Thursday, December 29, 2011

Major Health Hazard for the Inupiaq People of Alaska

By Pamela Rae Schuffert presenting investigative journalism from a Biblical Christian perspective-


As unsettling as this article may be to the local Inupiaq community, I felt is was in their best interests to publish this important information, due to health concerns. People should become informed about health hazards in their communities, in order to protect their health and their families' health as well.-PRS

In researching health hazards to the American people due to environmental and industrial pollution, I read a book written by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel called "Poisoned Nation". This book outlined, in the beginning, the tragedy of the Inuit people encountering modern industrial pollution and the health issues it created for them.

In this book, the author  outlined how scientists testing the Inuits for evidence of pollution creating health hazards, noted that Inuit/Inupiaq mothers had the highest levels of toxins in their mothers' breast milk of ANY people they tested. But how could this be, up in the Arctic circle and in pristine wilderness settings, far from any industry (except for RED DOG MINE about 40 miles outside Kotzebue)?

These people have lived on wild game and food coming from the ocean for thousands of years. Seafood includes, seal, whale, fish and other forms as well. When scientists tested the seafood most heavily consumed by the Inuit/Inupiak, they discovered that all this seafood was polluted with industrial toxins and by-products, directly through the food chain. Not only were the Inuit ingesting these toxins through consumption of seafood, but the land animals who also rely on these seafoods were becoming adversely affected with health issues as well.

Scientists noted that polar bears, who rely heavily on seafood for survival were experiencing even genetic deformities such as dual sex organs (hermaphrodite or male/female organs) and other unsettling abnormalities as well.

According to reports I have read, the ocean currents are carrying these industrial pollutants from the USA, and foreign nations as well, all the way up to the Arctic and the North Pole regions. Air currents are also carrying pollutants, which then are dispersed in the form of rain and snow, etc. Once they arrive here in the Arctic, they are having a very negative and adverse effect on the food chain and wreaking havoc on nature in many ways.

And now, in the midst of this disturbing information, comes time for comic relief. Somewhere on the Internet  while researching, I found this unusual photo taken at sea. I just had to wonder: is this  how far the genetic mutations are progressing at this time? What weird creatures are destined to come out of our polluted oceans next? Arggh!
And now, back to reality.......
More recently, due to the radiation fallout from the FUKUSHIMA nuclear power plant meltdown in Japan, radiation is being dispersed high into the atmosphere, and moving west with the wind patterns, to be dispersed on the ground or waterways through rain/snow and particulate matter onto other nations, especially the western coastal regions of North America and ALASKA. Even now, scientists are testing the wildlife here in Alaska and western Canada for evidence of nuclear radiation being assimilated into the food chain here.
The nuclear radiation pollution from the Fukushima meltdown in Japan is also filling the ocean with this deadly hazard as well. Many ill or dying seals are being washed up even right here on the coast of Kotzebue Sound, Alaska. Their symptoms are similar to the effects of radiation poisoning.

Photographs of these sick seals show hair loss, lesions, severe irritation around eyes and mucous membranes, and more. Scientists are very puzzled in examining them, because they are finding no evidence of any disease. And now, they are looking to the possibilities of radiation poisoning as the culprit.

The traditional Inuit/Inupiaq diet has always included seal oil and meat, heavily here in the Kotzebue area in fact. And if the radiation from Fukushima is affecting the seal population even here off the west coast of Alaska, then imagine the potential for it to adversely affect other forms of seafood, such as the famed Alaskan salmon.

From THE INTEL HUB comes the following report covering evidence of radiation being dispersed through the air currents, including rain/snow, etc. upon North America. :

By Alex Thomas

July 19, 2011

Multiple videos have been released showing high levels of radiation in Canada as the corporate media continues to cover up the real dangers posed by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.The tests were taken in multiple places in Canada including Lake Louise BC, Kelowna BC, Red Deer/Edmonton, and Hope BC. [This also means that the same dangerous radiation is affecting ALASKA as well, since the weather patters move from west to east.-PRS]

The radiation tests that were taken near Lake Louise BC clearly showed harmful radiation levels up to 1.66 mcSv/hr .So far Canadian and American authorities have remained silent. We must DEMAND action from local health authorities. If these levels of radiation are being picked up in Canada it seems only a matter of time before they reach the west coast of the United States.This should be a RED ALERT to all Americans and Canadians!-End of article

(Drat! And just as I was beginning to enjoy occasional moose or caribou here!)

