Photo essay: Life for Alaska Natives


Phillip Major Jr. (center) drums as fellow Tlingits dance aboard an Alaska Marine Highway ferry near Sitka, Alaska, on June 16, 2014. The group was on its way home from a Native American celebration in Juneau. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post)

 


Tom Berkely, center, and Alan Jackson, members of the Tlingit tribe from Kake, Alaska, during a grand entrance ceremony for Celebration, a biennial dance-and-culture festival sponsored by the Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau on June 11, 2014. (Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

 


John Willis and his longtime girlfriend Shirley Skeek kiss outside her home in Kake, Alaska, on June 19, 2014. (Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

 


Chevy Kadake prepares nets for opening day of salmon fishing aboard their family fishing vessel Jade Ann in Kake, Alaska on June 19, 2014. Linda Davidson/The Washington Post

 


Bethel, Alaska, which has a population of about 6,000 and is the largest bush town, is seen by air on May 13, 2014. There are no movie theaters or bars in town, but there is a jail and a regional hospital. (Photo by Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

 


Royala Bell and her daughter, Saraphine, 10, hold up a dead owl in their home in Hooper Bay, Alaska, on May 14, 2014. Bell’s husband Carlton got the bird to pluck to make ceremonial objects. Bell and her husband Carlton have seven children, six of whom live with them in their two-room home. The couple is one of the few families that have running water and a bathroom in their home. Hooper Bay is a small bush village in western Alaska on the coast. It’s made up of a few hundred small wooden cabins, and most people who live there are Alaska Natives of the Yupik tribe. Many people travel about 60 miles to hunt in the tradition of a subsistence lifestyle, but many must supplement that by shopping at the one grocery store in town, or by ordering food from Mailbox Groceries, Amazon or other online retailers. (Photo by Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

 


Josiah Thomas, his father David Thomas and sister Debbie Thomas with grandfather Gary Jackson in Kake after dinner on June 16, 2014. The Jackson family lives in the Tlingit community of 559 people in a remote village located in the Alexander Archipelago. (Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

 


Marvin Kadake pulls out a painting in his home in Kake, Alaska, on June 19, 2014. When Kadake learned he had colon cancer, he had to travel to Sitka, and later to Anchorage for treatments. There are no doctors in Kake — only a nurse practitioner and two community health aides. (Photo by Whitney Shefte / The Washington Post)

Children play in a puddle in Hooper Bay, Alaska, which has a population of about 1,000 people, according to 2010 census data, on May 14, 2014. Hooper Bay is a small bush village in western Alaska on the coast. (Photo by Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

 

 


A close-knit and mostly peaceful community, Kake villagers live off the land and use a “circle peacemaking” program to resolve minor disputes and misdemeanors. (Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
Whitney Shefte is a Peabody, Emmy and Pictures of the Year International (POYi) Award-winning senior video journalist at The Washington Post, where she has worked since 2006. Whitney is also the visuals editor for Storyline.
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Whitney Shefte · August 18, 2014