Alexie also helped create the four-year Bachelor’s degree in Yup’ik language and culture at the Kuskokwim campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the only university in the world that offers that degree. Alexie was one the pioneering teachers of the new written system for Yugtun that was developed in the 1960s to fit English keyboards. UAF Professor of Alaska Native Languages Walkie Charles said that many Yup’ik speakers struggled with the change. “It was passion and love for the people,” Domnick said. “And wanting them to not have to suffer or to get bad results.” “Waqaa. Quyana tailuci tamarpeci,” Boratko said. “I’m able to speak and introduce myself properly because of Sophie.” “What I remember most is her laugh,” said another student, Crystal Garrison. Alexie and others had noticed that it was often outsiders providing legal and medical services for locals, many of whom only spoke Yugtun. The language barriers could lead to serious consequences. But others remember something else about Alexie. When people talk about Sophie Alexie and what she accomplished, rarely is her name mentioned by itself. It’s always Sophie and Oscar. They met as teachers back when KuC was a community college. After that, they were inseparable. Boratko said that what she remembered most about Sophie was her openness. Alexie used her own family members as characters when she taught, and she shared mundane matters like chores she had to do at home. Boratko says that created an atmosphere in the classroom that helped her learn. “Eventually she became like a part of my family,” Boratko said. “It would almost burst out and startle you at times,” Gerry Domnick said. Domnick worked with Alexie at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus’ Yup’ik Language Center. There, she helped create the Mumigcistet Kalikait, a Yugtun-English dictionary for legal and medical terms. When Sophie’s cancer was diagnosed, the tumor in her pancreas had developed too far. Sophie asked Oscar for two things. One, don’t let people cry over my body. “Many of our own people said, ‘well this doesn’t make sense,’” Charles said. “Well, Sophie made sense of this for people who otherwise couldn’t.” Elders and community members sang a song at Sophie Alexie’s potluck to celebrate her life. (Photo by Greg Kim / KYUK) The community of Bethel lost one of its most beloved teachers of Yup’ik language and culture when Sophie Alexie passed away on Aug. 6. Community members gathered for a potluck in Bethel on Aug. 19 to celebrate her life. “One other thing that Sophie’s mom used to tell us both is, ‘Yuapailicirpiiqnatek.’ Quit working yourselves to where you’re going to really miss each other. ‘Avvusngaqaaqlutek pilartek.’ Be separate for a while,” Oscar Alexie remembered. “When it came down to maybe giving that a good try, I’d think that I’m probably going to be sorry that we had been separate for one whole day.” Alexie’s friends, family and former students filled Bethel’s cultural center. During the meal, they took turns telling their favorite stories and singing songs in her memory. Former student Pauline Boratko took the microphone. “And two, I want to look pretty in my coffin,” Oscar said, laughing. “And she did it too. And that’s the way she wants, still finding humor in everything. I think that’s it for now.”
Sheikh Hasina, Khaleda ZiaPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday ridiculed Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia for her remarks on Padma Bridge saying that she would not have uttered those words had she been in her senses, reports UNB. “Any person who has a little bit of sense, who has some knowledge, or who is in his or her senses must not have uttered those words,” she said. The prime minister was speaking at a function at her official residence Ganabhaban when the leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) came to meet her marking the founding anniversary of the organisation. Khaleda Zia on Tuesday said the Padma Bridge will be risky to use as it is being constructed with patchworks, and urged people not to use it. She was speaking at a discussion at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) arranged by Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD). The PM said if Khaleda Zia had brains in her head she would have had an idea how a bridge is constructed. “She (Khaleda) has brains in her head but that are used for making money through embezzlement, stealing orphans’ funds, burn people, killing people. She [Khaleda] can only do these things,” Hasina said. Hasina, also the chief of the ruling Awami League, said by uttering these rubbish words Khaleda has made it clear that she has no capability to construct a bridge. Asking BCL leaders and activists to pay attention to study, she said all subjects, including science, technology, culture and literature have to be taught. “You always keep in mind that education is most important to lead the country in the future. It’s not possible to build yourselves without education. This is also applicable for advancing the country,” she said. Hasina asked the BCL activists to march forward nurturing its three principles — education, peace and prosperity. “You have to advance the country and this is the biggest thing for you,” she said. The PM said BNP and its allies had established an anarchic situation in the country through their misdeeds like arson attacks, burning people to death, as well as through looting and money laundering. “They had only made their own fortunes when they were in power,” said Hasina questioning how can they advance the country when they are unable to do anything for the welfare of people? On the other hand, she said, her present government has created a congenial atmosphere in all educational institutions by handing over books to students instead of arms and money. Referring to inhuman torture on and killing of the leaders of Awami League and Chhatra League by BNP in the past, the PM said they had also brought in power war criminals, rapists, killers and those who had handed over mothers and sisters to the Pakistani forces. Hasina also mentioned UNESCO’s recognition of Bangabandhu’s historic7th March speech and said it has brightened Bangladesh’s image before the international community. She regretted that generation after generation could not play this historic speech due prohibition though it was the number one speech among the most-inspiring 41 speeches in the world as well as one of the best in two thousand and five hundred years. Hasina called upon the leaders and workers of Chhatra League to work together to uphold the international recognition as well as to go to their own villages to educate people, if anyone is left behind. BCL president Saifur Rahman Sohag and general secretary Zakir Hossain also spoke at the programme. AL general secretary Obaidul Quader was present at the podium.