Monday, June 23, 2008
Ahna's Summer Camp
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.