Elder Review: Frank Alby, Inuit
Bureau of Indian Affairs and the National Guard
These highlights will support the participant in thinking about and working with important aspects of transforming difficulties and life experiences into a successful career pathway. The key areas include:
- History – where we come from;
- Mentors & Opportunities – who and what supports us;
- Education, Career, Jobs, and Vocational Skills – what moves us forward.
These highlights are to be utilized to assist the participant in answering and discussing the questions identified with each of the five lessons provided in this curriculum.
|History (where we come from)
- Born in 1936 – mother was Eskimo and father was from Sweden.
- Discrimination happened in first grade… half white only to the native school. In theaters, white people got the center area, natives were put on the sides.
- Mother got sick and went to California. “I was sent to Episcopal Boarding School. I learned to pray.” learned the Bible… learned a work ethic… and learned that prayer is a good thing.
- Worked hard, trapped rabbits, hunted…
- Mother died after being at the Episcopal Boarding School for 2-3 years. She had lived in a sanatorium and died of tuberculosis.
- A lot of people died from tuberculosis and there were so many people that died they would put the bodies in boxes and coffins… they would stack the coffins in the bunkers…
- Lived in Episcopal boarding school for 8 years; then went to an all Native boarding School in Sitka; never had seen so many people; didn’t know about how it rained so much; didn’t know about basketball…
|Mentors & Opportunities (who and what supports us)
- “I saw kids in uniforms. I liked war movies. I really liked that. I was fascinated with that. In high school, there were people in uniforms. I decided I wanted to do the National Guard. You had to be 18. My aunt signed for it and was real proud of me. My last few years of high school I had weekend drill and would get paid for that every three months.”
|Education, Career, Jobs, and Vocational Skills (what moves us forward)
- After Episcopal Mission School, attended Sitka junior college
- Remained in the National Guard for 23 years
- Worked in a bakery nights after he was married
- Became a community college dorm supervisor
- Worked at Chemawa Indian School as a dorm supervisor. “I began to notice all these young Indian students. I was working in the boy’s dormitory. And all the young boys with their darker skin, long hair, sometimes wearing a feather in their hair. Sometimes speaking their own language and simply being Indian. I began to realize working with these Indian students that I can learn something from these kids. Because all the time I was growing up, after I left home, after I left Nome, I was in a boarding school learning how to be like a white man. Learned to read and write and dress properly, to say yes sir and yes ma’am, and how to get along in a white society. But after watching these kids, I began to realize that I missed something somewhere along the way. I was learning a little bit from these kids because they were being Indian. They were being themselves. I admired them for that.”
- “I have worked industriously for 65 years, well; I retired when I was 65. I began working when I was 17.”