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Create a Sense of Spirit in Your Community?

Feature Story ...

A Tribe's Values

Among the Inupiat tribe -- village elders, school kids, local judges -- no one in Kotzebue leaves home without their community ID card. It's a small token of common responsibility that each member, young and old, carries with them everywhere. It reads:

"Every Inupiat is responsible to all other Inupiat for the survival of our cultural spirit, and the values and traditions through which it survives. Through our extended family, we retain, teach and live our Inupiat way. With guidance and support from our elders, we must teach our children Inupiat values"

Inupiat Values
Knowledge of language
Respect for others
Respect for elders
Love for children
Hard work
Knowledge of family tree
Avoid conflict
Respect for nature
Family roles
Hunter success
Domestic skills
Responsibility to tribe

Contact ...

The Manilaaq Association
Contact: Harriot Blair
Eskimo Building, Front Street
P.O. Box 256
Kotzebue, Alaska 99752
(907) 442-3311

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Walking in Two Worlds with One Spirit

Twelve years ago, the tiny town of Kotzebue -- located 26 miles above the Arctic Circle -- was blighted by drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and suicide. The long road back, the community discovered, wound through the values of the native Inupiat people.

The town government and village elders, along with a regional social service organization, organized a program to use traditional values to guide them at work, at home and in the community.

"The values create a sense of community," elder Rachel Craig says. "They give us all a sense of belonging, a sense of peace." The values printed on wallet cards are used in school, in village meetings, even in business dealings.

Old values have made a dent in new problems. Today, alcoholism and suicide rates are down significantly -- and the Inupiat are in charge once again.

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