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THE INUIT of the Arctic Regions Of Canada, Greenland, Russia & Alaska

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Author Topic: THE INUIT of the Arctic Regions Of Canada, Greenland, Russia & Alaska  (Read 7594 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #45 on: February 26, 2009, 10:11:23 am »

Kara Sundstrom
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    Rewriting Greenland's immigration history
« on: May 31, 2008, 01:03:18 am » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Public release date: 29-May-2008

Contact: Eske Willerslev
ewillerslev@bio.ku.dk
452-875-1309
University of Copenhagen







                                      Rewriting Greenland's immigration history






Thirty-six-year-old Professor Eske Willerslev, University of Copenhagen, and his team of fossil DNA researchers have done it a couple of times before: rewritten world history. Most recently two months ago when he and his team discovered that the ancestors of the North American Indians were the first people to populate America, and that they came to the country more than 1,000 years earlier than originally assumed. And the evidence is, so to speak, quite tangible: DNA samples of fossilised human faeces found in deep caves in southern Oregon.

This time, focus is on Greenland, and the scientific evidence is DNA analyses of hair from the Disco Bay ice fjord area in north-west Greenland, which are well-preserved after 4,000 years in permafrost soil. The team’s discovery makes it necessary to review Greenland’s immigration history. Until now, science regarded it as a possibility that the earliest people in Greenland were direct ancestors of the present-day Greenlandic population.

It now turns out that the original immigrants on the maternal side, which is reflected in the mitochondrial DNA, instead came from a Siberian population whose closest present-day descendants come from the Aleutian Islands on the boundary between the Northern Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea and the Seriniki Yuit in north-east Siberia. Discovered in more recent times by the Dane Vitus Bering in 1741, the Aleutian Islands today include some 300 islands spanning 1,900 km from Alaska in the USA to the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia.

“They must have crossed the ice from the Aleutian Islands via Alaska and Canada and then on to Greenland. We have always known that the first immigrants came to Greenland approx. 4,500 years ago, because tools from that time have been found. But what we did not know was that they probably came via the Aleutian Islands, which our DNA research now shows. The project was actually close to being shelved. Originally, I was in the most northern part of Greenland with Claus Andreasen from the National Museum of Greenland, Nuuk, looking for DNA traces. It was a total failure. But in another context, I found out that archaeologist Bjarne Grønnow from the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, had made some excavations at the Qeqertasussuk settlement in the northern part of West Greenland in the 1980s. And then, among all the samples taken from the frozen culture layers on the site, I suddenly found a tuft of hair which I analysed together with my colleague Tom Gilbert,” says Eske Willerslev.

‘The forgotten Greenlandic hair’ from the samples was subsequently analysed for so-called mitochondria. They are the genes on the maternal side, a kind of cellular power plant, and they are well-suited for comparative DNA studies of mammals, including humans. The Willerslev team then checked the results of the analysis of the Greenlandic hair against an international DNA database and the database came up with the eastern part of Siberia and the Aleutian Islands, which is populated by a group that has peopled other places in the Arctic area.

Another interesting finding is that there is no connection between this DNA mass and the most recent immigration to Greenland, the Thule culture, the ancestors of modern Greenlandic Inuit.

“Our findings prove that humans moved to other places far earlier than what is normally assumed today. We may only have studied the mitochondria – the female part, but it is the first time ever that someone has succeeded in sequencing the entire mitochondrial genome from an extinct human. Our next project will be to raise funds for recreating what is technically known as the core genome from the tuft of hair, in other words the first full picture of the genetic material of an extinct human. Today, this is technically possible, and it may tell us where the paternal line came from in the earliest immigration to Greenland, and, for example, the eye colour of these early people. The paternal line may very well come from a totally different place,” says Eske Willerslev, who will shortly publish his autobiographical book ‘Fra pelsjæger til professor – en personlig rejse gennem fortidens dna-mysterier’ (From fur hunter to professor – a personal journey through the DNA mysteries of the past).


###


http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-05/uoc-rgi052708.php
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« Reply #46 on: February 26, 2009, 10:15:15 am »

Trinity
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     Crews resume excavation at Aleutian archaeological site
« on: July 05, 2007, 12:46:00 am » Quote 

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                               Crews resume excavation at Aleutian archaeological site



                           Artifacts of Unangam Aleuts may span 1,000 years, expert says






MONICA SOUTHWORTH
The Dutch Harbor Fisherman
UNALASKA

- In May, an archaeology crew that began work last summer resumed digging at the South Channel Bridge site on Bunker Hill.

