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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
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I˝upiaq RavenIñupiat Ioitqusiat

A Special Publication of Alaska Newspapers Inc.

"Those things that make us who we are"

Portrait of a People - By the People
Originally a supplement to The Arctic Sounder


Portrait of a People


IMPORTANT: In order to view the pages correctly, you will need to download the Iñupiaq font (truetype) and install it on your computer. It's available as a free download from Alaskool.org.

Fading Away

Gary Baldwin
10th grade
Kiana

Once the Kayak glided through water,
without a ripple it raced the river.
It floated without a sound,
Now it sits firm, rotting on the ground.

Like this magnificant Kayak that traveled
at a fast rate,
the culture and heritage were once great.
As we approach each new day
the Kayak and culture are fading away.

Go Hunting
Photo courtesy of Christine Ahlalook

Children
Photo courtesy of Hannah Loon/NANA

Elders listening
Photo courtesy of Hannah Loon/NANA

Two Hunters
Photo courtesy of Christine Ahlalook

Eskimo dancing
Photo courtesy of Christine Ahlalook

Ilitqusiat is “the way people are.” Their spiritual characteristics motivate their attitudes and actions. Inupiat ilitqusiat actually means “how the Eskimo are.” Your ilitqusiq is motivated by your spirit: happy spirit, sad spirit, fighting spirit, calm spirit.

Rachel Craig
Kotzebue Elder

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Roughing It Along The Kobuk
Gary Tickett
Shungnak
Mt. Edgecumbe High School

“ Berry picking is thrilling but it takes a long time to fill a five gallon bucket.”
Gary Tickett

Young berry picker

“ Sometimes we catch fish as long as a five-year-old kid,” said Christopher Tickett, a member of the younger generation of the Tickett family.

Subsistence camps have been a part of his life as far back as he can remember. Every summer he travels with his family to their subsistence camp to gather and prepare supplies for the coming year. Camps are an extremely meaningful part of the Tickett family’s traditions—past, present and future.

The grandparents of the Tickett children of this generation were shaped by the environment in which they were raised. Aliqsi (Wilson Tickett) was thrust into the world in the small village of Qala, located approximately 35 miles up the Kobuk River from Shungnak. He was raised along the river by his parents, Paul and Iyagaaluk Tickett.

In 1920, a sweet lovable baby, named Daisy Stocking (Tickett), was born at a camp along the Pah River, bringing joy to the family The camp was located approximately 70 miles up the Kobuk River from Shungnak.

Daisy was raised along the Kobuk River by her parents, Naaluniaq White and Suzie Stocking. Going to school was a hardship for Wilson and Daisy because it took away time spent doing daily chores like hunting, fishing and berry picking. Also, they frequently traveled to other camps because of the weather that varies throughout the seasons of the year.

As the years passed, the only English they learned was from their children who went to school. The environment was the main influence on the lives of our ancestors during their formative years.

The history of subsistence camp is highly important to the Tickett family. Maniilapiat camp is well located on the Maniilaq River, for use by the Tickett family. It’s right below the Brooks Range and above the Arctic Circle.

There is a great amount of fish including grayling, pike, white fish, salmon, sheefish, mudshark and trout. The area game includes moose, muskox, caribou, reindeer, wolves, wolverine, lynx, fox, martin, otter, beaver, muskrat, swan, geese and ducks.

There is also an abundance of blueberries, salmonberries, blackberries, cranberries and raspberries. My great grandparents were aware that their survival depended on subsistence gathering. There were no supermarkets. The food that was available was expensive. Fishing, hunting and collecting berries were the most important work for them.

Every summer, subsistence camp is a pleasure and necessity for the Tickett family. The Ticketts still go to camp but not as much as in the past. They went as soon as the ice was gone and stayed until it formed again, that was about four to five months. Now they go at the warmest part of the summer for about two months in June and July.

Modern transportation to camp is much easier today than in the past. Wooden kayaks are no longer used because store bought or homemade boats are affordable.

There are three main things to do at camp—fishing, hunting and picking berries. They catch their fish by netting, seining and hook and lining. They bring the fish back to camp and either put them in bags and send them down to Shungnak to freeze, or cut the fish into strips, dry and store them away for the winter.

Berry pickingBerry picking is thrilling but it takes a long time to fill a five gallon bucket.

The enjoyment part of camp is when we are fishing, hunting and going to bed. Seining and lining the fish is the most fun for the Tickett children. They say when pulling on a rope of a seining net it’s like a challenge in a tug of war game.

Hiking on mountains, behind their camp, or up and down river while hunting is tiring but enjoyable for them. While they are on their hike and there is nothing around, they sometimes get bored. When they have a .22 long rifle with extra shells to waste, they hang an empty soda can on a bush and target practice.

At night, when the adults tell them it’s time for bed, they start whining because they do not want to end their excitement out in the trees. The adults always win and they have to be in bed by 11 o’clock.

But, the excitement doesn’t really end there. The children wait til the adults go to sleep, then they start talking about stupid and silly things they did in their past, until 3 o’clock in the morning.

The living arrangements at camp are comfortable but different from home. There is one big cabin for the children with no rooms and no privacy. There are two big Carhart tents for the adults. Since there is no electricity at their camp, they use lanterns, candles, flashlights and open woodstoves for their light in the dark.

The hope for the future of the camp is that it will be culturally pure for the next generations as it is today and was yesterday. One of the main concerns of the Tickett family is that the quality of, fishing remain constant. They want to have the same great tasting fish in the future for potlatches, holidays and something to feed pets.

The Tickett family members have made it their lifelong goal to ensure the children enjoy subsistence camp with all the enthusiasm, pleasure and pride of past generations.End Article

Photos courtesy of Hannah Loon/NANA.

 

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Last modified October 19, 2006