Portraits of Resilience

Shismaref, Alaska

The Old Sea Wall
When I was a small child, my friends and I used to go on top of the sea wall and play. Our parents didn’t want us to go out there but we would rather play there than be at home. The sea wall was made out of cement blocks.
One of the biggest things that has changed in my village, due to global warming, is the ice is melting when we need it to hunt sea mammals in spring time. Global warming is causing rising land and ocean temperatures which keeps the ice from forming as solidly as it should.
The elders told us how to hunt. One of the elders told us they used harpoons to get seals and walrus. He also told me they used sink hooks to get the seal or walrus out of the water.
The Need for a New Runway
A long time ago we used to have a north-south runway for planes. When larger planes wanted to land, we found out that our runway was too short. Other villages just lengthened their runways, but we couldn’t because we’ve lost too much land off the north shore due to the erosion caused by global warming.
Did you ever lose your home? Have you been homeless? We are about to lose our homes -- from erosion. Most importantly, erosion eats our Island and we have less land. Erosion happens from our ocean. The ocean takes away land from our Island. It takes away our land by taking sand and moving it someplace else. And when storms come it takes lots of land.