Grand Finale26 Jul 2017, by 2017 Seabird Camps in
Saturday was foggy. St. Paul Tribal Government generously took the St. George kids back on the Lunax because the forecast for flying to St. George tomorrow was not good.
After sad goodbyes on the dock, the rest of the morning passed in a blur of last minute painting, packing, cleaning, and cooking as we prepared for our 7pm Community Event. The Rec. Hall was decked out in Seabird Youth Network banners.
Kids gathered late for the dress-rehearsal, and families had a sneak preview of the performance as they took their seats! The rehearsal looked pretty raw as many roles were quickly recast based attendance. Whispers of “is it going to come together?” were heard…
Well, it actually did come together!
The curtains opened, and “The Odd Sea” began. Aiden rocked the lead role of Dida the hunter, and Polina (from the Commander Islands) was a magnificent cormorant. The audience loved it when the fulmar puked all over the cormorant! Our lavish and whimsical animal masks were a hit, and the kids loved wearing them.
The Rec Hall was full, with over 140 people coming through, and we had an incredible line-up on the stage.
After the theatre production, Lex (Russian translator) introduced our Commander Island visitors, and Natalia and students played four songs (two Aleut and two Russian). Sasha did a super-fun dance accompanying a song about a chick who leaves his nest to explore. The chick grows and grows, and eventually flies from the nest. The second Aleut song was the dance of different animals and plants that live on the Commander Islands. The Russian songs were about the youth summer camp, and the nature and beauty of the Commander Islands, and how much they are loved. The audience cheered for an encore and were treated to a 4th song!
Natalia showed a video about their ethno-ecological summer camp… where students walk 100 km (yes, 100!) across the island as they learn about the nature and history of the island. Natalia then showed a power point about the history of the Unangan people on Bering Island. Everyone loved seeing the similarities with the Pribilofs, and especially the old photos of Unangan people.
Aquilina then presented a moving talk about the connection and shared history of the Commander and Pribilof Islands, emphasizing how wonderful it was for people on both island groups to be back together again. Aquilina, and members of the language intensive workshop followed with some powerful Pribilof dancing, drumming, and singing. One song told of the fur-seal harvest, scraping two seal scapulars together to add some beat as they mimed the knife sharpening.
A beautiful homemade Unangan bent wood hat was presented to Natalia to take home for the museum in Nikolkoe.
Everyone enjoyed Kooka Zee’s berry tarts, and reindeer and a beach green salad made by the USFWS biotechs as they visited after the performance.
It was a moving end to an incredible week of camp.
Thank you to everyone in the community who shared their time and skills, and donated the use of camp facilities, vehicles, food, and equipment. And, thank you to our main sponsors, the National Parks Service for supporting Seabird Camp and the Commander Island project over the last three years and for bringing our guests over this summer, and to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for transporting the Commander Island friends on the Tiglax and their continued support of Seabird Camp.