Alaska has been a melting pot for many cultures for a long time. The military and jobs on the North Slope bring a variety of people to Alaska. Some choose to stay, making Alaska their home. As people come to Alaska they bring with them their traditions and values. Restaurant featuring different cultural foods appear and a variety of traditions are shared.
Many Pacific Islanders have made Alaska home. Samoan, Tongan and Hawaiian people have chosen to raise families in Alaska. I attend church with many Samoan families and they are willing to share their culture with us. They greet us using their traditional island greeting, “Talofa!” They share their food and dance with us through luaus and talent shows. Their culture has a strong family component. I enjoy getting to mingle with the Pacific Islanders because they accept everyone as a part of their family. They look out for each other and watch out for children.
I have seen service and friendship as major parts of their culture. Many of the Samoan families I know have chosen to be foster parents. They accept children into their homes for short or long periods of time. The foster children are treated the same as their own children. In one family I know, fostering has led to the adoption of an 8-year-old boy. He now has a permanent family and is proud of his new culture and life. It is wonderful when cultures can blend and people can share their differences and learn from each other.