All the Way Rider

The same month my brother Wicho went to prison, I met Go-boy for the first time. He’d won a trip to Disneyland for his whole family after making a home movie and entering it in a contest for Native Alaskan high school students: What Are the Most Important Issues Facing Rural Villages in the Twenty-first Century? I remember because it was the first time I had ever thought about Alaska and all the cousins we had there. Go-boy brought the tape along and showed it to us. Mom was silent the whole time, just watching. After a while, she asked Go’s dad—her brother—When did they build those snow fences? What happened to General Store? Go narrated the ten-minute video and ended it by saying, Unalakleet, like most Alaskan villages and other Native communities, will be a gauge for America’s priorities in the twenty-first century.

My brother had already been locked up for almost a year, in and out of trial, so we were used to him being gone. But it was that month, when Go-boy came to Disneyland, that Wicho was finally sentenced to life in prison, putting an end to months in limbo.

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