It's been a strange several days. Our school schedule continues to suffer the effects of this roller coaster ride of colder temperatures. No one has seen fit to decide which thermometer should be used to determine school closure. Since the actual temperature depends on which side of the village you happen to take the reading, the fate of the school day has become rather ambiguous. Classes were dismissed after lunch on Monday and today they were canceled altogether. As much as I appreciate the unexpected day off, it's frustrating to imagine how much more instructional time will be siphoned away before someone realizes we are living in the Arctic!
In the meantime...we're keeping warm.
This photo was taken at Thanksgiving. The outfit that she is wearing is not warm enough for the temperatures that we are experiencing right now, but that's okay because she would be inside of her mother's parka anyway. Notice her hands...neat idea!
This is the traditional way to carry a baby regardless of season. The mothers wear a belt on the outside of their parkas, so that the baby/child doesn't slip down and out the bottom! They will carry their baby this way until it is literally too big for the parka or a younger sibling has come along to demand the space. I have seen a mother with one in the back and a tiny infant in the front.
This infant parka is the only one that I've ever seen. Babies are ALWAYS inside of their mother's parka. However, this photo was taken in August, so that may account for her being able to be "out" in her own parka rather than tucked away.
The fur ruff isn't just for show. The fur around the hood breaks the wind before it hits the face. It won't prevent frost bite, but it certainly helps.
Welcome to the Arctic! This space is dedicated to observations and experiences related to daily life in the Inupiat Eskimo village of Atqasuk. Questions and comments are invited. Thanks for visiting! Quyanaqpaq!
nuna:tundra, the land atikluk:snow shirt, parka cover
Interested in Inuit culture? Check out these films...
The Fast Runner is an excellent representation of ancient Inuit culture. The R-rating is for nudity, violence, and some language. Subtitles are utilized throughout. I do not recommend this film for children, but it's an extremely accurate portrayal of the culture. It was introduced to me by an Inupiat woman who raved about it. And I agree!
For a preview, click here.
The Snow Walker is another excellent representation of Inuit culture circa 1940's. This film is rated PG, I'm guessing for language. No subtitles that I remember. It starts a little slow, but gets much better. It will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the survival skills of this culture.
For a preview, click here.
Great For Kids!
Whale Snow by Debby Dahl Edwardson is a warm and culturally sensitive story centered on the Inupiat subsistence tradition of whaling. It is available in both English and Inupiaq translation. The illustrations, by Annie Patterson are exquisite and add to the quiet softness that the story inspires.
To order this title on Amazon.com, click here.
The Alaska Geographic series is an excellent informational resource. The edition entitled North Slope Now deals exclusively with this area and even features relatives of my students. Although it was published in 1989, it is still current enough to provide a general understanding of culture, lifestyle, and issues faced by this northern-most region.
To order this title from Alaska Geographic, click here.
More about Kaktovik Disaster of 2005 (from Dec post, "The Edge")