AGE 38Alaska Program Director, Pacific Environment
Adam Elliott Photography
Describe something you learned as a child that made a difference in your later years?Have a sense of humor, it makes hard times easier!
Community work: Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, Circumpolar Conservation Union, and International Indian Treaty Council
Family: Husband Gabe Carmen, daughter Sewa, son Tawe
Favorite lunch spot? Moose's Tooth
Best stress reliever? Movies
Favorite place in Alaska? Port Graham. It's is where my mom is originally from and I feel a sense of calm when I am there.
Your most memorable experience that could only have happened in Alaska. Attending and helping with numerous potlatches that my Tribe and friends up the highway have hosted. It brings our people together, we have a sense of who we are and what are responsibilities are. It makes me proud to see Tribes coming together.
What is the strangest thing you've ever seen in Alaska? How quiet the water and beach was after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Name the person you most respect and why. My Aunt Penny Westing is an elder from the Chickaloon Tribe. She always moves forward and encourages those of us who are younger to be positive and kind. She is honest, can admit when she makes a mistake but always is proud of who she is and where she comes from. She can see the big picture and offers those of us who are coming up behind her good advice.
Famous quote to live by: "You don't know how bad you want something until you know what you are willing to give up to get it." — Andrea Carmen (my mother-in-law)
How did you make your first dollar? Working in a cannery in Port Graham.
What did your pet or child teach you about business? Assume the best, prepare for the worst!
Favorite superhero? My dad. He could climb mountains, hunt and deliver meat to the elders.
What is the best moral lesson learned from a character in a book? These books are the first known written, illustrated and published books recounting valued Athabascan stories as told for hundreds of years. The Ya Ne Dah Ah stories were told as a way for the elders to teach children lessons, survival skills, help them understand right and wrong, and as a way of rewarding them. The elders kept the stories as unaltered as they possibly could without writing them down, as there was no written language. These stories teach children to behave and be respectful. The characters in the stories are so outrageous that no one would want to be accused of acting like one of the characters, which is the real purpose of the stories. My favorite is about a man who misbehaves and makes you realize why you should never be greedy.
What was your biggest challenge in life and how have you overcome it? Like many others, I had a difficult childhood. I had lots of support, encouragement and love from family members and I was taught at a young age to be proud of who I am and where I come from.
What was the least intelligent thing you've ever done or seen and what did you learn from it? I have seen policies and politics divide families and Tribes, I have learned that we need each other to survive.