The island of the day before - in progress

The Diomedes are two remote islands in the middle of the Bering Strait. Separated by two miles of water and the international date line, these two dots in the Arctic are where Asia and America meet. In the past, both islands were inhabited by a common native community, which shared land, water, language and family. During the Cold War, the Russian government evacuated Big Diomede; relocating the native population to the mainland and turned the island into a military base. The divide came to be known as the “Ice Curtain.”

Little Diomedians were left alone in their tiny village, looking west towards their deserted brother island. Today, ninety native people still live in Little Diomede. They hunt, fish and eat what the island provides. But they face an uncertain future due to climate change, increased arctic shipping, hunting regulations, and a younger generation dreaming about a life in mainland.

This essay explores identity; resilience; living space; the balance between tradition and modern life; and the coming of age in a remote island. In this isolated environment I take an introspective look at ourselves, human beings, and our conflicted existence.

 
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Bubba, 9, practicing tossing a throw-line into the wind. Hunters use these hooked ropes to pull walruses to shore. Walruses swim peacefully in the background.