High in the Arctic - 200 miles above the Arctic Circle,
is the land of the Inupiat Eskimo !
Point Hope Alaska .. .. TIKIGAQ (tick E uck)
The oldest continually inhabited settlement or village in all of North America.
Life can accurately be traced back to well over 3,000 years to this one spot of land.
TIKIGAQMUIT = Person from Point Hope.
800 people live in this tiny spot of land that has been occupied for many thousands of years. This lifestyle culture is hidden deep in mystery and shrouded in myths. Now for the first time, with high advances in technology.. I can bring you out to the ocean ice where hundreds of people are hidden in the ice.. .. .. waiting for food !
This is how we go food shopping in the Arctic... we wait.. for animals to migrate !! come along for the most spell binding journey of a lifetime, right from the warmth and comfort of your home or office. High in the Arctic.. .. Eskimo !!
We are heading out to the edge of the ice.. it is 7 miles out on the frozen ice pack in the Chukchi Sea, in the Bering Strait of upper Alaska. This seven mile journey snakes thruogh 12 miles of 'trails" that have to be chopped, picked, and smoothed out all by hand. Hundreds of people working on trails to get equipment, supplies, and all that is necessary for whaling every spring. The temp is well below zero.. .. .. come learn the Eskimo way .. .. ..
19 whaling captains are spaced out some 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile apart from each other on the edge of the ice... A guantlet has been set, now we wait. for animals to begin their age old migration routes past this point.
Come on along for a fantastick journey into the arctic, See first hand what these people have to do.. .. .. .. .. 'just to eat ". No one receives any pay for all of this incredibly hard difficult work out here.. .. .. .. The only reward, .. .. is you get to eat, that is all. No one ever complains about anything. These are very happy people ! I was sent to this village for just 3 weeks. as an electrician to wire two construction camps, when the job finished, I quit the company and stayed here. That was more than 27 years ago.. .. I am still here. ! I will NEVER leave the Arctic .. Heaven on Earth.. Paradise. !
These tents are for the women, who do all of the cooking and other hard difficult work. These tiny tents. are used to prepare the food for each crew. A Captain - 8 hunters - A boyer - 3 -5 women to do all the cooking, 3 - 5 times a day to feed these hunters in the most brutal weather immaginable !! No one ever complains. .this is life !! Some famlies stick together out here. The hunters sleep outside. with NO TENTS. !! 40 BELOW ZERO AND COLDER !!
This is a typical whaling camp 7 miles out on the frozen ocean ice pack. This image was created at midnight ! in mid May. Home sweet frozen home for the next 8 weeks .. .. right here.. 24 / 7 This is where these hunters sleep, eat, work, hunt, and a whole lot more.. !!
These people get just as cold as you or I would. There is no such thing as.. .. .. 'they are used to it'. It is extremly cold and very windy !!
Wow! "Cool pictures" that's a great set of shots and some nice stories.
Do people earn a living from fishing and hunting or is there a need to earn, is your community self sufficient ?
Is there a need to EARN ?? .. Yes !! the need is greater than ever, because so many groups are trying to take away our rights to live.. our way. There are very few jobs in the small villages. Virtually no work per say, so people have to depend on other ways to make money and that usually is accomplished through Arts & Crafts. This is a huge business here in the Arctic and all over the state. Native Art is more popular than ever.
Some famlies are not so fortunate and have to make do with what little they have. Our food prices up here to purchase food is astronomical. Gas has been well over $ 5.00 per gallon for years. It is very easy to spend 1,000 on food and not get very much at all. I once purchased 300 dollars of food in Anchorage for a whaling captain. and it cost over 400 just to ship it up there.
Point Hope is a whaling village, they are allowed by the International Whaling commission 7 strikes.. 7 attempts.. that is all. These people live out on that ice waiting for the chance to receive their favorite food. This is what they live for "blubber" fat.. flammable fat.. maktak (muck tuck). this is their main diet for many thousands of years. Without blubber they cannot survive. This year the people of Point Hope are rejoicing .. greatly, they received two whales. that is not near enough to feed 800 people for a year.
T his is brutal weather out here, especially this day, I would scream when I had to change a roll of film for each of the cameras I had. Touching metal @ 50 below zero with gloves off is an excercise in pure torture. It would take a long time for me to gain use of my fingers, the pain was so intense. Try as I might, to figure out a better way to change film, was always the same results. Intense pain. numbness, frostbite, Pain for hours.... Only becuase I refused to listen to what these people kept telling me to do.. .. so I suffered. This was the day.. I could take it no longer, frozen tears..