The primary ruins being recovered are the walls of about three houses of Unangam Aleuts.

"It's really a nicely constructed wall, and there was sod in between the rocks," said Mike Yarborough, head archaeologist at the site.

"What's left was dug into the slope, everything else collapsed and fell down the slope," he added, pointing out the slope facing Henry Swanson Drive.

"We followed the natural soil horizon up the hillside," he said.

Currently, carbon dates on samples are in the same range as the ones taken in 2003 by Rick Knecht, the original archaeologist at the site, before he moved away from Unalaska. Yarborough said they haven't found anything older but are planning on testing for younger dates.

"We suspect we'll find samples pointing to about a 1,000-year occupation," Yarborough said.

In 2003, archaeologist Knecht from the University of Alaska Anchorage and Richard Davis from Bryn Mawr College directed a field crew that excavated about one-third of an ancient village site.

The artifacts discovered provided information pertinent to the research of prehistoric Eastern Aleutian cultural history, household archaeology, subsistence technology and adaptations to environmental changes, according to Knecht.

Last fall, the crew didn't begin work until late August. Two things prevented the digging crew from accomplishing a lot. The first was the weather, and the second was when beginning the dig, the crew discovered that the site was approximately double the size they expected.

In September, it began to rain, and Yarborough said it was too muddy in October to get anything accomplished. At that point, a second season was planned.

"The more we dug, the more there seemed to be," he said.

After recalculation and several tests, the crew determined the original estimate done by Rick Knecht in 2003 was under the actual volume.

The crew is funded by the state of Alaska for two months, until the end of July. The bridge construction crew is scheduled to begin work on Henry Swanson Drive on Aug. 15. A two-week buffer window was left in case something unexpected came up.

"Everything is basically the same as last year," Yarborough said. "The only difference is we went from digging on OC (Ounalashka Corp.) land to state land, but that doesn't affect anything we're doing."

When returning to the site in May, Yarborough said it had remained "pretty dry," but after beginning, it rained for about the first two weeks.

Despite a rough beginning because of the weather, the group didn't have the same startup lag experienced last August. Yarborough said it took about a week to get going and become accustomed with the site.

From Henry Swanson Drive, a backhoe has reached up as far as possible, and no more work on the North Face can be done. Now the crew is working on the top of the site.

Last week, the crew reached a milestone when the backhoe was able to get to the eastern edge of the site.

"We're still finding a lot of house features from the top. We're collecting artifacts and sending them to the lab," Yarborough said.

Local archaeologist Jason Rogers has been creating extensive maps of the site throughout the whole process.

"It's good stuff pirate treasure," Rogers joked at the end of a long day.



http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/070207/sta_crews001.shtml
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« Reply #47 on: February 26, 2009, 10:21:07 am »

Rorie LaFay
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    Dig hints Unalaska site may go back a thousand years
« on: July 10, 2007, 02:48:49 am » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------






                                 Dig hints Unalaska site may go back a thousand years



                  HOUSES: Archaeologists have located three homes in 2nd year of excavations.






By MONICA SOUTHWORTH
The Dutch Harbor Fisherman
Published: July 7, 2007
Last Modified: July 7, 2007 at 01:38 AM
UNALASKA

-- In May, an archaeology crew that began work last summer resumed digging at the South Channel Bridge site on Bunker Hill.

The primary ruins being recovered are the walls of about three houses of Unangam Aleuts.

"It's really a nicely constructed wall, and there was sod in between the rocks," said head archaeologist Mike Yarborough.

"What's left was dug into the slope; everything else collapsed and fell down the slope," he added, pointing out the slope facing Henry Swanson Drive.

"We followed the natural soil horizon up the hillside," he said.

Currently, carbon dates on samples are in the same range as the ones taken in 2003 by Rick Knecht, the original archaeologist at the site, before he moved away from Unalaska. Yarborough said they haven't found anything older but are planning on testing for more recent dates.

"We suspect we'll find samples pointing to about a 1,000-year occupation," Yarborough said.

In 2003, archaeologist Knecht from the University of Alaska Anchorage and Richard Davis from Bryn Mawr College directed a field crew that excavated about one-third of an ancient village site.

The artifacts discovered provided information helpful to research on prehistoric Eastern Aleutian culture, household archaeology, subsistence technology and adaptations to environmental changes, according to Knecht.