From BLUEVOICE.ORG comes the following disturbing report:

BlueVoice recently traveled to Iqaluit in the Canadian Arctic to gather information for an upcoming documentary on ocean contamination and its effects on marine mammals and humans. There, we met Shiela Watt-Cloutier, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. Sheila, a long-time spokesperson for the Inuit, has worked tirelessly to alert the world to the problems of toxic contamination in the Arctic and to bring to the public an understanding that the problems in the Arctic are global problems as well.

(for more on Shiela Watt-Cloutier, go to: )

“The Inuit of the world become the net recipients of the by-products of industry and the pesticides that are used”, Sheila explained. “ We get all the negative impacts of this. Contaminants remain here in the Arctic in high concentrations at the bottom of the Arctic sink where our marine mammals live and eat.”
                            Sheila Watt-Cloutier lecturing in York

“Tests showed that there were 8 – 10 times higher of these Persistent Organic Pollutants showing up in the fatty tissues of the marine mammals of the Arctic and then because we are marine mammal eaters of seal, whale and walrus, it was showing up 8 – 10 times higher in the body burdens of Inuit and in particular in the nursing milk of our mothers.”

BLUEVOICE.ORG continues:

Of all cultures, the Inuit people of the Arctic have been most strongly affected by ocean contamination. They are faced with the dilemma of giving up their traditional ways of eating or consuming animals that contain high concentrations of toxic chemicals. Hunting and fishing provide the Inuit with a sustainable and independent way of life and are important elements of their 4,000-year-old culture.

The animals of the Arctic now have extremely high concentrations of toxins in their body fat. Beluga Whales, ringed seals, narwhal and polar bears are carrying a huge toxic burden and experiencing the terrible effects of these chemicals.

In the mid-1980’s scientists began to find elevated levels of toxic chemicals known as POPs (persistent organic pollutants) in the blood and fat tissues of the Inuit and other people of the Arctic. Scientists say the toxins can cause cancer, damage reproductive and neurological organs, injure immune systems and cause learning disabilities.

POPs are a set of extremely toxic, long-lasting, organic chemicals that can travel long distances and accumulate in people, animals and ecosystems.

They include pesticides, insecticides, industrial chemicals such as PCBs and waste combustion such as dioxin and furan. These chemicals originate sometimes thousands of miles away. They are carried to the Arctic on wind and water currents where they bio-accumulate and bio-magnify in the Arctic food chain. Polar ice can trap contaminants that are gradually released into the environment during melting periods, even years later.

The Inuit diet of “country food’ which includes marine mammals such as beluga whale, narwhal and seal, puts them at the top of a contaminated food chain. The toxins collect in the animals' fat and are passed on to the Inuit as they eat, or through breast milk. Depending on the amount and type of country food consumed, many Inuit have levels of POPs in their bodies well in excess of the "level of concern" defined by Health Canada.

The bodies of Arctic people, particularly Greenland's Inuit, contain the highest human concentrations of POPs found anywhere on Earth — levels so extreme that the breast milk and tissues of some Greenlanders could be classified as hazardous waste.

Many POPs are endocrine disruptors that cause reproductive, neurological, and immune system dysfunctions. Studies of Inuit children have shown subtle cognitive and neurological effects on five-year-olds as a result of pre-natal exposure to PCBs and mercury.

Research published in the United States points to learning "deficits" and subtle behavioral effects in children born to mothers with high levels of POPs in their bodies. Most of these pollutants can pass through the placenta to impact unborn children in the womb. Women in these American studies had consumed, over a long period, large quantities of Lake Michigan fish contaminated with POPs. 

The levels of POPs in the mothers and their children studied in the United States are generally below levels recorded in many Inuit in northern Canada and Greenland, raising concerns about the long-term health effects of POPs on the Inuit people.

Inuit women have been found to have levels of PCB's in their breast milk 5X to 10X higher than women in southern Canada...-End of excerpt from BLUEVOICE.ORG
And all of this was BEFORE the Japan earthquake and the Fukushima meltdown and spewing of radiation into the atmosphere and the ocean in 2011! THink of how much MORE toxic this region must have become by now.

