January 29, 2009

Yukon Delta villages need help

I know things have been bad for a lot of people in our country and around the world. I was just made aware of this particular situation that the native people in the rural villages of Alaska are going through. I want to help get the word out so they can get as much help as possible. I also want to involve my children and hopefully the children in our local homeschooling community to do some good community service and help out as much as we can.

I will let the news stories and e-mail message speak for themselves.

Hi everyone,

It’s not just Emmonak that is struggling it’s the entire Yukon Delta. I live in Nunam Iqua, a village that is 25 miles south of Emmonak. Not only are we faced with the same issues as Emmonak but also our crisis is harder because we no longer have a store here. Our trading post collapsed several months ago, so we have no place here to get groceries.

So not only are we struggling between choosing heating fuel or food but also we have to spend even MORE MONEY to buy gas to travel upriver to Emmonak or Alakanuk to even get food. Which is very expensive when you have pay $7.20 a gallon for gas. It takes at least 6 gallons of gas just to travel by snowmachine to Emmonak or Alakanuk to even get groceries. So that takes that much more money away from what we have to spend on heating fuel and food.

We try to reduce our heating fuel costs by using our wood stove but then are we really saving money? because we still have to spend money on gas to go and get wood for our wood stove.
Everyone, especially Governor Palin, needs to realize that it’s not just Emmonak residents that are suffering! We need help in all of the YK Delta villages!

OK, I complied a list of everyone here in Nunam Iqua. I spoke to all but one household here and Have a list of what is needed. I got permission for my Youth Center to receive/distribute any donations that come in.

So they can be mailed to:
Ann StrongheartNunam Iqua Program for Youthc/o City of Nunam Iqua101 Mudd StreetP.O. Box 26Nunam Iqua, AK 99666

OR if you would like to send boxes directly to needy families I have a list of families including their family size and needs and their PO Box #’s you can email me at nunamiquayouth@yahoo.com if you would like a copy.

Here is a list of things that are desperately needed, since we have no store here in Nunam Iqua we are really struggling to get food and groceries here.
Here’s the list:
Diapers Sizes 1, 3, & 6
Similac Advanced Formula Powder
Canned Evaporated Milk
Dry Powdered Milk
Powdered Eggs
Crackers ( Sailor Boy Pilot Bread unsalted tops are the most used here)
Rice (minute rice)
Peanut Butter
TOILET PAPPER (everyone is running out)
Coffee Creamer
Pancake Mix
Canned Vegetables
Dried Fruit
Instant Soups
Ramen Noodles
Cup a noodles
Just basic pantry staples. Even salt, pepper, etc.

OOH I just realized I forgot to put baby cereal and baby food on the list.

I would give you all some more information on the YK Delta.
It now costs $650 to fly from Emmonak to Anchorage round trip. For us to get to Emmonak from Nunam Iqua is an additional $150 so that’s $800 from Nunam to Anchorage and back.
Here in Nunam Iqua there are many families, myself included, who live in what could be described as shacks. Our house is 20′ x 30′ and is constructed out of plywood. It was built back in the 60’s and is very drafty and leaky LOL we use my 18 month old’s leftover diapers that are too small to catch the leaks when it’s raining or warms up. But we don’t have a choice, this is the only housing available, we rent it. It’s a choice between here or living with family and we would much rather have our own place, even tho it needs serious help.

Here in Nunam Iqua, we have no running water or sewer. They are currently building our water/sewer project and we hope to have running water/sewer this year or next. We are a honey bucket community, meaning we have 5 gallon buckets in our bathrooms with toilet seats on them.

Additionally, we have no roads here, no cars. We travel by snowmachine and 4-wheeler during the winter and by boat in the summer. We had a store here but it collapsed due to the rising energy costs.

We are currently paying $7.20 for a gallon of gas and $7.35 for a gallon of stove oil. The majority of homes here use stove oil for heat. Some of us have wood stoves to help keep the costs down.
We do have regular postal service here, depending on the ability of planes to make it in. The only way for supplies to arrive here is by plane or during the summer by barge. The majority of us live a subsistence lifestyle. Our major meat sources come from Fishing and Hunting. We also pick berries and wild greens during the summer/fall. We have nets under the ice on the river but the fish seem to be very slow coming this winter.

Oh yeah, Nunam Iqua is a village of about 200 people, located on the southern mouth of the Yukon. We got a brand new school this past summer so now our kids don’t have to brave the elements to make it to their classrooms and the gym to eat.

We currently have a City Office, a Tribal Office, the School, the Clinic, Laundrymat, Powerplant, Youth Center and Post Office available in Nunam.

I know this is going to sound funny but I am very grateful that it got cold again today. We had 36 degrees last night and were worried that it might start to affect the ice on the river and make it unsafe to travel but now we are back down to 9 degrees so no more worrying about the river.
The pike should start running soon so we will be able to take a 60 mile day trip by snowmachine to go catch pike and dry them assuming we can afford gas.

Ummm I don’t know what else to tell y’all but I thought I would give you an idea of what it’s like here in Nunam Iqua. We did have a very early freeze up this year and the last barge didn’t make it in. We are having temperatures ranging from-25 degrees below zero to 30 above. Normally, we are consistently below zero this time of year.

Hope that gives y’all some information and answers some questions you might have about the YK Delta.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. We greatly appreciate it. Our weather is getting weird here, it got really hot here last night up to 36 degrees, if it keeps up we will be unable to travel upriver by snowmachine to get food, b/c the river will be unsafe to travel on.

Again if you have any questions or what more information please feel free to contact me at nunamiquayouth@yahoo.com

I know there have been references to scams so please feel free to look us up online. Nunam Iqua Program for Youth. I was featured on NAC, Native America Calling last year addressing underage drinking in the Bush. And we are listed with the State of AK as one of their grantees. So you can verify the mailing address and email address I provided.
Sincerely grateful,

If you feel compelled to help, please do what you can. I'm off to look up other villages in the area to see if others need help.


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