As I was walking home from the post office today I noticed seven boys at the top of the hill. They were just standing there with their bicycles, shouting at each other in an effort to be heard over the roar of the 30 mph wind. They seemed to be poised for some sort of adventure and it didn't take long to realize that, in spite of the wind and icy road, this pack of five, six, and seven year olds were preparing for a race.
I carefully inched my way to the side of the road and pulled out my camera while a few bikes swooshed past me (is swooshed a word?). The boys were much more interested in racing than being photographed, so I missed a few. I also failed to capture the grand finale at the bottom of the hill where the slippery road made traditional braking practically impossible. In order to stop, each boy had to slide sideways on his bike, slamming hard into a rather solid-looking snow bank at the end of the road. Ouch! Brave souls, those road warriors...or...at least youthfully daring.
But it must have been as painful as it looked because no one seemed interested in a rematch.
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")