My personal response, when researching the pollution we encounter in our world today, (and becoming horrified) has been to drastically change my eating habits to primarily vegetarian/organic eating, including careful monitoring of all liquids I drink as well.

Occasionally I may enjoy some organic pasture raised meat such as bison, or wild Alaska salmon. But primarily, due to toxins and other factors, I choose to eat vegetarian/organic foods whenever possible.

However, HOW do you translate this into the Inuit lifestyle and traditional diets for thousands of years? How can you inform these people that, in order to protect themselves and their children, they must all go primarily vegetarian/organic and abandon thousands of years of traditional eating patterns..even if it the best choice for their health?

Furthermore, how practical or financially feasible is this, when the cost of fresh produce at the local "AC" (grocery store)  here in Kotzebue, Alaska, is much higher than in the "lower 48"? In trying to maintain my primarily vegetarian lifestyle, I have discovered that...

-a bag of apples is about $10.00.
-a small box of tangerines is about $12.00
-a pound of broccoli is almost $5.00 a pound
-a bag of potatoes $10.00
And more.....

However, I have noted that the AC here has excellent food choices and produce, and their prices are comparable to other food stores here in Alaska in more remote regions. I heartily encourage local readers concerned for their health and wanting to modify their diets, to go to the AC and select from their wide variety some healthy fruits and vegetables and grains such as oats, beans and rice, etc. to add to the traditional diets. In fact, I will be shopping there today for some more health food for Lisa and her family I am living with.

Or course, I realize that if these Inupiaq continue in their tradition ways of hunting and fishing, it costs them far less to feed themselves and their families financially. Many here cannot afford the high costs of maintaining this kind of vegetarian lifestyle, especially organic (everything has to be special ordered.)

But what will it cost them in terms of health (including cancer and birth defects, etc.) if they continue in their traditional ways of eating?
When I first read about the dangers of pollution to the Inuits and the Inupiaq here in Alaska, I was living thousands of miles away in North Carolina, reading Loretta Schwartz Nobels' book "POISONED NATION."  As I read her book, I became deeply moved and concerned and started praying for them and this tragic situation.  Never did I dream that someday, I would be HERE in Kotzebue, exactly where it is all happening...right in front of my eyes. How much more poignant and disturbing this situation becomes, when you suddenly find yourself living in the heart of this ongoing crisis among the Inupiaq.

My prayer is that I can do SOMETHING that can in ANY way help to positively impact the health crisis here involving illnesses due to toxic pollution in this region. Informing people of hidden dangers like this is often an excellent way of assisting, so they can make informed choices in their food modification and selections whenever possible.

This is where investigative reporting comes in, as an excellent means of informing and warning people of hazards such as this. This important aspect of my journalism I am continuing with at this time, as it is relevant to the place and people and situations I am dealing with here.

Warning people is one thing. However, the more difficult part is,  to successfully determine what can be done about this health hazard, in order to effectively cope with it. And that is what I am confronted with, since I now live here in the region that is most adversely affected these forms of  life and health-threatening pollution.

My best advice to people facing such a health crisis as this is, BECOME INFORMED by doing research. The better informed you are, the more you can avoid hidden dangers and cope successfully with any crisis you may face.

And then ACT ACCORDINGLY. Discover acceptable solutions to the problem. The sooner you act on what you have researched, the more effectively you can  begin to deal with the problem and counter it. As soon as I researched toxins in our foods, and the benefits of going organic and vegetarian, I acted on it immediately. And my body began to feel much better as a result.

Personally, I have decided that in spite of the high cost of produce and getting organic food shipped in to Alaska, my health is worth EVERYTHING. Without your health, how can you successfully work or take care of others, as I do? To compromise my health due to higher food costs, would mean that later one I may pay a much higher price for the cost of medical treatment that I will need BECAUSE I neglected certain aspects of my health earlier. It is better to spend a little more for food that keeps me healthy! Especially living in this location where this health hazard is well known and widely reported on.

Also, I will be ordering specialized water filters that remove various toxins and even radiation from the water.  There are filters for showerheads in the bathroom, and filter to screw on for the kitchen and cooking purposes. The water supply coming to Kotzebue comes from the snow melting on distant mountains. Normally snow can be quite pristine.