Inupiaq Technology: time tested for many thousands of years.
This is why.. .. your nose runs so much when it is cold out. Use it !!
Ah, great stuff Majik. Since reading Brian Keenan's book "Four Quarters of Light" Alaska has fascinated me. Haven't got to sit down and watch "Into the Wild" yet but apparently it has spectacular shots of the state.
Do caribou migrate that far north?
is home for huge herds of Caribou. 400,000 in one herd alone. Caribou migrate up to the top of the world, Barrow, Prudhoe Bay and ANWR. We would enjoy 1.00 a gallon for gasoline if they would open ANWR. But people who have no idea how vast this area is. are keeping it closed for enviromental reasons.
There is one house here in the village of point hope that always has about a dozen caribou. on the roof of the house and a half dozen seals.
Food is abundant here in the Arctic. .but it is all soon to be taken away from us through mass deception and lies. Polar Bears are now on the endangered species list even though they are not in any danger. the population is at an all time high. We do not hunt the polar bear, they are much too dangerous and extremly unpredictable. But now that this animal is on th elist.. walrus and seals are next. The species that is in grave danger of becoming extinct is the Inupiaq Eskimo !!!
How do you stay warm when it is 30 below zero out here on the ocean ice 24 / 7 for 8 weeks, sleeping outside, with no tents. There are many tricks that are time tested for many thousands of years. Eating a warm hot meal out here has its drawbacks at times. Hot food tastes yummy, but later your body will relax, become lazy and you will not generate enough body heat to stay warm. How do you think we get delicious fresh drinking water way out here in the middle of frozen no where ? We melt snow for use in cleaning and washing, but snow tastes like yuk, no matter what you mix it with. but for cooking and drinking and such we need delicious fresh drinking water. Where do you suppose that comes from way out here?? There are many hundreds of people 'hidden' in the ice, waiting for animals, to migrate through the narrow lead opening, This requires a lot of fresh hot coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water for making soup(s). where do ou think all this water comes from ?
The ice on the other side of the lead opening is moving from right to left in this image. that ice is moving rather quickly, perhaps 5 - 10 mph due to the strength of the ever present north wind. the hunters are facing south, the direction the animals will migrate from. do not stare at that ice. It is very easy to hallunicate out here.. in this vast frozen land.. Just keep your eyes on that moving ice. I was constantly falling over much to the delight of these hunters, I provided much entertainment of a different type than what they were used to viewing. this dumb city boy from Boston could not keep standing. When you stare at that fascinating ice moving.. .. .. at some point.. that ice on the other side.. .. will stop and you will experience the sensation of moving in the opposite direction .. .. Katak (fall) I had these hunters in a near state of hysteria lauging so much at my inablity to stand up. I just could not take my eyes off that ice moving. Oops there he goes again.. over down and out.!
First photo is absolutely brilliant
The first image of me on that sled for the very first time. @ 50 below zero. ! I have the flu.. I was literally dragged out of bed, dressed and put on that sled. .Jake Koonuk whaling captain told his crew. get him down here now with his camera !! The truth must be told!
this upset many people. a white man on the ocean ice with a camera !!
Polar Bears were recently put on the endangered species list. The polar bears are not in any danger at all. but misinformation and a different agenda are being used for deception of the masses. the walrus and seals will be added next.. the only species that is in grave danger of extinction is the Inupiaq Eskimo !! This culture must never perish !!
There is an incredible amount of work that must be done on a daily basis out here.
Ocean ice is not smooth.. .. this has to be chopped, by hand using an axe, smoothed out, and keep that trail open .. chop down the high spots, fill in the low spots smooth it all out and keep that trail open for vehicles to bring down the supplies. The gentleman in the image below is over 70 years young, doing his job. Work that trail, keep it open.
As you can easily see, this is an immense amount of work that must be done to keep these trails open, clean, smoothed out and functional. Tons of supplies must be brought out here for each crew.
Polar bears can suddenly appear and attack from any direction, People need to be alert of these immediate surroundings. This is a very dangerous place to be. anything can happen at any time out here in many unexpected ways, and usually does with bizarre outcomes.
Wow, some great pictures and a great story to boot. Love the first shot!
