In the Yupik Eskimo village where Tom Cheemuk lived as a child in the 1960s, there was no running water. Homes in the tiny community of St. Michael were lit with gas lamps and generators. The town shared a single telephone. As a boy Cheemuk picked berries and gathered goose eggs on the pockmarked Alaskan tundra and fished for tomcod on the windy shores of the Bering Strait. Like most other children, he also spent many days inside the weather-beaten little Catholic church, helping the Jesuit missionaries who held such powerful sway over Eskimo life. That meant doing what you were told—even if it was wrong—and staying silent about it.
For Cheemuk, now 53, the past was buried for decades, through a lifetime of struggling with shame, anger and alcoholism. "I remember Mom asked me why there was blood on my underclothes," he said one recent frigid night in his cramped house in the Eskimo vi
|Liveleak on Facebook|