Trim Nick

Hello Steffi and Classmates!

My name is Trim Nick (given first name Joseph, but I go by my nickname, Trim). I am Yup’ik, and indigenous to the Southwestern Alaska village of Nunapicuaq (Nunapitchuk), which is situated on the Johnson River thirty miles northwest (more north) of Bethel. Through the years, I’ve ventured out of the biggest village in Alaska (populations tops out around 7000 in the summer), moving to urban centers, out of state, and out of the country at least once, but Bethel is what I consider home. I am a recently-returned undergrad student to UAF after a quarter century hiatus (yes, I am older than most students in standard university classrooms), but this is something I figured would be worthwhile, as I was fairly close to completing a K-12 teaching degree and certification when I last attended university a lifetime ago. I am now in the Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies program through UAF, and this course is to fulfill a science lab, which I missed completing years ago. As an Alaska Native connected closely to the land, my lifestyle is very much linked to the flora and fauna of Alaska, particularly with wild berries (all edible wild berries), which are a necessary staple to our traditional diet (an organic and rich vitamin C supplement to what we eat). We also commonly and regularly use other plants, like labrador tea (especially loved among Yup’ik when mixed with regular Western tea bought from the stores), and stinkweed, otherwise known as Wormwood or Wild Sage (Qanganaruaq in Yup’ik, or Sargiq in Inupiaq), which is a cure all, or miracle plant, which is utilized for many fixes for all types of ailments. True to its name, Wormwood, or Artemesia tilesii or qanganaruaq carries a very distinct smell, that represents the smell of summer for us. Therefore, I’ve picked it as my favorite plant, not for its aesthetic beauty, but for the functional gifts it bestows on our people for healing. We even use it in the boiling water of the steambath (attached to the stove in its opening), which probably does wonders to the skin when used has bathwater on a regular basis. Though short, I do look forward this class, now that I’m shaking off the technology and virtual phobias that have plagued me with taking online classes. Indeed, much has changed since I was last in the classroom and I look forward to spending a few weeks with you all!

Qanganaruaq/Caiggluk

One comment

  1. Welcome Trim,
    so excited for you to join us in BIOL190 and getting us familiar with some of the Indigenous names for the plants of Alaska. Thanks for taking the time to write those names out for us. Glad your are getting over some of the technological barriers associated with online classes. They can work and we are all trying to make it a fun experience albeit from a distance. Looking forward to your observations in iNaturalist, as we do not have too many from this region of Alaska. If you are not too familiar with the scientific names of the plants you are seeing but take good images, iNaturalist will give you some pretty good suggestions (based on artificial intelligence built into the app) on what it is you are seeing. I did it try it with your image and it was spot on. Of course you knew already what it was 🙂

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