Mike and Dallia Andrew were interviewed on March 7, 1995 by Bill Schneider and Don Callaway in Igiugig, Alaska. In this first part of a two part interview, Mike and Dallia talk about their traditionally based subsistence lifestyle and their fishing, hunting and trapping activities. They also talk about the effect of tundra fires, celebrating holidays, how to properly dispose of animal bones, how to avoid starvation, gender specific roles in subsistence activities, and changes they have seen in wildlife populations. Finally, Mike talks about hunting bear with an axe and following the proper rules about sharing your harvest, and Dallia talks about giving birth and raising a family.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Katmai National Park
Date of Interview: Mar 7, 1995
Narrator(s): Mike Andrew, Sr., Dallia Andrew
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Don Callaway
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Tundra fires and protection from them
Sharing during holidays
Trapping in the winter time, and fishing
Commercial fishing (continued)
Operating a boat
After commercial fishing season
Mike and Dallia before and after their marriage
Fishing and gender subsistence
Fishing and gender subsistence (continued)
Their children and moving to Igiugig
Hunting and fishing around Igiugig
Changing number of animals
Changing numbers of animal (continued)
Fish storage (continued)
Disposal of animal bones
Disposal of animal bones (continued)
How to avoid starvation
Important people in their lives
Lack of dependence on store bought food
Teaching children about subsistence practices
Hunting bears with an axe
Hunting bears with an axe (continued)
Hunting bears with an axe (continued)
Hunting bears with an axe (continued)
Giving away first kills
Respect for elders
Parts of animals not eaten by women
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Side A Bill: Okay, there was more you wanted to say about fires. Today is the 7th, and we have Mike and Dallia here. This is Bill Schneider, Don Callaway's here, too. And we're at the two-story bunkhouse, and we're continuing our discussion about their life histories, and we're talking about the years before you got married. And you were talking about fires in the old days, tundra fires and how people protected themselves against it. Mike: Okay. When we're talking about fire on the land. When weather's clear, when we want to have rain and what we do. We have a long time break Bill: If you would, tell me again what you did a long time ago with the bear skin. Mike: There, that's long time, we take the bear skin if we need the rain, you want him to rain. We'll take him to the river and soak the bear skin in the water, fresh water. And when we lift 'em up, we shake 'em up in the air. And that way, it sometimes take a day and it start raining. We learn from our old folks. Cause that's the way they teach us when we, when we have tundra fire. And we have to get the rain. Bill: Did you ever see them do that? Mike: Yeah. We do that when we have tundra fire down there. We take the bear skin and put it in the water and shake 'em up. Really rain, get cloudy and rain. It shut off the fire, tundra fire. Don: Is this related to when the bear comes out of the water? What does the bear shake itself when it comes out of the water? Mike: The bears, when they swim in the water, a lot of times you watch it. They don't, it doesn't shake their body. That's why the reason. All the animal, moose and caribou, they come out of the water in the tundra they shake their body. But bears don't. You shouldn't ask? bears to shake, not all, not all of them, be like you see one. That's where the skin, when they teach us about, our folks. Save the hide. When we're gonna have fire, tundra fire, we put it, soak it in water, shake it in the air. It will rain.
Side A Bill: And you wanted to say more about holiday time. Dallia: When holday come, like we got name days, our church name days, we all, we invite our, all the village here to come to our house and we have big potluck. All they teach us, old folks, long time ago, we still at it, yet. We still use it, yet. Bill: And what did they teach you to make? Dallia: We make all kinds of food, what we have, what we could give out to serve. Any kind of food, Native food.
