Anjuli Grantham, Kodiak, Alaska, Born 1982

I remember when it was all happening, but it was just kind of confusing . . . I didn’t understand the idea of barrels of oil either, because in my head I was like, “Why aren’t the barrels floating in the ocean? Where are the barrels?” I just didn’t understand the idea that it was liquid volume, the barrels. And then I was just kind of confused about the idea that oil was a black tar, a black substance. I was confused about that, too, because in my mind it would be like this rainbow-colored slick. It was just kind of confusing the way that—you know, just a basic understanding of petroleum and the whole industry.

The event was really huge, but it was more like the waiting for retribution was the thing that was more significant, in my memory, because it was always like this expectant payday that was going to be coming. It seemed like so many people were always holding their breath for the day when the money would come because of the spill and the economic effects of the lost fishing seasons and everything.

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I do remember kind of feeling like a sense of pride a bit for the way that the community mobilized around everything and the fact that there were so many volunteers on the beaches, and watching the news and seeing all the fishing boats carrying the booms out and everything. I remember feeling kind of proud of my community for responding so actively in the disaster. So I think that was a positive thing that came from it maybe, just knowing the way people came together and really worked together to clean up and everything. That was a positive aspect, I guess. I think I had a kind of increased sense of pride in my community and faith in our ability to come together. So that was a good thing.

Anjuli's Full Interview