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If I type in the word IGLOO no doubt you have heard that word, but do you know what an IGLOO IS ? I sincerly doubt that very much, you think an IGLOO is built out of snow or ice.. that is a myth ! that simply is not true, NOT FOR ALASKA EVER!First of all, in the Inupiaq language there are no O’s or E’s. Therefore the correct spelling of THAT WORD is Iglu

Iglu = one dwelling place.

Iglut = two dwelling places.

Igluk = three or more dwellings.

ever since the begining of time thousands of years ago, The Inupiaq people have always constructed an iglu out of whale bones and sod ! These ancient ruins are all over the place and still visible here today. and in many villages. From Kotzebue just over the Arctic circle clear up to Barrow and beyond, Kaktovik.Lots of room, Nice place to live eh?

This is an Iglu, this broken down “condo” once had electricity running to it. The service drop is on the left hand side. one of the porcelean insulators is still visible. : When covered with snow, the inside of these dwellings were quite protected from the elements of the constant never ending strong Arctic winds.As you can easily see, there is quite a bit of room in some of these old units. Some of them were very long with rooms off to the side. Large families lived in these dwellings for 2,600 years and some of the old ancient ruins are still visible here today as the wind and erosion, uncovers earth and sod to display the ancient bones dug deep into the permafrost many thousands of years ago!


All over the OLD TOWN SITE, ruins are still visible and more are becoming visible each year, The village ofNOt quite what you thought an iglu was Point Hope had to be moved 2.5 miles south in the late 70’s due to flooding. That is still a major problem today, we are only about 12 feet above sea level, one huge wave and we are all fish food!

Bones are everywhere, and they have significant meanings and uses !

and of course.. .. stories !
Bones.. .. .. what is there to say about .. “bones” ?

Not quite what you thought an iglu was

Well usually a subject not many would find interesting, except up here, because of the “varied” use of bones. A lot can be said and shown to explain many things and uses for “bones”.

The whalebone graveyard has jaw bones from many whales collected over many thousands of years.

Nothing is ever wasted by the Inupiaq peoples. Jaw bones from whales mark grave sites and cermonial festival sites.

The last chief of Point Hope (1920s era) is buried here. Atangorak.

Old bones are everywhere around this area, they all have distinct meanings.

The whale bone graveyard is 1 mile away in the distance, yes it is that far away from this, grave which as you notice, for some reason is not among the people of Point Hope. He was not considered a nice person. He had six wives and took another man’s wife for his # 7 th wife. He was murdered shortly there after. all of his six wives are buried here also !

Jaw bones from a whale of that whaling captain are always used to mark their grave sites with the biggest whale that captain has ever “received”.

Kamaktoaq is a cermonial festival site used once a year @ whaling festival which is held each June, if we have been successful in receiving a whale.
Point Hope used to have more than 20 clans, before the whaling companies arrived here. Now we have just two clans left. Kamaktoaq & Unisigsicauq.

June whaling fesitval site

We are under a quota system and as such we cannot hunt in the traditional manner of years long ago. We are prohibited in obtaining the necessary amount to feed this village. We are allowed 10 attempts only. Last year we received no whales. This year we have been blessed to receive 3. That is no where near enough to feed 800 people for the entire year. This is the [b]one food[/b] we enjoy the most. Blubber, maktak, fat, flammable fat. This keeps us warm and very happy. [b]NO other food [/b]can do what blubber can do for us. This has been our mainstay for thousands of years. But due to the animal activists and PETA and the INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION we must refrain from eating our food, based on false information and knowledge about our way of life.

In 1983 I had to return to Boston as my father passed.
On the streets of Boston, greenpiece was passing out phamplets to STOP THE ESKIMO’S FROM KILLING WHALES.. there are only 250 right whales remaining.. that is what the propaganda said. which was / is totally false. Well over 15,000 Bowhead whales were counted by federal biologists the year before. I went to the greenpiece office, and met with them. I asked one question. Isnt a “right whale” the same thing as a Bowhead whale ? well um, er, oh.. yes it is they said. I produced my album, they kicked me out !

When my first whale hunt finished I worked ferverishly around the clock to process this film and begin the tedious process of printing 11 x 14 color enlargements right here in the village. Gorgeous color prints delivered down to the ocean ice, same day, for free to everyone.

