Sunday, September 30, 2012

Race Monologues

Lewis and Clark College holds a multi-cultural symposium ever year in which one event is especially catching. The Race Monologues gathers students from all over campus, people who I walk by everyday on my way to class, to tell their stories about race and how it has affected their lives. The last two years I have attended the Race Monologues I have laughed, cried, and related to students of all different colors, cultures, and upbringings. Every year I went I knew that I had a story just as powerful as them, I just wasn't sure how to tell it. I have always felt that I had something to share, and I think this year I finally have the words. Not only do I want to share it with all the members of my community in Portland, OR, I want to share it with the community that built me.

Every Sunday I will be attending a writing workshop much like is shown in the linked video above. We write a piece and bring it to share and discuss with our peers. I will be posting my weekly piece every Sunday evening. I'll be posting the prompts they give me, so feel free to follow along and write a piece for yourself. On November 9th we will be preforming a longer piece at the symposium in a spoken word format. I will hopefully be able to video tape the performance and post it to the blog.

MISS aims to empower women through exploration of culture and identity. Here is the beginning of my journey.

This first piece was written in response to the prompt: write a letter to someone or some institution with the things you wish you would have said to them/it. This is the little bit I got down on paper:

I had seen pictures of Alaska. 
Back in Washington angsty and 13, my family crowded around the desktop to see our soon to be home, creating a pixel deep understanding. Two years later when I met you, I was still looking at life like internet pictures. Laughing with you was like looking through old film slides. Holding this little arctic community up to the sun, you were the light shining through the film. A culture, a community,  and a family, illuminated before my eyes. 

-Hannah Atkinson

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Men for Miss


Here at school I get to work and know a lot of wonderful people. These people teach me so much, and in everything I learn I remember where I am from. I was inspired to write these pieces by my boss, and the Area Director (a professional who lives on campus and oversees the dorm life, insuring safety and wellbeing of residents): Logan Thurnauer.

He expressed to me how strongly he feels that for rape culture, domestic violence, and sexual assault to end, we have to engage men. On another occasion he defined a term I had always heard but never understood. He said: “Being an ally means taking responsibility for something you may not have done, because it is an injustice.”  To me, in the case of men supporting women in the struggle against rape culture, this means not all people (men specifically may feel prosecuted) are guilty of causing harm to women. Rape culture, violence against women, sexual assault, these are all big things that as an individual one may not be responsible for. What a person can take responsibility for in being an ally is the fact that this happens, it is an injustice, and if you are a man you may have more power in this society to do something about it.

Piecing these things together I realized that the way that men can be involved in this dialogue is by being an ally to women. Allies can support women through education and advocation. To understand the problem puts us in a better place to defeat it, and one voice can make a big difference.

As a way to help me better understand the part men play in the social ills facing women I am reading  “The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love” by bell hooks. bell hooks is a woman who considers men to be a crucial part of the feminist movement for equality. It caught my eye when I saw Logan reading it, and he quickly loaned it to me. Each week I will be posting about a chapter of this book: the main ideas and a review of the concepts. 

bell hooks starts off her introduction saying: "The male bashing that was so intense when contemporary feminism first surfaced more than thirty years ago was in part the rageful cover-up of the shame women felt not because men refused to share their power but because we could not seduce, cajole, or entice men to share their emotions -- to love us." Does anything come to mind when you hear this quote? How does this quote highlight the difference between men and women? What do you think of feminism? I'd love for any responses submitted as a reply to this blog or emailed to us at Next Thursday we'll explore the introduction and first chapter and the concepts of patriarchy and male love.

