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|Apr 2, 2008, 8:38 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2008
I live in the land of ICE.. Point Hope Alaska, the oldest continually inhabited settlement or village in ALL of North America.
Life can accurately be traced back to over 2,600 years ago to this one spot of land.
800 Inupiaq Eskimo's live here! We are located 200 miles above the Arctic Circle in the Northwest portion of the state of ALASKA.
Point Hope used to have a population of over 10,000 Inupiaq. Then the whaling companies arrived here in the mid 1800's.. Our population was destroyed by greed, disease and mass starvation.
Only 190 people survived.
I was sent to this village in 1981, (population 420), as an electrican to wire two construction camps. A three week job. When the job finished, I quit the company and stayed.
That was 27 years ago, and I am still here!
We live from the food we gather in the ocean and on the ocean ice, 7 miles out on the Chukchi Sea in the Bering Strait of Upper Alaska.
Come along and view and learn the way of the Eskimo's from the warmth and comfort of your home/ office !
Lets head out. to the ocean ice! Learn the way of the Inupiaq people from :
High in the Arctic Eskimo
This seven mile journey out to the edge of the ice will take, 3- 4 hours to traverse, it is a very rough ride. Anything can happen out here on the ocean ice. This is a dangerous place. This is how we get our FOOD
The women, use the tents, this is their home for two months or longer depending on the ice conditions. This is where they prepare all the food to feed each crew which consisits of 8 hunters, one boyer and at least 3-5 women to do all the incredibly hard work.
The hunters sleep outside no tents. they sit, wait, watch, hunt at the edge of the ice for signs of animals migrating through the narrow open lead in the ocean ice.
Now take a minute to let this image absorb.. THIS IS HOME.. for the next 8 weeks 24/ 7 ! @ 30 - 50 below with winds @ 40 mph or much higher.. That ice on the other side of the lead opening is moving. from right to left in this image due to the strong North Wind(s). It is very easy to hallicinate out here watching that ice. I was constantlly falling over, if you stare at that moving ice for too long, at some point in time; that ice will STOP, and you will experience the sensation of moving in the opposite direction, again & again, I would fall over, much to the delight of the hunters sitting there watching this dumb city boy from Boston!
If that wind ever shifts, to south strong wind, we have to run like heck to get out of here a.s.a.p. that means everything, everybody, off the ice. it takes 8 hours to set up that whaling camp correctly, It takes just 20 minutes to "Killigvuk" EVACUATE,... RUN...One huge mass panic of over 600 people... run for your lives because it is that sudden. Ice is headed our way and it will run right over everything in its path. This advancing ice will pile up into gigantic piles.
When everyone is back safe on land, we wait, for that wind to shift again. NO sense going anywhere, just wait.
But after a mad dash like that, then people are thirsty, where is this and where is that? Cups have to be washed, and this is how that is done after we had to evacuate. But where do you think we get FRESH delicous drinking water way out here ? even though we are back on land, we still need fresh water, constantly to supply the needs of hundreds of people daily, hourly, for months.
INUPIAQ Technology: TIME TESTED for thousands of years.
Because of 24 hour sunlight, we easily become "solar powered" and it is easy to stay alert and awake for 3 days or longer.!
When you are tired, just lean back on that sled and close your eyes. and rest for a few hours.. Your good to go, for another 3 days or longer.
7 miles out on the ocean ice.. how do you suppose we get delicious fresh drinking water way out here? Yes we melt snow, to wash with, and clean with, but for delicious fresh drinking water.. where do you suppose that comes from ??
IN fact.. .. .. TRUE STORY: I processed sixty rolls fo color fim, .. .. .. using snow! My only source of water, when this hunt was all over! I had no running water, in fact, I had no water at all, just snow.. ..
come along and see with your own eyes.. OLD TECHNOLOGY.. as its best under the most incredibly harsh conditions imagineable.. ..27 years later these negatives are still in pristine condition. !! My camera(s) were constantly encased in ice. Very thin layer of ice on all controls. (Mamiya RB 67 was KING & Pentax K1000 was KONG!). NO batteries will last out here in this unforgiving enviorment. I haven't used a light meter since 1973, no NEED, once you know or understand how to READ, ..........................light. Photography is all about light, and what you can do with your IMAGINATION and that Light!
