I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

We cannot own anyone else, people, the lands, or resources. We are here to care for each other.” ― Joy Harjo,  An American Sunrise

Nov. 24, Friday, 9:30 am, 40 degrees, south wind, very low clouds. High tide. A little drizzle. Ice bits in the tideline.

There is much to be grateful for on this wet walk with my friend and her dog. Conversation. Easy laughter and understanding. Fresh air, clean water. Birds. seaweed and sand, snow. It’s quiet today, not even a car rolling by up on the road yet. No planes flying. A holiday. A holy day. Most days are, if you pay attention and take a moment to notice beauty or kindness, or something funny, don’t you think?

Lots to ponder after a good Thanksgiving meal.

This river has been here forever. The people who depend on it settled the area about 2,000 years ago and have lived here continuously since.  There were 18 of us for dinner yesterday, and it was “just” family. Turns out half were Native Alaskans- and mostly children. I take that as a very good sign.  I didn’t realize it until I started counting. From the eldest Uncle Norm down to little Teddy and his cousins. More good news is that there was plenty of pie, the dogs (more or less) stayed out of the kitchen– and I don’t think there was one meltdown, from children, parents or grandparents. There was one issue with little ones running the water in the bathroom sink until it overflowed, and Chip did eat the last of the whipped cream, but honestly, by then we’d all had too much to eat anyway.

Our Lumberyard is closed on Black Friday for a well deserved day off, but other places in town are open. The radio is full of stories about shopping, and how this year Baby Boomer gifts to our families have upped the holiday spending threshold. The inheritance boost, a newscaster called it.

I am thinking about that now.  It’s an interesting word, inheritance. It can be good or bad. The collective inheritance of injustice. What we have earned, what we have taken, what we have been given. It’s what we leave behind and how we care for those we love after we are gone. This river is a major inheritance. A life changing gift from the creator. It is the generational wealth of the people of the Chilkat Valley. By taking care of it and saving it, the grandchildren’s children’s children will inherit it (and so forth and so on, as our Grandma Joanne would say.)