Bill: Can you tell us about sharing at that time? Dallia: When we share, other ladies like my, this, all these ladies, they bring their cooking to where we gonna have our potluck. Where we gonna have our name day potluck, our church name day potluck. They bring them up there, cooking, too. Bill: Do you receive food from other places, too? Dallia: No, just around the village. What when, somebody come from other village, when they come for the church holiday like over Stuyaraq ], they bring some food, too, like beaver meat, some other, that would share with our holiday potluck. break
Bill: So, Mike, if you would, tell me what it was like when you were a teenager, just before you got married, in terms of , how did you make a living throughout the year? Mike: Well, when I was young, I was trained by my mom to trap in the winter time. Trap wild beaver, otter, fox, wolverine, lynx, and rabbits. And besides, we used to have a little snare for ptarmigan, them white ptarmigan. We make snare, my mom teach me how to hunt like that. So and beside that, when we went hunting, we'd go ice-fishing. We chopped ice, long time ago. Ice we had to chop four to five feet of ice. It was a long time, 'cause used to be a lotta ice. And break Bill: You're doing fine. Mike: Then when we went trapping in the winter time, in the summer, we put up fish, we'd put up fish for the winter. That was a part of my work when I was young. We check the net. When we got fish, salmon or white fish or pike, we'd butcher them up, wash it, hang it 'til weather dry it. Then we, if we doin', doin' that fish from the net, we do, go out there and cut wood for our cabin, cut quite a bunch of wood and haul it home. Cause we have winter coming again, so we, we gather all kinds of wood, dry wood--birch, beach wood, all in one bunch.
Mike: And then in winter time, when winter come, I go hunting. Try to hunt for moose, anything wild, like a porcupine, for rabbit in winter time, then ptarmigan. We snare it long time ago, we don't shoot it. We use snare. Make a little snare in a tree so ptarmigan go through and then you'll get 'em. Sometime we get four or five in one time when there's a lot of ptarmigan, long time ago. We don't shoot it, we use, make a little snare for ptarmigan. That's how my mom teach me how to hunt, so I learn like that too. Bill: So that was winter time, huh? break
Bill: So what happened in spring time? Mike: Well in spring time, we get ready for, for fish. We make a camp where we can have our subsistence net for breakup time, like white fish, pike, grayling, trout, rainbow. Then we, we make some kind of open fish rack. We are always doing something for coming during the spring; we get ready for them. 'Cause we put up some open poles, tie 'em together. When we get, when the fish come, they're all ready there. We can use to hang fish, get like weather-dried. Bill: And what were you fishing for in spring time? What kind of fish? Mike: We fish for like white fish, freshwater white fish. And the pike, trout, and the grayling. Bill: And whereabouts would you fish in spring time for those? Mike: When we fish, we fish right in the river, where we, you know the spot where the fish swim by, like a eddy. We have a subsistence short net. The only way we catch them long time. We don't hardly use our hook. We use a subsistence. What we catch, we always, we save it, put them away, hang it, and let, 'cause we have winter coming again after spring and summer.
Mike: And after spring work, then we wait for salmon run. Then we get some like for smoke wood. Birch we get by boatload, got a whole bunch, we cut 'em up, ready for salmon when they come. And that's our set, setting net. We start use that birch to smoke, smoke it smoke house. And let it dry. After we leave them outside and let 'em drain, then put them in the smoke house, smoke 'em dry smoke. Hardly fire, but steady smoke. That's the way we used to work in summer when I was young.
Bill: You said that you did a lot of commercial when you were a teenager. Mike: Okay, when the first year, in summer, I commercial back in the year 1950, that was my first year I set net. And I was set netting the beach, but we have a skiff. And that time, we have a site with our names on. We have 55 net. And if we don't catch no more fish, we move our site where the fish are. And we pushed our site in the bank and put net out. That's the way we fished a long time ago. Bill: 1950 ... Mike: '50, 1950 was my first year. When, after I set net two years, then I been commercializing for forty-two years, right today, but 'til '94. Bill: While we're on that subject of commercializing, did you change from set netting to boat? Mike: Well I set net two years. Then I talked with some of my friends, and we kind of look which way is easier that are more, to get more fish. Less work, so I tried two years on the beach, I set net. Back in 1950, '51. '52.
