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Nastasia (Nastasia’s Window to Rural Living – http://yupikteacherinprogress.blogspot.com/), one of the Tundra Teachers, writes from Russian Mission.

Her grandfather Ap’a Peter “Papasneak” Nick just turned 90 years old.

He remembers how the Great Pandemic of 1918-1919 affected him and those around him.

When his health started declining he told me how his mom died when he was around two due to the flu epidemic. He would look down and put his hand in a sweeping motion in front of him and say, “I can still see it when they put her in the mud. My auntie Qiatguq- the first Qiatguq behind me, and behind her my other three aunties.” He said that his aunt that took him in died shortly after his mom, then he was adopted by the couple he calls his parents – Peter and Nastasia Nick. I once asked him what was his mom’s name, he did not recall only knowing her as mom. His biological father was not in the picture, being a Caucasian miner by the name of George Fredricks who later moved to Sleetmute. By the time he was a teenager both his adoptive parents died and he lived with his uncle and cousins.

I hope we get to hear more from him and from others. There is an urgent need to understand how people cope with disasters. In Canada, there has been a special call for nonagenarians to work with epidemiologists.

Read the entry here […] British Columbian? Over 98? Please call
Yesterday Helen Branswell reported on a British Columbia project to interview people who recall the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19.

Oral histories aren’t just recordings. When asked by prepared interviewers, people’s experiences are invaluable for those yet to come. [see your local archivist or state museum for more information. I have a number of resources I send out to the SciTEK teachers but none posted on-line at the moment.]

I also hope Nastasia continues writing.

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