Inupiaq technology, thousands of years old, We have many "tricks" to stay warm(er) way out here.. but the temperature is always well below zero and extreme winds!
Imagine that. no tents.(for the hunters) for 8 weeks outside.! Winds and cold
such as you have never experienced and all this work.. .. .. .. just to eat!
Are you cold ??? grab that hacksaw and cut some thin slices of raw frozen caribou meat, or fish if available. Swallow those small thin strips and do not chew them. Just eat and fill your stomach FULL.
Your body has to work very hard to digest all that raw frozen meat, and you begin to generate body heat the likes of which you have never ever encountered in your life! This is a "hunters" breakfast, "quaq" (raw frozen meat or fish) When you eat in this manner, you can go all day, and not get thirsty! @ 30 below we are taking clothes off because we are just too hot. WARNING: don't ever attempt ths and try and stay inside, your going to burn up bad and suffer. IN damp enviorments this has the opposite effect(s), Our methods just do not work in places with high humidity such as east coast .
Water water, we need water.. !! Delicous FRESH drinking water! Lots and lots of it every hour !! The ice is all around us.. take any large piece of ice and stand it up.. brush all the snow off the sides and the top.. now wait! watch. learn the Eskimo way.. that sun will beat down on that ice and you can actually WATCH the salt settle in that piece of ice !!!!!!! It doesn't take long. then walk over to that ice with your kettle and chip that ice horizontally and fill your kettle. When melted it is the most delicious fresh water you have ever tasted !!!
|Apr 2, 2008, 9:25 AM||#2|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Northeast Passage 10; Gothenburg, Sweden, Northern Europe, Planet Earth, Outskirts of Milky Way, Uni
By the way, I ate snow the other day. I had forgotten the water supply. Quite tasty:-)
(The name means roaring sound of thunder)
|Apr 2, 2008, 10:28 AM||#3|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Living on the edge of habitable land in a harsh environment.
Although there must be some sort of interaction with other
cultures as you have clothes, pots, pans and cooking utensils
No igloos? I see tents probably made elsewhere as well.
How we would miss our fruit, vegetables, forms of
entertainment, variety of food,comfortand health carewe
have in warmer climes, makes us wonder why people want to
live on the edge........Thanks for posting and reminding us of
another way of life...............................musket.
|Apr 2, 2008, 11:36 AM||#4|
Join Date: Apr 2008
If I type in the word IGLOO no doubt you have heard that word, but do you know what an IGLOO IS ? I sincerly doubt that very much, you think an IGLOO is built out of snow or ice.. that is a myth ! that simply is not true, NOT FOR ALASKA EVER!
First of all, in the Inupiaq language there are no O's or E's. Therefore the correct spelling of THAT WORD is Iglu
Iglu = one dwelling place.
Iglut = two dwelling places.
Igluk = three or more dwellings.
ever since the begining of time thousands of years ago, The Inupiaq people have always constructed an iglu out of whale bones and sod ! These ancient ruins are all over the place and still visible here today. and in many villages. From Kotzebue just over the Arctic circle clear up to Barrow and beyond, Kaktovik
This is an Iglu, this broken down "condo" once had electricity running to it. The service drop is on the left hand side. one of the porclean insulators is still visible.
When covered with snow, the inside of these dwellings were quite protected from
the elements of the constant never ending strong Arctic winds.
As you can easily see, there is quite a bit of room in some of these old units. Some of them were very long with rooms off to the side. Large families lived in these dwellings for 2,600 years and some of the old ancient ruins are still visible here today as the wind and erosion, uncovers earth and sod to display the ancient bones dug deep into the permafrost many thousands of years ago!
All over the OLD TOWN SITE, ruins are still visible and more are becoming visible each year, The village of Point Hope had to be moved 2.5 miles south in the late 70's due to flooding. That is still a major problem today, we are only about 12 feet above sea level, one huge wave and we are all fish food!
Bones are everywhere, and they have significant meanings and uses !
and of course.. .. stories !
Bones.. .. .. what is there to say about .. "bones" ?
Well usually a subject not many would find interesting, except up here, because of the "varied" use of bones. A lot can be said and shown to explain many things and uses for "bones".