Mike: After 1952 I wanted a big boat for since '94, so that was pretty much easier to pack more, but got to work a little more, too. Bill: I didn't understand that. You wanted a big boat? Mike: Yeah, we went to the bigger boat, drifting, so we could get more fish on the boat than what we got on that skiff in the beach; it'd pack more. And the skiff, you got work. Sometime we got to fill the skiff twice in the day, in one tide. Bigger boat, you'd have to go one load, you cover everything. Seems like a little easier, but you have to work harder. So I was, been drifter long time. Bill: How did you get a boat? Mike: When I transferred to the bigger boat, I fish with my older brother, teach me how to work the bigger boat. So I learn. When I learn, after two years, I want my own. I get my own boat and fish, 'til '92. Bill: Did you get that boat from the company or did you buy it independent? Mike: We bought it, independent. We bought it ourself from the company. I bought one wooden boat from the company, and I fished that for five years. Then I ordered another bigger boat, from outside, not from the cannery. I ordered from outside, , Seattle, and bring them up with a big steam ship, big boat. They couldn't fly it; they barge them up. It was years when I got to bigger boat. It was eighty-four, and I got my bigger boat.
Bill: And your brother taught you how to work the boat. Mike: Yes, yeah, he teach me how to, cause it was little different from little boat to bigger boat. They're not same. He teach me how to handle the bigger boat, and the weather. So pretty much I learn from my brother, he teach me how to handle bigger boat and the weather, too. Bill: Is weather a big factor? Mike: Yeah, sometimes we have winds, strong, and they tell me "Watch the storm you've got coming." Sometime he tell me to closer, where we can get away from the bay, from not getting where we can, where I can go where I can safe, when it's too stormy. So I learn from my brother that way, when I went to bigger boat. Bill: Mmm.
Bill: And then after commercial season ended, what did you do then? When you were young? Mike: Well when I fish, after season's over, we go home, bring home little bit food for coming winter. Then later on we get some more from the stores, what we need, like coffee, sugar, flour.
Don: Where did you do most of your fishing, off of Naknek? Mike: I fish in Bristol Bay, Naknek, yeah, Naknek, Kvichak. I started 1950. I never transferred no place. I stay over at Naknek, Kvichak. For 42 years I fished, I never move around. I never go to another fish ?dealer?. I stay with where, I like it, so I, where I can get my fish. And I know where they go, so I stay with it.
Bill: Seems like people we've talked to, that the men were down fishing, oftentimes, and the women were back up river, subsistence fishing. Tell me about how you met and decided to get married and we'll see how that sorts out in terms of activities. laughing When did you, did you know Mike all your life, Dallia? Dallia: No. Mike: No, what you want to know, between us. 'Cause I meet Dallia 'cause she was younger than me. 'Cause we don't really talk, but I seen her once in a while because we live so far away. I live in Alagnak River. She live at Kukaklek, that's where she was raised. And we start travelling down this way, to Kvichak. That's where I met her. And lot of times I met them up on the lake, Kokhanok, when they was going to school. So we get, every time I see her, we know one another more all the time. Bill: And when were you married? Mike: We, okay, we got married in 1960. Bill: So you had been commercial fishing for quite a while. Mike: Uh huh. Well from from '50 to '92, that's 42 years in the bay. Bill: But before you got married, 10 years, huh? And where did you live after you got married? Mike: We live in Alagnak River for a while. Bill: Hmm mmm.
