Photographer's Note

Part of the "Old Village of Savoonga". This home was built in the 1950's and not maintained by the indigenous people. This was being used as home just last year. As I said in my last post the federal government heavily subsidies the indigenous Inuit. Each and every family member receives monthly payments from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, food stamps, free medical, free dental and free university benefits. They also receive money from their tribe. The government provide the housing years ago but doesn't maintain the housing. As the structures age and become uninhabitable the government provides new homes for the Inuit on an annual basis. Saint Laurence Island is 90 miles form the mainland and the village only has 600 people in it, therefore there are no stores or supply stores.. Every component for a home must be shipped in which makes the housing very expensive to build. The replacement housing costs about 300,000 dollars and because of the short building season it takes 2 years to build. The housing is free to the Inuit as is their heating and electricity. The government provides most everything and the Inuit do not have to work. The ones that do work do so at the school, working as assistants, repair, custodians, cooks and aids. Most Inuit work at gathering and hunting. They hunt whales, walrus, seals, fish and birds. They gather berries and wild greens, and eggs in the summer. The locals have a difficult time with nothing to do and no prospects so crime, drugs and alcohol are major problems. This leads to lots of depression which in turn results in very high suicide and accidental death rates.

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Additional Photos by Giovanni Gervasi (GiovanniG) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 396 W: 44 N: 300] (3850)
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