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Kotzebue Communities of Memory Introduction

Walter Sampson gives an introduction to the Communities of Memory public storytelling event being held at the NANA Museum in Kotzebue, Alaska from February 29 to March 2, 1996. He explains that members of the community will be talking about their memories of and experiences with being in the military ranging from the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG), World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and more recent conflicts like Desert Storm, and that it may at times get emotional. He also thanks the Alaska Humanities Forum for funding the event, and introduces visitors.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2015-25-01_PT.1

Project: Kotzebue Communities of Memory
Date of Interview: Feb 29, 1996
Narrator(s): Walter Sampson
Transcriber: Denali Whiting
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Alaska Humanities Forum
Alternate Transcripts
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There is no slideshow for this person.

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Introduction to the event

Thank you to the Alaska Humanities Forum for sponsorship

Introducing visitors

Description of what will happen: listening to stories about people's experiences with war

Emotional and difficult nature of the content

Boots and clothing on display to represent missing comrades

Playing of the song, "Taps."

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WALTER SAMPSON: Thank you, Sue. First of all, I -- I want to welcome all of you to -- to this program and I feel that it’s something that’s been forthcoming.

And I -- I’m honored to be part of this program to remember our people, our forefathers, our parents.

Those of us that were involved in -- in different conflicts. To set up a stage in this forum to pass onto others as to what -- what we went through, what they went through.

As well as listening to some stories from others who know of what they’ve seen.

It’s something that is gonna be emotional at times. But that’s part of our -- our healing process.

And before I continue further, I want to welcome the Humanities Forum who made it possible for -- for this to -- to occur. This is what they call a -- a communities of memories -- memories project.

And they’re doing nine communities throughout the state. And out of the nine communities that they’re putting this program together, there will be a 20 minute -- 28 minute segment that will be -- will be put together. And hopefully that will be shown and if we could find some monies to do that over -- over the state program.

With us today, we’ve got -- from the Humanities Forum Pat Partnow, who is a project director. Pat.

Cynthea Ainsworth who is a facilitator and advisor.

Jim Sikes, back there.

Belinda Feedman, one of the cameras there.

And Gene Rearden. Welcome to -- to Kotzebue and to the NANA region. And we appreciate that you could be with us today.

I know that we would have a lot more folks, we’ve got several meetings going in our community here. And because of those meetings we’re unable to -- to be part of -- part of this program.

What we’re gonna do is -- is we’re gonna be -- be listening to -- to some stories from some folks who will tell us what they’re husbands did or what they did through those crisis.

We’ll go through some -- some traditional wars that we’ve heard from some folks. From our -- our parents, our grandparents within the region.

Then we’ll go into the -- the Korean War conflict. We’ve got some folks that are involved in the -- in the Korean War.

We’ll go to the ATG, which is the Alaska Territorial Guard system, which was set up -- we’ll hear from -- from those folks.

Then we’ll go to the -- the Vietnam conflict. Listen to -- to those folks that would want to tell a little bit of -- of their experiences.

Then, to the more current conflict, which was the -- the Des -- Desert Storm.

And, as I say -- as I said earlier, at times it’s going to be emotional. Especially for -- for folks that don’t really put themselves out in the public and talk about their experiences in the war.

And it’s hard for -- for some people. For those of us that been unable to -- to get out of it by talking about it. Life has been much easier. But we also have some of our own people that are struggling to -- to -- to live their daily lives because of the mental problems that were -- that they’re -- that they -- that they got themselves into by not releasing some of the tensions that were created by these things.

The boots, the hat, and the -- the pants and the shirt that you see up front on top the table represents our comrades that were missing in action. That were killed in action.

And it also represents those folks that came home and died of -- of -- of other reasons after -- after those wars.

So to our comrades, I want to play a short tune that we all listen to through our military services when someone dies and that is definitely played through -- through the course of -- of their burial ceremonies.

So if we can, I’d like to ask everybody rise, please.

("Taps" bugle call plays)

Thank you. Again, that’s remembering our fallen comrades who have gone before us.

It’s going to be an interesting thing to -- to listen to -- to some folks as some of you, including myself, don’t quite know some of the experiences what some of the folks when -- went through.