Mary Ann Olympic was interviewed on March 8, 1995 by Bill Schneider and Don Callaway at her home in Igiugig, Alaska. In this interview, Mary discusses her strong personal ties to Kukaklek Lake where she grew up and recalls in Yup'ik and English the names of the places around the lake. She talks about growing up in a traditional subsistence lifestyle where the family moved around seasonally to access resources, and where she learned about reindeer herding, trapping, hunting and fishing. She also talks about the importance of sharing and abiding by traditional cultural practices. Mary also describes raising her family, and running a trapline and working at the school to help support them.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Katmai National Park
Date of Interview: Mar 8, 1995
Narrator(s): Mary Ann Olympic
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Don Callaway
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Her parents, and reindeer
Their early house
Names of grandparents and great-grandparents, and origins
Reasons for ancestral movings
Reasons for movements, and proper ways of behaving (continued)
Childhood and toys
Her parent's spring activities, and learning to count
Learning to count by numbers of trapped animals (continued)
Wolf skinning procedures
Father and reindeer herding practices by season
Her father's herding and cannery jobs
Moving to Igiugig
Commercial fishing, reindeer herding, and set netting
Mary's marriage (continued)
Mary's marriage (continued)
Muskrat hunting and Mary's marriage
People's seasonal travels
People's seasonal travels (continued)
Living on the Branch River
Moving and building a cabin
Moving and fishing
Commercial fishing and staying with parents
Running a trapline
Her children and traveling
Geographic place names and seasonal camps
Geographic place names and seasonal camps (continued)
Geographic place names and seasonal camps (continued)
Geographic place names and seasonal camps (continued)
Her first house in Igiugig
Caring for friend's children
Fishing and trapping
Mary's husband and children
Hunting and trapping for travel money
Supporting her children, and her husband
Supporting her children, and her husband (continued)
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Bill: Okay, today is March 8, 1995. I'm Bill Schneider; Don Callaway is here, too, and we're working today with Mary Ann Olympic in her home here in Igiugig. And her grandson Jeremiah is in the background Mary Ann: Making noise. Bill: Making noise, yeah, playing with his toys, so he's going to join us too, for a while. Umm, I'd like to start by having you talk a little bit about your parents and how you remember them, and where they were living. Mary Ann: Ah, my parents living at Kukaklek. And uh, before he move up to Kukaklek they living down Alagnak, in older village. When he start, my dad reindeer herder. Then he move, 1906 he move up Kukaklek. And married, married to my mom, 1926. break Bill: So in 1926 they were married. Mary Ann: Yeah, 1926 they married. Bill: That's good. Mary Ann: And they had reindeer herder that time. I remember, nice I start 'member. break Bill: Okay. Mary Ann: Okay. But I wasn't, that phone make me mistake. Bill: laughs Mary Ann: Yeah. Bill: That's okay. Mary Ann: I 'member what at that time, when I first remember, only my grandpa and my parents. I was thinking about that, that we live ah, herd, in the herd alone with the deer. Bill: Uh huh.
Mary Ann: And after that when it start winter come, I see people visit us, it was my mama's brother, ? , sometimes he visit up there. Very full house and ? I know there's lots of people that time. I remember. I start thinking about when I first remember, ah, that we live alone, with the deer, that winter. laughs. Funny, yeah? Bill: Yeah.
Bill: Yeah. Do you remember the house that you lived in up there? Mary Ann: Uh huh. Bill: Describe it for us, please. Mary Ann: Huh? Bill: Describe it, tell us about the house you lived in up there. Mary Ann: It's a tree, you know, log cabin. Bill: Log cabin. Mary Ann: Mm hmm. Everything make it by hand. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: Even the floor he plane, plane. Bill: Oh. Mary Ann: Inside, inside the, put the all kinds of paper, put 'em on. Fancy kind that, you know, long time ago used to put paper on. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: That kind of stuff you put, you could buy things like that. Bill: Uh huh. Was that wallpaper? Mary Ann: Oh wallpaper, yeah, just stick 'em. Bill: Uh huh. Huh. Mary Ann: laughs
Bill: And what was your grandparents' names? Mary Ann: My grandparents, I never 'member, my, my, I know their name, though, Gregory Tengcetaar', but my grandma Lena I didn't get her last name. Bill: Uh huh, uh huh. Mary Ann: My grandpa, last name Tengcataar', my Grandpa Gregory Tengcetaar'. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: That I like that last name. My dad never picked for that last name. He picked uh my grandpa's last name good. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: Alexie Gregory. But, uh, I like to go back to my old Tengcataar' give that to my old Tengcataar'. I like that. Bill: I wonder where that name comes from? Mary Ann: He come from, from down, my, and I am half. Half I'm up there, my folks, grandparents and great grandparents, and from, half of us came down the chain. Aleut. Bill: Aleut. Mary Ann: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. Bill: Uh huh. Uh huh. Mary Ann: My Dad is raised.
