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Governor Palin – In Barrow – Nalakutaq !!

Yes it is true. The Governor of the State of Alaska is on the blanket, she is pregnant so they had to be gentle ! Go Sarah go !!  The weather was perfect, a most spectacular day indeed.  Up she went, just a few feet.  Into the air and back down safely. The crowd around her was massive, it was dificult to even begin to get close to where she was, Immediatly upon her arrival she was swarmed from all directions.  This brilliant woman has done something no other governor in the U.S. has ever attained ..  86% approval rating !  That is unheard of .. .. .. in any state by any governor ever !! That was just the most wonderful news item to hear over the television on the news !!  I stood up and applauded !!  Its about time we have someone who knows the importance of telling and speaking the truth.  I am so sick of having to put up with people that choose  to lie, to impress others.

They really could not throw her high into the air. but she got a ride on the blanket none-the-less !

It is no easy task to maintain your balance when that blanket is moving up and down, learning how to walk the blanket takes much practice. Governor Palin exhibited her true skills in her first attempt at nalakutaq !!  Bending her knees when she landed prevented her from falling over. Good show Governor !!  Atta Girl !!

Safe and sound she comes down to the blanket

The crowd was pressed on all sides, people wanting to get close to this incredible woman, who has shown the people of Alaska that she truely cares about the people of this Great State of Alaska.

why did I let him talk me into this ?

Oops, she sees me, !!! It is obvious !! – We had a good quick chat and a hearty laugh !!

Now for some of the not so common blanket toss !!

this is quite a feat; to land on your feet !

Nope I am not going to attempt that !

In Barrow candy is for the children, In Point Hope candy is only for the elders !!

IN Barrow, during blanket toss, candy is thrown, and it is for the children of the village that are present at the sides of the blanket. In Point Hope, the tradition is totally different and with meaning !  Candy that is thrown, money, furs, and any other ‘gifts’, are for the ‘elders’ only !! Fierce competition is witnessed as the oldest women in the village, compete with one another to grab that prize. women in their 80’s and up, running, jumping, diving head first into that gravel to claim their prize.  A person only has to witness this once, to see how much different Barrow is from Point Hope in celebrating its culture of many thousands of years.

Blanket toss had its origns down at the lead opening FOR MANY THOUSANDS OF YEARS for one purpose and one purpose ONLY !! Hunters would toss a hunter or captain into the air, for only one reason, to see if any animals are migrating through the lead opening !  that was the only purpose !  Communicating with the different crews was merely accomplished by walking to the next camp! Everyone out on that ice pack is well aware of the wind and the dangers it presents, As long as that wind  (Point Hope) is from the North, (prevailing wind), Life out on the ice continues day to day. No wind ? same situation applies, but everyone is instantly aware of what that can mean or represent.  A change is coming.. .. if the North wind continues then all is well.. THE ONLY time, people  ‘killigvaq’ (evacuate the ice in mass panic) is when that wind shifts to south wind.  The North Slope Borough published a book in the early 80’s, everyone in each village received a copy of this thick blue book.  It was co- published by the 7 sisters – The common name for the Oil companies! this expression is heard all over the place in Prudhoe Bay. Back to the book, I am not able to correctly spell the name of that book, Puitiwiittchaq  But it was in this book that elders of all villages told stories of long ago, and it was in this book that I read Dina Frankson (Point Hope) tell of when she was out on the ice and a south wind would arrive, they would take a new born child and strip that child of all clothing and hold that child into the wind and move the child in the direction they NEEDED the wind to change so they could stay out there, and hunt for food !!

Again Point Hope is way different from Barrow and as such I will present it in both views.. In Point Hope, the entire community of 700 people head out to the ocean to live on that ice pack for the entire two months. In Barrow a very small portion of the community is directly involved in the activities out on the ocean ice.

Oops, sometimes you just land different !

Landing correctly is not as easy as it might appear, candy is still flying all over the place from some of the pieces landing on the blanket itself. Each time that blanket is raised, the candy and the person on the blanket go high into the air.  In Point Hope, only a woman that has given birth to her first born may get on the blanket to throw ‘gifts’ to the elders !!

A nice soft landing !

Form, and laughter are the other aspects of blanket toss. what posture or position can you achieve during those 2 seconds in the air ??  Each person has their own unique style of jumping, and what to do once you are airborne.

Nice jumping form

Award winning form, of walking in the air, is very difficult to achieve. Much skill and practice is the only way  to gain these skills.  This is not like jumping on a trampoline.  Nalakutaq is all together different ! Anything can happen, while your on that blanket !

Not quite what you thought !

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Delicious cake for a wonderful day here today.

Two successfull crews are honored, two huge cakes, Lots of dessert !! Yummy !

Lillian Lane recites a poem and sings an inupiat song.

Lillian Lane (Johnson)  from Point Hope sings an Inupiat song and recites a poem.  There are always quite a few people here in Barrow from the village of Point Hope.  These people in all of these villages are very close to each other no matter which village !  In such a vast area you would not think it possible for the different vilages to be in constant communication with each other but through the VHF radio(s) and the FM radio (KBRW) the whole region is UNITED as ONE. We use airplanes in the same manner you use automobiles !! We constantly fly.. to different villages & different cities – i.e. Fairbanks & Anchorage are the two popular destinations

INUPIAQ VALUES are what keeps these people so closely knit !  It is sad that other people and cultures do not believe and act in this manner.  When a person has to deliberatly lie and twist and change the truth to make his reputation counter increase, SOMETHING IS WRONG with that attitude and the types of people associated with that ‘personality’ !!

Blanket toss-Nalakutaq in Barrow !

This is a must to see in action

A three day non stop event

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