This has to be a first, delivering 11 x 14 color prints down to the edge of the ice.

Then I began the ardous process of creating 7 albums complete with hand written calligraphy. i had to get these images up to Barrow for the CLOSED MEETING of whaling captains only with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and the International Whaling Commission. I was very upset. I had to try and do something, no matter what the cost.

I worked and worked and worked and prepared the albums:

on the inside cover was calligraphy explaing what your about to see:

Imagine chopping a trail through ice for 7 miles, to move equipment, supplies and hundreds of people to live out on the ocean ice for two months, just to obtain food.

Imagine sleeping outside @ 50 below zero for two months.. .. just to eat !

The Album was finished with days to spare and I flew at my own expense up to Barrow to gain access to this closed meeting. I had high hopes. and lots of prayers.

The morning of the meeting, I was walking down a street in Barrow with the album in hand, my foot hit a slick piece of ice and I went completly horizontal, the album went flying into the air, came down hard and both covers broke and the pages were scattered all over the street in mud. I just sat there and cried like a baby. Got up.. and gathered everything up, tottally in shock over the event that had just happened. I am a totall mess, mud all over me, the pages are ruined, i gatherered everything up and headed to that meeting, nothing was going to stop me. Outside I took my jacket off and use my shirt to clean the pages as much as possible. I took a deep breath and walked in and was immediately thrown out.!

This meeting is closed:! Even if the Mayor of Barrow tried to gain access. NO! closed: this is serious.. oh oh.. um.. what do I do now.. I tried to clean up as much as possible and went back in and again I was thrown out physcially!

I gotta do something different.. but what.? took a deep breath, said.. .. “Thanks” and waked back in.. here they come.. I opened the albumn and yelled .. YOU NEED THESE PHOTOGRAPHS!!!!!!!
AFTER much whispering at the main table, I am allowed in ! I apologized for my appearance and told them a new albumn would be on the next plane headed up to Barrow from Point Hope. I was allowed to get up on that podium and in front of 2 state senators and the International whaling commission and the Alaska Eskimo whaling commission I presented my case, in Inupiaq and in English.

NO ONE………. NO COMMISSION,, NO AGENCY. NO PERSON, NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT to hinder these people in their age old plight to eat their food.

These people are truely one with the whale. We do not hunt and kill whales !

We wait for that whale to give itself over to the captain of its choice.

I spoke for 1/2 hour and thanked the natives peoples for giving me the chance to express my OPINION on this world wide plight of the Eskimo people of all 9 whaling villages in Alaska.

I flew back to point hope very depressed at the outcome of that days events. A few days later I received this in the mail.



Polar Bears !


In my 30 years of living in the Arctic among the Inupiaq people(s).  I have seen less than 10 polar bears taken down, as a last resort.  Too many people think that  these people are killing this bear on a daily basis.  The media will not admit the truth; 

Polar populations around the entire world are at an all time high.  THAT IS FACT: !!

 The marine mammal act has governed industry activities in northern Alaska for three decades, and the result has been only “negligible” impacts on polar bears, federal biologists say.

BUT .. someone else says different and has put the animal on the endangered list ,  (MARCH 14TH) Much to the anger of the people of Alaska,  this is headed into court for litigation. .because it IS NOT TRUE !!

UPDATE:  Polar Bears are not in any danger !!  They have been deciding for over three years now, whether to put them on the endangered list. Last year or so ago they put that animal on that list and then quickly took it off. Now, the decison is being pondered again, with much scientific research & 5,000,000 dollars.
If they succeed in putting this animal on this list, .. .. a tragic disaster would take place. The walrus and seal and caribou are next !  This unique culture will perish,  – we do not hunt. for that bear. it is too dangerous.

Here is something your not even aware of.. Alaska; – the Arctic – Sibera. only counts for 20% of the Polar Bear Population of the entire globe. Now it is going into court for litigation !!
The federal government is with-holding the info needed to make this decision.  There is so much you do not know about this ferocious beast.  A mother can take her cubs into that water and swim for  hundreds of  miles.  this is fact:  Polar bears also know how to tread water. Do you actually think a mother would take her children on a suicide mission ?