-Hannah Atkinson

MISS's New Blog:

MISS is now running a blog on the site Tumblr. Please follow us if you have a tumblr or visit our site at! Tumblr is a blogging site on which you can post writings, quotes, and pictures of your own or others (as long as properly cited) while also reblogging posts from fellow tumblr blogs. This makes for a very open forum for cultural expression as it accommodates a wide range of media. It is a place of a lot of political exchange and a place where I have found the strong voice of empowerment for women. It is where I first came across the concepts of rape culture, slut shaming, and the love your body movement which are gaining popularity in the realm of the world wide web.  Jacqui and I will continue to write pieces for our blogspot. We will at the same time post writings and pictures on Tumblr and incorporate empowering and educational media from people around the world.
Another very important feature of our Tumblr blog is the accessible submit link. We would love for our blogs to be more of a collaborative dialogue including all of you. Please feel free to submit to either of our blogs: through the submit link on Tumblr or by emailing us at to contribute to our blogspot.
-Hannah Atkinson

Monday, September 24, 2012

MISS Monday September 24, 2012 (Stefanie Lozano)

MISS Woman of the Week
Stefanie Tuigan Lozano, Barrow

Stefanie Tuigan Lozano has a life goal of helping people in anyway she can, especially those in her home community. This year, she made changes in Barrow, Alaska specifically through purple and yellow ribbons of awareness. Last February, she and a few friends had gained awareness of child domestic violence through tying purple ribbons around town. Three months later, she took action and helped a mother find her missing child through online sources, yellow ribbons, and helping with the few different searching strategies. 

The purple ribbons were tied around town on car antennas, around street lights and stop signs with the following message attached: “Hope—in memory of the little child who did not make it and the smaller child who survived; the two children who could not speak for themselves.” This led to more help from the community to make more ribbons for jackets, backpacks, hoods, and caps. In addition, people were making baby t-shirts, hoodies, and other clothing. As a result from Lozano’s purple ribbon awareness, the North Slope Borough began “A Walk for Hope” which happens every so often. 

After hearing cries over the VHF last May, Lozano first took action for helping a mother find her child by announcing and asking for help on Facebook. She then made a Facebook page which helped collect approximately 200 volunteers across the state of Alaska begin the search. For 41 days in 16-hour increments, Lozano and the search team continuously gained awareness through ground and air searches, yellow ribbons tied around town, and stopping by houses. 

“I still get thanked for my efforts but I couldn’t have done it without the people who pushed me to get the right answer and to speak for the ones who could not. I did this all to show the younger generation that by stepping up and filling the role of someone you thought you couldn’t be.” Lozano says. “It may be small or big, you have to always remember if you do the right thing, the younger generation will catch on and say someday they want to be just like you.”

Aside from volunteering and serving as a board member for the Barrow Volunteer Search and Rescue, Lozano also works two jobs. She is an office specialist with the North Slope Borough Public Works, Shop II and is a Com Center Operator with the Umiaq. She controls the incoming calls and maintains safety from all locations of vessels, boats, and sea activity in the Barrow area. Lozano also achieved many Accounting and Business Management certificates. She graduated from Barrow High School in 2003 and has since then attended Ilisagvik College and Charter College. 

Lozano is a half Inupiaq, half Mexican who was born and raised in Barrow. She is the daughter of Marcy Patkotak and Bob Lozano. Her grandparents are Simeon Nasuk, late Susan Ahkivgak-Patkotak along with late pete and Isabel Lozano. She is the oldest of five siblings and the aunt of three. Lozano has recently been deeply affected by one of rural Alaska’s biggest battles. She has lost multiple close relatives this year but chooses to keep her head up. 

“That week has been the hardest of all my times but after it all calmed down, I have chosen to stand stronger than before. Even though you go through such hardships, you can be strong in everything you do, if not stronger than you were before.” Lozano advises. 

Lozano mentions that her home community constantly inspires her to push towards her goals by helping, encouraging, and always standing by her. She also mentions her Aatataa (great uncle) and Aaka (grandma) as the biggest influences in her life. She listens to their advice in her everyday duties. Malik Ahkivgak and Susan Ahkivgak Patkotak would tell her to never give up and to always pray. 
“If you pray with your heart, see it with your heart, and hear it with your ears, you will eventually get what you have been asking for.” They would tell her. 