Bill: And how did they come to live in this area? Mary Ann: Ah, that's what my dad, my grandpa, that story. When they have starvation up north, long time ago. No food, looking for food. They found that other food at Delye Creek. He tell me that food only never died. Sucker fish, black fish and sticker, sticker. Only three fish, he live. He found lots of fish in, Delye Creek. That's why I come from up north. Those people on my grandpa's story, they used to be Tlingit. All around here, all around here. Indian, they call it. Ken'auyar'. He call 'em, my daddy, Aglurmiut. My grandma, great-grandma, she's Aglurmiut. laughs. They said he talk, he could talk, but uh my dad he didn't know, 'til he gets, uh, after he die, you know, he could talk, talk with our grandma. A little bit for Yupik meadows. Aglurmiut. Good story, that. Bill: Yeah.
Bill: Yeah. So they were starving? Mary Ann: Starvations is long time ago. Bill: Yeah, yeah. And what was the name of the creek they came down to? Mary Ann: Delye Creek up there. They found a food there. From there and split the people living along this side. This our Kvichak side. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: That's why, I knew about that, my grandpa's story. Because I just 'member my grandpa. My, not, this not, this is my maybe not grandpa, my dad's godfather, he came from up there, I remember. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: He talk about that starve story from ? , lots. He always tell me the right, I think he tell me the right way. Bill: Yeah. Mary Ann: You have to help the people when you grow up. And when you got something, you have to give 'em. So I, that's the way I am. But you talk to people, even other, other people. I know the right way and I follow, follow his story. Sometime I just come back just like that, ? he say. And I see somebody kind of new out there and walk around, look like nobody tell 'em to do. And so I tell 'em, I talk to them and make 'em happy. Bill: Uh huh, uh huh. Mary Ann: Yeah. That's the way, that's the way, they said. That's the way have to live. Help people lot. Bill: Uh huh.
Bill: Uh huh. So you remember that grandpa when you were little? Mary Ann: Uh huh. My grandpa. They call him, his name Evan. That Evan Pupsugpak laughs He Pupsugpak. They die up Kukaklek. I gotta a picture by their grave. I don't know where they are right now. I was going to make them bigger, like. Bill: Yeah. Yeah.
Bill: Tell me about, uh, when you were a little child playing up at Kukaklek. Mary Ann: When I was kid though I play only those, they call him Tarunguaq, playing with that kind of people, we called them Tarunguaq. That's my favorite, favorite toy. And let them go ? and let them ? in a can. Put them inside, let them move around ? , I used to. My favorite spot. Bill: What's the name of that game again? Mary Ann: Tarunguaq, little people, you know. Just like a dress them up like uh, let them move around. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: Mmmm Hmmm. Bill: And who was your friend that time? Mary Ann: Elia Ignaty. But they're older than me for two years, I think. And, it was my good buddy. He's gone now, too. Bill: Mmm hmm. Mary Ann: He's from here? Bill: From Igiugig? Mary Ann: Yhh, from Igiugig. Their parents moved down here, too.
Bill: And tell me about what life was like for your parents that time. What were they doing? Mary Ann: They doing lots of stuff at home. And spring time is my momma start hunting squirrel. Ground squirrel. Bill: Mmm hmmm. Mary Ann: My dad start hunting brown bear for summer time. Brown bear and moose. Dry meat, dry lots of dry meat. Yeah, and when I was kid I never get hungry for nothing. He got lots of stuff. And you know, flours and sugars and stuff, dry food. And my dad was good trapping, trapping person. That's why I learned from the first beginning, 1,2,3, to hundred. One, all one, one, all winter 'til March, this month, March, I caught a hundred. Over hundred. They keep, you know every time I get up in the morning I wash my face, face first, go look out and count 1,2,3. laughter. My learning counting. Bill: Yeah. Mary Ann: Yeah. I'm hard way to learn. Bill: That sounds like a good way. Mary Ann: Yeah.
