Separated by two miles of water and the international dateline, the Diomede Islands are two dots in the Arctic. 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, turning the island into a military base. The divide came to be known as the “Ice Curtain.”
Little Diomedians were left alone 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 on the mainland.
This essay explores identity, resilience, living space, and the coming of age in a remote island.