Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Rossman Peetok

Rossman Peetok was interviewed on June 2, 2017 by Karen Brewster at the Tuzzy Consortium Library in Utqiaġvik, Alaska (formerly known as Barrow). Rossman lives in Wainwright, but was in Utqiaġvik attending the 2017 North Slope Elders/Youth Conference and was able to take time away from sessions to participate in this interview. In this interview, Rossman talks about how 1969/1970 was the year he first started noticing environmental changes associated with climate change and global warming. He also talks about being out on the sea ice, the effect of wind and current and how there are seasonal variations, and changes in ice conditions, such as a lack of thick, heavy ice.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2013-25-41

Project: Sea Ice Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Jun 2, 2017
Narrator(s): Rossman Peetok
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Denali Whiting
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Coastal Marine Institute, North Pacific Research Board
Alternate Transcripts
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Slideshow
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Sections

1969 being the first year noticed environmental changes

Sea ice conditions due to the cold year of 1969/1970

Changes in plant growth around Wainwright over the years

Story about a woman using fish oil to light an oil lamp

First time going out hunting on the sea ice, and collecting the water for the whaling crew

Multi-year ice (piqaluyak), and having fresh versus salty water

Changes in ice thickness, and dangers of ice crashing into the ice edge

Using bacon grease in oil lamp,

Beginning of global warming, and changes he has observed

Effect of wind and current on ice conditions, and seasonal differences

Snow build up in the summertime, and drifting out on the ice

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Transcript

KAREN BREWSTER: Today is June 2nd, 2017 and I am Karen Brewster here with Rossman Peetok who is from Wainwright, Ulġuniq. But we’re here in Barrow for the elder’s conference and we are talking about the sea ice.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: My name is Rossman Peetok. Eyaq. Eskimo name Neakok. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: My Eskimo name. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: I’m from Wainwright. Wainwright, Alaska. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: I want to talk about -- about what I learned from 1960 -- I was -- 1969 was excited year for me. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Very exciting. Why? KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Because I’m an -- they choose me for an actor. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Movie actor. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Walt Disney. Yeah, I heard, a lady, preacher’s wife from -- from Wainwright. Esther Groptan (sp?) heard about news that Walt Disney's looking for an actor. And she flew up to Barrow -- from Wainwright to Barrow in the morning and come back home same day. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: At night.

They go see -- go submit my name. You should see a man from Wainwright. So they call me. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And I go up there. The said they’re going to wait for me at the airport. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: 1969, March. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And they were already waiting for me. The movie producer, director.

KAREN BREWSTER: So 1969, that movie was "White Bear?" ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, "Track of a Giant Snow Bear" is the name. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And in March I went there and they’re waiting for me at the airport. And as soon as I get down from the plane, they were already saw me, "Hey, over here!"

I go -- I go see them. The movie producer, the director, and the camera man. The three of them. And maybe the producer said you’re hired already. As soon as he see me, you’re hired.

KAREN BREWSTER: They hired you right there, huh? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. I was surprised. That was my exciting year. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: In -- in March everything was normal. And then March -- ‘til -- ‘til July. KAREN BREWSTER: July 1969. ROSSMAN PEETOK: July first.

KAREN BREWSTER: What happened in July? ROSSMAN PEETOK: That -- the weather change all of a sudden. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, oh.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: A cycle year ended. A cycle year -- every year same. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And finally it's ended in 1969. July. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And then we had a bad, cold weather come in. Ice -- loose ice piled up on the shoreline. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Cold, real cold weather. You can even see the frost in the morning. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Water puddles on the -- on the ground it's freeze. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And -- and we had one foot of snow build -- build up. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Accumulated up to one foot. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: In July. Was supposed to be the cold -- warmest year in the -- in -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Here in Alaska. July is. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Mosquitoes, no mosquitoes. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: But the -- but the birds lay an egg. And the ducks lay an egg. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And they killed all the eggs. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And some hatch. They died, freeze. Birds. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Snow buntings. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And -- and -- and the ducks. Ducklings died.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh no. ROSSMAN PEETOK: ‘Cause -- ‘cause it was so cold. Supposed to be the warmest here in the -- in -- in Slope, KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: July is.

