02 April 2006

Tununak & Eskimo Dancing

It's about a mile's hike up to these stone pillars from the village at an elevation of about 900'. It took about 30 minutes to get to the top on the snowy & icey tundra. A hike much needed! I'm doing some research about the stories that surround these stone people.

Tununak is a village of about 300 people, 100 of which are students. On the other side of that pillar is of the bay, frozen & breaking up because the temps. are now just above freezing (aka it's hot at 35 degrees around here).

Wiinga in front of the bay.

I went to Tununak (on Nelson Island NW of Nunap. & Bethel) for an Eskimo dance festival, Kevgiq. Only the surrounding villages, Tooksook Bay & Nitemute, & Nunapitchuk dancers were able to make it. Our plane was the only one that landed & the others came by snow-machine.

I actually came seperate than the dance team, because they had another certified teacher with them. Let me back it up a little bit. Christina & I drove down to Bethel on the snow-machine after school on Friday. It was a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L ride down! The sky was clear & sunny & the trail was well traveled. I seriously don't know how people navigate without a GPS for that 15 mile stretch between Atmauthluk & Bethel during a white-out, where you can only see 15 or so feet in front & snow drifts change your path or wipe away the trail! Riding by faith. So, I went to the aitport to learn that Tununak's airstrip wasn't landable for the evening except by the Twin Otter plane, which the Nunap. dancers were on. So, I stayed the night in Bethel & went on the 9:00 (aka the 9:40 or whenever) flight. It took about an hour to get there so it was probably 80ish miles NW from Bethel. It was clear most of the way there so I could see the hills & the bay clearly. Oh, I was able to see Muskox too. They were just kind of hanging out. Imagine buffallo on grassy plains, but smaller & on snowy hills. I saw a patch of 5. Then, we (the pilot, Keith, & I) saw around 20.

Once I got there I just walked the mile or less from the airport to the school. Well, I was intercepted close to the store by a woman selling 'crafts.' She was selling baskets. She took me to her house to look at these baskets she made. I bought one.

I *heart* Tununak.

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