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Acutally Richard has a much better image of all the food, being stacked up, I am always on the other side, checking out the visitors and the children. Whaling Festival also means new parky's for everyone in the village.
In the very old days, the woman of the house, was not allowed to go to sleep until she had made new clothes for the entire family.
The children are adorable, and that is always my focus, to capture them unaware, looking good and sometimes not unaware, but in their natural habitat, having fun, at the festival.
The first day, of a 3-day non-stop event begins with prayers and giving thanks.
The crews are honored and they are easy to identify. People pretty much mingle
You can easily see, by those flags, they are straight out, this is June and it is cold,
That north wind is bitter, and it easy, it is common to get ear infections, so cover your ears with some type of loose covering,
The flippers are cut and this is a lot of work and it takes a lot of time as in hours for this to take place,
Patrick Attanguana is instructing Ernie Frankson as how to traditionaly divide this flipper, There is much to learn about the Inupiaq way of living and the elders of this village are the teachers in many different areas and subjects that we know nothing about.
Flippers are handed out, by family name as the whaling captain calls out the names of certain families, Everyone gets at least one share of flippers, standing in line waiting for all the important names of famiies and guests and visitors.
The oldest elders are honored at the center umiaq inside of the festival grounds. where wind breakers have been set up, to reduce the exposure to the wind.
Now it is time, to eat, and everyone is getting set up and comfortable, the food will be served to everyone, now the next step,
...........we wait !
Many people are involved as there are many different types of meat, and many types of food,some of which your not associated with, DANGER: you best know what your doing when you eat some of this food, or you will die.!!
Mikiaq is fermented whale meat and it is considered one of the main delacies for Inupiaq Eskimo's. Each family has their own distnictive recipie,
When the whale is caught, one of the other portions that are removed is the Tail. That is put deep into the Siglauq to ferment, for the whole summer. This is not taken out, whew ! Until the village is covered in snow, for the first time, next Sept / Oct.
As soon as that event is noticed, then the tail is brought out, divided and handed out to all of the familes in the village.
This is very powerful, extremly strong, potent and when eaten, it is a downer, fall asleep type of meal.
This is made in the captains house in the village, then transported to the festival site.
Here's what happens when you eat this type of meat, it sits in your stomach and "boils" releasing toxic gases. no harm can or will come to the individual as long as they have not had any sugar that day. NO fruit, candy, soda pop, no sugar, none, for when you consume sugar, that "boiling" action will not occur, and the crust that is formed over evert hing will not allow the gases to escape and teh individual dies from botulisim!
This is just one of their "favorite foods", er, no thanks! I am playing it safe, I got a two day old piece of pizza, fermenting between two peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. & a bag of M&M's and two cans of soda pop.
Elizabeth Elizabeth !! - Elizabeth Oviok - voted #1 Doll maker in Barrow @ Kiviq 2004. former post master of the village of Point Hope.
Handing out mikiaq @ the festival site, I sure hope she doesn't throw that bucket at me, and she might, time to get out of sight, but I can't resist. I have a story here, that will fill a book.
I remember as a child reading a story about a man named Jacob, that fell in love with a woman and had to wait for her for 14 years, ha ha ha ha.. I thought, that was insane, why would a man ever want to wait, that long for just one woman, when there are so many others, ?? that just didn't make sense, my whole life that didn't make sense. that story, Until it happend to me, and it took 15 years.
Why do these things happen to me, ?? Some of these events have kept me awake at night, for many years, wondering, ?? hmmm.
Imagine: one complete whole year, with no sleep ?? Oh, and one heart attack.
Oh I have a very true verifiable story here that is much better than any movie you have ever seen on tv. or ever read in any book. No writer could think this stuff up, it is all too ludicrous. beyond that.
Dec. 1982 - Alone, living in James & Daisy Ominks old house, Always refllerred to as Daisy & em's. that is how it is spoken, of any family. & em's.
It is 1:30 a.m. in the dark winter very windy stormy night, I was tired, from working on the photo album that was to go up to Barrow to the closed meeting of the whaling captains. I flopped down on the bed with all of the lights turned off, I had T-shirt, shortcuts no socks and I was on the bed, giving thanks for the wonderful place I had come to love and move to and I was thinking... 'nothing" could ever make me leave this place, I love it so much, living here among this friendly people that are all so happy.