Bill: And tell me, when Mike was down in the bay fishing, what were you doing? Dallia: We mostly subsist and put our fish away for the winter. Them days we had more dogs. We've got to hustle up for the dogs and us, too, for the winter. Don: How many fish would you put up? Dallia: We put up about 3-4,000, something like that. Don: The dogs'd eat a lot of that. Dallia: The dogs eat, and we eat. Then we bind some of it for winter. Put it in the salt, save it for winter. When winter time, we soak it, then we cooked it, eat that fish, too. Bill: And this was at Alagnak River? Dallia: Yeah, Alagnak River, and we move up here and we do the same thing, over and over. Bill: When did you move up here to Igiugig? Dallia: '69. Bill: But for nine years you lived down on the river? Dallia: Yeah, we live on Branch River for nine years, I think. That's when our kids want to go to school, we move up here, to go to the school. That's when we left the Branch River. But we still go down, though, summer time, hunter time, go see if, Branch, Alagnak River. Bill: For subsistence activities? Dallia: Yeah, like we want to put up some more subsistence king salmon. Bill: And did you have a house down on the river? Dallia: Yeah, we got house down the river. break
Bill: So, all summer long, Mike would be down on the coast and you would be up fishing. Dallia: Yeah, that's how we put up, ladies, yeah, they stay home, try to hustle up the, put our fish away for the winter. If we don't, otherwise, we don't have fish for winter. Bill: Was that hard having the men gone, or? Dallia: No, it's, we used to it. We learn from our, my folks help. Whoever stay there with us, they'd help. Bill: And then during the summer, did the men come back at all? Dallia: They don't come back 'til after fishing's over. They gotta hustle up for their fishing, too, for ...
Bill: Yeah. So tell me about your children that you had after you got married. Dallia: My children? Yeah, I raise my children. I taught 'em how, what I did for summer survival for winter. Bill: Tell us who your children are. Dallia: My children is, the oldest one was Alec, then a Trefim and a Michael. Bill: And they were born when? Starting, you were married in 1960, so they were Dallia: '62 to Bill: Michael's the youngest? Dallia: Uh huh. Bill: How many do you think, Mike? Dallia: '66. '64, '62. '62 to '66. Bill: And now they're all grown men. Dallia: Yeah, they're all grown up, now. Bill: Alec is gone, but Trefim and Michael are grown men. Bill: And when did you move up here to Igiugig? Dallia: '69, that's when we move up here. No, I move, I stay down there for awhile, for a couple of years, I don't remember how long I stayed. Cause we move around. We stayed in Branch River, Alagnak River, then we stayed at Kvichak for, I don't know, a year or two. Then we move up here, we stayed here since then. Bill: Is there a reason you were moving around? Mike, maybe you could help us there. Mike: Well when we move up here, we want our children to go school, to learn, going to school. That's why we move here. And since 1969, we've been here ever since. Then our kids went to school here, went through high school at home. They finished.
Bill: How has that affected your hunting and fishing and trapping, moving up here and staying in this one place? Mike: You're asking me? Okay, well hunting and fishing, they are almost same as Alagnak, no different. When we, we can go, where to go for look for moose and game, we know where to go. On the Kvichak and Lake Illiamna, Igiugig. We know where to get our fishes at, pretty much same. Bill: So you didn't experience any difficulty when you moved up here? Mike: Well, from Alagnak to Igiugig, here, there's pretty much the same hunting ground, they're all like land and river to fish. Pretty much same.