However, with increasing evidence that nuclear radiation particles originating from Japan's FUKUSHIMA meltdown IS indeed coming to North America and affecting the food/water supplies, it is wise to search on the Internet for water filtering systems that can indeed remove harmful radiation (such as the BIG BERKEY water filtration systems for in home use). And because I am sensitive to chlorine and it's byproducts when added to the water (which it is here) I will ordering filters that also remove chlorine for both kitchen, bathroom and showerhead as well.

I personally recommend BIG BERKEY water filtration systems for the home. They are convenient, affordable, easy to use, and very effective in removing many chemicals and pollutants found in water today, including providing specialized filters that remove radiation from water as well.

In conclusion, yes, we are what we eat and drink! It is always wise to become informed, and to take precautions to protect our health. There IS hope for our health and the future when we before informed and then take the right precautions to protect BOTH.

Here's to the health of the great people of the Arctic circle!

With Russia only 87 miles away, I will also add, "Na Staroviyah" (to your health") as the Russians taught me to say.

-Pamela Rae Schuffert reporting from Kotzebue, AK

Monday, December 26, 2011

Brother Lance and the Trapline Miracle

By Pamela Rae Schuffert presenting investigative journalism from a Biblical Christian perspective-

Brother Lance is famed as a mighty hunter in this town of Kotzebue, AK. Hunting and fishing just for survival here among the Inupiaq Eskimos is essential. Often, just to get enough food to eat, these people have to hunt and fish continually. Hunting and trap lines provide necessary food and furs to keep themselves warm through the long and bitterly cold winters here in the Arctic circle.

Brother Lance is an expert at both. He knows how to hunt for Caribou ("bou") or moose ("tiniikaq" in Inupiaq) for both meat and the warm hides to make beautiful Eskimo parkas. Lance also runs a trap line. This is a series of traps set daily to also help bring in the food and warm furs he and his family need to survive.

When Lance informed me the other day that he would be checking his trap line, and hoped he would find some  lynx, I promised him I would pray for a miracle of "MORE lynx!".

 "Heavenly Father God," I prayed, "you know how his family needs Your provision to survive. Please send him alot of lynx today! In Jesus' name..." Later that evening we came to his Bible study. Lance came in all smiles from visiting his trap line earlier that day. "You won't believe this, " he said, "But today I got not just  ONE lynx, but THREE!"

 I became excited. I said, "Lance, I DO believe, because I prayed for God to send you more lynx today!" His wife admitted that this was the most he had ever gotten in one day.Lance took me down to his snowmobile and sled that held the lynx. Huge paws and beautiful furry coats from all three greeted us. With a look of mischief on his smiling face, Lance commented that "...I heard that lynx tastes we are going to have stir-fried lynx soon!"

Let's pause for a moment here. I know what some of you , my readers, are thinking as you read this. "Ugh! Trapping cute little wild animals? USING their furs? EATING them as well? Grrrr...Where's PETA!"

But listen. You need to read the following to understand what this is really all about.

Each  lynx hide he sells for $200 helps to feed his family and provide finances for his wonderful ministry among the Inupiaq here. Lance loves the Inupiaq children of his village, and  his ministry to his people often involves taking them into his home to help them. Lynx hides also help provide soft and warm furs to make baby booties and parkas to keep the Inupiaq warm throughout the cold and bitter winters they must endure here. Remember, they have no WALMART or KMART to run to here in Kotzebue for warm winter clothing! The nearest one in hundreds of miles away, and it is only accessible by expensive plane flights to Anchorage.

My friend Lisa, a cat lover, almost gagged when she heard that Lance was going to cook up some "stir-fried lynx" for dinner. Lance only laughed. You see, this is the ancient Eskimo way of survival in a brutal climate and harsh surroundings. They know how to gratefully receive and harvest God's bounty wisely, and put all of it to good use. None of God's provision is wasted here.

