The Delta Discovery - The real news for the real people

Williams to compete in 2012 Iditarod


I wanted to share the announcement of our continuous battle for Healthy Communities throughout Alaska in my quest to complete the run to Nome on the Iditarod Trail. I have been mushing for Sobriety since 1991 in the Kuskokwim 300 Sled dog race and then moved on to run the Iditarod for 14 completions for the great cause.

As we know, the high rates of suicides, domestic violence, substance abuse, unhealthy diet, educational issues, have been a challenge in our villages and hubs all over rural Alaska.

I always had hopes that we will someday go back to the good way of life that we had once before, more than fifty years ago. Our Peoples had good teeth, no diabetes, no cancer deaths or heart attacks, due to good subsistence caught diet and physical activity.

I have tried to follow that way of life with the family and our dogs. It takes a lot of work to feed and train the dogs that have kept me in pretty good shape. I had our kids in our Schools figure out how many miles I travelled on a dog team over the years, and they calculated that I mushed over 80,000 miles since birth. Over three times around the world is something that I really enjoyed riding the sled with the good dogs over the years.

That way of life has changed, rapidly, especially in the last 50 years. The war, Alaska Statehood Act, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Indian Self Determination Act, Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and resource development have made all of us change from that good way of life to cash economy and dependence.

I want to make sure that the dog mushing is alive and well in our villages as the dogs have kept us together and made contributions to our survival as Yupiaq and Cupiaq Peoples in this Area. My ancestors have kept the way of life going, and we are determined that we will always keep them as part of our way of life in our villages.

Thank you all for supporting this way of life and hopefully I will complete both the Kuskokwim 300 and the Iditarod this coming year! Quyana cakneq.

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