george3A little bit about…George Waskey

My name is George Waskey. I’m a Yup’ik Eskimo from a small town called Mountain Village, Alaska with roughly 1,000 people residing there. Mountain Village is located in the southwestern part of Alaska, along the lower Yukon River, about 400 miles west of Anchorage. The only way in and out of Mountain Village is by a small plane.

I started working for the Western Addition Career Center over the summer as an intern. Now, I’m the Program Assistant, upgrading the database system to help the Center’s goal of going paperless. It’s been great working with the Career Center – an employment nonprofit eager to learn with the community and assist them in reaching their career goals.

People outside of Alaska think they know what it’s like. But it’s such a big state, it varies from region to region.

Some of the most common questions and comments I get about growing up in Alaska are:

Question: Do we live in igloos? Alaska. A traditional Inupiat Eskimo igloo four miles south of Nome.
Answer: I’ve never seen an igloo in my life, except on the History Channel. I grew up in a two bedroom, later renovated to a four bedroom house my father built.

Question: Is it 6 months of daylight in the summer and 6 months of darkness in the winter?
Answer: The 6 months of daylight and darkness only happens in northern part of Alaska (but it is more like 4 months of darkness). We get around 18 to 20 hours daylight during the peak of summer, and around 7-10 hours of daylight during the winter months.

Question: Do we eat a lot of whales, seals, and fish? |
Answer: Yes, we eat a lot of fish, but whales and seals are a treat for us, because we do not live near the coast.

Question: “It’s cold out (in San Francisco) now, you should be used to it. You’re from Alaska.”
Answer: The average temp, I’m not sure of, but in the summer, it could get up in the 90’s. The coldest I’ve experienced was -45 degrees, with the wind-chill making it feel like -75 degrees. I do not like the cold at all. When the temperature hits the 50s here in San Francisco, I’m cold.