You must understand: the brief summer here is not long enough for any substantial farms to grow to provide food for them. It is far too expensive to live solely on foods imported to this part of the world. The Inupiaqs and related tribal peoples have survived for centuries on the provisions of both land and sea. It never has been the Native and tribal peoples of Alaska or throughout the rest of the world who have been responsible for the raping and pillaging of the earth and her resources, but rather the curse of modern civilization accompanied with modern industry and it's greedy consumption of the earth's precious resources.
However, modern civilization and many of it's discoveries and inventions have provided many blessings  as well. The Inupiaq are thankful for the modern  medical technology and discoveries of the twenty-first century that are provided for all here, through their quality health care facilities that compose MANIILAQ hospital here.
                    Maniilaq Health Care Facility, Kotzebue, Alaska

Maniilaq is proud of providing state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities for the people, and includes a wonderful facility to provide care for the elderly of the region as well. Highly trained doctors and nurses and lab technicians work hard to provide the best of health care for both the village of Kotzebue and the remote Inupiaq villages beyond. Applicants who desire to work here must go through rigorous screening, testing and preparation in order to be accepted to work for this unique facility and opportunity to assist the Inupiaq people dwelling in their native villages. So in this respect modern civilization can prove to be a medical blessing, as it has to the people of Kotzebue.

"Endangered species" is a problem peculiar to the industrialized age, allegedly the "age of enlightenment." Prior to this, native peoples have lived in peace, balance and harmony with nature, her food chains and her seasons. In other words, it has not been the fault of the traditional "hunters/gatherers" who have lived off the earth for thousands of years in this manner, but rather often the curse of various elements of modern civilization, at times coupled with greed and  disrespect for the earth that God created, and disregard for healthy and safe harvesting of the earth's resources.

 Because of Lisa's limited food budget (due to the cost of food being so high), Lance has been kindly donating extra moose and 'bou (caribou) meat to her to feed her children. And ever since I have arrived, I have become the family chef. I have been learning all about preparing moose for dinner. Now it looks like I will be learning how to prepare (gasp) "tenderloin of lynx"! Thank you, Lance!

Life is becoming very interesting in the land of the midnight sun!

Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all my wonderful readers everywhere!

-"Chef Pamela" reporting from Kotzebue, Alaska

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Divine and Holy Celebration of the Son of God Come to Earth Be Unto You ALL

A Christmas Eve Celebration in Kotzebue, Alaska
By Pamela Rae Schuffert presenting investigative journalism from a Biblical Christian perspective-

Last night, Christmas Eve, I and my young friend Solomon enjoyed the most creative and amazing Christmas Eve service I have ever attended. It was held in the Friends Church of Kotzebue, Alaska. The wonderful performances of both drama and music were presented by the amazing Inupiaq natives of this Arctic village.
Orignial Friends Church of Kotzebue, Alaska

Actually, I was not fully prepared for what I encountered there last night. Lisa, the nurse I had come up to help here, had explained to me previously, "Now, Pam, I know you can be boisterous and outspoken, but these people  are very quiet and reserved. You will have to be very quiet around them...." And so I came to the service on my best behavior mode, lips tightly zipped with only a warm smile protruding from them.

But oh, how WRONG my friend Lisa was! These people  let 'er RIP last night! From the village elders to the youngest children, it was truly a glorious celebration filled with native humor and talent galore as even precious little children hardly able to hold the microphone sang "Away in a Manger" as good as any singer in Nashville could ever hope to sing. Various groups also sang away into the night.

Their main presentation play for the evening was themed "Celebrating Christmas Around the World." And they did just that. Have you ever seen an Eskimo dressed up in  Hawaiian grass skirt decked with garlands of flowers around their necks? Or dressed up as African American Gospel singers? Or dressed as Native Indians in the lower 48 (Mohawk-cut hairstyle  and all)? Only THIS particular Mohawk hair style was colored red, white and blue! And more....

These people must believe in "holy laughter" and the joy of the Lord being their strength, because that is what THIS church was filled with all night long! As the "Hawaiian" Inupiaqs hula'ed down the aisle to the stage, the people chuckled, remembering that it was about 20 degrees below zero outside.

Yet in the midst of much mirth and celebration, there was devout worship and praise with many Christmas carols honoring Jesus Christ, and the Gospel message presented fully to all who came.