Bill: In the course of your lifetime, what changes have you seen in the land and the animals? Mike: How I gonna answer that? laughing Dallia: Before, animals wasn't that much animals. Now seem like we've got more caribous than when I was young. We hardly see them caribous. Not too long, now, they coming back. Bill: Why is that, do you suppose? Mike: Just the way I, I don't hardly see caribou when I was younger. Once in a great moon they go a long ways for, over Mulchatna, over the other side to get the caribou. Is how far they travel for caribou. Take them a couple of days before they come home. Cause caribou used to stay out in the open tundra, they don't come in the trees in earlier days. Now they go in the trees and tundras. End of Side A
Side B Bill: Okay, talking about animals. Mike: It was changing in the animal, while, we're talking about moose, when I was young we have hardly moose. We have to travel long ways for one moose. You don't get 'em in one day. You gotta go two, three days before you come to moose. In my days, when we were young. So that's changed from today. Right now seems like mooses are coming back from somewhere, they're all over. Just like long time ago. That's the changing I could see. Don: How about, um, how did your parents teach you to use the whole caribou or the whole moose? What parts of the animal did they teach you to eat? Mike: Well, we're talk about moose, first. When we butcher 'em up, take it home after we catch it. Then like our moms, they butcher it again, cut 'em up, slice 'em up, make it small. And sometime they hang it, let weather it dry. Hang it, even the ribs, brisket, make it smaller, tie 'em up and hang it in a pole. We call it dry meat, our name is, could we add, funny we don't add on Yupik, between. We can't, or? Bill: Please, talk Yupik if you like. Mike: So when we talk about dry meat, from that moose, let weather dry it, we call a Yupik word, kinertalluk, kinercirat ellami, weather dry. So I tell that name, it, some guy when they're some place, they can understand Yupik, you know, when they listen. So, that's why I want to put little bit of my Yupik words, you know. break
Dallia: In the spring time, too, we catch white fish. Before summer, we let the weather dry it, same thing like a dry meat. Then we put it away before salmon come. 'Cause when salmon gonna come, I heard this a long time ago, this white fish trouts, they go away, we don't catch them no more. There's, they, when salmon gonna come, they disappeared. I don't know where they always go. Every time salmons gonna come to the river. That's why we have to dry these white fish and pike and grayling and trout, so we could eat fish before salmon comes. Don: And Mike, you told us last time we talked, about how you, to store the fish, even if it had a little bad spot on it, you'd save everything. Mike: Yeah, we save everything, even the little mold. You could wipe it off and it still taste, the fish never change the flavor. Just it there tastes like a dry fish.
Bill: I think you were talking about fish storage places. Maybe we could put that on the tape. How people made fish storage. Mike: Well, okay. That time, they'd braid a dried grass, they'd braid 'em up like splicing a rope. Braid 'em, make like a basket so high and so wide. And they'd put the fresh white fish inside the hole, not cut it, the hole, and put 'em outside, higher, so dogs don't get it. Let weather, keep the fresh air. Never spoil, just like a freezer. You make 'em out of grass braided together. First make a basket. I guess long time ago that's the kind of freezer, I guess, don't spoil.
Don: You also mentioned about storage in a pit where you'd lay. Mike: Okay, it's another thing. We're putting away salmon, 'cause late, when late fish we call it late, late fish, be like a dog salmon, salmon mixed together. We put it in the ground. Make a hole like four feet then fix the bottom with grass and canvas, and put that fish in. When you put that fish in, we cover 'em up good so no sand fly, no air no place. Put it in the ground, four feet in the ground. Then cover 'em up. When they do that, they put the fish away for, like, they open it in December month, just before Christmas time. They never spoil. Stay cold, they cover them up with so much ground over it. The sun wouldn't get warm, stay cold, yeah, underground. And when they gonna have it Christmas time, like a holiday, I guess, they open it. Boy, they're fresh, they're just like you just put them in right today. 'Cause I used to watch my Grandpa do that. I watched, and they told me, "Someday you gonna work like me, at, I'm teaching you." So I was work with my grandpa. They make, put the fish away like that. They never spoil.
Don: Dallia, you talked about respect for animals and their bones and how you dispose of Dallia: Yeah, long time ago they told us, everybody, even this Mike's mom told us, "You don't lay around the bones. They'll get thirsty. Throw them away where it's swamp. So they wouldn't get thirsty. When you don't watch the animal's bones, later on you'll hunt, you can't catch it." That's what they told us. But when you catch, like seal a water animal, he tell me to throw it on the ground cause they were in the water all the time. They wouldn't get thirsty. Don: Did you teach Agrafin and Mike? Dallia: Yeah, I tell 'em that. "If you see bone anyplace on the tundra, if it's really dry, try to throw it in the swamp water, or creek, or, so it wouldn't get thirsty".