Lozano was the first woman to be nominated for the woman of the week. Janelle Schaeffer of Kotzebue e-mailed us to give a brief review of Lozano. She told us the short stories of Lozano’s efforts to helping the community and shares that she loves every aspect of her native culture, sets a great example for her young peers, and has played part in six different whaling crews. 

“There’s so many great qualities about her, it’s hard to remember them all” Schaeffer stated in the e-mail. 

MISS Quote of the Week
“You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream; you’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.” -Diana Ross, American singer and actress 

MISS Song of the Week
Firework - Katy Perry

-Jacqui Lambert

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

MISS Monday September 10, 2012 (Kathy Ward)

MISS Woman of the Week
Kathy Ward, Kotzebue

Being a kid who regularly performed Eskimo dances at the old NANA Museum, I had the occasional encounters with Kathleen Ann “Apauraq” Ward, normally known as Kathy. I remember her being one of the adults who would consistently remind me that I am a unique individual and I should project that through my performances. She would encourage my peers and I to loosen up while dancing and show that we are proud to be sharing a part of our culture with the tourists. 

Ward is the granddaughter of Edward and Lorretta Ward and was born in Nome, Alaska. She has lived in Barrow, Point Hope, and Atqasuk but considers Kotzebue to be her home.  While she was in school, she was a part of the Future Homemakers of America and the Northern Lights Dancers. The NANA Museum employed Ward as a curator for many years. Here, she worked with young people to teach them how to Eskimo dance along with speak in public and how to sew.  

Ever since she was a young girl, Ward had an artistic twist to her personality. In school, she won art contests, beauty pageants, and talent shows that awarded her with scholarships. She can do anything from skin sewing, to beading, to making dolls, and to singing.  

Many women around the region had influenced Ward to achieve the things she has today. Her grandmother, Ada Ward, was a surgical nurse, owner of a baking business, and a reindeer herder before Alaska gained statehood. She mentions Sally Gallahorn from Rotman’s Store as one of the foundational supporters of her skin sewing by giving her some of her first furs. Terry Walker was also a supporter who encouraged Ward to publicly sing when she was 12 years old. Walker is now the principal at the Buckland schools.
“If I hadn’t seen her do that, I may not have done a lot of things,” Ward explains.  

She was inspired to begin making dolls from Ethel Washington who had her dolls displayed at the NANA Museum. Washington had passed before Ward was born but taught her doll sewing skills through a book she had written. When the Northwest Arctic Borough had public meetings about closing the Chukchi Consortium Library, Ward spoke up about this specific experience. Through studying Washington’s book that was available at the local library, Ward was able to improve her sewing skills with dolls. 

Today, a few of Ward’s creations are put on display in public places. She has made thousands of Eskimo dolls and at least 10 traditional fur parkas. One of these fur parkas is displayed in the Anchorage Museum and one of her dolls in the White House. Ward has also been written about in the Smithsonian Learning Magazine.  “I don’t take myself too seriously. I laugh all the time.” Ward says.

MISS Quote of the WeekThere is an inner beauty about a woman who believes in herself; who knows she’s capable of anything she puts her mind to. There is a beauty in the strength and determination of a woman that follows her own path, who isn’t thrown off by obstacles along the way. There is beauty about a woman whose confidence comes from experiences; who knows she can fall, pick herself up and move on. -Anonymous

MISS Song of the WeekGirl On Fire (Inferno Version) -Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj 

-Jacqui Lambert

Monday, September 3, 2012

MISS Monday September 3, 2012 (Katie Mack)

MISS Woman of the Week:
Katie Mack 

A woman named Katie Mack embraced Kotzebue for the summer after she graduated college. The east coast native came to town as an intern for the National Park Service but was interested in learning about the rich Inupiaq culture more than anything else. She flew approximately three thousand miles across the country in search of “real Alaska” and in return found that this might be the place for her. 