KAREN BREWSTER: What -- what happened out on the ocean when that got so cold? ROSSMAN PEETOK: The ocean was -- loose ice piled up on the shoreline. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: All the way to Wainwright. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: From over here. I was watching it from here (Utqiaġvik). From Top of the World. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, you were here? ROSSMAN PEETOK: From here. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, oh, ‘cause you were shooting the movie. ROSSMAN PEETOK: I -- I -- while I was making movie. KAREN BREWSTER: Ii.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: I was excited. And the first thing I noticed is the birds died. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Cold -- due to cold weather. And duck -- ducks -- small ducklings. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: They died. ‘Cause they’re freeze to death. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: That’s the first sign I see. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And every -- next year, 1970. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: I got to find something, but -- no -- no clue what I -- what I -- my --looks like but I never see anything. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Anything.

And after ten years, 1979, wow my eyes opened up. I never see a grass that long. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: That grow that long before. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Ever since I was born, I never see them that long. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And flowers. And every ten years, they grew up. ‘Til 19 -- 2005. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: ‘Til 2005, they grew up.

And 2006, it’s different again. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Wow! Cranberries grew up right in Wainwright area. 2006, '7, '8, '9 , '10, '11, '12. Seven years. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Every year, right -- cranberries grew up. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, cranberries? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Cranberries. KAREN BREWSTER: Cranberries. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, cloudberries. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, cloudberries or -- or -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Both. KAREN BREWSTER: Aqpik, aqpik?

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Cranberries, we call it aqpik. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And cloud -- cloudberries. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Aqpik are cloudberries? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Aqpik. Aqpik. KAREN BREWSTER: Aqpik, yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Cranberries. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Or cloudberries. Yeah, they got them. KAREN BREWSTER: Aqpik are cloudberry? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: I think. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Cranberries are different. KAREN BREWSTER: Cranberries are -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Are small and red. KAREN BREWSTER: Small and red. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Aqpik are bigger and -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Bigger, yeah. They get -- KAREN BREWSTER: Orange. ROSSMAN PEETOK: They're ripe. KAREN BREWSTER: Ii. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: So cloudberries? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. That’s different.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. I don’t know what they call it, cloudberries or cranberries. KAREN BREWSTER: Cloudberries, I think. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, yeah. Okay. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, the big ones that are kinda --

ROSSMAN PEETOK: That grew up in Wainwright in 2006. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ROSSMAN PEETOK: ‘Til 2012. KAREN BREWSTER: Huh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And '13, '14, '15, not -- nothing grow. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Nothing, no more.

KAREN BREWSTER: No more cloudberr -- no more aqpiks. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Not in the Wainwright area. Wainwright area was -- start growing in -- aqpiks start growing in Wainwright area right by the airport. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah? Wow. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Ripe, all ripe. Ready to eat. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yum. ROSSMAN PEETOK: ‘Til two thousand -- 2012. KAREN BREWSTER: Then what?

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And 2013, '14, '15, nothing grow. And '16 grow a little bit, last year. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And this year, 2017, from -- from two -- from 1969 to 2017, that -- I saw that -- saw the birds died. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: In ’69. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Due to cold weather. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And this year, I noticed --

When I was a boy in 1939, my grandmother pick up some fish. Smelt fish. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And lay -- and sorting them. The big ones on one side and small ones on one side in the tray. In the tray -- both trays. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: (S)he got a pile, (s)he got a pile of small fish. Smelts. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And she thaw them out, and -- and the big ones she don’t want those big ones. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, you don’t -- okay.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And finally, when it start up, this is not the first time an old ladies do that. She just -- got to -- it’s ready now. She cut up the fish, I don’t know how long on the belly side. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And -- and squeeze the oil out -- oil out from the fish to the bowl. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: The small bowl. And -- and she start working on them.

