I live in the land of ICE.. Point Hope Alaska, the oldest
continually inhabited settlement or village in ALL of North America.
Life can accurately be traced back to over 2,600 years ago to this one spot of land.
800 Inupiaq Eskimo's live here! We are located 200 miles above the Arctic Circle in the Northwest portion of the state of ALASKA.
Point Hope used to have a population of over 10,000 Inupiaq. Then the whaling companies arrived here in the mid 1800's.. Our population was destroyed by greed, disease and mass starvation.
Only 190 people survived
I was sent to this village in 1981, (population 420), as an electrican to wire two construction camps. A three week job. When the job finished, I quit the company and stayed.
That was 27 years ago, and I am still here!
We live from the food we gather in the ocean and on the ocean ice, 7 miles out on the Chukchi Sea in the Bering Strait of Upper Alaska.
Come along and view and learn the way of the Eskimo's from the warmth and comfort of your home/ office !
Lets head out. to the ocean ice! Learn the way of the Inupiaq people from :High in the Arctic Eskimo
This seven mile journey out to the edge of the ice will take, 3- 4 hours to traverse, it is a very rough ride. Anything can happen out here on the ocean ice. This is a dangerous place. This is how we get our FOOD
The women, use the tents, this is their home for two months or longer depending on the ice conditions. This is where they prepare all the food to feed each crew which consisits of 8 hunters, one boyer and at least 3-5 women to do all the incredibly hard work.
The hunters sleep outside
no tents. they sit, wait, watch, hunt at the edge of the ice for signs of animals migrating through the narrow open lead in the ocean ice.
Now take a minute to let this image absorb.. THIS IS HOME.. for the next 8 weeks 24/ 7 ! @ 30 - 50 below with winds @ 40 mph or much higher.. That ice on the other side of the lead opening is moving. from right to left in this image due to the strong North Wind(s). It is very easy to hallicinate out here watching that ice. I was constantlly falling over, if you stare at that moving ice for too long, at some point in time; that ice will STOP, and you will experience the sensation of moving in the opposite direction, again & again, I would fall over, much to the delight of the hunters sitting there watching this dumb city boy from Boston!
If that wind ever shifts, to south strong wind, we have to run like hell to get out of here a.s.a.p. that means everything, everybody, off the ice. it takes 8 hours to set up that whaling camp correctly, It takes just 20 minutes to "Killigvuk" EVACUATE,... RUN...One huge mass panic of over 600 people... run for your lives because it is that sudden. Ice is headed our way and it will run right over everything in its path. This advancing ice will pile up into gigantic piles.
When everyone is back safe on land, we wait, for that wind to shift again. NO sense going anywhere, just wait.
But after a mad dash like that, then people are thirsty, where is this and where is that? Cups have to be washed, and this is how that is done after we had to evacuate. But where do you think we get FRESH delicous drinking water way out here ? even though we are back on land, we still need fresh water, constantly to supply the needs of hundreds of people daily, hourly, for months. INUPIAQ Technology:
TIME TESTED for thousands of years.
Because of 24 hour sunlight, we easily become "solar powered" and it is easy to stay alert and awake for 3 days or longer.!
When you are tired, just lean back on that sled and close your eyes. and rest for a few hours.. Your good to go, for another 3 days or longer.
7 miles out on the ocean ice.. how do you suppose we get delicious fresh
drinking water way out here? Yes we melt snow, to wash with, and clean with, but for delicious fresh drinking water.. where do you suppose that comes from ??
IN fact.. .. .. TRUE STORY:
I processed sixty rolls fo color fim, .. .. .. using snow! My only source of water, when this hunt was all over! I had no running water, in fact, I had no water at all, just snow.. ..
come along and see with your own eyes.. OLD TECHNOLOGY
.. as its best under the most incredibly harsh conditions imagineable.. ..27 years later these negatives are still in pristine condition. !! My camera(s) were constantly encased in ice. Very thin layer of ice on all controls. (Mamiya RB 67 was KING & Pentax K1000 was KONG!). NO batteries will last out here in this unforgiving enviorment. I haven't used a light meter since 1973, no NEED, once you know or understand how to READ, ..........................light. Photography is all about light, and what you can do with your IMAGINATION and that Light!Inupiaq technology
, thousands of years old, We have many "tricks" to stay warm(er) way out here.. but the temperature is always well below zero and extreme winds!
Imagine that. no tents.(for the hunters) for 8 weeks outside.! Winds and cold
such as you have never experienced and all this work.. .. .. .. just to eat!
Are you cold
grab that hacksaw and cut some thin slices of raw frozen caribou meat, or fish if available. Swallow those small thin strips and do not chew them. Just eat and fill your stomach FULL.
Your body has to work very hard to digest all that raw frozen meat, and you begin to generate body heat the likes of which you have never ever encountered in your life! This is a "hunters" breakfast, "quaq" (raw frozen meat or fish) When you eat in this manner, you can go all day, and not get thirsty! @ 30 below we are taking clothes off because we are just too hot. WARNING: don't ever attempt ths and try and stay inside, your going to burn up bad and suffer. IN damp enviorments this has the opposite effect(s), Our methods just do not work in places with high humidity such as east coast .
Water water, we need water.. !! Delicous FRESH drinking water! Lots and lots of it every hour !! The ice is all around us.. take any large piece of ice and stand it up.. brush all the snow off the sides and the top.. now wait! watch. learn the Eskimo way.. that sun will beat down on that ice and you can actually WATCH the salt settle in that piece of ice !!!!!!! It doesn't take long. then walk over to that ice with your kettle and chip that ice horizontally and fill your kettle. When melted it is the most delicious fresh water you have ever tasted !!!