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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.