SURPRISE IN SIZE



Last fall the crew didn't begin work until late August. Two things prevented the digging crew from accomplishing a lot. The first was the weather, and the second was that when they began the dig, the crew discovered the site was approximately double the size they expected.

In September it began to rain, and Yarborough said it was too muddy in October to hope to get anything accomplished. At that point, a second season was planned.

"The more we dug, the more there seemed to be," he said.

After recalculation and several tests, the crew determined the original estimate done by Rick Knecht in 2003 was under the actual volume.

The crew is funded by the state of Alaska for two months, until the end of July. The bridge construction crew is scheduled to begin work on Henry Swanson Drive on Aug. 15. A two-week buffer window was left in case something unexpected came up.

"Everything is basically the same as last year," Yarborough said. "The only difference is we went from digging on OC (Ounalashka Corp.) land to state land, but that doesn't affect anything we're doing."

When returning to the site in May, Yarborough said it had remained "pretty dry," but after the crew started, it rained for about the first two weeks.
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« Reply #48 on: February 26, 2009, 10:23:35 am »









MAKING PROGRESS



Despite a rough beginning because of the weather, the group didn't have the same lag experienced last August. Yarborough said it took about a week to get going and become accustomed with the site.

From Henry Swanson Drive, a backhoe has reached up as far as possible, and no more work on the North Face can be done. Now the crew is working on the top of the site.

The crew reached a milestone when the backhoe was able to get to the eastern edge of the area.

"We're still finding a lot of house features from the top. We're collecting artifacts and sending them to the lab," Yarborough said.

The same crew that worked last summer resumed on May 19. The backhoe operator, Joe Henning, was with the crew last summer.

"He's gotten used to us, so we're making good progress," said Yarborough.

Joan Dale, a representative from the state office of archaeology, was there, available in case human remains are found.

Local archaeologist Jason Rogers has been creating extensive maps of the site throughout the whole process.

"It's good stuff, pirate treasure," joked Rogers at the end of a long day.

At a City Council meeting last month, Yarborough gave an update to the community on the progress of the crew and artifacts recovered.

Every month, Yarborough has a teleconference with the Ounalashka Corp., the Qawalangin tribe, the city, the state historical society and the other state organizations.



http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/rural/story/9112357p-9028572c.html
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« Reply #49 on: March 15, 2009, 07:12:58 am »



Dog sled trail in Canada's Arctic.

Inuit trails are more than merely means to get from A to B. In reality, they represent a complex social network spanning the Canadian Arctic and are a distinctive aspect of the Inuit cultural identity.

(Credit:
iStockphoto
/Ryerson Clark)






                            Inuit Trails Represent Complex Social Network Spanning Canadian Arctic






ScienceDaily
(Feb. 4, 2009)

— Inuit trails are more than merely means to get from A to B. In reality, they represent a complex social network spanning the Canadian Arctic and are a distinctive aspect of the Inuit cultural identity.

And what is remarkable is that the Inuit’s vast geographic knowledge has been passed through many generations by oral means, without the use of maps or any other written documentation. These findings are by Dr. Claudio Aporta from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Using a combination of historical documents, ethnographic research, geographic tools including GPS, GIS and Google Earth, as well as a recent journey following Inuit along a traditional trail, Dr. Aporta shows the geographic extent of the Inuit’s sophisticated network of routes.  He describes how the Inuit have made use of the Arctic environment and how their trails represent significant channels of communication and exchange across the territory.  To the Inuit, the Arctic is a network of trails, connecting communities to their distant neighbors, and to fishing lakes and hunting grounds in between.

What is remarkable is that although the trails are not permanent features of the landscape, their locations are remembered and transmitted orally and through the experience of travel.  They do not use maps to travel or to represent geographic information.  Rather the journey along the trail, or the story of the journey, becomes one of the main instruments for transmitting the information.

The memory of the trail is intertwined with individual and collective memories of previous trips, as well as with relevant environmental information - the conditions of the snow and ice, the shape of snowdrifts, the direction of winds - and place names in the Inuktitut language.  The trails are not permanent, but disappear when the sled tracks get covered after a blizzard and as the snow and ice melt at the end of each spring.  Nevertheless, the spatial itinerary remains in people’s memory and comes to life again when individuals make the next trip.  The trails are ‘lived’ rather than simply travelled.