For "Baby's First Christmas," they brought up all the newborn babies and those under one year of age to proudly present them to the congregation. These babies looked adorable dressed in their soft furs and in their genuine sealskin booties so soft and warm. So many babies were there that night! In the Inupiaq churches, children and infants are welcome in their services. Church is a family affair. And so it was Christmas Eve.
The village elders are highly honored by the Inupiaq. This is utterly Biblical. And in their churches these elders  are honored as well. They gave marvelous presentations of the message of the Christ Child at Christmas time, and emphasized salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

Following their wondrous presentations, gifts were handed out to all among the people. And 800 bags filled with fruit and nuts and candy were handed out to all who attended that night. I am still enjoying that wonderful fruit this morning as I write this article.

For those of my readers who have volunteered on Native reservations or villages, it comes as no real surprise that these Native Inupiaq people also have a wonderful sense of humor. Because of the many challenges they have faced, and difficult or painful circumstances they have had to deal with, they have discovered that a good sense of humor helps to keep everything in balance and lifts them up from sadness they face at times.

And by the way, LOVE was everywhere last night in that church! I and a few others were the only
non-Inupiak people in that church, but their love and joy flowed out to all of us without hesitation or discrimination.

You know, it's becoming very interesting here....

Many  University-educated white folks from the "lower 48" came up here to "help the Inupiaq" and to teach them regarding medical and health assistance and education. But more and more, as I listen and observe these unique people here in Kotzebue, I am getting the sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, we are here for them to TEACH US some things.

I am learning so much already just by quiet observation and listening. Perhaps we all have much to mutually learn from one another.

I have been to many Christmas Eve celebrations in churches across America throughout the years, but nothing was quite as unique and warm as this one in Kotzebue, Alaska.

May your celebration of the Christ Child come to earth be rich and blessed and filled with sacred songs and prayers and much love this wonderul season, now and always!

-Pamela Rae reporting from Kotzebue, Alaska

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Joys of An ESKIMO Christmas in Alaska

December 24, Christmas Eve Day
Kotzebue, Alaska

Today is an exciting day in the Inupiak village of Kotzebue, Alaska, here in the Arctic Circle. This Inupiaq village considers the Christmas season one of the most important events of the year. Many Inupiaq villagers are devout Christians, including the members of the FRIENDS' CHURCH here.

I am anticipating a wonderful service at the Friend's Church at 5 PM today. For the past two days, Lisa's two children (Solomon and Adam) and I have been helping assemble hundreds of bags full of Christmas candy, apples and oranges (luxuries in this part of the world) and other wonderful treats to give to every one who attends this service, guaranteed to warm the heart. By the time we finished yesterday, we had all helped to assemble 800 bags!
                         Original Friends Church of Kotzebue, Alaska

We will be enjoying this wonderful Christmas Eve service among hundred of precious Inupiaq families and children this evening. It will be held in their Native language. We will sing cherished Christmas carols in their Native language. It will be a very joyful and exciting gathering of young and old alike at this happy time of the year.

The Native villagers here make the most beautiful parkas and winter wear imaginable. The church will undoubtably be filled with the people wearing their holiday finest to brighten this season.

Graciously, these Inupiaq invited us to their annual Christmas dinner to be held on Monday at 4 PM. Their traditional foods for the holiday season will be very different from the traditional American diet.

Specialities among the Inupiaq include: smoked salmon, caribou and moose, "muktuk" (whale blubber") bone marrow, and  delicious  Native baked goods as only the Inupiaq can create here.

One thing I have discovered here, is how loving these people are. I attended a Christmas celebration dinner the other night, and found myself both hugging and being warmly hugged by these people. One elder hugged some children and grandchildren. And then,  as she turned around she saw me. She smiled warmly and said, "...and I will hug YOU for Christmas also!" And she did. Warm fuzzies filled my heart and made me feel so special here.

Wonderful elders, men and women and children  of  Kotzebue, I LOVE you! Keep being warm and wonderful and special. You touch all of our hearts...and especially at Christmas time!

-Pamela Rae Schuffert reporting from Kotzebue, Alaska at Christmas Time

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Meet Lance Kramer, Man of God With A Vision for Kotzebue, Alaska

Lance and Corina Kramer of Kotzebue, Alaska

Sunday, December 18, 2011
Kotzebue, Alaska, in the Arctic Circle

Today I enjoyed a wonderful church service at the First Baptist Church of Kotzebue. Although the service began at 11:00 AM, it was still dark when I arrived at the church. There are only about 3 hours of daylight each day now here, and even that daylight is minimal. A very cold wind blew this morning a cross Kotzebue, causing snow drifts to pile high everywhere. Above, ravens as huge as vultures spread their wings and rode on the ever-present air currents, ceaselessly searching for food scraps and dead carrion.