And after she’s done, the last one she said, "Wow! I’m done! I’m done. We’re going to have light again tonight." She was gathering oil for -- for the seal oil lamp. KAREN BREWSTER: Ii.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, that’s what she was making for. "We gonna have light again tonight," she was screaming. Yeah -- KAREN BREWSTER: Aarigaa! ROSSMAN PEETOK: She’s happy. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

So what year were you born? ROSSMAN PEETOK: 1932. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. In -- in Wainwright? In Ulġuniq? Were you born in Wainwright? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Wainwright. Wainwright. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: When you were a boy, did you go out seal hunting and whaling? ROSSMAN PEETOK: I -- I -- I never hunt ‘til -- when I was -- ‘til about twelve years old. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: But I go fishing with -- along with my grand -- grandparents. Up in the lagoon side.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So when you were twelve years old, you went out on the sea ice, on the siku? ROSSMAN PEETOK: No, not on the -- not on the sea ice. On the lagoon side. KAREN BREWSTER: On the lagoon side? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. Ice -- ice jigging. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, jigging? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Ice fishing. KAREN BREWSTER: Ice fishing? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: When did you first go out on the siku? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Maybe when I was about fourteen I start going with the whalers. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

Is there somebody -- did you go with a grandfather or an uncle? ROSSMAN PEETOK: When I was first go out, he taught me you gonna do this. Every day. Get some ice or snow and make water. Every time I got -- pail -- pail -- the bucket -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: -- of water. You got to get this water all the time. Let this have water all the time. Don’t let it be empty.

So I start making -- I build up -- I watch that bucket, water bucket, ‘til it get be -- somebody just get -- make coffee -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. Or making supper, food. When they start making any -- anything that they cooking. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Cook use that water. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. Coffee, tea.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did you -- Did that water come from the ice? ROSSMAN PEETOK: From the glacier ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Pikaluyak? The piqaluyak? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Glacier ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: When they find the glacier ice, they told us, "Here’s the glacier ice up there." That’s where we get the ice from.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did he show you how to -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: And when we don’t have -- find any glac -- glacier ice close by, we use snow. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: But -- KAREN BREWSTER: Did he teach -- did he --

ROSSMAN PEETOK: But you got to be careful. It’s salty when you’re -- when you get the wrong snow. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Salty. KAREN BREWSTER: The snow? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Snow. Fresh snow. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, salty snow.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: When it’s sweep -- sweeping. It sweep through that salty ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And becomes salty when it piles up. You got to be careful.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how do you tell? How can you tell that the water -- that the snow is -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Stove. KAREN BREWSTER: You taste it? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Stove. KAREN BREWSTER: Stove? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Primer stove. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Kerosene stove. And -- and gas stove.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And you melt the snow? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And then you taste it? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And -- ah, too salty. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, the cook taste it. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Not me.

The cook -- the cook was the boss for me. KAREN BREWSTER: Ii. ROSSMAN PEETOK: He let me do all those work. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: He knows pure water and all salty water.

KAREN BREWSTER: So did they teach you how to -- did they teach you what that glacier ice looked like so you can find it? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Glacier ice is good. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. How do you find it? ROSSMAN PEETOK: What’s that?

KAREN BREWSTER: How do you tell what it looks like? What does glacier ice look like? ROSSMAN PEETOK: It’s kind of different from the -- from the regular ice. That sea ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: You can see -- you can tell. It’s not -- it’s kinda -- it’s kinda flat. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: No -- no points. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: It’s flat all the way. KAREN BREWSTER: Ii.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: It’s flat -- it’s -- it’s more like a -- a bread dough. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, like bread. Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: It don’t have any sharp -- sharp points. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm-mm. And is it a di --

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Like -- like breaking ice out there. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Regular ice is different. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Ocean ice is different than glacier ice.

KAREN BREWSTER: Does that glacier ice have a different color? ROSSMAN PEETOK: They call it what? KAREN BREWSTER: The color, what color is it? Is it blue? Or -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. Yeah, it’s clear. KAREN BREWSTER: It’s clear. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. And the other ice is different. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Regular ice out there is ocean ice, is different. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: ‘Cause it got soft points, soft edge. And you -- when you see a -- a glacier ice it’s more like a dough. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: They don’t have sharp edges.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when you go out on the regular ice, how do you know that the ice is safe? You won’t go -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: How can you tell it’s good ice? The siku. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Siku? KAREN BREWSTER: Ii.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: In -- in 1970, the siku ice is still thick. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And today, you don’t see them anymore. Those -- those ice floes. Icebergs. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: They were a big iceberg, when they travel they don’t stop. Because the bottom side is -- got more weight than -- than the top. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: It don’t stop. It’s heavy. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: When it’s moving and break up the ice that way. Safe -- safe ice is breaked up through that kinda -- that kinda -- doze it off just like dozer. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Doze it off. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: They don’t stop.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you better get out of the way? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: You have to move. It’s coming in. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah.