By mapping the trails with modern geographic tools, Dr. Aporta is able to show that complex and intricate knowledge can be precisely and accurately transmitted from generation to generation orally for centuries.  He comments that “oral history should not be a priori dismissed as unreliable and inaccurate.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Journal reference:

Aporta et al. The Trail as Home: Inuit and Their Pan-Arctic Network of Routes. Human Ecology, 2009; DOI: 10.1007/s10745-009-9213-x
Adapted from materials provided by Springer.
Email or share this story:   
Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA Springer (2009, February 4). Inuit Trails Represent Complex Social Network Spanning Canadian Arctic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 5, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204112237.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/02/090204112237.htm
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« Reply #50 on: March 15, 2009, 07:17:01 am »

Kara Sundstrom
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    Inukpasuit, Inuit and Viking contact in ancient times
« on: February 17, 2009, 12:01:40 am » Quote 

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                                  Inukpasuit, Inuit and Viking contact in ancient times






RONALD BROWER
February 12, 2009

There are many stories of ‘Qavlunaat,’ white-skinned strangers who were encountered in Inuit-occupied lands in times of old. Stories of contact between these foreign people and Inuit were passed down the generations and used mostly to scare children to behave “or the Qavlunaat will get them.” 

This sparked my curiosity to explore both sides of the encounters from written records and Inuit oral legends to see if some of these events can be correlated. One must recall that these legends were passed down orally in the Inupiaq language.

Inuit myths and legends of contact with other people were passed from one generation to the next through story telling traditions. Many people have heard Pete Sovalik, a well-known Inupiaq story-teller tell this shortened version of a story relating to Qavlunaat and other races.

Taimaniqpaa_ruk - In Times of Old – Qavlunaat were one of the children of an Inuk woman who refused to marry; a Ui_uaqtaq. Her name was Sedragina, also known as Sedna in other Inuit regions. In her youth she was just an ordinary person – A young Inuk girl (agnaiyaaq) who grew up disliking men because of abuse committed to her as a child.

Having grown into a beautiful marriageable maiden, niviaq_siaq, men from many lands sought to marry her but she rebuked all men.

One time she was courted by a rich shaman’s son to no avail. Angered by her reluctance, the rich shaman called upon other equally strong shamuses to punish her. Together they cast a great spell upon her father’s lead dog that was transformed into a handsome young man by night but by day, he was just an ordinary lead dog.

Every evening he relentlessly pursued her for sexual favors until she was worn and tired for lack of sleep wherein she, in a weakened state, gave way to his wishes. In due time, she bore a litter of human and dog-like children having a variety of skin colors as many litters often do. These became the other races of man.

As they grew, she decided to send her children away toward the East, for they became a menace to the surrounding communities because of their wild behavior. Her father had also decided to end her miserable existence - to be rid of her and the shame she brought to his house.

In Inupiat legends her story is seen as the beginning of all other human races and of the sea animals. Hence modern Qavlunaat now know her as the Mother of the Sea, a Goddess deity, but in reality Inuit do not have gods. They believe that the visible world is pervaded by Anirniit, the powers, invisible forces or spirits that affect the lives of the living.

The story teller weaves in a passage of time when the children of Sedragina would return to their kin the Inuit. Their return would mark a time of change for the Inuit but the story tellers would not say what kind of change was to follow.

As hundreds of centuries passed, vague stories were heard of the return of these people now known as Qavlunaat but they slowly faded from legends passed down over the generations.

During the time when we lived in our little village of Iviksuk, our great uncle Owen Kiiriq would also tell tales during the dark months of winter in our little dwelling. Recalling a time that Inuit encountered another kind of race who already lived in our lands.

Kiiriq recalled that elders would call them Tunnit or Inukpasuit, the giants. They were treated as fearsome coastal dwellers and were considered enemies of Inuit. They spoke an Inuit language of an archaic type understandable to our ancestors.

Kiiriq would continue his tale and describe how Inupasuit were viewed as unkempt and unclean by Inuit standards. They were considered a danger to Inuit because they at times waylaid and captured unwary hunters.

Being smaller then them, our ancestors were considered a delectable prey. Once captured, they would be cooked and eaten with relish. Thus Inuit feared these giant beings and would attempt to wipe them out if they could. They were considered slow of thought but clever in their means of pursuit of game.  Inuit were ever moving eastward and the Inupasuit soon fell into the lot of myths and legends in our great grandparents’ time.

My research led me to Farley Mowat, author of Westviking, who includes descriptive appendices called “The Vanished Dorset”.

Mowat provides a description by the Norse who encountered the Dorset (Tunnit) around A.D.1000 as being swarthy and ill looking with remarkable eyes.

