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.