Mike: Sure, I want to help a little bit, here. We're talking about animal bone, what I teach, my mom, my folks. Long time ago, there was a moose skull, that, that's the head. It's on that land, dry land. Someone left it. It was hot, and the skull of our moose, he was just thirsty. And whoever hear this one, he was hunting around, looking for game. He heard something, noise someplace. So he stay quiet and listen, "What was that?" See, sound like, doing like a human but it sound like an animal. They were crying. 'Cause he was thirsty. So while he try to find where thta thing was coming from, that noise, so he spotted that skull, moose skull there in the tundra, dry. He was really thirsty, he was crying. It's, whoever find that skull, he pick him up, take him to the water, was threw it into the water. So he thank him after that, I guess they get luck when they go and always caught something all the time. 'Cause animal skulls give 'em luck.
Don: You also talked about how your parents and, taught you to avoid starvation. How to use the small fish in the creeks and all kinds of lessons like that. Could you talk about that a little bit? Dallia: Yeah, a long time ago they tell us, those black fish, they call it. And suckers, the ones eat the ground, "They're the only ones gonna live." He tell us to watch where those suckers and black fish live, so we know. When we starve, we know to catch the only ones gonna survive. 'Cause they're eating the ground. So he tell us to watch for that.
Bill: When you think about growing up, who are, who's the most important person in your life when you were growing up? Mike: Well, when I, since I was a baby, I grow up, only one I could remember, my mom. 'Cause I lost my dad when I was still little. I don't remember. But my mom, that's where I learn all this how to survive in the winter and summer, how to work. Teach me lot of stuff, right today. So I'm happy with Mom teaching, cause I lost my dad when I was a little baby. I don't remember, only my mom. Bill: She must have been a tremendous woman to have kept the family together and provide for them. Mike: Uh huh. Boy, she know, and she teach me, like my dad used to hunt wild. So I, really happy teach me how to go trapping and hunting, fishing. And all this stuff I learn from my mom. She teach me, so I really thank her right today. Bill: How about you? Dallia: My folks was live for a while. I remember I growed up with them. When they got old age, then they gone, too. They taught us just about the same as Mike taught.
Bill: And as you look to, as you look to the future, both of you have talked about the importance of resources for the future. And not depending just on store food. Could you talk a little bit for the record on that? I think we're talking, now. Dallia: Some years we might have low on the animals or fish, too. That is mama taught me to pick like wild on the ground, leaves, not leaves, what they call them, spinach, I think. Some thing grows on the ground, pick it. Cook 'em with fish juice or animal juice, then you cook 'em in. Then you eat those wild from the ground. It's not a berries, this is green wild, grow on the ground. Mike: When you talk about how do, when this, all the food's gonna be gone, we were teach by my mom. You get white moss from the tundra, you all see white moss there, kind of white, kind of like a dry cabbage, like, that whitish color. They're in the tundra, low. And long time ago my mom tell us, tell us, remind us, "Some day we gonna be low on food. We just know where to find them, we have to spot them ahead of time. Because year is coming someday." So when we, long time ago, we're low on food, they pick 'em, them white moss, so much, put it in a gunny sack. Then they, when they come home, see that's a food, you got to mix em with salmon egg, boil it together with the white moss. That's a food. You could survive on that. So I have break
Bill: That's, that's what I was getting at. And what about the future? Do you think that information, do you think your kids will have to use that information? Mike: Well, we told 'em, we got , they're coming sometimes, something's gonna be low. We're not going to have all kinds of food. We have to know how to survive. Even white moss with salmon egg. Salmon egg from the ground. There's a food; you could survive on it. If you had nothing else to go by. So we been telling our boys like this, they got coming, some day. But never know. We, they've got coming, some time.