Mowat refers to another encounter of the Tuniit in the Floamanna Saga where the Viking Thorgisl Orrabeinsfostri shipwrecked in Baffin Island around 997. There, he and his men encountered a giant people, describing the Tunnit.

The Tunnit had lived in the Arctic for a long period of time before contact with either Inuit or Vikings. They developed a culture based on seal hunting and wherever their sod houses are found they show a long period of occupancy as noted by their middens of mostly seal remains.

As climate changed, seals moved further north following the sea ice. Mowat suggest that as seals shifted their range, so did the Tunnit following their primary food source. This may be why Erik the Red did not encounter Inuit or Tunnit when he explored the Greenland coast around 981.

Inuit myths and legends have passed through generations of story tellers. Many have changed but a little over time. A number of Inuit legends are being studied by scholars to see if they can be historically correlated to evidence found in archeological sites in several locations.

Look for an interesting conclusion of this exposition in part two.

Ronald Brower is an Inupiaq language professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

http://www.thearcticsounder.com/news/show/4882
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« Reply #51 on: March 15, 2009, 07:21:45 am »

Kerissa Faad
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    Ancient mask from Alaska ghost village returned to descendants 100 years later
« on: January 20, 2008, 01:33:19 am » Quote 

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          Ancient mask from Alaska ghost village returned to descendants more than a century later






The Associated Press
January 18, 2008
ANCHORAGE,
Alaska:

Four decades after it was abandoned, King Island holds an almost mystical pull for former inhabitants and their descendants, its crumbling homes still perched on stilts, clinging to the steep, rocky terrain.

Until recently, little else remained of the island, an Inupiat Eskimo village, except for traditions, memories and artifacts scattered at museums around the nation. Then came word from a stranger nearly 2,000 miles away who said she possessed an ancient mask a relative brought back from Alaska more than a century ago.

On the back of the relic was a faint inscription: "Taken from a medicine man's grave on King Island."

The woman from northwest Washington e-mailed Charlene Saclamana, tribal coordinator with the King Island Native Community based in Nome, a city 80 miles southeast of the tiny Bering Sea island where many of its residents relocated.

Marilyn Lewis said she wanted to return the wooden mask to its rightful owners. Two weeks later, she traveled to Alaska to deliver the artifact, which is now on display at the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum in Nome, named after the museum's late founder, a gold rush pioneer.

"It gives me and my family something tangible from our past. We've lost so much of the culture," said Saclamana, whose parents lived on King Island. "We were eager to have the mask back in our possession. We never had anything that well preserved from the island."

The island, home to about 200 people a century ago, was abandoned for various reasons.

Many of the men were drafted during World War II and didn't return. Tuberculosis killed some people and hospitalized others. Fewer residents returned from traditional summer camping grounds near Nome, where there were jobs and doctors.

Everyone was gone by 1966, several years after the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs closed the village school because of declining numbers and concerns about a potential rockslide.

Lewis, of Port Townsend, Wash., declined to discuss her family's role in the mask's return with The Associated Press, saying "it's not about us." But she told The Nome Nugget that her father's uncle traveled by steamship from Seattle to Alaska in 1898 to try his luck in the gold rush.

The uncle spent three years in Alaska, apparently not searching for gold but instead working as a bartender, probably in Nome or Skagway. He kept notes about his travels but never mentioned King Island, leading his family to theorize that someone sold or gave him the mask.

The uncle gave the mask to Lewis' father in 1927. Her parents kept it until late last year, when they asked her if she would help find its origins.

An Internet search led Lewis to Deanna Kingston, lead researcher in an Oregon State University study of King Island and its former inhabitants.

Kingston put Lewis in touch with Saclamana in early November. Around Thanksgiving, Lewis met a King Island representative at an Anchorage restaurant and turned over the mask.

Saclamana consulted with tribal elders and anthropologist Matt Ganley of the Bering Straits Native Corp. Everyone agreed the mask was the real deal.

Clues include its red-ochre face, beaked nose and black painted hair, which was probably colored with graphite or condensed soot, Ganley said. The mask was likely carved from driftwood.

"It's the style, the whole thing, the types of pigments used, the way the face is presented," Ganley said. "One person told me this looks like a lot of people from King Island."

It's unclear exactly what the mask was used for, despite the inscription pointing to a shaman's grave. Islanders in those days were buried aboveground, surrounded by their worldly possessions. In this case, the artifact might have been used in dances or religious ceremonies, Ganley said.

