Off a dirt road between Iliamna and Nondalton, about 30 children are attending Camp Juvenaly.
When they aren’t swimming or fishing or building or eating, they sit in school desks along the gravel banks of a tundra lake rimmed by wispy paper birch trees. Russian Orthodox Priest David Askoak teaches them spiritual and cultural issues, and others in the community join in.
“Safety is all about being ready,” an Alaska State Trooper tells the restless group. He first holds up a flotation device, and then a helmet to illustrate his point. “Do you know why you are luckier than lots of other kids your age in this state?”
No one answers.
A field near Port Graham hides the marks of a sizable coal town that was established in the 1850s. All the remnants of the town disappeared – except for the stone outline of a dock.
At the height of operation, Coal Village was the third-largest Russian town in Alaska, exceeded only by Kodiak and Sitka. Russian history recorded 20 houses, a church, a warehouse, a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, stables, a small foundry and mining structures.
“Yeti hnu bugh yagheli est tsedi: Whatever you do in life I hope you succeed in good health.”- A Dena’ina blessing.
On the bending blue grass of the Chuitna River, two hired guards walk the bank, monitoring the river for potential poachers and trespassers.
One carries a rifle “in case there are bears,” he says.
By Naomi Klouda and Adrian Lysenko Homer Tribune Editor’s note: As energy issues continue to plague the country, the future development of Cook Inlet’s resources remain in question. Coal at Chuitna, gold at Pebble Mine, numerous offshore gas reserves and the reduction of oil flow from the 12 platforms currently churning in the Inlet point […]