Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Camp Life 1

Hello all, I hope that you are blessed and happy and enjoying life with your family and friends. We are new to this so please be patient as we learn this new way to communicate with you our Arctic family. In the1980's I lived in the country and raised my children in camp. Our Taataa taught us the traditional ways and always longed to speak with and meet the people whom he affectionately referred to as from " over there " .... that would be all of you reading this. He was born in Barrow and lived in the country all of his life. Once settled down in his early youth in and around the Kotzebue basin He raised 13 of his own children and their friends and countless children whose parents said that they always felt at home in camp. It was a beautiful place in the fall and winter as the seasons changed. You could always smell good fat caribou soup cooking on the woodstove top. the subsistence life meant hard work but it was so wolven into our lives that we all knew what to do and It all came together . there is nothing that tastes better than river ice in a pot dipped with a tin cup as it melts off the block. He always took something and made it better or adapt it to work for the benefit of his family. He built boats that after years of perfecting his designs would slice through the worst swells fully loaded. when the first outboard motors arrived he bought one and adapted his boats to use them . The commercial boat builders were quick to notice and wanted photos and bought one to take back to "copy". when asked if that bothered him he said " no... I have an idea that will be better on the next one " . He would hand cut and steam bend his wood frames on his boats and sled's. we hauled some of the biggest loads in his sled's and boats .one fall on a trip up river to Ambler for a subsistence run we hauled 5 drums of gas, dried fish and black meat and seal oil. we shared our items with the folks along the river stopping when we felt like it or when we came across someone who wanted to visit. We stayed for 2 weeks and gathered berry's, hunted caribou and fished the river.It was during that 2 weeks that I was given the gift of a life time. early one morning we set out to hunt caribou and traveled in the boat .all of a sudden he cut the motor and eased over to the bank. he said wait here for us we need to go back to camp and grab the hours passed and I sat on the river bank as the caribou slipped by me on my left and right. all day long the willows were constantly moving as the caribou brushed by me.The herd was on the move and he had placed me right in the middle of them. as the evening approached I could hear the faint sound of a motor grow louder until I saw him pull the boat up to the bank and tell me to shove off and hop in. He always had a shyness and would kind of lower his head while looking up with a sparkle in his eyes and grin. "see anything ? " is all he asked . His gift was a gentle manner of teaching patience and discipline. in camp we discussed the past and the rapidly approaching future. cell phones text and wireless were an idea that was on its way but not here yet. you could send a message on KOTZ and it would be passed along by CB and word of mouth. if you really needed something a pilot would find a way to get it to you, sometimes just dropping it to us and rock his wings as he head back to town.I will add more here soon...

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