After graduating from Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire with a degree in History, Society, and Culture, Mack didn’t exactly know what her next big dream will be. She dedicated the summer to jumping at opportunities and left with the experiences of caribou hunting, camping, learning to Eskimo dance, using common Inupiaq words, and listening in to the stories of the locals. She spent the majority of the summer making it a point to have a connection with everyone around town. 

“The job I came here for was important to me, sure, but what was really important to me was making friends with people from Kotzebue. To really understand what this places means to the people from here and to understand what it means to me.” Mack says as I asked her who in Kotzebue has made her feel differently. “Everyone I met shaped my view, from the people walking around town, to the carpenters, to the clerks at AC, to the people working at the park service and most importantly my friends I met here.” 

This summer, Mack has learned about diversity in terms of experience and background. Between all the people she has met and gotten to know, she realized that you can never assume anything about anyone until you talk and ask them. A summer in Kotzebue has taught Mack the importance of generosity, acceptance, family roles, appreciation, and the “arrigaa” feeling. Before leaving town, she realized that the people she met and the experiences she’s had make her want to come back for something more. 

“It came to me one day that there could be a really incredible ‘soul sports’ facility,” Mack says. She envisions a place where she can be an outdoors instructor where she teaches snowboarding, skiing, kayaking, hunting, and camping. Anything that has to do with getting the people to go out and enjoy the country in the region. Mack noticed that there’s not a lot of things going on to keep the kids and teenagers out of trouble and would like to make a difference in that area. Mack has been a snowboarding instructor for eight years in New Hampshire. 

“I thought it would be cool to have a non profit organization like that in town - give people a cool job, something to do, a positive outlet for their energy, something that makes people proud of themselves and builds tight bonds.” 

Katie Mack has left the town of Kotzebue carrying this big dream in her head and the intentions of coming back to make it happen. She has been inspired to look into the master’s program at Alaska Pacific University in Outdoor and Environmental Education where she can learn things like Sea Kayaking, Dog Mushing, Snow and Avalanche Science, and Wildland Ecosystems amongst other things. Mack has also mentioned trying to partner up with Whaleback Mountain in New Hampshire for a possible exchanging program to give the experience of seeing new places to people in both areas. 

“Even if I couldn’t do it, I’d definitely still come back to visit people and be here again. Kotzebue stole my heart and I didn’t even see it coming!” Katie Mack mentions. 

Little things to love about rural Alaska by Katie Mack:
  • The people who know how to be passionate about the needs in Northwest Alaska. 
  • The people who are always down for an adventure. 
  • The people who know how to “just be” without saying much but smiling a lot. 
  • The incredible generosity people hold. 
  • The people who share countless stories about hunting, snow machine races, and friends. 
  • Camping on the Noatak River. 
  • Learning about a family that raises sled dogs. 
  • Caribou hunting while sharing songs and stories of shamans of the Inupiaq culture. 
  • The culture camp Sivunnigvik that is a native based organization. 
  • People of all age hang out together and understand each other more across generations. 
  • Men that see themselves as a part of a family and understand they have a role to hold (“This is a rare thing to happen where I’m from” Mack says) 
  • People who love to express being proud to share their culture and town with an outsider. 
  • Stores are open late at night. 
  • Openness of the land and sea and the big sky. 
  • When the days get really long every hour of the day gets stretched and the sunsets last so long. 
  • When the street lights come on after a long summer of daylight. 
  • The fog in the tundra hills. 
  • Being more aware of the weather, plants, and animals and what they are doing. 
  • Being on a boat. 
  • Being friends with the pizza guys from Otto’s. 
  • Watching Caribou. 
  • Hanging with friends trying to figure out what to do. 
  • Four wheeling on New Road.
  • Listening to people’s stories. 

MISS Quote of the Week:
“Instead of looking at life as a narrowing funnel, we can see it ever widening to choose the things we want to do, to take the wisdom we’ve learned and create something.” -Liz Carpenter, Writer and Feminist 

MISS Song of the Week:
Video - India Arie
--Jacqui Lambert