Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Segundo Strongheart Passes in Ugashik

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


sandra said...

Anne touched my heart with her descriptions of the native life. Her love for her husband, child and village were such a bright spot in the sea of politics.

We never heard from Segundo, but we knew him as the father, husband, community stalwart. He went looking for lost people. He made incredible sleds. We knew him through Ann's eyes. I am so sorry he is gone.

alaskapi said...

Thank you Phil.
For now we stand by Ann and the babes...
When we go we back to working for a future of dignity and parity for rural Alaska we will carry Gundo's hopes for a better place for his family close to our hearts.
The dreams of a good, decent hardworking man for the family he cherished are worthy dreams to bring to fruit...

Blue_in_AK said...

Oh, no, that's terrible. I have learned so much from reading Ann's posts. How very sad.

Anonymous said...

Nice tribute post, Phil.

Peace and love to Ann and the Strongheart family.

Martha Unalaska Yard Sign said...

Phil, thank you so much for this. It's a thoughtful tribute to Segundo, Ann and their determined, and mostly cheerful, struggles to lead the lives of their ancestors in today's villages. Segundo always found a way to make Ann laugh, and Ann found a way to make us laugh even when times were bleak.

Segundo taught us that the closest translation he could find in Yup'ik for the "Anonymous Bloggers" website would be "Secret Talkers". I just love that, and we very much are Secret Talkers. We will miss him so much.

Bear Woman said...


Thank you for such a touching and accurate post re the Stronghearts!

Anonymous said...

This is so tragic. I read her tribute and was overwhelmed with grief and at the same time amazed at her grace. Please let us know how we can contribute or help.

Very nice tribute.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Phil. Anonymous Bloggers state they are working on setting up a fund for future education for CeCe and the new baby for Ann. They will have a link when it is ready to go.