Poor Kaija. We went on picnic and there were other people around so I had to tie her to the boat. She had to make her own fun.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
My friend Kathy makes Eskimo masks.
Making them is quite the involved process. First she takes a whole, raw caribou skin and soaks it in water for several days.
This loosens the hair....
and makes it easy to pull it off.
After the hair is off you have a large piece of slimy wet caribou skin that is ready to work with.
The skin is then cut down and stretched out over a face mold.
The skin is sewn to the mold to keep it place while it dries. After the face is dry it is ready to be decorated. Kathy uses many different things to embellish her masks.
This mask has a musk ox hairdo. The ruff is made in the sunshine style with several layers of wolf fur.
Each mask is unique.
These masks and other artwork Kathy makes are for sale so feel free to email me for more information.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The water we drink comes from Devil's Lake. I hear it got it's name because an old Inupiaq legend says that there is a big creature that lives in the water. I hope he's not there anymore...I wouldn't want to be drinking creature anuk. The building at the end of the bridge is the pump station.
No Dogs! Try telling that to Kaija. Heck if the Lake already has creature anuk what difference is a few dogs gonna make.
The water is pumped out of the lake and through pipes on it's 4 mile (or so) trip to town. Here the pipes run along the Devil's Lake Road for a while and then down the hill towards Kotzebue.
Here is Uyaana playing under an elevated section of pipe.
Here the waterline crosses the lagoon.
The water is then stored and treated in these tanks and then pumped throughout town.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
This weekend we took a ride to Ahna Lena's camp. Lena is Uyaana's "Ahna", the Kotzebue Coastal Inupiaq word for grandmother. That is the phoenetic spelling for the word. All the Inupiaq words you see here will be phoenetic. Even though Inupiaq was traditionally an oral language with no written words or symbols a written language has been developend for it. Not being fluent in written Inupiaq I make up phoenetic spellings which also makes it easier for people not familiar with eskimo to read them... but I digress.
As I was saying we went to visit Ahna at her summer camp. She was there working on oogruk, or bearded seal. June is traditionally the month that we hunt bearded seal. I say "we" because I have lived here so long and participate in so many traditional subsistence activities that it does not feel like "they", it feels like "we".
This is Ahna's innisuk where she hangs strips of Oogruk meat to dry. This camp is also fish camp where she hangs salmon and other fish
Here is a close up of the oogruk meat hanging. After it is mostly dry, yet still a bit soft on the inside she will cut it into smaller pieces and store it in seal oil that has been rendered from the blubber of the oogruk.
Of course when we got there she offered us some lunch. She had cooked up some goodies and we were starving.
The meat is boiled oogruk. If you made me pick a descriptor for how it tastes I would say the closest thing would be fishy beef. Sounds terrible but it is delicious. The fatty looking stuff in chunks is just that, chunks of boiled blubber. The gray thing that looked like rubber hoses are ingaloqs. These are everybody's favorite. We all fight over the last piece. It's boiled seal intestines. Yummy with yellow mustard.
Ingaloqs are Uyaana's favorite.
Kaija the Vanquisher of Rodents had a wonderful time vanquishing.
Here the object of her obsession is hanging from her mouth.
Uyaana decided that he needed to take a closer look. This was one of many.
This is the view from the hill behind summer camp overlooking Sisualik Lagoon and Kotzebue Sound.
12 miles across Kotzebue Sound from summer camp is Kotzebue. You can see the long range radar "golf ball" in the distance.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
According to Wikipedia (which we all know is the source of all truth), the Arctic Tern sees two summers per year and more daylight than any other creature on the planet. They migrate from their summer breeding grounds in the arctic to winter in the Antarctic summer. They mate for life and usually return to the same colony each year.
They have quite the nasty little disposition, especially when a certain nosey bear dog starts poking her pointy snout where it doesn't belong. Of course instead of dive bombing said bear dog they attack said bear dog's OWNER.