Mary Ann: Yeah. You have to read over hundred before winter over. And you got fox, wolf, wolverine, otter, mink, beaver, those kind of stuff. Those kind of animals. I learn to count them. I tell him this, this is round. This one akagenqellria , the beavers laughs. I call them kagenqegluni nillaraq. Makut taugken nengluteng. All the fox and stuff. Only different when there's beaver around. Bill: And otter? Mary Ann: And otter, long like otter. Fox and otter. But uh, they used to have wolf, left hind bone. This thing that this bone part, left, left side. Bill: Of wolf? Mary Ann: Yeah, they used to skin 'em that way. Bill: Oh. Mary Ann: I remember. I wonder these days now. It look like no more. I never see that kind no more, with that bone.
Bill: Say a little more about that. I'm not sure what you, what you mean. When they were skinning the wolf? Mary Ann: Yeah, skinning in the wolf, this one paw left, in the skin. Bill: Oh, they leave it in the skin? Mary Ann: They leave it in the skin. Bill: The left paw. Mary Ann: Yeah, left paw. I wonder why. Bill: I don't know. Mary Ann: These day I never see that kind no more. They must be quit, I don't know.
Bill: Huh. But your, so your dad was reindeer herding and trapping? Mary Ann: Mmm hmm. Both way, yeah. We had our reindeer herding and both, trapping. He was hunter, hunter, like to hunt. Bill: And uh, at the end of the winter what did he do? Mary Ann: Uh, end of the winter he go, come Kukaklek, uh, bring 'em down, pack 'em. Pack 'em, bring 'em down river. That when he's over the other side, they see, call 'em Igiugig Trading Post, that store used to be. They said, sell 'em over there. Bill: Who ran that store? Mary Ann: Uh I remember, first remember, they run by Herman Sandvik. They call him Storekeeper. Bill: Mmm Hmm. And did the whole family go with your dad when he went to sell them? Mary Ann: Only one time we follow him. We, he for most of the time go down himself with five dogs. Just let 'em loose. When he came back from over there he let 'em pack. Pack carrying stuff. Bill: Oh. Mary Ann: One dog carry, uh, uh one case of milk. One, one dog carry case of fruit. And other kind of stuff, what we need, milk, coffee. But they carry his flours and sugar and stuff inside their ? Indian crackers, lightest one. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: Boy, dogs could carry lots of stuff. Five dogs, he let 'em pack. For summer time.
Bill: Wow. And then, how about summer time. What was he doing in summer time? Mary Ann: They just watch the reindeer. Before they started working down, somewhere around 1940, 1943 I think, he start working down Naknek in the cannery. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: That's why I, I see that picture down at school, when he start working.
Bill: Yeah. How about your mom. Tell us how you remember her. Mary Ann: Mom used to be uh, house, housewife. She like to do stuff. Clean. She like to clean. Put up fish summer time. We put up lots of fish. Big smoke house got two layer, hanging. We'd fill it up. We use to have lots of dogs, that's why. Those dogs, two dog teams of dogs we got. Lots of dogs to eat. Bill: How come so many dogs? Mary Ann: 'Cause they use 'em winter time. When they, one of 'em tired, and use other team. Bill: And he needed to get out? Mary Ann: Yeah let 'em rest some, the one that they used.
Bill: Uh huh. How long did, uh, how many years did your family stay up there reindeer herding? Mary Ann: We let 'em, my, my folks start let 'em loose in 1947. Bill: Oh. Mary Ann: Me and Elia take over our reindeer herd. He take care of it. Maybe about 5, 6 years when he took over. They start relax. Me and Elia Ignaty take them out and bring them home in the evening, night time. They let us go about four o'clock. We used to be out there in all evening in the, out in the bushes. Let them, let them eat, the reindeer. Let them eat the, you know, moss. Bill: Moss. Mary Ann: Yeah. Bonfire. When he start, wolf start howling, we start shooting in the air with the .22. Build a big fire there, like Christmas tree, let 'em burn. We had fun. But some time we take 'em home from ten, ten o'clock, eleven o'clock, we'd take 'em by the house, you know, our places. Let 'em stay there at night time, let 'em sleep. Bill: Yeah. How many reindeer did you have? Mary Ann: Gee, I don't know. When they start wolf, wolf too much, wolf in it, only what, 20 something left, they let 'em go. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: We moved, we moved down that time after we let 'em go, reindeer.
