49 Voices: Jacqui Lambert of Kotzebue

This week we’re hearing from Jacqui Lambert from Kotzebue. Lambert is a volunteer here at Alaska Public Media and a student at UAA.

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Jacqui Lambert of Kotzebue. Lambert is currently a student at UAA. (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage)
Jacqui Lambert of Kotzebue. Lambert is currently a student at UAA. (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

LAMBERT: I guess the biggest I want to do is become a reporter and I really want to be a bilingual reporter for KOTZ in Kotzebue. They don’t have any reporters in Kotzebue right now.

Well we have reporters based out of either Anchorage or somewhere… I’m not sure where she’s based out of, for the Arctic Sounder. But there’s nothing for the radio station. So I really want to bring that back.

It’s really important to me because the radio station reaches out to the villages and there’s a lot of elders who listen to the radio a lot. And it’d be nice for them to hear it in their own Native language and it could inspire younger people to start to learn it more too to understand what I’m saying.

I went to college at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID. And I spent a semester living in Los Angeles, CA. There was just no way for me to put my heart and everything into it when I was out of state because I was disconnected sort of. I was so determined. I was like, “I’m never gonna go back. I’m not interested.” But then, the longer that I was away, the more that I grew an appreciation for Alaska and I just loved Alaska a lot after I left.

Sometimes I get asked the weirdest questions about what it’s like living in Alaska and they think that we’re not part of America, but we really are. I actually met someone who didn’t believe in Eskimos before. That was really weird. He thought that we were like mermaids, you know like, “Do they exist or do they not exist?” And I’ve had people ask me if we use American money or if we need a passport to come to Alaska or to go to Kotzebue and things like that.

I laugh about it, but I also like let them know, “You’re very under-educated about this, and I’m gonna teach you about what Alaska really is like.”

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.