But inside this church, Christian hearts were warm and friendly as members greeted one another warmly. I was also given a warm welcome as a newcomer here. Today was their annual Christmas play by the children, and everyone was excited. We sang some traditional Christmas carols, and then sat back and enjoyed the adorable play.

Finally, it was time for the service to be over. We joined one another afterwards in the church basement for a delicious potluck dinner. I was proud to bring my "morsel of moose" stew. It was so delicious that the bottom of the serving pan was scraped clean by the end of the dinner.

I experienced the most amazing encounter with a very special man of God and vision for his Inupiak people, Lance Kramer joined with his wonderful wife, Corina. Lance is an incredible person! He is a true son of the Inupiak people, who has maintained their cherished and ancient culture and survival skills essential for survival in this harsh environment. Coupled with years of studying the Bible and performing years of dedicated Christian outreach, he is a mighty man of God with great compassion, vision  and concern for his people. A modern "Maniilaq visionary".

Who is MANIILAQ? Maniilaq was an incredible prophetic person among his Inupiak people in the 1800's. Not by missionary preaching, but by Divine revelation of the Holy Spirit, Maniilaq began to know and enter into fellowship with the Father and the Son and receive divine visions and prophecies for his Inupiak people.

Maniilaq had visions of modern planes and boats coming to the land of his forefathers here. Maniilaq received Divine revelation of the Father and the Son, even the word "Abba." He refused to be involved in the occult aspects of shamanism, but instead wanted the pure Divine power coming from the Father. You can read more about the great Inupiak prophet MANIILAQ by going to the following websites:!SSL!/WebHelp/May_27,_2004.htm
Lance has a burning passion to reach the precious youth among his people. In fact, Lance and Corina have opened their home wide to children besides their own, to love and mentor and disciple them as well. He has also helped to form YOUTH CAMPS for the youth.
Katigvik Bible Camp

Lance is often invited to speak at various Christian functions across Alaska and other locations. With his unique combination of knowledge of the ancient skills his people possessed to survive and conquer the frigid Arctic, coupled with the more modern revelation of the wonderful grace of salvation and peace with God through Jesus Christ, Lance often finds himself in high demand to come and minister.
                    Lance ministering the Word of God

In my years of travel across the United States for my journalism, I have spent much time at various Native American tribal reservations. I greatly enjoy and appreciate Native people's, their cultures and traditions and wisdom, and their art both in music and other native crafts. And now that I am here in a genuine Eskimo village, I have enjoyed their beautiful Native skills and crafts and handiwork. Some of the intricate and beautiful Native handiwork and creations are to be found here in Kotzebue, and throughout the neighboring villages.

"PARKEES" or Native Eskimo parkas are very popular. They incorporate rich and beautful hides of locally hunted animals like caribou, moose, lynx and wolverine and more into their intricate parkas. Large furry hoods to protect the face and head are essential because of the bitterly cold Arctic wind that blows across the tundra here. As a skilled hunter, Lance takes care to harvest the hides of all animal he shoots for meat, and then they can be used for beautiful Eskimo creations like the parka below.

Lance has learned all the traditional skills of his people, including operating the TRAP LINE. Even today, he told me he will go out to check his trapline to see what animals the traps have captured. Hopefully, there will be lynx today. For those readers who think this is cruel, think again. In such a cold and bleak climate, they cannot have large farms to grow food to eat or survive.

The Inupiak have survived on what God has supplied to them through Nature for thousands of years. The meat of these animals feeds the village. The hides from these animals provide warm winter clothing just to survive. Nothing goes to waste of the animals they kill to survive. These people could not survive without this.

