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tv   Witness  LINKTV  May 13, 2020 3:30am-4:01am PDT

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man: the riright siside of this. secocond man: yeyeah.
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[imitating walruses' cries] woman: wawalrus will l always be very important. it is considered our main staple.e. [people continue imitating wwalruses] it takes a loofof work to dismember a walalrus. takes a crerew, you knowow, to divide that out... [walruses barking] takes the family to put it away. [walrus c continueararkin
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[gunshot] to survivive here, it's aboutt familyly. i know i have relatives there. i just don't know vevery muchh about them. i have no connection with my rrussian relativives at all. i don't know their dialect. so there's a realally big...the. i've heard stories a long time ago how there was interaction
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between the villages before the ice curtain. i think about how my grandparents might have felt when t they separated them. that must have been a big grief for them to lose that connection. a lot of our elders have passed, so diomede would love to have a reunion. hi, girls. i'm the tribal coordinator for diomede. i administer all the programs we have, all the accounts we oversee. it's like takingng carofof diomede.
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the last reunion was, you know, the early nineties. so thisis is gonna be the f firt event for a long time. i think it's gonna be so special. the 8 will be traveling to wells today with bering air, weather permittttg. 8 of ththem will be staying a at the school and maye 5 or 6 at my housuse, between my house andnd opik's. so that'ss e update i have. that was signed june 5th. so if weather r permittodaday, they will be traveling to wells, awaiting for the weathther to cm downwn to come to diomede. robert: ok. it all depends on the w weather on whether they're going to cocome here or not. frances: weather is always a thing for diomede. so if it's gonna be delayed, it's gonna be delayed. nothing really woworks on schedule.
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sometitimes diomedis really hahd to live in. [wind d blowing] [raining] they always remind us when the ice starts to recede in may, you know, you could fall through. i lolo my daughthter, my younge. she went through the ice may 21, 2005. she was 6 y years old. justst 5 minutes before, s she s with me. ththen she was down there andnd gone. just inin 5 minutes i have lost her. took me a while to heal fromom that. and when i wawas goinththrough that process, , lot of havtoto o with subsistence, be itit with food or you're sewing skins or
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you're making parka--something. you're doing sosomething to keep yourselelf busy. subsistence is so time-consusuming that it heals you, too.o. [sharpening] hi, edward. edward: coffee? frances: there's coffee, decaf. edward: what you making? ...? frances: my best memoriries of w our parents raised us--lot of it was subsistence. my dad loves hunting and fishing,, butt because 's a lot t older, it's a litt h harder for him now.
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[helicopter blades whirring] my parents moved because of medical reasons. they're in nome. now, i know ththat a bigger part of them m really wan to be inn didiomede. they were h here 6 weeks ago, ad they were so happy. i want to be taking care of my parents. but i asked my mom. her tone of voice was she really neeeeds me here.
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knowing that they prefer native foods, i'm sending in the stuff they enjoy from diomede, 'cause i worry about them. tthese are a a mixture of fofoon oioil. this one is baby walrlru. this one is the breast milk of the walrus. this is oogook intestine. it's really rinsed clean, half-dried and cooked. baby walrus. the walrus skin, plus a little bit of the blubber. it's really y hard to dig in the barrel. your hands freeze going in. the oil is frozen, and you're digging. it's hard. you gotta be rereally tough f fr that.
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jjoe: yeah. ok. frances: sometimes cabin fever gets to you because diomede is so isolated. those moments i always call my alcatraz time, you know? 80% it is alcatraz, t t 20% it's paradise. sometimes i go down this one, pick cabbage along t this side, me up this w way... and then i g go down anonother ridge, spideymanan down.
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the greens are--there's everything you wantnt here. this area is one of my favorite picking area. ooh, i found a cabbage. my mom, when she was here, she showed me all the picking grounds, all her favorite spots. you see how i remove it without taking the root? so it can grow another and next year, too. it's time-consuming, but it's filling. and it also involves the kids to help you to prepare. it kind of keeeeps the famyy closer t together. [video game e playing] bubba: ugh...
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boy: ohh! they got shot. boy: get him! ohh! 1 down! bbubba: plpliers. what arere pl? ededward: and findnd my knife, bubba. bubba: i got the net.
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[drums beating rhytythmically] [men singing in nativive langua] frances: it's so hard because of separation between u.s. and
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russians. makes this hard for us to even communicate. but dancing, a lot of the dances, we both share them. i mean, there's great many things we're expecting to do. there's great many things we'd like to see happen, but we have to have them here for it. [rain; wind whwhipping] robert: : this is robebert. i'mt ttrying to find out th situationon. ok, like youou sai,
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you guys can't be staying there forever. it's just not get up and go right awaway once the w weather comes on or so. the wawater's always still rough. welell, the best you guys could do right now is wait fofor the ... it's your choice. you guys are puput to do. likeke you said, se of you do have a timeframe. frances: they got to let me know. robert: oh! he hung up on me. ok. he said he'll keep you informed. frances: ok. robert: he s said the ruiaians e flexible right now. frances: good. thahat's goodod o know. and they stilwawant to come, huhuh? robert: they still want to come out here. frances: that's good to know. so that's good to know. rrobert: yeah. frances: g good to he e hope, bt you know,, you don't want toto p it u up all the e time.
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robert: last i've heardrd was ty won't fly till monday, but t then i've heard they're in wells a and trying to come out here. [helicopter approaching] [helicopter approaching]
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frances: when i grew up here, we had 20 or more elders around. now we have maybe 2 here. so having this event happen, it is heartfelt for a lot of people because we always wish this would occur for diomede.
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[singing in native language]
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frances: you know, the only barrier we have is trying to understand each other with different languages. i see this really strong connection now, and a lot of it have to do with, hey, we are so similar with each other... not just blood, but in the things we do traditionally. [song ends] woman: whohoo! [woman speaking russian]
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frances: i c can hear ththat happinesess inside that laughte, listening to tthem just interact with e each other. fraances: sohehey were reaeally exchanging, , talking about wh's dancing and what they're doing. this came from big diomede and moved to little diomede. woman: you'rre a split-copy of their nephew, his sister's s so. [laughter] [maan speakingng indistinctly]
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woman: earlier, he was saying last time when he saw him, he was much stronger man. and he was asking you, "did you eat his food? what happened?" ha ha ha! mann: when i w was growing years agago, these two islands jujuste one, just like collective. wewe used the sameme language, e waway of livg. a and theirir lifestyle is jusust same a as o, you know. frances: yep. i agree. [womanan speaking russian]
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[drum beating rhythmically; people singing] [helicopter approaching]g] [singing continues] frances: when they asked us to go down to the chopper and greet them, i didn't know who i was really greeting. and now that i've spent a few days with them, i think in a year's time, i get my passport, you know, visa, and whatever is required. we are gonna visit a couple of villagers there... weather permitting.
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the struggle through life, most of it is not all happy. i've gone through a great many things. but knowing ththat you had times where yourur heart w j just fufull... that helps you t to remember tht there's gonna be a better time ahead of you.
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