The whalebone graveyard has jaw bones from many whales collected over many thousands of years.
Nothing is ever wasted by the Inupiaq peoples. Jaw bones from whales mark grave sites and cermonial festival sites.
The last chief of Point Hope (1920s era) is buried here. Atangorak.
The whale bone graveyard is 1 mile away in the distance, yes it is that far away from this, grave which as you notice, for some reason is not among the people of Point Hope. He was not considered a nice person. He had six wives and took another man's wife for his # 7 th wife. He was murdered shortly there after. all of his six wives are buried here also !
Jaw bones from a whale of that whaling captain are always used to mark their grave sites with the biggest whale that captain has ever "received".
Kamaktoaq is a cermonial festival site used once a year @ whaling festival which is held each June, if we have been successful in receiving a whale.
Point Hope used to have more than 20 clans, before the whaling companies arrived here. Now we have just two clans left. Kamaktoaq & Unisigsicauq.
|Apr 2, 2008, 12:33 PM||#5|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Lovely photo's and explanations that tell us more.
I remember hearing somewhere that although a great
deal of fat is in an Eskimo's diet that they never have
cholesterol problems,is that true?. or a myth as well?...............musket.
|Apr 2, 2008, 12:40 PM||#6|
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Izmir, Turkey
Btw, welcome to the forums,Majik_Imaje:!:The seriesabove makea brief documentary, which quite appealed to me!Btw, any possibility of encountering some 'friendly' polar bears on the way?? : )
|Apr 3, 2008, 6:14 AM||#7|
Join Date: Apr 2008
Well lets pause here for a moment, (pun intended)
Danger warning: POLAR BEARS are not soft cuddly cute animals, they are ferocious beasts of prey that are extremly dangerous and very unpredictable.
There is much you do not know about these animals, this short segment will teach you much about this magnificent animal, that should never be underestimated.
ALL bears.. .. are left handed, they will always strike with the left PAW first!
Even after a polar bear has been killed, that bear can still kill that hunter if he is not careful when that bear is opened up.
The liver must be burnt and destroyed, anything that eats this will die!
Admiral Perry on his expedition to the North Pole lost 3 members of his crew due to attempting to eat a polar bears liver, It is saturated with millions of units of Vitamin A. This is extremly toxic and deadly.
when that bear has been opened up for gutting, skinning, etc.. A hunter must be extremly careful, not to get any of that "juice' on himself, gloves must be worn. Great care must be taken when cutting the liver out of the animal. the tubes must be tied to prevent leakage of this "JUICE" it contains tooo much, Vitamin A and just by getting some on your skin it will kill you!
When the hunter is finished with the procedure of gutting that animal, any clothing that has "juice" on it must be burned and destroyed !
Barrow Alaska 1940's Vincent Niigak was gutting a bear, and all was well and finished, His gloves were removed and burnt. His hands were cold and he brought up his hands to warm them by blowing on them close to his mouth. Unknown to him at the time of this event. The tiny-est speck of juice touched his lip.
He Lived to tell about it in a very unusual way. He lived for many decades but he stood out in a most peculiar way.
Eskimo's are darkskinned and with black hair. Vincent's appearance was white as snow. His skin, his hair. ALBINO. pure white skin, pure white hair. Everything was bleached white by that small miniscule amount of vitamin A on his skin.
Everyone in Barrow knows of this famous hunter, He died in the late 1980s I believe. I have never had the pleasure to meet this famous man, but many have told me the same story in each and every village. His claim to fame was well known all over the area.
A polar bear can run at speeds of over 40 miles per hour, they can attack without notice, out on the ocean ice. They are ferocious predators. Each month, certain women must get off the ice. go home. come back later in a week or so. get off the ice. you present too much of a danger out here for everyone.
That bear can smell blood for many miles, these bears are extremly clever and will stop at nothing to eat, anything.
Seals are their main food supply. A bear will sit over a breathing hole in the ice and cover his nose and eyes with its paws, and wait for a seal to surface to breathe. One quick look around by the seal, and it is all over,.. ... ... .. burp!
BILLLY WEBER WAS OUT ON THE OCEAN ICE; and a polar bear came around the corner and ran towards Billy at full speed.