Lance and his wife Corina and their family have a burning passion to see REVIVAL come to their people! And this is here we can ALL play an important part and watch the glory of God visit Kotzebue and the neighboring villages. YOUR compassionate prayers and fasting,  coupled with YOUR financial giving at this time, will make a critical difference in the lives of many Inuits that Lance desires to ninister to here. At this very special time of the year, won't YOU  choose to become a part of what God is doing here in the Alaskan tundra among a very special people who are greatly in need? Frankly, he cannot have the impact that he so desires, without substantial support at this time.
Lance Kramer and Corina and their wonderful family
You can now contact Lance and Corina directly, both by telephone and email.

Lance Kramer
                                                             W.I.T.H. AK. Ministries
                                                                    P.O. Box 1384
                                                                     Kotzebue, AK                  

Merry Christmas from The Eskimos of Alaska!

Click on the link below to watch an amazing Eskimo YOUTUBE production celebrating Christmas here!

-Pamela Rae Schuffert

Pamela Rae Schuffert reporting from Kotzebue, Alaska

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finally... I Have Arrived in KOTZEBUE, ALASKA!

By Pamela Rae Schuffert presenting investigative journalism from a Biblical Christian perspective-

Finally after three plane flights and hours of tedious waiting in Airline terminals, I have arrived in Kotzebue, Alaska. The flights were glorious, far above the winter gloom of the grey overcast skies, as we soared high into the atmosphere above the cloud covering below, to bathe our eyes in radiant sunshine framed in turquoise heavens.

It was dark when we flew into the Kotzebue airport  early last night, however. Here in Alaska within the Arctic circle, we are rapidly approaching the time in which there will be twenty days of no sunlight whatsoever. And even now as I type this report at 10:00 AM, there is no sunshine to be seen.

However, even in the dark, I was impressed with what I could see in Kotzebue by the light of street lamps. The people in the airport greeted me warmly when I arrived. I was especially grateful as a young Inupiak woman lent me her cell phone in the airport terminal, when I discovered to my horror that I  had lost my friend Lisa's street address, and had no cell phone of my own to use to contact her. To my relief, Lisa answered and gave me directions to her apartment immediately.

As I waited outside the airport in the bitter cold, one fine young taxi drive pulled up almost immediately  outside the lobby, and kindly grabbed all my baggage and placed it carefully into the back of his taxi. I was taken immediately to my friend Lisa's apartment. I could not believe the low taxi  fare: only $6.00! Unheard of in the lower 48. I was more than happy to give him a generous tip and wish him a Merry Christmas, as he smiled shyly and disappeared into the frigid Arctic night.

Snow and bitter cold and MORE snow everywhere! But the resilient Inupiak respond to the bitter cold and it's many challenges by radiating more love and kind assistance to one another everywhere, knowing that it indeed DOES "take a village" to survive as a people and a culture here in the Arctic.
                                                    ULU KNIFE
In fact, even as I write this report, savory moose meat is slowly simmering on the stove. ( As I prepared tonight's dinner, I stole a morsel of moose meat and it is YUMMY!) A wonderful Inupiak man by the name of Lance donated some of his locally hunted moose and other wild game to Lisa to help their family with her food needs at this time. Lance is an amazing person, one who has retained ancient tribal skills in hunting and creating necessary tools of survival such as the ULU KNIFE from local resources.He is also a devout man who has professionally trained in studies of Bible Scriptures and has many degrees.
                               ORIGINAL INUPIAK HUNTER
Lance has the reputation of being a mighty hunter in this village. He is taking the time to carefully instruct Inupiak youth in these ancient and necessary tribal survival skills as well. Knowing that it "takes a village" to help feed all it's members, he cooks and provides large meals for all who attend his Bible studies as well. Thank you Lance, for this wonderful moose meat to help Lisa's family!

Since I arrived, Lisa has shared with me her inspiring encounters with the local people such as Lance. There are so many dedicated people here, in fact, that it would take a long time to recount all that so many individuals have done to help contribute to the well-being of Kotzebue and her people.

There is JEAN, who has done incredible things with many handicapped children here, enriching their lives by her excellent skills and compassion in working with them on a daily basis. And so many more....I am looking forward to meeting many of these gracious people of inspiration and encouragement as I gradually come to know Kotzebue and her people better.

Pray for Lisa and her family and I at this time. Many challenges await all of us here, and we know that we cannot respond to them successfully without the ongoing  power of God and prayer.Your love and prayers are appreciated. Thank you.

-Pamela Rae Schuffert reporting from Kotzebue, Alaska at this time