What's significant, he said, is that it survived and was returned freely instead of being the subject of a legal tug-of-war as other repatriation cases have been. The mask means far more to King Islanders than it would to someone who would hang it on a wall as a souvenir.

"It's a home item," Ganley said. "There's a sense that the island itself is pretty sacred to them, a focal point of their identity. They've maintained a pretty strong identity in Nome, not an easy thing to do."

Saclamana believes the mask belongs on the island, though no decision has been made on its final resting place.

"Some of my relatives found a similar mask at a grave on King Island and left it there," she said. "My personal feeling is this mask should be returned to the island. It's considered sacred."

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/01/18/america/Ghost-Village-Mask.php
 
 

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On the Net:

http://www.kawerak.org/tribalHomePages/kingIsland/index.html

http://www.beringstraits.com
 
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« Reply #52 on: March 15, 2009, 07:24:57 am »

Monique Faulkner
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    Cultural claim to whale hunting
« on: December 31, 2007, 09:36:33 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------








                                                Cultural claim to whale hunting   






By Richard Black
Environment correspondent,
BBC News website,
Barrow,
Alaska 

The springtime Inupiat hunt uses the umiaq, a wooden-framed boat covered in sealskin. Boats are towed to the edge of the ice using snowmobiles.

The umiaq is a wooden-framed boat covered in sealskin


From the Barrow shore, the ice appears to stretch forever.

With feet planted in soft, squelching Arctic mud, you strain to make sense of the jumbled ridges and crags of ice which serrate the white terrain.

At some indeterminably distant point, a band of dark cloud hovers, apparently held between twin fingers of ice and sky.

The cloud marks the end of the shorebound ice, the beginnings of water - the lead which bowhead whales are following as they make their annual northwards trek from the cold waters of the Bering Sea between Siberia and Alaska to the even colder Beaufort Sea.

Strung out along the edge of the lead, waiting for the whales as they have done virtually every spring for 1,000 years, are Native Inupiat hunters for whom whales mark the centrepiece of the nutritional and cultural worlds.

When the whaling captain deems the time is right, his crew will slip their sealskin boat into the water and sidle up to the whale, ignored by their prey which perceives the boat as just another wild creature sharing its ocean.

If the crew's skill and fortune hold out, the prize will be killed with an explosive charge, snared with harpoons and wrested back to the ice, to lose its skin, blubber and meat to the appetites of the Barrow Inupiat community.
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« Reply #53 on: March 15, 2009, 07:26:23 am »




                                     
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« Reply #54 on: March 15, 2009, 07:30:28 am »


Monique Faulkner
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    Re: Cultural claim to whale hunting
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2007, 09:38:28 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------







Double standards?



The Alaskan Eskimo hunt is one of five permitted by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which is holding its annual meeting in Anchorage on the other side of Alaska, under rules governing "aboriginal" or "subsistence" hunting.



 
Traditional hunting implements hang on the wall of Brower's Cafe in Barrow. The cafe is named after Charles Brower, a Yankee whaler who settled here in 1882, using the building as a whaling station and trading post.
 
The right is handed out to groups which, in the IWC's view, have a nutritional and cultural need for whalemeat, and where the whale population appears sufficiently robust.

Quotas are awarded for periods of five years, and are being reviewed at this year's IWC meeting.

Maintaining the Alaskan bowhead quota is a political imperative for the US, which is why it volunteered to be this year's host and hold the meeting as close to the Inupiat communities as possible.

"It's the way of life for the Native Eskimos," says US whaling commissioner Bill Hogarth.

"They use [the whales] for everything, for their whole livelihood, and they share the meat between the villages. We feel it's extremely important for them, and so long as it meets its scientific criteria, this quota should be granted."

That is not to say that everyone is happy with the US policy of supporting subsistence hunting as it currently exists, but blocking and condemning all other whaling.

"The US is an anti-whaling whaling nation - it hunts whales and is against whaling elsewhere," fumes Rune Frovik from the High North Alliance, which campaigns for the rights of whalers and sealers in northern latitudes.

"This is at the outset an irreconcilable and contradictive policy, and has made the US worthy of accusations of double standards and hypocrisy."

Similar sentiments exist in the Japanese camp, which has constantly asked that four of its coastal communities, with whaling traditions dating back hundreds if not thousands of years, also be granted quotas.
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« Reply #55 on: March 15, 2009, 07:31:45 am »




               
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« Reply #56 on: March 15, 2009, 07:33:29 am »

Monique Faulkner
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    Re: Cultural claim to whale hunting
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2007, 09:40:11 pm » Quote 

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Killing me softly



Opponents argue that the Japanese coastal communities are basically modern towns. Some are involved in Japan's current scientific whaling programme, where they hunt using modern boats and modern harpoons.