These scientists cannot possibly cover this huge vast area up here.  A hand full of scientits have to check out an area that is bigger than the us of a.  We know how to deal with these animals. .. the white man doesn’t.  Just leave them alone. half the time they are running from the very people that are trying to study them. shooting them. performing their research.   Just leave them alone.  Only as an absolute last resort, do we have to take one down.  single digits each year.  We do not go out to hunt them. they are too dangerous.It has also been documented on the history channel with ‘film’ of a polargrizz. !!

 Here are some facts and information, I bet you never knew.

Well lets pause here for a moment,  (pun intended)

Polar Bears are not cute cuddly animals that are ferocious beasts of prey.

Danger warning: POLAR BEARS are not soft cuddly cute animals, they are ferocious beasts of prey that are extremly dangerous and very unpredictable.

There is much you do not know about these animals, this short segment will teach you much about this magnificent animal, that should never be underestimated.

ALL bears.. .. are left handed, they will always strike with the left PAW first!

Even after a polar bear has been killed, that bear can still kill that hunter if he is not careful when that bear is opened up.
The liver must be burnt and destroyed, anything that eats this will die!

This animal should never be underestimated, they are extremly unpredictable.
Admiral Perry on his expedition to the North Pole lost 3 members of his crew due to attempting to eat a polar bears liver,  It is saturated with millions of units of Vitamin A.  This is extremly toxic and deadly.
when that bear has been opened up for gutting, skinning, etc.. A hunter must be extremly careful, not to get any of that “juice’ on himself, gloves must be worn. Great care must be taken when cutting the liver out of the animal. the tubes must be tied to prevent leakage of this “JUICE”  it contains tooo much, Vitamin A and just by getting some on your skin it will kill you!

When the hunter is finished with the procedure of gutting that animal, any clothing that has “juice” on it must be burned and destroyed !

Barrow Alaska 1940’s  Vincent Nageak was gutting a bear, and all was well and finished, His gloves were removed and burnt.  His hands were cold and he brought up his hands to warm them by blowing on them close to his mouth.  Unknown to him at the time of this event. The tiny-est speck of juice touched his lip.

He Lived to tell about it in a very unusual way.  He lived for many decades but he stood out in a most peculiar way.

Eskimo’s are darkskinned and with black hair. Vincent’s appearance was white as snow. His skin, his hair.  ALBINO. pure white skin, pure white hair. Everything was bleached white by that small miniscule amount of vitamin A on his skin.

Everyone in Barrow knows of this famous hunter, He died in the late 1980s I believe. I have never had the pleasure to meet this famous man, but many have told me the same story in each and every village. His claim to fame was well known all over the area.
In the Lane’s house in Point Hope there is a huge photo / poster of this man hanging on the wall and the whiteness of his skin / hair is extremly apparent !!

A polar bear can run at speeds of over 40 miles per hour, they can attack without notice, out on the ocean ice. They are ferocious predators. Each month, certain women must get off the ice. go home. come back later in a week or so. get off the ice. you present too much of a danger out here for everyone.
That bear can smell blood for many miles, these bears are extremly clever and will stop at nothing to eat, anything.

Seals are their main food supply.  A bear will sit over a breathing hole in the ice and cover his nose and eyes with its paws, and wait for a seal to surface to breathe. One quick look around by the seal, and it is all over,.. … … ..  burp!

BILLLY WEBER WAS OUT ON THE OCEAN ICE; and a polar bear came around the corner and ran towards Billy at full speed.
Billy turned and ran. he had a .22 rifle with only one bullet left. he took off running,  he had no choice but to run.. that bear was gaining on Billly as he ran for his life. Other hunters out on the ice saw this event unfold, but were too far away to offer any assistance.  There is only one place to shoot a polar bear to kill it.
that one vital spot is in the ear. While running for his life, with that bear quckly gaining on Billy he merly pointed that rifle back as he ran and took the shot.. .. ..
.. .. Billy lived to tell about this and everyone up here knows of this famous event.

That bear was that close, because  Billy waited, and waited until the last possible second to point it at the ear and take the shot while on the run.  That bear went down.

