Life In the Alaskan Bush!
For the People in Shungnak
And for Wesley "Sunny" Woods Jr. for his friendship
During the summer of 1997, I went to Shungnak, Alaska, an Eskimo village in Northwest Alaska. I spent a whole summer with the Eskimo people from Shungnak, doing everything they do in summer.
I learned the Inupiaq language, and was introduced to traditional knowlegde of the Eskimo.
The greatest summer of my life was made possible, by the warm hospitality of people in Shungnak. The values that they taught me are something that people tend to forget in this modern world. Taikuu, Kuuvangmiut in Isignak.
At Qalugriivik, his traditional summer camp on the Kobuk River, Wesley Woods Sr. sits outside. With his binocular, this former reindeer herder scopes around the mountains and the hills to search for caribou. Caribou migrate to the south in August and September.
I breifly returned to Shungnak for two weeks in March of 1998. I had longed to be there as soon as I came back to Fairbank after the summer of 1997. Though I had stayed only for three months in the previous summer, people treated me as if I was their old friend. I cannot thank them enough for their hospitality.
All this was made possible by the great hospitality of the people in Shungnak. If it wasn't them, this summer wouldn't have been as great as it was.
Special thanks to Mildread Black, who did not mind sitting down with me and having language classes. Brian Black and his son, Daren, who took me fishing. Wesley and Josephene Woods, who treated me as a part of their family. Tommy Woods, who is as bright as the sun and as tough as a rock. The Woods family who showed me the values of subsistence way of life. Jerry Potts, who made me laugh all the time. Napiq and Helen, who shared their stories with me. Sarah, who let me camp by her house. Greg and Mouna, who always treated me great. Fred and Cherie, who alway cared about me. Aula and Nelie, who were always thoughtfull. Ivan Lee and Bela, who let me take shower and do my laundry. Derek, Brandon, Travis, Tim, Willas, Jean, Peter, Leroy, Allen, Joseph, Christy, Sophie, June, and all other kids who played lap games, football and went swiming with me this summer.
The best friend of my life, Wesley "Sunny" Woods Jr., who I will always remember as Sunny and will never forget his friendship.
And all other people in Shungnak who never forget to laugh and tell jokes.