Life in Kaktovik
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
More information about Whaling
We have received many questions about whaling. Here is some more information about whaling.
- 9 whaling crews all go out on the same day to hunt whales
- By law, they are allowed 3 whales a year (they are limited to three because they are endangered species)
- Bowhead Whales range from 20 feet up to 59 feet! Last year one of the whales we got was 157 years old!
- We harpoon the whales and then tie it to all 9 boats and drag it back to shore. We are usually about 10 miles out in the ocean - to drag the whale 10 miles it can take up to 4 hours!
- We use typical speed/fishing boats to get the whales - in some villages they use seal skin (traditional) boats.
- Whaling can be very dangerous if you are not careful - some of the dangers are: capsizing the boat, the harpoon bouncing off the whale, and ropes snapping
- The entire town is involved in the whaling process - when the whale is brought back to shore everyone cheers on the whaling crews and helps bring it on to the beach. Then everyone stands on top of the whale (tradition) - we then have to clean off the whale using the buckets of a loader filled with water. Then the men start cutting up the whale; while the men are cutting the whale up the women are cutting the large chunks into smaller (edible) pieces and some women are cooking food and hot beverages for everyone. The elder men are constantly sharpening the cutting tools (they get dull very quickly). We also have to watch out for polar bears. Polar Bears love whale and can smell it from 60 miles out. If polar bears start swimming up to the beach where we are cutting the whale up we shoot fireworks into the sky to scare them off. When the whale is finally cut up (can take over 24 straight hours) we bring the carcass (remains) out to the end of the island where the whale bone pile is. We put it far away from the village because the polar bears like to eat the carcass.
- We usually go whaling starting right around Labor Day (depending on the weather)
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Today we learned all about Inukshuks. We have a Inukshuk by "second fish hole" (which is where we go to fish, hunt, and camp in the mountains). This Inukshuk was created because people copied what they saw off of television. Later this spring we are going to go outside (when it gets warmer) and build a Inukshuk out of chunks of snow/ice and spray paint it - we are using snow instead of ice because we don't have large rocks on the island.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
In September we start whaling. In the morning the whalers wakeup at 3:00 A.M. After they wakeup they get ready and then they leave. Then they get in the bout and then they go look for the whale. When they get the whale they tie it to the bouts and they bring the whale home and the kids get to stand on the whale then they wash it after they stand on it.Then the people cut it and bring it to the sake and they cut it to smaller pieces and they cook it and lots of people eat it. And some times the nanuqs ( polar bears) come to the whale and the people with hondas scare the nanuqs (polar bears) away some they don't eat the whale and sometimes we give the nanuqs the bone and we put it on the other side of the beach. The village comes to eat and the kids come too and make sand casles. After they are done cuting the whale we leave and the next day we have a feast and bring the meat, soup,donets, any kide of food. And they bring some of the whale to the people how caught the and we go to the person house and eat it is like a feast. Then we wait till next year.
Roy Robert Suvluuraq Fischer- Akootchook
In the fall people in Kaktovik go whaling. First for a few days the whalers wives get the food and equipment ready. Then right before the whalers go whaling all of them pray. Not only one boat goes out and whale but about seven whaling boats go out and hunt the whales. Once they get the whale the whalers must bring the whale back to Kaktovik. Bringing the whale back may take several hours. When the whale is brought back during school students get to go to the beach. At the beach when the whale has been brought people help pull the whale up on the shore. Of course we don't pull it in all the way so a loader dose the rest of the work. Once the whale is all the on the shore the kids run on to the whale. When kids get off the whale the loader gets water from the ocean and pores it on to the whale. Then the works get to work on cutting the whale (cutting the whale can take hour's on end). The workers bring the blubber and meat to the buchers. They then cut the blubber and meat into small pieces and boil it. After the blubber and meat is finished boiling we eat! Each day we do this until we catch three whales.
By: Danielle Sims
Thursday, February 02, 2006
The population in Kaktovik is around 280. About 90% is Inupiat/Eskimo, and 10% other. The size of Kaktovik is 3 sq. miles. Kaktovik is located on the Northern part of Alaska, in the Beaufort Sea. We live on the northeastern part of Barter Island. We are 60 miles from Canada, and 200 miles north from the Arctic Circle. The weather we get here changes a lot, some days it could be hot and the next day it could be cold. Our winter can last as long as nine months, with temperature as low as 50 below zero F. In the summer it is not uncommon for temperature to remain below 45 degrees F. From November to February the sun doesn't rise. During the summer the sun stays up for 24 hours. The extraordinary sunsets we get in Kaktovik lasts all day. In Kaktovik we have a beautiful view of the Brooks Range mountains (the farthest north mountains). During the winter you can see the northern lights (Aurora Borealis) any time of the day. From late September to July there's snow on the ground. Because of the permafrost we don't have any plants with deep roots and trees. Because of the climate change the permafrost melts and the tundra falls apart.
Here are all the animals we have in Kaktovik: caribou, ptarmigan, whales, brown bear, porcupine, rams, sheep, moose, ducks, eagles, polar bear (nanuq), bowhead whales, beluga, seals, walrus, ring seals, Arctic foxes, red fox, wolves, wolverines, seagulls, snow owl, weasel, musk ox, squirrels, lemmings, minnows, hawks, and crows.
We hunt ducks, caribou, ptarmigan, moose, sheep, seals, walrus, bowhead whales, reindeer, fish and musk ox.
The polar bears come to the village and eat at the whale bone pile and sometimes they come to the village and eat other people's meat. Sometimes the polar bears break into people's houses. Because of the polar bear problem we put up posters all around the village.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
First Posting - January 31, 2006
Here is a short biography of our class
How many students are in your class? There are 5 - fifth grade students (Nathan,
Simon, Ellis, Roy, and Ian) and 3 - sixth grade students (Brittany, Danielle, and Tracy)
What type of food do you eat at school? Chicken, pizza, sloppy joes, burritos, eskimo donughts, spaghetti, and pizza pockets.
What is a typical day of school like? We start school at 8:30 a.m. and we dismiss at 3:00 p.m. While at school we sew in Inupiaq (Eskimo) class, study World War II, participate in the mathathon, take tests, stay after-school for tutoring and music lessons.
What games do you like to play? Eskimo Baseball, Elephant Hide, Football, Eskimo Kickball, Over the Can, two-foot high kick, baseball, kickball, dodgeball, freeze tag, and basketball.