Ling’aklluki - Respect
Similarly, respect for others is an overarching value that varies depending on its context within Alutiiq culture. In some cases it plays out as tolerance or patience, which are embedded values within respect, in others it is thoughtful actions or inactions done in reverence for that which is worthy of respect. We see the first form illustrated in the Karluk story of “Ughek” (Golder, 1909), where the main character is described as half-witted and of a great annoyance to the people. Yet in the end, it is there impatience with him, their lack of respect, and their cruel isolation of him that ultimately leads to their demise. This story offers a lesson in being patient and respectful even when someone is an annoyance, particularly when they cannot help it.
The ethic of respect also plays out as a central theme in the story “The Grouse Girl,” when the grouse gives herself to the kind old lame man who is respectful toward her and not to the handsome young man who is rough and cruel (Golder, 1903b). In the end, when the young man’s jealousy and disrespect leads him to kill the old man in order to have the grouse girl as his wife, she flies away from him, leaving him in isolation.
In “The Boy Who Became a Mink,” the boy is disrespectful to his grandmother and her warnings, which leads him into life threatening dangers (Golder, 1903b). Despite her warnings to not venture into one specific bay, “he laughed at his grandmother’s fears” (p. 95) and is caught in a series of traps by the shamans of the bay. He eventually heeds her warnings as conveyed through the mink skin and is successful in his escape.
Through the Alutiiq worldview and reflection on our core values through stories we are able to teach meaningful lessons. Just as the value statement says, "Respect...is evident within all these values" (NEAR, 2002). Therefore, it appears as a theme in most of the stories, particularly unigkuat. In fact, respect must exist within each of the spheres for a balanced state of wellbeing. Respect appears in the physical sphere in how we engage with our environment. Respect for other people and oneself in the larger sense are what preserves social order and family harmony. Respect through our specific actions is shown in how we honor our traditional ways and our teachers, and in how we communicate with each other. Respect is evident in how we cope with challenges and understand our purpose in life. Respect comes from deep within us to preserve our personal and communal integrity. Our ability to find center, where respect resides and manifests, is the balance point.
Excerpt from Alisha Drabek's dissertation: