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Photographer's Note

This is the tiny village of Savoonga, on St. Laurence Island in Alaska. The island lies 40 miles from Russia and the native Inuit are called Russian Inuit as they speak the same language as the the Inuit living in Russia. These people live a highly subsidized life as the federal and state governments give them a lot of assistance. These old structures were built in the 1950's and many are still occupied. The government and tribe are gradually building new homes for the people. It is very expensive to build on permafrost and the new homes cost the taxpayers about 300,000 dollars each. The Inuit have a semi subsistence lifestyle and harvest walrus, seals, fish whales, birds, ducks and geese.... They supplement their income with the sale of scrimshaw and ivory carving. The largest employer is the local school and provides part time jobs and support jobs. As fishing and hunting take priority workers only work about half time irregularly. The government provides them with monthly income, food assistance, housing, medical and dental. The Inuit get free college education too. The pipes you see in this picture are above ground heated water and sewer systems and the entire island in permanently frozen.

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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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