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Wales, Alaska

Two weeks ago, Daynee and I got a chance to travel to Wales, the western-most village in continental Alaska. I went to cover a news story, involving an artist in residence at the school, and Daynee went to record the local dialect of Inupiaq. Here’s some photos of our trip:


Daynee and I left Nome at 11:30 and came back to Nome by 6:00. It was a quick flight up the Seward Peninsula, over snow covered tundra and the frozen sea.


A man came to the landing strip on his four wheeler. We were waiting for they would send the custodian to pick us up. Instead this man offered to drive us into to town. It was cold, below zero, and we moved at 2 mph, heading up an icy dirt road to the village.


I went to Wales to cover their first artist in residence at the school. The Alaska Arts Council has a fantastic program that brings working artists to schools throughout the state, where they teach students, train teachers and create some art project with the community. I interviewed students in their art class– they were getting familiar with color and lines, and brushstrokes, preparing for the final project– a community mural painted with their artist in residence, Linda Infante Lyons.
Daynee went to Wales to speak to a man who spoke the Wales dialect of Inupiaq fluently. She’s producing a very cool series on a native language word of the week, and each month, she is trying to get a new dialect. Here Winton and Daynee pose for a picture outside the Wales Kingikmiut School, in front of the school’s mascot, the killer whale.Daynee and Winton

As we headed back to the airport, we rode in an four wheeler along the shore, staring at the frozen Bering Sea to our left…

The rocky beach before us…

Road before us

And Wales to our right…


And Daynee and Winston behind me, sitting in the cart…

Daynee and Winston 2

We dropped Winston off at the IRA office, where he picked up a book he wrote with the Smithsonian– a dictionary of Wales Inupiaq words for Sea Ice. Then Deborah kindly drove us to the landing strip. The plane was jammed with food, pallets of soda and chips.


Then, we took off, Daynee, the pilot, a teenage girl from Wales, and myself. The sun was setting at 5:00 over the sea. It was stunning.


Until next time, Wales!