Mike: Then we got taught by mom long time ago, lived by my grandpa. When you tell about, you know with this, something like starvation, everything is gone. Then from the ground, fish, everything is, what's gonna be when everything's gone, salmon, everything from the water. Gonna be like a ling cod and sucker and the little black fish, that eat the ground. That's gonna be around, when something's gone, all the animals will be gone. Only ones, them three fish gonna be around. And they told us, we have to know where to find them. They told me, my grandpa. Cause when I was young, I follow my grandpa. They used to use fish trap. Like four feet by two feet wide. They have a funnel and it trap them in it, black fish. And they told me, "Some days you gonna trap like me, when you get old." I still remember. I used to follow my grandpa when he used the fish trap. So I learned some like wild from my grandpa, too.
Don: You told us about your grandpa hunting bears with an ax. Mike: That's a good question, okay, I could remember. One time we went out late fall fishing, we were fishing silver. Like in September, late, almost to the end of September. We go up river. So I happen to go with my grandpa, me with my older brother, cause I was younger. That time I never use a rifle. I was not too much of a hunter, but I was learning, by my grandpa, I follow him. 'Cause I never shoot animal, when I'm learning with my grandpa that time. And while we camp, we have a tent, an 8 by 10 tent, wall tent, canvas. We camp. One evening we heard, before that, we caught, grandpa got a moose, and we hang him up by our camp while we're fishing silvers. And first night, we heard big noise outside of us. It was dark and some fall time; there was no moonlight them days. But that time there was no moon, dark.
Mike: And in the morning, daybreak, my grandpa went out to check what was the big noise last night. So he come back, come in and he said, "You know what?" I said, "No." He said, "Something come last night, while we had a big noise. He took all the meat and he wrecked it. All the meat, scraps, they're gone." And he see foot tracks in the ground. That was the bear track. Said, "It's a bear took our meat," he said. When the daylight come, we're gonna go look for our meat." I said, "How we gonna get em?" I asked my grandpa. "We track him down," he said, "we'll find it." And I was young, you know, cause I never use rifle that time. I could remember my grandpa used to have .25-20 pump, long time ago used to have pump. And he put it inside the tent when we were ready to go. And I look at his rifle, .25-20, "How come we don't want to take it," I asked my grandpa. "What you gonna do with your rifle?" I said. "Rifle? Why, I'm not going to use that rifle. It's not strong enough when I go look for that bear, when I go look for that bear, for look for our meat." See, trapping hatchet about this long, with double-blade. He start sharpening it. And I'm thinking, "What he's gonna do with that ax?" Turn 'em around, sharp one side. Pretty soon he had it pretty sharp. So, I told him, "Grandpa, what you gonna do with an ax?" He said, "This is my rifle," said, "I'm, we're gonna go for that bear, so I need my rifle, I'm gonna use the hatchet." And believe him, I went with him that time. Boy, I was scared, though, but I follow Grandpa. Why where I will to stay back, but I had to be with my Grandpa, I want to watch him how he, you know, go take that bear on.
Mike: And so we start follow his tracks. About a mile from the camp we come to big pile of ground. What he didn't eat, some hide, like a moose, they bury it. Really big ground. Then when we come to that, 20 feet away, my grandpa said, "You stay right there, but watch, I'll try to him where he covered the meat." He told me that's the meat underneath. I guess he'd been to it before. He didn't tell me, but that time he told me. That he hunt inside, but he tell me to watch the outside. See, he might be sleeping, 'cause he eat all the meat. Not too far from where he left, where he eat. Boy, I was scared. I didn't believe him, but I believe him that time. He hunt bear with a hatchet. And while he walked around, that great big mound we find two legs not even touched. He eat one leg and we didn't find that, rest of the leg from the moose. Then he walk around. I just kind of watch. Nothing happened. So he went someplace, went to sleep. So we took the meat back.