Along -- it’s -- it's worse along with the -- with the current. When the current moves the ice, it’s really strong. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: You cannot control it -- it’s -- kept going.

It cannot stop it unless it’s hit the bottom ice. Bottom floor ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: I mean the water -- KAREN BREWSTER: That ivu -- that ivuniq? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: That’s how I remember. This year I notice -- I was talking about that old lady gathering oil for -- from the fish -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: -- in a bowl. And pour it to the oil lamp. That means we’re going to have light again. No -- we got no switch. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Lights like we do right now. KAREN BREWSTER: Ii.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: They use a lamp. They use it for -- not for light only. They use it for heat. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: That little lamp can heat up the place. That little oil lamp. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Seal oil lamp can be a heater same time. Even -- even the fish oil can use for that lamp. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: I would never think about that when I’m alone. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: My ancestors, they know. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: But when we -- but I know this bacon -- bacon -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Bacon juice. KAREN BREWSTER: The grease from the -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Grease, bacon grease.

When we make a movie, I try to buy a seal oil. Seal, the whole seal. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: But nobody hunts them anymore there in ’69. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah?

ROSSMAN PEETOK: They hardly catch seals and -- and our producer said, "Today is the day we’re going to use the oil lamp. It’s going to be on scene today." KAREN BREWSTER: Yup.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: "You got -- you better light up the light. I mean the -- light up the lamp." So I was wondering how can I find -- where can I find oil for -- for that lamp.

And finally, oh yeah, she had bacon over there. So I start cooking bacon. Lots of bacon I cook, ‘til the grease get bigger. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: I pour it in that lamp. Put a -- put a -- KAREN BREWSTER: That wick, wick. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Wick on it. When I turn it on, yeah, wow it smells like bacon.

KAREN BREWSTER: But did it work? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, it worked. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ROSSMAN PEETOK: It worked. That bacon oil can be oil for the lamp. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Seal oil lamp.

I noticed at the -- yesterday they turned the light on, did you see that? KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I saw them put it up. They turned it off? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Oh yeah, when they turned it off, they turned it off. I was watching that, oh, that’s same light I was using when we make movie. That’s the North Slope Borough property, I think. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, that’s right. Same one, huh? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, Ilisagvik College property. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. That’s the one we use for -- for making movie.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when you go out whaling in Wainwright -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: In 19 -- when I was fourteen years old. KAREN BREWSTER: Ii, yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Old enough.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then every year you kept going out? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: I see the ice was heavy that year. Real heavy ice. And today I don’t see that heavy ice anymore. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: From ’70, 1970. The -- those heavy ice that -- we start losing the heavy ice in '7 -- from 1970. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: That’s the year the global warming start. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: 19 -- KAREN BREWSTER: 1960 -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: 1970 KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: ‘Til today. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: But ‘til twelve -- we have those -- from 2006 to 2012 we had that every year aqpiks. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: All you want.

KAREN BREWSTER: ‘Cause it got warmer? Did it get warmer? The temperature. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah? ROSSMAN PEETOK: It’s warmer. You can walk on the tundra, it’s more like sponge. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Spongy. It used to be hard. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And the grass grow up this much. Maybe not four inches, four inches or so. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Every year. It never change. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: But in 2000 -- 1979, wow, my eyes never seen that kind of grass before. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And the flowers. The flower I was interested most, I start measuring it. They’re 34 inches long. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. What kind of --

ROSSMAN PEETOK: And the head -- in front of head start growing, head was so heavy, it just bend. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: It bend down. It cannot hold the head. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: A flower, it's bend down. KAREN BREWSTER: Do you know -- do you -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: And when it come -- when it goes to 34 inches long, when I come next year, I go measure it, oh no, somebody run over it. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh no! ROSSMAN PEETOK: They use a dozer. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh no.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: ‘Cause they’re working on the road. When they build up the road. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: This was by the road. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: On that little water. Water is about four feet long. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Maybe two feet deep. And the only two flowers were growing there. One of them is 34 inches, the one longest one.

KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. Do you know what kind of flower? ROSSMAN PEETOK: I don’t know the name of the flower, I'd never seen that kind of flower before. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yellow head. KAREN BREWSTER: Yellow head. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And -- and the green --

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So can you tell me about the wind and the current when you’re out on the siku? The wind, the anuġi? ROSSMAN PEETOK: On what? KAREN BREWSTER: The wind. The anuġi. When you’re out on the ice. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Uh huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: What do you know about the wind blowing? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Oh, wind? KAREN BREWSTER: Wind. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And the current. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. What do you need to know? ROSSMAN PEETOK: It’s -- it’s -- it don’t stay -- wind change all the time. Wind shift all the time. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Wind blowing which way. The next day it’s going from west or west or east. The wind change.

Gotta be careful when the wind change hard and everybody start going up 'cause they don’t wanna be drifted out.

KAREN BREWSTER: What direction does the wind drift you out? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Northeast. KAREN BREWSTER: Northeast. Okay.

What happens if the wind comes south, southeast? ROSSMAN PEETOK: South -- south -- when -- This time of the year, the ice is coming in from south. This time of the year, springtime. ‘Cause rivers are flowing out to the ocean. And -- and push the water, ice -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Out toward the north.

This time of the year. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: The ice is melting right now. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: In some rivers. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Flowing out to the ice and push. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Let the current go fast sometimes. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, in the springtime? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, from -- from south. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: That’s why the ice floes, icebergs go fast sometimes. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: That’s why it’s just like a dozer. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: They don’t stop. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: ‘Cause they got weight. The size of, maybe the size of a building here, one big -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: -- floe of ice got weight and -- and you don’t push it. It says stop, stop. They don’t do that, kept going. KAREN BREWSTER: Yup.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. Nothing stops them. KAREN BREWSTER: Nothing stops -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Unless it's at the bottom. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, if -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Shallow -- KAREN BREWSTER: Shallow stops them? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. It just goes down and finally stop. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: But it’s dozing -- dozing the bottom floor.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. So you said -- in -- during whaling time, is the wind and the current different than right now in June? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, this -- this time of the year it used to have heavy ice. But today you cannot see the heavy ice anymore. KAREN BREWSTER: No. ROSSMAN PEETOK: I don’t. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Maybe it's -- Maybe I’m the only one who can’t see it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, every -- everybody says that. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Heavy -- heavy -- KAREN BREWSTER: No heavy -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: -- old ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: I call it old ice. Heavy old ice. It’s kinda -- it’s not white like now. It’s kinda brownish color, yellowish brownish ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Looks old. But you cannot see them anymore. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Today.

KAREN BREWSTER: What do you call that in Iñupiaq? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Utuqqaq siku. KAREN BREWSTER: Old ice. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Old ice. Utuqqaq siku. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

When you’re at whaling camp, earlier in the spring, does the current come from the south? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. They come in from south. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Along with a -- a -- a glacier ice sometimes. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Real big glacier ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: But it splits sometimes when it break off. Starts splitting. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: But mostly when it hits the bottom floor of the ocean it starts splitting. It’s not heavy. It’s not -- they’re easy to break. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: Glacier ice is easy to break than solid ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Solid ice and -- can stay longer than glacier ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: When it’s together, they crush these small -- glacier ice. When the iceberg hit the glacier ice it -- it smash it same time. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Smash -- smash -- smash it.

I got to go over there. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, you got to go? ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: We got to watch -- I mean -- the meeting. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ROSSMAN PEETOK: We have most of the story about the ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Aarigaa. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And that’s how I see -- I see that -- I was excited when I make a movie for Walt Disney. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ROSSMAN PEETOK: And the movie -- Walt Disney have that picture of the snow that built up in summer time. KAREN BREWSTER: Right, right. Well, so -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: We got a picture of that and -- and the ice, loose ice come in from the ocean. KAREN BREWSTER: Can -- can I -- ROSSMAN PEETOK: Walt Disney got the picture.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Can I ask one more question? ROSSMAN PEETOK: What’s that? KAREN BREWSTER: Have you ever been on the ice when it’s drifted away? ROSSMAN PEETOK: I’ve never been drifted out. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: I was very carefully -- ‘cause it’s -- some people drifted out. But they survived somehow. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. But never to you, okay. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, thank you for -- Quyanaqpak. ROSSMAN PEETOK: Yeah, okay.