Bill: You moved down to Mary Ann: Here. Uh huh. In 1947. Bill: How old were you then? Mary Ann: I was what, 16. I probably counted from 1931 to 1947. I was what, 16? Bill: You were born in 1931? Mary Ann: Mmm humm. Bill: Yeah, 16. Mary Ann: Yeah, I'm right, ? laughs I never forgot ? still I got good memory yet. Bill: Yeah. So you were a young woman. Mary Ann: I'm 63. I'm not really young no more. Bill: But when you were 16. Mary Ann: I was really young, yeah. I was teenager. Bill: Teenager yeah. Mary Ann: Yeah, but I don't know about, nothing that time, when we first moved down. I really want to go back to Kukaklek. I really miss summer time. I don't know how many times I tell my mom, summer time, "Gee, that Igiugig is bum place." When you walk around lots, that's why I'm, 'cause Kukaklek was nice and dry. Bill: Oh. Mary Ann: There to go to walk, you know. Yeah, Kukaklek was nice place, lots of food. In the winter time, put the net under the ice, my dad. They bring lots of fish. There's black, rainbow, rainbow kind. Yep, I still want to go back to Kukaklek once, in the, especially spring and fall. Boy, I like that place. Bill: Yeah. Mary Ann: My two, two young one they didn't know it. My ? , only me. laughter Bill: But it sounds like you had fun up there. Mary Ann: Yeah, I had a fun raising up there. I don't know about nothing. Just play.
Bill: And you said your father went commercial fishing? Mary Ann: Yeah, they was in, long time ago they said, uh, commercial fishing, before move up to reindeer sta--, reindeer. Bill: Oh, he did it before he went up. Mary Ann: Before, yeah, before reindeer, you know. Before he get the reindeer, he start commercial fishing. With, you know, sail boat. Sail boat time. Bill: Did he ever tell you about that time? Mary Ann: They said when he start fish, that only three cents, stuff is. Bill: Oh, not much money. Mary Ann: Naw, no money, I think that time. They get thousand fish, hundred doll, hundred, hundred dollars they make, they say. That's all summer. Hard work, too. When they count he said, "We'll be poor fishin', down Naknek bay". Bill: Yeah. Dangerous, too, huh? Mary Ann: Uh huh. He said eighteen-some, eighteen-someplace they start, uh, with number one cannery down, oh, Naknek, all the way down. What they call 'em. Diamond J's? No? Diamond A, maybe. They call it. Number one cannery. That's what my dad say. After that, after one year later, another cannery build up, uh Branch River, right at Branch River mouth. He said, "Not much, not, no money much fishing, lots of fisherman, though." But everything was cheap, they said. Hundred pound flour only one dollar. And you get, the, he bring some, maybe five hundred pound flour to Kukaklek. Same thing sugar. Pretty cheap, huh? Bill: Yeah, yeah.
Bill: So at some point he decided to go reindeer herding and not fish? Mary Ann: Ah, yeah. Some, this, they bring from, they, my dad he got story. Bring from up north reindeer. Every village got around here. Got reindeer. Stuyaraq, Qalirneq, Iquaq first. And after that they bring this side, Nondalton, Bristol Bay, Newhalen, Kokhanok, Kukaklek. Bring some. When they search, start taking them, he said over thousand reindeer, they bring 'em up. Lots of reindeer, huh? Bill: Yeah.
Bill: Yeah. And so your dad decided not to commercial fish for awhile? Mary Ann: Yeah, decide not to commercial fish for a while. 'Cause, ah, they got, I think they got a paid, them reindeer herder. Better than commercial. Bill: Uh huh. And then he went back to commercial fishing in the forties? Mary Ann: No, they go back to set net. Bill: Oh Mary Ann: Set net site. They got set net site down Naknek. I think they go over every spring, they go to have set net site down there. Nineteen, early 1950.
Bill: Uh huh. Well let's go back to, um, you were sixteen when they moved to Igiugig, here. And tell me what a typical year was when you were sixteen here. What do you remember doing. Mary Ann: They, they let me get married. Bill: At sixteen? Oh. Mary Ann: Oh, I really don't want to get married that time. 'Cause I don't know about, you know, about the man, that time. Don't know about nothing that time. They let me get married, though. Olympic. John Olympic. I never met before it. Long time ago they weren't even a married, they let 'em give 'em away. Bill: Uh huh. Mary Ann: That's the way they used to get married like, long time, they even, even they don't find boyfriend, they let 'em get married. Funny, huh? Bill: Yeah. Mary Ann: Yeah. And I stay with my ...
