There is a cooperative spirit in Utqiagvik between those who hunt or fish for a living and those who create art.
My grandsons, several are hunters now. They bring me…well…caribou… whatever they get, just bless their hearts.It’s all love...part of the respect for the elders that, that really brings our community together, especially respect.
Traditionally the Inupiaq people used all parts of the whale and their baleen which was used to filter their food is no longer used for corsets.Local carvers found a way to make beautiful objects from it.I cut the baleen here, there, there and there and this is a piece from, from one of the biggest, from one of the biggest pieces of baleen. After that, I polish it all by hand and then I draw on it, so this is a bowhead whale here…this is a whaling ship…this is the water that there’s bubbles right there from the…from the whales’ spile.
In a spacious workshop at the Inupiat Heritage Center, carvers polish baleen, making engravings on the whale vertebra, craft intricate miniature Inupiaq boats and decorate-ooze, traditional all-purpose Eskimo knives with handles made of walrus ivory or stag horn. James Patkotak used to work at a construction company. Today he’s retired and makes jewelry from ivory. I specialize in polar bears and owl.There’s no way out. Whatever comes to mind…I think, you know, because I consider myself an artist, so you know, an artist’s minds—I was looking for something to depict or something like that. I love it.
And just like that as rock music plays in his headphones, Patkotak creates something unique combining local traditions and ancient mastery.For locals, rare animals are a part of everyday life, at times an unpleasant part.Every elder has his or her own bear story. However, more often than not, an encounter with a bear ends badly for the bear. For Roy Nageak, hunting polar bears is a family tradition, and the bear teeth necklace is an ever-present reminder of those traditions. Many other believes and so do other Inupiaq hunters that an animal gives itself to the hunter. So we already have that spiritual connection of why we were met, so with that in mind the animals know what we need sometimes.If we treat each other with respect and not try to kill everything off and just get what you want to eat,then it’s the purpose of the creation of living together.It’s there. Nobody can’t stop.And they live together as they have for thousands of years in here and the animals—they give locals all they had.
For Natasha Mozgovaya in Barrow Alaska. I’m Anna Rice, VOA news.
Natasha Mozgovaya阿拉斯加巴罗撰写。美国之音记者Anna Rice报道。