Billy turned and ran. he had a .22 rifle with only one bullet left. he took off running, he had no choice but to run.. that bear was gaining on Billly as he ran for his life. Other hunters out on the ice saw this event unfold, but were too far away to offer any assistance. There is only one place to shoot a polar bear to kill it.
that one vital spot is in the ear. While running for his life, with that bear quckly gaining on Billy he merly pointed that rifle back as he ran and took the shot.. .. ..
.. .. Billy lived to tell about this and everyone up here knows of this famous event.
That bear was that close, because Billy waited, and waited until the last possible second to point it at the ear and take the shot while on the run. That bear went down.
A very close personal friend in Point Lay Alaska, My electrical apprentice, Charles Stalker Jr. III was not so lucky. A polar bear was going after his pregnent girl friend. Charles distracted that bear away from her, and armed with only a knife, and a very thin jacket, that bear literallly cut him in half with the swing from the left paw. The villagers came out and blasted that very skinny bear, but much of Charles had already been eaten. Dec. 1990 sob!
1950's Allan Rock was out on the ocean ice. Same predicament.. A polar bear was charging him, armed with only a large knife, Allan was successful and jumping on that bears back and taking him down the hard way.!!!!!
During the 1970's it was LEGAL for the white man to hunt the polar bear in Alaska.
A permit had to be obtained and it was good for only one day. The cost of the permit was 10,000 dollars, This practice had to be discontinued because too many of the great white hunters were shooting polar bears from the planes they chartered.
Polar beat meat is the most delicious meat I have ever tasted in my life.
It is jet black, grainy like old gnarled wood, but it is so sweet and tender, 10 times better than the best prime rib I have ever tasted. In fact it was the ONLY time I had ever asked for seconds at a meal, and all at once everyone responded NO!
Scientists are puzzled at all the recent drownings of polar bears. They say it is because of the huge distances between ice packs, that the bear cannot swim that far. That is not the real reason for bears drowning, no.
The real reason for their drownings is they have no fear, they will attack a sleeping walrus on the ocean ice. A walrus will sleep on its back with head back revealing the vital neck region. when that bear pounces on that walrus, the walrus merely lowers its tusks around the bears head and rolls over into the water bringing the bear down to huge depths !
Polar Bears were recently put on the endangered species list and then quickly taken off that list. We are only allowed to take them down as a last resort to protect innocent lives here in the village. Each year a few bears will enter the village. Bears stay on the ocean ice pack, sometimes they wander into town.
We do our very best to get them out of town, back onto the ocean ice. Sometimes
that is not possible and we have to take them down quick, due to the fact there are children outside in the village. This year three bears entered town, two of those bears had to be taken down quickly, as they were trying to gain access into homes.. A mother with three cubs entered town.. We were successfull in getting that mother and those cubs, out of town back onto the ocean ice.
The bear and the meat is the responsibility of the hunter, the skin is worked on by the women. It takes many women to perform a "Native Tan" on the skin using very sharp Ulu knives. This can take as much as ten hours or more.
These women work hard to scrape that skin clean, this is not an easy task to accomplish. Sally Killigvuk, the mother of the hunter with the polar bear. Elizabeth Oviok (postmaster) work hard with these other women. Six - Eight women will spend the entire day, working on this skin, when that skin is cleaned, then it is put into the ocean, tied up to soak for a week or two, then it is placed up on a rack in the strong north winds to dry, for many months.
Well we live a simple life in a very dangerous place, under the harshest conditions known to man on the entire face of the earth. We would not have it any other way.
Believe it or not, YOU are all invited to take part in whaling festival next June in Point Hope !! A three day non-stop event held every year (coming soon).
J.J. Russell Lane, displays the skin of his very first polar bear.
J.J. caught two whales this year! His first, and His second.
Khristopher Nashookpuk caught these two bears, in fact his girlfriend took down the big one.!!
Actually, they caught three brown bears in two days.
Grrr... Grrr.. you ain't so tough !! Grrr.. Grrr.
These dogs just have to show how tough they are, when a dead animal is hung or brought into the village.
Well I truely hope that you found this all "bear-y" interesting !
