About Yaakwdaat Aya (This is Yakutat) by Bertrand (Kadashan) Adams
A great book for only $2.99: Yaakwdaat Aya (This Yakutat) is a collection of short stories about a Tlingit village in Southeast Alaska. The stories are illustrated with the author’s water color paintings. In these stories, and images, you will pick up a little about the geography of the region as well as the history, culture and the values of the Tlingit peoples in the village of Yakutat, Alaska. One of the themes in these stories, Kadashan is able to tell how his people can live in two worlds, but still remain Tlingit. In the three part story “The World Forgetting by the World Forgot” seventeen year old Arnie Jones, after his father’s passing, is forced to take over leadership of the family commercial fishing business. This was a time in his life when he was trying to find his identity—should he take the time discover his ancestral roots, or give up his identity in favor of a western education? In “Something to Give”, set on a fishing camp on the Aalseix River, newlyweds know love, but don’t know how to express it. High school graduates in “The Tale of Three Seal Hunters” are faced with the decision of whether they should join the military or stay home and relearn their hunting skills. In “Lifeblood” we learn how three siblings are faced with the responsibility of catching enough salmon to sell the last few days of the a bad commercial fishing season to pay for a heart bypass operation for their mother. It is in the fall and the weather is changing from bad to worse. The resiliency of these youngsters is due to the way they had been raised by their parents and grandparent, something that is missing in America today.
The challenges the characters face in these stories are everyday situations one would find anywhere in the world: Young love, health concerns, financial security, human longings, grief and personal conflicts are subjects that the author tries to share with the world about a small Alaskan settlement. They also face the challenge of taking advantage, or not so, about the short, summer salmon runs— If they succeed then they can have resources to sustain their lives; if they don’t meet their goals the long winter months will be very lean. These stories, and art work, Kadashan describes how western influence and traditional beliefs and values are incorporated into their modern lives.