Mike: And then other time, he got chased by three bear. He had that hatchet yet. And he caught three bear with the hatchet. And what he'd do, "He was chasing me." If bear charging, when you charge him, you have to move to right side, not that left side. Bill: Not the bear's left side. Mike: Right, 'cause the bear's left side is their, "That's their arm," he told me. "Even you far, he will grab you and throw you in the air." But right arm, they're slow. They can't grab you; they go right by you. So you have to jump towards the right arm instead of left arm. Then after you move, when the bear come, you hit him, chop him behind the head, he fall down. Another one come, same thing. He hit three bear with the hatchet. And I believe it. I wasn't with him; I was young, I was scared. So he taught me how to hunt with a hatchet.
Don: Mike, you also mentioned when you caught your first seal, your parents gave it, you didn't have any of it, they gave it to everyone else in the community. Did they do the same thing with your first moose and your first caribou, or was it just done with your first seal? Mike: Well I could remember it. They do it to the first animal I caught, the seal. Then burn him in a bonfire, burn his nose and mouth, everything. They keep on talk to this animal, saying,"Next time you'll have better luck", and let's burn this, you know. But that was, that's true that I had luck all the time. And when they butcher it, cut him up, gave him to all the other families, they share with them. Now I didn't eat him, never eat when that first animal I caught. But next time, I'll eat. So that's the way they train me. Don: Did they do that with your first moose, too? Mike: Yeah, like you take first a seal, any animal we caught when we're young, all the animals like that. They wouldn't give them to you. They give them to other families. They're, they've been do it all over in Alaska like that, those older people. The next time you have better luck. Don: Dallia, you said they did that with your first smoke salmon that you processed, too? Dallia: Yeah, when I first smoke fish, too, they do the same thing, give them all to other village, or other people. Same thing, they give 'em all to my first fish. My first put up fish.
Don: How about, uh, part of sharing was respect for the elders. You were taught to respect the elders by, by sharing with them. Dallia: Yeah, when the the elders, 'cause they're old, they can't do like they used to, they tell us to help the elders. They thank you, them days you go out what you need, they'll help you. When you help the elders they time 'cause they're, my folks taught to help the elders, help them what them need. Give them food if you catch food, Share with them. Don: Has that stayed the same, that respect stayed the same? Dallia: We still, we still try to do the same. Like once in a while that Murphy is gonna be all elders, once in a while, I think of him and I bring him some dry fish. Not very often, once in a while now, I still, remind myself. Don: How about the younger generation, do they respect the elders like you did? Dallia: Yeah, they still kind of respect, mostly. Sometimes these girls here, like Julie's girls, like Loreen's girls, they bring 'em cookies. They still seem do the following.
Don: You also talked about that there were certain parts of the moose that you couldn't eat. Dallia: Certain part of moose? Don: That women couldn't eat? Dallia: Yeah, certain part of moose, where the belly part is. Where that liver and, that's the one they tell us not to eat. Don: Did that also go for parts of the bear? Bear meat or bear fat? Dallia: Well, the bear, bear feet or something they tell us not to eat, too, especially when you pregnant. Pregnant, they tell us not to eat certain foods. So we still remember not to eat that stuff when you're pregnant.
Don: Do you think it's easier today with the medical help to have babies and so forth? Was it hard when you were having your babies, or? Dallia: Yeah, easier nowdays. We got health aides and nurse and doctors. Before we don't have no nurse and doctors. It was, it's kinda hard. But they make it. Don: Who helped you when you were having your babies? Was you mother or Dallia: My mother and dad helped me when I had my first, that Alec. He was born down the Kaskanak. Because I was gonna go to the hospital, I delayed, wait too long. I had it in home. It turn out good. Then other one, I, Michael, he born in Alagnak, too. I didn't went to hospital. The only, Tref, he's born in hospital. Cause I went there early. They, Mary, his sister, helped me with Michael. He turn out pretty good, too. End of Side B