Lots more to come, lets go back to the ocean ice and see what happens when a whale is received !!
|Apr 3, 2008, 2:24 PM||#8|
Join Date: Dec 2005
Welcome to the forum from me too, very nice shots there, I thought it was cold here at minus 1, great info too, keep them coming.
|Apr 3, 2008, 2:45 PM||#9|
Join Date: Jan 2007
I forgot to add welcome to the forum.
Yes, keep posting, veryinteresting photo's and dialogue.
|Apr 3, 2008, 3:03 PM||#10|
Join Date: Apr 2008
[align=left]Back to the ocean ice :
back out on the ocean ice.. these tents have to be moved each week because of the heat from the wood stove will cause the ply wood to sink down deep into the ice.. time to move and set up a new camp site at or very near the same location.
FIRST THING that must be done, is get some new water for cleaning & washing. this is always done using snow. But which "type" of snow. In the U.S. we have one word, for that white stuff, that falls out of the sky landing on the ground. "Snow"! But in the Inupiaq language, that word is not enough. There are many different types of snow and as such in this world, you need to know exactly which type of snow your talking about. up here, this is very important.
There are over 100 words in Inupiaq, to describe this white stuff ! There is also special methods to use to get "clean snow" for washing dishes and cleaning, not any type snow will do. it must be very clean.to find this type snow. you must walk and find some very hard snow and knock of the top crust, then down deep is your clean snow.
When placed into this pot. we do not want to waste time, melting it several times. Melting it once is what we need.So to accomplish this. the snow has to be compressed as much as possible. A big pot of snow does not equal that much useable water to work with. This chore is done, all day long constantly we need much water for washing dishes, and cleaning other items.
here is your arctic kitchen, 15 people are hungry and it is time to cook all of this food 3 - 5 times a day in this tiny area, everything has a place, inside the tent, This is a very busy place, these women work so hard all day every day and no one ever complains. This is what amazes me so much about these people, they are always so happy, laughter can always be heard within any camp site.
Notice the lack of any sink ? How are the dishes done, where are the dishes done, This is a very tiny area, I have seen as many as nine people asleep in one of these when the weather gets too nasty. Out here, you sleep with your boots on, your parky on, hat, gloves and everything else. anything can happen out here. and usualy does.
last year (2007) we had an incident out on the ocean ice.. many of them. (one which resulted in a very tragic death)
but I will take the time to explain what happend to two people that were going down to the ocean ice. just after we had to killigvuk and evacuate the ice.. a few days later is was ok to go back down and a whaling captain Luke.. gave his new snowmachine to Robert Kingik (27) to take down to the whaling camp. He was also bringing down a new 10 foot sled made out of wood, brand new. Young Erin tyler (11) was the passenger on that 10 foot sled. Robert was driving and new snow was on the trail leading down to the ocean ice. a 7 mile journey that takes quite a few hours.. Robert didn't notice the ocean had a slush like appearance and drove right off the edge of the ice into the slush. Erin quckly rolled off the sled and landed on the ice and made his way to the edge to see Robert Surface and yell.. I know I am going to die today Erin. see you.. in heaven or in heck.. and he went down.. Erin quckly jammed his entire arm into that slush and grabbed Robert by the hair. (your clothing is what brings you down like a rock). Some how he was able to get Robert back on that ice! Hero of the day.. ! young 11 year old Erin Tyler of Point HOpe !! quick thinking and quck thinking again save not only his life but that of a grown man who was on his way to the bottom of the ocean. When ever someone falls through the ice or falls in.. and they get that person out, there is only one thing to do and it must be done very quicly.. time is precious.. the person who is takin out of the water jmust stand absollutly still while very sharp knives are used to cut all clothing off that person and leaving them stark naked standing on the ocean ice.! l then others remove their outer clothing to put on that person and they are wisked off to the nearst camp to warm up and obtain new clothing!
Needless to say.. Luke the whaling captain was furious over loosing his new $12,000 snowmachine.. NO INSURANCE UP HERE IN THE arctic.. what happens .. .. happens.. no way to recover that loss.!