A very close personal friend in Point Lay Alaska, My electrical apprentice, Charles Stalker Jr. III  was not so lucky.  A polar bear was going after his pregnent girl friend.  Charles distracted that bear away from her, and armed with only a knife, and a very thin jacket, that bear literallly cut him in half with the swing from the left paw.  The villagers came out and blasted that very skinny bear, but much of Charles  (50 pounds) had already been eaten.  Dec. 1990  sob!  I will post the exact newspaper account on this, for people that insist that I am making these stories up and I am a liar !!  tisk tisk.. so cruel !!

1950’s Allan Rock was out on the ocean ice.  Same predicament.. A polar bear was charging him, armed with only a large knife, Allan was successful and jumping on that bears back and taking him down the hard way.!!!!!  this is still spoken of, in the village of Point Hope. *  (quoted from a book ) ! Tigara Eskimos and their enviroment !!  I do not lie, I do not exageratte. I only want an apology from  the 5 people that have slapped me across the face, repeatidly !! On many occasions !! shame shame shame on all of you !!

During the 1970’s it was LEGAL for the white man to hunt the polar bear in Alaska.
A permit had to be obtained and it was good for only one day. The cost of the permit was 10,000 dollars,  This practice had to be discontinued because too many of the great white hunters were shooting polar bears from the planes they chartered.

Polar beat meat is the most delicious meat I have ever tasted in my life.
It is jet black, grainy like old gnarled wood, but it is so sweet and tender, 10 times better than the best prime rib I have ever tasted. In fact it was the ONLY time I had ever asked for seconds at a meal, and all at once everyone responded NO!

Scientists are puzzled at all the recent drownings of polar bears.  They say it is because of the huge distances between ice packs, that the bear cannot swim that far.  That is not the real reason for bears drowning, no.
The real reason for their drownings is they have no fear, they will attack a sleeping walrus on the ocean ice. A walrus will sleep on its back with head back revealing the vital neck region. when that bear pounces on that walrus, the walrus merely lowers its tusks around the bears head and rolls over into the water bringing the bear down to huge depths !

Nanauk is the Eskimo name for this animal

Polar Bears were recently put on the endangered species list and then quickly taken off that list.  We are only allowed to take them down as a last resort to protect innocent lives here in the village. Each year a few bears will enter the village. Bears stay on the ocean ice pack, sometimes they wander into town.
We do our very  best to get them out of town, back onto the ocean ice. Sometimes
that is not possible and we have to take them down quick, due to the fact there are children outside in the village.  This  year three bears entered town, two of those bears had to be taken down quickly, as they were trying to gain access into homes..  A mother with three cubs entered town.. We were successfull in getting that mother and those cubs, out of town back onto the ocean ice.

The  bear and the meat is the responsibility of the hunter, the skin is worked on by the women. It takes many women to perform a “Native Tan” on the skin using very sharp Ulu knives. This can take as much as ten hours or more.

This is extremly tedious, hard work, scraping that skin until it is clean.

These women work hard to scrape that skin clean, this is not an easy task to accomplish.  Sally Killigvuk, the mother of the hunter with the polar bear. Elizabeth Oviok (postmaster) work hard with these other women. Six – Eight women will spend  the entire day, working on this skin, when that skin is cleaned, then it is put into the ocean, tied up to soak for a week or two, then it is placed up on a rack in the strong north winds to dry, for many months.

Months out in that wind, to dry the skin(s).

Well we live a simple life in a very dangerous place, under the harshest conditions known to man on the entire face of the earth. We would not have it any other way.
Believe it or not, YOU are all invited to take part in whaling festival next June in Point Hope !!   A three day non-stop event held every year (coming soon).
J.J. Russell Lane, displays the skin of his very first polar bear.

This is very dangerous work to open up a polar bear, you best know exactly what you are doing.

Christopher Nashookpuk caught these two bears, in fact his girlfriend took down the big one.!!

Actually they got 3 of them, Kate Oviok took down the big one herself.
The dogs of the village are always curious when something of this nature is hanning to dry out. They always have something to “say”, and some low growling is always heard.

Grrr.. .. .. you ain’t so tough,  GrrrRR.

I've tasted polar bear meat, delicious, but I have never tasted brown bear meat.

That’s all for now, I will add more but .. ..

.. I truely hope that you found this all  “bear-y”  interesting !