'Silence is okay'

My short week in the village of Allakaket left me with memories and lessons that will not soon be forgotten. I witnessed the tight family bonds that form between village adults and their children. It was apparent that children are the lifeblood of individual villages and the culture as a whole. As such, every effort was made to instill the values of that culture into the children. Prior to arriving in Allakaket, my travel partner and I had heard that in Athabascan culture, women of childbearing age were not to speak of, look at, or eat bear. We both forgot this fact when a bear appeared on the banks of the river near our camp. One of the female Elders pointed out the ‘large animal.’ My frie

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