Where Is Harold Napoleon Writing From?

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Harold Napoleon, a Yup’ik man, wrote his now-famous essay “I Was Born” in the late 1980s from a penitentiary in Alaska. In it, he details his life growing up in the small village of Kwethluk and his eventual descent into alcoholism and violence. Though he does not remember the specifics of the night he killed his child, he takes responsibility for his actions and expresses remorse for the pain he has caused. Despite the tragic events that led to his imprisonment, Napoleon’s essay is noteworthy for its unflinching honesty and its ability to capture the beauty of Yup’ik culture. In it, he provides a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of a remote Alaska community and offers a powerful message of hope and redemption.

In “I Was Born,” Harold Napoleon describes his childhood in the small village of Kwethluk, Alaska. He talks about growing up in a close-knit community where everyone knew each other and looked out for one another. He recalls going ice fishing and seal hunting with his friends and family, and he remembers the warmth of the Yup’ik people. Napoleon says that his biggest regret is that he didn’t appreciate what he had until it was gone.

Alcoholism and violence eventually led to Harold Napoleon’s arrest and imprisonment. In his essay, he takes responsibility for his actions and expresses remorse for the pain he has caused. Despite the tragic events that led to his incarceration, Napoleon remains hopeful for the future. He urges people to learn from his mistakes and to appreciate the beauty of Yup’ik culture before it’s too late.

Harold Napoleon’s essay “I Was Born” is a powerful and moving account of his life in Kwethluk, Alaska. It provides a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of a remote Alaska community and offers a powerful message of hope and redemption.

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