The first time, these people used tents out here, was when the yankee whalers arrived, but before that, they all stayed outside, and frozen fish and other assorted foods were eaten raw and frozen. These people have been doing this for many thousands of years, tents are something new.
there is just one thing, that these women can't go with out, in the tent area, ya just gotta have it. It is not allowed down at the edge of the ice. ssshhh!! at the lead opening.!!
when the tent is moved, everything is broken down, the wood stove has to be off and cooled down to move.
The stove pipes must be cleaned out as the soot is thick in side. Buring wood all day long, all night long for a week, coats the inside of these pipes, with a very thick layer of this soot (pualar)
this is a very dirty job to do, but it you do this correctly, the process of using snow to clean out these pipes works perfectly in fact it is so easy to clean these, that children are given this important chore to do each week.
Just make sure your wearing "old" gloves. scoop up a pipe full of snow, and empty it out. simple as that Keep repeating this simple procedure until the snow comes out clean. then the pipes are ready to connect to the tent / stove and fire it back up again.
Here they come "ducks" what can I say about duck hunting. ha ha..(chuckle)
Two hunters were at the old town site. hunting ducks, waiting and two flew over in range of the shotguns. This is a true verifiable story. with any of these stories all you need is person's name and Point Hope Ak. 99766
that letter will reach that person. two hunters raised their rifles and one of them squeezed that trigger. One duck fell. The other duck did a nose dive straight towards that hunters house. (very few "shacks in this area) as that duck was diving towards that hunters house, he took careful aim as that duck was flying down down down. BOOM he missed. as that duck was seen climbing high back up into the sky, the hunter had just successfully shot.. his dog!
dem dux shore bee smart!!
Delicous fresh duck soup, prepared out here daily, for many weeks.
We need our food.. .. to survive ! Without it, we will perish, and this unique way of life will be lost forever.
Lets go down to the ocean ice, and see first hand, what is involved.. just to eat, in this village !
Last year, Japan harvested and butchered, 1000 whales, (for scientific purposes) They sell the whale meat, and throw the rest away!
We need the stuff they throw away, the blubber, the muktuk. Flammable fat.
The traditional manner for eating muktuk is raw and frozen.
but, you just gotta have the right tools, and the right ingredients ![/align]
these people are very fussy how they eat.. .. their favorite food, raw, frozen and ya just gotta have the correct ingredients or it will not taste right !![/align]
Scientific ?? The people of Point Hope (800+) are only allowed 10 strikes. We received 3 small whales. That is not enough to feed this village.
The year before,(2006) we harvested no whales, Muktuk was shipped into to this village from the other whaling villages in the region.
50 BELOW zero, 50 mph winds, paddling into that wind, is vicious on your face.
waiting in line for food, is different from how you do it where you live.
It takes 6 bearded seal skins (ugruk) to cover an umiaq.
These skins are tough durable, and hand sewn using a watertight zig zag type stitch, using dental floss.
Some parts of this skin, you can see right through it. The sun is low on the horizon, it is just after midnight.
12 noon and midnight are the same. The sound of children in the village, in the summer time all night long.
It is very common to have someone knock on your door @ 3 a.m. I open the door to see a small child.. asking.. 'Can Isaiah come play out ?? NO!, ".. he is already out!.
Midnight in the Arctic, has many faces, many different moods, just look & wait .[/align]
en you have to go, you have to go. But later when you get back to your camp, your crew is gone
Hey !! wait for me !!!
is getting ready to make caribou soup. tuttu is the name for caribou ("2 - 2 ")is the sound that word makes.
Caribou meat is delicious, it has no fat in it.. If you grind up 3 pounds and fry it.. when finished there is less than 1/2 teaspoon of fat. Caribou tastes much like beef, depending on how you cook it.
but it is delicious.
There is a house here in town, that always has a dozen caribou sitting on top of that small roof.
A tiny frozen fossilized "steak" in this town from the store.. is over 17 dollars. with a family of ten people it is impossible to feed that family at those outragous prices when you do not have a job.
one of the herds up here above the Arctic circle have more than 400,000 animals !!
there are less than 15,000 Inupiaq eskimos above the arctic circle.
It is 20 below zero. does she look cold ? she is.. but it is only for a very short time.. and that "tingle" on your skin is very refreshing at times when working inside the crowded tent area.
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