• Tuesday, August 03rd, 2010

A Yupik Eskimo elder named Chester didn’t know what money was when he was ten years old. He grew up hunting fish, seals, reindeer, and walruses, and that suited him fine. “People would do things together….one hand, one heart, one thought, one mind.” Chester lives in Savoonga, a small community of 700 on a fly-speck Alaskan island close to Siberia.

Today in Savoonga the love of cash, of which there is not enough, has replaced the love of teamwork in hunting animals, of which traditionally there have been more than enough. Youth, 30% of the population, have turned to drugs and alcohol. There have been as many as six teenager suicide attempts in one month.

The values Jesus taught are closer to the traditional Eskimo culture, with no money, than to Wall Street. See chapter 12 in my book, Green Kingdom Come! Jesus said that folks, born bare and broke, need community cooperation more than they need clothes and money.

Chester the teenager was not a candidate for suicide.

An inspiration for this post is the story on Yupik culture, “Snowbound,” in the book by Gene Weingarten, The Fiddler in the Subway.

Author – Gene Weingarten

Exhibit on Yupik culture.

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