About the Project: On Stewardship

The women make clothing out of sealskins and make mukluks, boots, pants and parkas for winter use. The seal guts were blown and hung to dry. They were made into rain parkas. They also make waterproof gloves out of salmon skins. They used to take good care of the skins to work on them. All of what we used to wear for clothing was made out of animal skins and pelts, and sea ducks for parkas. Think of what a hard life they went through. The women made clothing for their husbands and children all with their skillful hands.4 Alice Pitka–Toksook Bay

There are habitats near St. Matthew Island where marine mammals stay in winter time…Seals, walrus, whales all spend their winters there. Then comes springtime, about March depending on how fast the ice melts, they start moving north from there…The important part is the migration patterns and the habitats. We don’t want them to be disturbed regardless of how far they are from our hunting area.5 Elders (after group discussion in Yupik)—Gambell

I think we should continue holding on to our traditional knowledge and continue making our skin boats and preserving our culture...Like for whaling, I would like to continue using the skin boats because it's natural. I want to be able to continue doing this naturally, we go out with the wind and then the whale decides where he wants to be rather than going after it with a Lund boat and a motor...we have to work together. I guess that is why families stay a lot together because they work together, they help together in getting the animals, and then they come back and work together and divide it up, and they all eat together.6 Edwin Noongwook—Savoonga

You know when you look at Norton Sound, Stebbins is pretty lucky, we’ve got a pretty good area that we cover. We are right in the middle. Very rich. You know how they say, it’s a migrating area, heavy migrating, for everything, everything, everything. We have everything in front, the ocean. Back there [tundra] we have all kinds of food to harvest. We don’t have to go anywhere.7 Elders and Active Hunters (after group discussion)–Stebbins

The custom [in my family] is we let ugruk [bearded seal] bleed, until most of their blood, the bulk of their blood has left their body...I can speak from the Bible, ‘all spirits dwell in the blood.’ Our pre-Bible Inupiaq wording was ‘let the spirit have time to leave the body to go back to the ocean to where it come from.’ The only one who can change habitat and ecosystem is mankind, the beluga and ugruk and fish won’t do that.  We’re the only ones able to do that.8 Wally Otton–Koyuk

More about the project:
On wealth
On stewardship
On learning

Last Updated: 
Thu, 01/21/2016