 


Guide to the Great Whales
But Greenland's indigenous hunters, unlike the Inupiat, also use modern boats and modern harpoons. They also sell some of the meat.

On the economic front, Barrow, for all its traditional lifestyle, has a per-capita income higher than the Alaskan average.

The whalemeat is not sold, but trinkets and artwork made from bone and baleen are. At the shop inside the Anchorage hotel which hosts the IWC meeting, you can pick up a statue carved from Alaskan whalebone costing $12,000 (£6,000).

A big whaling issue in recent years has been killing methods, with animal rights groups pressing for techniques which cause death as quickly as possible.

Killing methods have improved in all types of whaling. But documents submitted to IWC show that fin whales caught by Greenlandic hunters take about 20 minutes to die - 10 times longer than minkes harpooned in Norway's commercial hunting programme.

Yet most animal rights groups protest against Norway's activities, and refrain from tackling the Greenlandic hunt.
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« Reply #57 on: March 15, 2009, 07:35:51 am »

Monique Faulkner
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    Re: Cultural claim to whale hunting
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2007, 09:40:58 pm » Quote 

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Unquiet waters



Patrick Ramage, head of the whaling campaign at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw), denies any charges of political expediency.





                                            ANNUAL SUBSISTENCE QUOTAS 2002-2007



Alaska/Chukotka: 56 bowheads

Chukotka: 124 grays

Greenland: 187 minkes, 19 fins

Makah (Washington state, US): 5 grays

Bequia (St Vincent and the Grenadines): 4 humpbacks





"Ifaw is able to distinguish between legitimate subsistence whaling for subsistence needs in Native communities, and misleading attempts to resuscitate commercial whaling in the 21st Century," he says.

"We are profoundly concerned with the interests of people as well as the interests of the creatures we campaign on, and we continue to work for practices and policies that advance the interests of both."

But behind the scenes there is considerable disquiet within welfare organisations and traditionally supportive governments, including the US.

It was stimulated here by representatives of the Greenland and Chukotka hunts, who arrived in Anchorage asking for substantially bigger quotas and, in the case of Greenland, to extend their programme to new species, the bowhead and the humpback.

Private disquiet does not often turn into public opposition, except in the case of the other indigenous US hunt, by the Makah tribe based near Seattle, whose whaling has been delayed by a long-running legal case.

But it is there, which perhaps suggests that the acceptance of subsistence whaling is not as widespread nor as guaranteed as some would suggest.
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« Reply #58 on: March 15, 2009, 07:37:38 am »

Monique Faulkner
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    Re: Cultural claim to whale hunting
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2007, 09:41:38 pm » Quote 

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Culture of resilience



In Barrow - Utquiagvik, in the Inupiaq tongue - the reality of subsistence whaling perhaps comes closest to meeting its image; though the Bequians of St Vincent and the Grenadines, whose hunting methods until recently involved jumping on the back of the humpback whale to stab it with a handheld harpoon, might contest the claim.

The VHF wavebands crackle with messages between whaling teams out on the ice and the support system back in town.

A whale has been landed. The crew predicts how long it will take them to finish processing the meat, a group of scientists heads out to take samples, and congratulations are offered.

Perhaps, eventually, things will change here. Perhaps climate warming will redirect the bowhead migration route, or the younger Inupiat will grow tired of the traditional lifestyle and opt for a more mainstream US existence.

But the culture has proved remarkably resilient. And for now, the meat and the muktuk - a blend of skin and blubber, usually eaten raw - will continue to pass around the community, and make a special appearance on festival days here in the majestic white expanse of the Arctic.




Richard.Black-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6698501.stm
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« Reply #59 on: March 15, 2009, 07:41:04 am »

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    Whalebone mask may rewrite Aleut history
« on: July 31, 2007, 04:16:36 am » Quote 

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                                     Whalebone mask may rewrite Aleut history






By ALEX deMARBAN
ademarban@adn.com
July 28, 2007

Archaeologists unearthing an ancient village from an Unalaska hillside believe they've found the remains of the oldest-known Aleut whalebone mask.

Much of the mask is missing -- it's mostly intact above where the cheekbones would sit -- but archaeologists are pretty sure it's about 3,000 years old, said Mike Yarborough, lead archaeologist at the dig.

