It’s a precarious existence, standing guard all alone, but the playground duck has endured yet another Arctic winter while remaining relatively intact. His head, if not his shoulders, is still well above the snow, though he is sporting a few extra scuff marks on his skin of chipping paint. It’s a sad reality that harsh elements are only part of the challenge he faces each winter. The drifts that build up around him have proven to be an irresistible sort of obstacle course for snow machine riders looking for an airborne thrill. Skidoo tracks are clear evidence that poor ducky has been ploughed over on more than one occasion. Thankfully, he is flexible and still appears to be attached to his base, but I’m skeptical about his fate as snow removal season draws near. If skidoo riders are oblivious to his plight, I’m not sure that snow pushers will be any different. So I’m paying tribute to my little friend while he’s still firmly planted. He has served faithfully (if unconsciously) as a visible weather indicator for the last six months. Hopefully, he’ll make it through break-up without a break-up of his own!
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")