Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kongiganak New School

The village is excited to have a new school that opened last month. The new school name is changed to Ayagina'ar Elitnaurvik, named after a local elder John Phillip Sr. Sometime in late October, there will be a community opening in celebration of the new school.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

40 day feast in memory of my Uncle

In my culture, if someone passes away, the deceased person's family hosts a 40 day feast after the burial in memory of that person. The feast is a potluck style and everyone in the community is welcome to attend. On Saturday, we had a 40 day feast at the Kongiganak School in memory of my uncle, Kenneth David Sr. (picture shown, with wife) who passed away in February. Kenneth was 64 years old and a retired first Sgt. /MSG. He was a very friendly and likeable person. He was an avid hunter and active member of the Moravian Church. Most of all he always thanked his Creator.

Before the feast began, one of the local board members presented awards to the village police officer (VPO) and the healthaides to show appreciation of their dedicated work serving the whole community and especially when they put their effort into this recent village tragedy. One of the elders said an opening prayer in Yup'ik before the feast. Quyana to everyone that brought food and helped out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Skinning a Beaver

On Monday my aunt was skinning a beaver that was caught by her son-in-law in the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta region recently. The beaver weighs about 15-20 pounds. Since this beaver was small, it took about an hour and a half to take the skin apart. While cutting the skin apart from the meat, you must cut the skin carefully so there's no holes left on the skin. Unlike an oily seal skin, it is not necessary to soak the beaver skin before you hang and dry it. The beaver skin is generally dried and then tanned. There are several uses for beaver fur including a hat, a malaggaiyaq, slippers and a parka. Depending on the person's experience, it could take a few hours to skin a beaver. Most people in my home town area choose to save the beaver fur. In this picture, the beaver fur is a little darker. In the fall, the color of the beaver changes and it has a reddish color. Some people choose to cook the meat. I don't know any families that eat beaver's meat in Kongiganak.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pandora FREE Internet Radio

I really enjoy listening to music and wanted to share the website on Pandora free internet radio. When you live in rural areas and your limited to listening to only one radio station, like where I live (the KYUK radio station in Southwest Bethel, AK) it is so nice to have the option of listening to any music genre of your choice through the internet. Pandora is basically a free internet radio and you can play music of your choice that you like in your home or when your on the go.

To sign up on Pandora all you have to do is create an account by typing your email and password.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kong Wolf Attack

One of the teacher's from here told the story about her husband's attack by a wolf while moose hunting on the upper Kuskokwim river region.

Funny how the story changes...Rod was on KYUK this morning and there will be an article on the Delta Discovery. He's fine... never had to be hospitalized. This is how the story goes....

Rod and a couple other guys made a bonfire and they were burning trash. When they were done, Rod decided to go listen for moose and walked off into the woods, not very far from where they had a bonfire going. While walking out there, he noticed a wolf prowling around, so he screamed "WOLF !" As soon as he screamed, the wolf went right for him. He tried to run away, but the wolf caught up with him in no time. Just as it reached him, the wolf jumped, and Rod jumped at the same time, (avitengnaqluku) trying to avoid being bitten, but it got him right below his right hip. It took a nickel sized piece of his skin. (he's pretty lucky it took only that much) He then turned around and grabbed it by the neck, giving it a choke hold, and pinned it with his legs. His brother Eric ran over with his gun... when he got to Rod, he asked him where it was... (it was dark, so Eric couldn't see him wrestling with it) and Rod screamed, "RIGHT HERE!" When Eric got close enough that Rod could see he had a gun, Rod released the wolf and shoved it at the same time. Eric then shot it twice and killed it.

Pretty creepy and scary... the wolf had porcupine needles all over its mouth, inside and out...and even had a baby wipe inside its mouth. So it musta been pretty desperate and hungry. They brought it to Bethel to be analyzed and the people in Bethel sent it to Anchorage where they found it did have rabies. So Rod is getting a series of rabies vaccination shots. Thanks goodness they don't give them on stomach anymore...he just had to get five shots on the arm.
Other than that...Rod is fine.

There is a more in-depth Anchorage daily news ( article on the wolf attack of a local resident.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kong Waste Disposal

In Kongiganak, the only flush toilets are at the school and laundry mat. In this photo, you can see one of our local honey bucket delivery boys taking our container to the lagoon. This is the first I’ve seen someone using a motor bike to deliver the do-do. Other ways of transporting honey-bucket are by sled, wheel barrel, four-wheeler and snow-machine. Honey buckets are common in many rural villages in Alaska. Kids and some adults earn $5 for hauling the do-do to the lagoon throughout the school year. I hope that someday this village will have flush toilets in our homes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Full Circle Farm

When you live in rural Alaska, it can be difficult to get fresh produce. This past year some teachers and local residents joined an organic food coop called Full Circle which is located in Carnation, WA. We received a variety of fresh organic produce that was readily available every week.

Full Circle Farm gives members a choice of specific types of foods that will be sent out. Members are able to substitute certain items. Farm notes included in the boxes give members relevant nutritional information and recipes that contain the current week’s selection of fresh produce.

If anyone is interested here’s their website: and phone number 425.333.4677. This is a great program that allows their members to eat healthier and feel better.