Ariel's roots are Alaskan Iñupiaq (Inuit); she was born and raised in Unalakleet Alaska. Her Grandmother and some of Ariel's relatives went to residential school. Ariel has experienced first-hand the trials and tribulations of northern living as a woman from a remote, fly-in community. But, Ariel rises above the clouds and truly does fly wild.
Ariel and her family were featured on Discovery Channel’s Flying Wild Alaska for 3 seasons. Ariel is an accomplished athlete in traditional Inuit games and she perfected the “seal hop” on the TV show Wipeout . Ariel has also appeared on David Letterman’s Late Show and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. With several projects on the go, Ariel is currently a host on the FNX/Sundance Institute’s show Native Shorts .
“I'm super excited and flattered to be invited to Kugluktuk” says Ariel. “I can't wait to meet everyone and share my thoughts and stories. I have been very lucky so far in life and I think it has a lot to do with my outlook, the people I surround myself with, my upbringing, family, and my goal setting. I want to share my experiences with others and hopefully inspire people to step outside of their comfort zone and to dream big. I ask myself almost every day 'what is my reason for waking up today?' And most days I have an answer; if I don't have one, I go and find it! I want to help people find a reason to wake up.”
In our work with former residential school students and their families, the Society for Building a Healthier Kugluktuk welcomed the Kugluktuk Radio Society’s help to make this opportunity possible … and, to share something life changing with some amazing people in loving memory of a young radio volunteer, the late Sonia Akana .
Healthy Kugluktuk extends its deepest gratitude to David and Cora DeVos, formerly of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut and now Saskatchewan. Koana Dave and Cora, all of this is possible because of your love and passion for life!