Love both the story and the shots.
The marine mammal act has governed industry activities in northern Alaska for three decades, and the result has been only "negligible" impacts on polar bears, federal biologists say.
BUT .. someone else says different and has put the animal on the endangered list , (MARCH 14TH) Much to the anger of the people of Alaska, this is headed into court for litigation. .because it IS NOT TRUE !!
UPDATE: Polar Bears are not in any danger !! They have been deciding for over three years now, whether to put them on the endangered list. Last year or so ago they put that animal on that list and then quickly took it off. Now, the decison is being pondered again, with much scientific research & 5,000,000 dollars.
If they succeed in putting this animal on this list, .. .. a tragic disaster would take place. The walrus and seal and caribou are next ! This unique culture will perish, - we do not hunt. for that bear. it is too dangerous.
Here is something your not even aware of.. Alaska; - the Arctic - Sibera. only counts for 20% of the Polar Bear Population of the entire globe. Now it is going into court for litigation !!
The federal government is with-holding the info needed to make this decision. There is so much you do not know about this ferocious beast. A mother can take her cubs into that water and swim for hundreds of miles. this is fact: Polar bears also know how to tread water. Do you actually think a mother would take her children on a suicide mission ?
These scientists cannot possibly cover this huge vast area up here. A hand full of scientits have to check out an area that is bigger than the us of a. We know how to deal with these animals. .. the white man doesn't. Just leave them alone. half the time they are running from the very people that are trying to study them. shooting them. performing their research. Just leave them alone. Only as an absolute last resort, do we have to take one down. single digits each year. We do not go out to hunt them. they are too dangerous.It has also been documented on the history channel with 'film' of a polargrizz. !!
Here are some facts and information, I bet you never knew.
Well lets pause here for a moment, (pun intended)
Danger warning: POLAR BEARS are not soft cuddly cute animals, they are ferocious beasts of prey that are extremly dangerous and very unpredictable.
There is much you do not know about these animals, this short segment will teach you much about this magnificent animal, that should never be underestimated.
ALL bears.. .. are left handed, they will always strike with the left PAW first!
Even after a polar bear has been killed, that bear can still kill that hunter if he is not careful when that bear is opened up.
The liver must be burnt and destroyed, anything that eats this will die!
Admiral Perry on his expedition to the North Pole lost 3 members of his crew due to attempting to eat a polar bears liver, It is saturated with millions of units of Vitamin A. This is extremly toxic and deadly.
when that bear has been opened up for gutting, skinning, etc.. A hunter must be extremly careful, not to get any of that "juice' on himself, gloves must be worn. Great care must be taken when cutting the liver out of the animal. the tubes must be tied to prevent leakage of this "JUICE" it contains tooo much, Vitamin A and just by getting some on your skin it will kill you!
When the hunter is finished with the procedure of gutting that animal, any clothing that has "juice" on it must be burned and destroyed !
Barrow Alaska 1940's Vincent Niigak was gutting a bear, and all was well and finished, His gloves were removed and burnt. His hands were cold and he brought up his hands to warm them by blowing on them close to his mouth. Unknown to him at the time of this event. The tiny-est speck of juice touched his lip.
He Lived to tell about it in a very unusual way. He lived for many decades but he stood out in a most peculiar way.
Eskimo's are darkskinned and with black hair. Vincent's appearance was white as snow. His skin, his hair. ALBINO. pure white skin, pure white hair. Everything was bleached white by that small miniscule amount of vitamin A on his skin.
Everyone in Barrow knows of this famous hunter, He died in the late 1980s I believe. I have never had the pleasure to meet this famous man, but many have told me the same story in each and every village. His claim to fame was well known all over the area.
A polar bear can run at speeds of over 40 miles per hour, they can attack without notice, out on the ocean ice. They are ferocious predators. Each month, certain women must get off the ice. go home. come back later in a week or so. get off the ice. you present too much of a danger out here for everyone.
That bear can smell blood for many miles, these bears are extremly clever and will stop at nothing to eat, anything.
Seals are their main food supply. A bear will sit over a breathing hole in the ice and cover his nose and eyes with its paws, and wait for a seal to surface to breathe. One quick look around by the seal, and it is all over,.. ... ... .. burp!
BILLLY WEBER WAS OUT ON THE OCEAN ICE; and a polar bear came around the corner and ran towards Billy at full speed.
