Yesterday morning, tragedy hit the Strongheart family, while working in Ugashik, on the Alaska Peninsula. Segundo Strongheart, of Nunam Iqua at the mouths of the Yukon River, was struck with a massive heart attack and could not be revived. He was 39.
He leaves his wife, Ann, their daughter Cecilia, and a yet-to-be born child.
The young family had come to national attention in early 2009, as Ann took the name Anonymous Bloggers (based on former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's derisive term for online community activists who disagreed with the chief executive), for a new collective blog, that has helped enormously in a revitalization of awareness of rural, largely Alaska Native, issues in the Far North.
Segundo's profound love of Ann and Cecilia, and for the community in which they live, and their constant struggle to create a vibrant life in one of the most impoverished parts of Alaska, played an important role in a deeper understanding of what people who have survived - and sometimes thrived - as a culture for 7,000 or more years face, when being overwhelmed by the neglect, selfishness and greed of the corporate dominance of our corrupt political and industrial paradigms. Combined with the adverse effects of rapid climate change, and uncertainty about future viability of the Yukon River ecosystem itself, the real faces the Stronghearts and their friends have put onto what we all must do -fight, and fight hard - will be an important part of Segundo Strongheart's legacy.
Ann, and her friends' blog, have posted a poignant, sad, and heart-rending tribute to Segundo Strongheart. If you have a condolence, a thought or prayer for the Stronghearts, that would be a good place to express it.
Progressive Alaska will update and link to other tributes as they appear.
image - Segundo Strongheart at Christmas last year