I was in paradise! and I heard a knock on the door and I yelled, I'm sleeping, come back tomorrow ! A knock again and I said the wrong thing, I said .. "who is it" ? Frank Lane .. .. was what I heard, Next; I did the most stupidist thing in the world here, I opened the door, without ever turning on any of the lights. I knew that there was a light on, outside of my Quanichuq (cunny chuck) = Arctic Entry Way,
It takes going through at least 2 or more doors, here to gain access to the insde of the house. I opened the door and the light in the quanichuq was out, it was pitch black, I couldn't see a damn thing, Then I saw the "glint" of a long straight metal something coming down & without even thinking, my military traininig took over and I had this person flipped aound backwards with the rifle sight buried deep into his neck, I have both hands on the stock and the barrel and I have absolute control over this whole situation. As I am dragging this person backwards I know the next step for me is to throw my legs out backwards, fall to my stomach and break his ******* neck ! I do not want to hurt this person! that was my only thought, certainly I do not want to kill him, even though is trying to do major damage to me, I just do not want to ever hurt anyone, (wrong train of thought I suppose but this is how it hapened. I can't ever forget this and I am certain of each and ever word with absolutly no exageration, remember that. tis is Xcatly how it happend.)
I had my hands on that rifle and raised each of my arms, and picked the rifle up and him as he was holding on trying to prevent me from crushing his neck. I Picked him up and threw him off the steps of the stairs leading up to the house (4).
I slammed the thich wooden door and tried to get the deadbolt slid into the other side slot, my hands are shaking as he bursts through the door and a shot is fired andpain erupts in my neck it hurts and i can feel it is bleeding, I am shot, ( I thought). He came through the door and I ran, for my 44 magun in the hother room, BLAM. he soots again and I stopped to notice the buttlet had left a hole in the floor next to my right heel. He spun me around and thew me into the corner and his rifle was pointed up, with a magazine in the rifle, it is a Ruger Mini M-14
I see the forward motion of the rifle coming down towards me, I am trapped in the corner of the room as that rifle starts its downward arc .. see ya later "futher mucker" he laughs, TIME STOPPED, that downward arc of the rifle coming down to firing position was many minutes long and I had a long time to think of what is about to happen, I am looking at that rifle and can clearly see, that magazine, I am dead, I'm dead, nothing I can do about it, I am dead, the rifle continues its downward plungs that is in slowest of motion, I am thinking the one thing in life that is most important to me in this last second of my life... "my photos will never make it to the whaling commision in time for the meeting to help these people then he pulled the trigger !
Again & again & again he pulled that trigger, then freaked and ran. I ran and got my 44 magnum and ran outside with nothing on but my T-shirt and underwear no socks, I am standing on ice, it is 30 below with 50 mpn winds sceraming all avound me, I can't see anything but I hear a snowmachine off to the side of my house behind a big mound of snow, I hear that machine moving away from my house and I am ready for when it comes into the clearing and it does and I fire off one shot, the machine is going faster and I take careful aim and fire again but it is obvous I missed I have one more chance and I was right on and about to fire when he was just too close to Luke & Aniges house and I pulled the gun up and didnt take the shot, instead I lowered the gun to my side released the hammer and the gun went off BOOM. I am so afraid to look down, my feet are numb anyway I can't feel them but I am so afraid to move or look down to see what I just did to my foot. I am convinced I just blew half my foot off. Standing there in that wind, I am becoming "brittle" and I have to move and get inside I cautiously look down and am so relieved.. whew.. I missed my foot; now I am running to get back inside.
Back inside, it finally dawns on me what had just happened and I am also in quite a state of absolute shock. Nothing ever has ever happened to me like this, with this much danger and violence. I am shaking, I thought I had been shot, but after careful examiniation of my neck which was hurting and bleeding slightly.. Muzzle flash was so close to my neck as to cause my skin to burn and bleed.
What happened to that magazine ? I was looking at it when he had me trapped in the corner, Where did that go What happened to the round in the chamber after he fired that second shot ?? Wait a minute, I know what I saw, that rifle coming down at me and that magazine sticking down . I'm dead dead dead dead. What happened ? how? why? this doesn't make sense !
The only "thing" that begins to make any sense at all, and again, this just can't happen, Someone unseen, unknown pulled that magazine out and that bullet that was in the chamber was "grabbed" by someone such as an angel.
I should have died that night, It gives me the creeps when I visit that house here now still in Pt. Hope, those bullet holes are still visible. I look into that corner and just wonder .. how ?? why ?? whew !!
why am I alive ? too many things like this have happend to me and none of them make any sense to me, I am nothing, no one.
Obviously I have something to do, that I haven't done yet. I raised 4 Inupiaq sons, by myself for 20 years. That was a challenge and story much better than anything Will Smith ever did. .. homeless 7 times, people ripping us off, when ever we got on our feet. Yeah we moved back to the village in 88, broke, no place to stay, but this is home, I do not need any money or any place to live in Point Hope. or in any village for that matter, you just to have to know and understand the village life and how the "no - system" works up here.
It doesn't matter where you live in this ever shrinking world of ours, everyplace has social concerns and problems and Pt. Hope is no different from anyplace else.
Edited on Feb 15, 2008 at 07:08 AM