Stained brown by soil, cracked in two at the left temple, the discovery made early this month by a member of Yarborough's team is about 2,000 years older than any known Aleut mask, he said.

It was created around the time Mayan civilization began, around the time Homer was producing the Iliad and Odyssey.

The Earth had suddenly cooled then, and ice surrounded the Aleutian Islands nearly year-round, said Rick Knecht, an archaeologist and University of Alaska Fairbanks professor.

People at the ancient site -- a sprawling village marked by unprecedented stone houses and delicate ivory carvings -- ate polar bears, ice seals that no longer visit the island, and a whale that's never been documented in North American waters, said Knecht. He led a dig at the village in 2003 but wasn't part of the mask discovery.

Perhaps six inches wide once, the mask could have been worn and broken at a funeral, Yarborough said. Cultural anthropologist Lydia Black, who died earlier this year, wrote that members of ancient Aleut burial parties wore and shattered tiny masks during funerals.

"It's speculation to say what happened 3,000 years ago, but it was broken when we found it," Yarborough said. "It very well could have been (a funeral mask)."

People occupied the village sometime between 2,400 and 3,400 years ago, but materials found near the mask indicate it's 3,000 years old, he said.

It's generally similar in appearance to its next oldest cousin, a 1,000-year-old mask found at Izembek Lagoon on the Alaska Peninsula, he said. That one, also a half mask, is on display at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.

Denise Rankin, vice president of the tribal government in Unalaska and an employee with the Native corporation, said features such as the round head, almond-shaped eyes and slender nose remind her of people she sees today.

"They look just like an Aleut face," she said.

Knecht, e-mailed a picture of the mask, said the giant eyebrows evoke ancient images of faces pecked into granite boulders at Cape Alitak on Kodiak Island. The petroglyphs, made with hammer stones more than 500 miles east of Unalaska, were created more than 2,000 years ago, he said. "It's a great find," he said of the mask.

The ancient village where the mask came from has yielded several important discoveries, including the remains of dozens of homes, Knecht said. They had stone walls and sub-floor heating ducts to spread heat through the homes, he said.

Archaeologists have also found well-preserved human remains from ceremonial burials and elaborate jewelry such as an ivory hair pin with decorative faces carved on both sides.

The state has spent about $1.65 million on the excavation so it could replace a wobbly, wood-surfaced bridge built in 1979. A $28 million, 700-foot concrete bridge is scheduled to rise alongside it within two years, said Michael Hall, design project manager.

The state has budgeted $950,000 for the dig Yarborough started last year, Hall said. His effort touched off a controversy because he agreed to excavate with backhoes and truck the dirt to a fenced area, where Hall said it would later be sifted.

The heavy machinery was meant to speed the excavation so the bridge could be built more quickly, Hall said. The dig was originally supposed to take only a month last spring and cost $250,000, but the village has turned out to be much larger than anyone expected. The state extended the deadline to Aug. 15, Hall said.

Opponents, including some Aleut residents, grumbled that the excavator would smash clues to the past and shatter ancestors' bones as it punched through earth.

The tribal government, which called the old bridge unsafe and voted to support the quick excavation along with the local Native corporation, hailed the mask as one sign that archaeologists are working carefully.

They seem to be doing detail work with shovels and hand tools a lot more than they're using heavy equipment, said Rankin, with the tribal government.

"They're doing an excellent job," she said.

Archaeologists have trucked about 2,700 cubic yards of dirt to the fenced area and seeded it so grass will grow, Yarborough said. Some people have talked about letting students sift through the dirt as part of a class, he said. Discovered artifacts have gone to a lab for storage and later will be sent to the local museum. But the mask went directly to the museum to be placed in a climate-controlled area and watched by a curator.

The heavy equipment didn't break the mask -- there are no lighter colors indicating fresh cracks, he said.

"It was broken sometime in antiquity," he said.

Knecht, who opposed the backhoe excavation, said a more traditional dig with archaeologists sifting dirt through screens might have found the rest of the mask. Those pieces are likely buried in the big pile behind the fence, he said.

"I shudder to think what's been damaged or lost," he said. "I know they're being as careful as they can given the limitations of digging with heavy equipment. But inevitably there's a price to be paid in history and culture by taking that shortcut."



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Find Alex deMarban online at adn.com/contact/ademarban or call 257-4310.

http://www.adn.com/front/picture_inset/story/9171022p-9086365c.html
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