Billy turned and ran. he had a .22 rifle with only one bullet left. he took off running, he had no choice but to run.. that bear was gaining on Billly as he ran for his life. Other hunters out on the ice saw this event unfold, but were too far away to offer any assistance. There is only one place to shoot a polar bear to kill it.
that one vital spot is in the ear. While running for his life, with that bear quckly gaining on Billy he merly pointed that rifle back as he ran and took the shot.. .. ..
.. .. Billy lived to tell about this and everyone up here knows of this famous event.
That bear was that close, because Billy waited, and waited until the last possible second to point it at the ear and take the shot while on the run. That bear went down.
A very close personal friend in Point Lay Alaska, My electrical apprentice, Charles Stalker Jr. III was not so lucky. A polar bear was going after his pregnent girl friend. Charles distracted that bear away from her, and armed with only a knife, and a very thin jacket, that bear literallly cut him in half with the swing from the left paw. The villagers came out and blasted that very skinny bear, but much of Charles had already been eaten. Dec. 1990 sob!
1950's Allan Rock was out on the ocean ice. Same predicament.. A polar bear was charging him, armed with only a large knife, Allan was successful and jumping on that bears back and taking him down the hard way.!!!!!
During the 1970's it was LEGAL for the white man to hunt the polar bear in Alaska.
A permit had to be obtained and it was good for only one day. The cost of the permit was 10,000 dollars, This practice had to be discontinued because too many of the great white hunters were shooting polar bears from the planes they chartered.
Polar beat meat is the most delicious meat I have ever tasted in my life.
It is jet black, grainy like old gnarled wood, but it is so sweet and tender, 10 times better than the best prime rib I have ever tasted. In fact it was the ONLY time I had ever asked for seconds at a meal, and all at once everyone responded NO!
Scientists are puzzled at all the recent drownings of polar bears. They say it is because of the huge distances between ice packs, that the bear cannot swim that far. That is not the real reason for bears drowning, no.
The real reason for their drownings is they have no fear, they will attack a sleeping walrus on the ocean ice. A walrus will sleep on its back with head back revealing the vital neck region. when that bear pounces on that walrus, the walrus merely lowers its tusks around the bears head and rolls over into the water bringing the bear down to huge depths !
Polar Bears were recently put on the endangered species list and then quickly taken off that list. We are only allowed to take them down as a last resort to protect innocent lives here in the village. Each year a few bears will enter the village. Bears stay on the ocean ice pack, sometimes they wander into town.
We do our very best to get them out of town, back onto the ocean ice. Sometimes
that is not possible and we have to take them down quick, due to the fact there are children outside in the village. This year three bears entered town, two of those bears had to be taken down quickly, as they were trying to gain access into homes.. A mother with three cubs entered town.. We were successfull in getting that mother and those cubs, out of town back onto the ocean ice.
The bear and the meat is the responsibility of the hunter, the skin is worked on by the women. It takes many women to perform a "Native Tan" on the skin using very sharp Ulu knives. This can take as much as ten hours or more.
These women work hard to scrape that skin clean, this is not an easy task to accomplish. Sally Killigvuk, the mother of the hunter with the polar bear. Elizabeth Oviok (postmaster) work hard with these other women. Six - Eight women will spend the entire day, working on this skin, when that skin is cleaned, then it is put into the ocean, tied up to soak for a week or two, then it is placed up on a rack in the strong north winds to dry, for many months.
Well we live a simple life in a very dangerous place, under the harshest conditions known to man on the entire face of the earth. We would not have it any other way.
Believe it or not, YOU are all invited to take part in whaling festival next June in Point Hope !! A three day non-stop event held every year (coming soon).
J.J. Russell Lane, displays the skin of his very first polar bear.
J.J. caught two whales this year! His first, and His second.
Khristopher Nashookpuk caught these two bears, in fact his girlfriend took down the big one.!!
Actually, they caught three brown bears in two days.
Grrr... Grrr.. you ain't so tough !! Grrr.. Grrr.
These dogs just have to show how tough they are, when a dead animal is hung or brought into the village.
Well I truely hope that you found this all "bear-y" interesting !
Lots more to come, lets go back to the ocean ice and see what happens when a whale is received !!
I'm trying to work out if this is some strange spam, of if the poster is just weird.
Hmnn he's posted this story before:
I'd hardly call it spam. It's very interesting stuff, even if he does write in a weird way!