Bill: So, you got married when you were about sixteen. Mary Ann: Uh huh. They usually stay here for summer time. And fall comes, spring, we move up to Kukak..., I mean move to Kokhanok. I didn't know that time I was gonna get married. They'd marry you, ? . They got down to Naknek like nineteen, that's '48, they let me get married. They bring us last after a year, bring us down to Naknek. Old man Mike Nuyaka. I just remember that married, I was just thinking about it. They bring us down to the boat, and Nuyaka "Let's go back, let's go up to fish, you know, Commashie, commashue." Judge, he bring us there. Like married us. Bill: The judge? Mary Ann: Uh huh, the judge, yeah. And when Mike Nuyaka marry, me, John Olympic and me. Just walk up to judge. Our clothes and our boots and all. Mike got, Mike Nuyaka got long boots. Full of, full of mud. I just start thinking about that, so smile when we, I see marriage, you know. Wear fancy clothes. We didn't get married in fancy clothes.
Mary Ann: Just that time, we don't, I didn't see nothing. Just my, only my husband, yes, yes, I didn't see just nothing, just quiet. Funny. 'Cause I don' wanta get married there at that time. Don't know about marriage. That's why these days young, little one, "I got a boyfriend," they talking about boy friend. I never talk about boyfriend when I was teenager. Don't know about nothing. 'Cause I, I think I raise up nobody around Kukaklek. But I have fun life back there. Really fun life. Bill: How about after you got married? Mary Ann: They let me still stay with their, my husband's mom and step-dad. Leave us by there. And we would enjoy alls from ? all from beginning to what, April month. My mom and them, they gonna move. They used to move around spring time place, too. Go to place to trapping, you know. Muskrat and stuff. Bill: Going to other side
Bill: Okay, so we were talking about muskrat hunting, spring time, then. Mary Ann: Yeah. Muskrat hunting and you know, ducks, too. I love to hunt ducks. Still I am. laughs I moved to up, spring time up, they call 'em, Copper River. I decided to follow them. I decide to go with them. 'Cause I can't live with uh, my husband's parents, things like that. There's just a pile up, one place. I never enjoy my marriage. First beginning. I tell Mom, "I'm gonna go with you guys to move. I don't wanna stay there. 'Cause they like to pick on me 'cause I don't know nothing. I can't do nothing much. Pick on me. I don't know about nothing to do." 'Cause I never raised like that. No wonder my momma told me, "One of these days you married somebody gonna pick on you. You don't do nothing, you know." "I like outdoors, huh, mom." I was a, what, tomboy. Bill: Ah hah. Mary Ann: laughs Don't like to cook. I don't like to wash dishes, dishes. I don't like to clean the house. Just outdoors person. That's why I think he pick on me. I can't do nothing, even my husband, "What kind of wife you are. You don't do nothing." I can't understand, I can't answer. But I can't answer nothing.
Mary Ann: Used to be move around spring time and fall time. Bill: Yeah. Mary Ann: They call 'em upak, ubaglutek, upagaluteng . Bill: Move around spring time? Mary Ann: Yeah, they call 'em upak. But these day I never see that kind no more, upak, no more upak. Stay home too much, they never leaves. Bill: Say that, say that phrase again. Mary Ann: upak. Bill: To move around in spring time. Mary Ann: Yeah. upmerkami upagluteng , ukuarmi upagluteng , these to, they are saying. He was gathered you know for it, for winter time, fall time, gathered for food for winter time. And in spring times gathered for summer time. Any kind, you know. Dry 'em up. They used to dry 'em up, most of the time. Make lots of dry. Even, even beaver meat, dry 'em outside. Before they get freezing stuff. You keep it for a long time. When they want to cook, they have to soak 'em, make 'em soft, then cook. Pretty neat. I still like those stuff.
Bill: Did I understand you correctly, that in spring time and in fall, people would spread out? Mary Ann: Yeah, spread out, you know. Not, never stay one places. Spread out and get some. That one is go there, that one's go there. Different, different spot. Bill: And what's the Yupik word for that? Mary Ann: They call 'em upagluteng, upak. upagaluteng-gguq . Pretty neat, huh? Bill: Yeah, yeah. I like it. Mary Ann: I never hear no more that. Nobody talk about upak. Me and Alice once in a while we talk about that upak upakiluk . Alice say, "Yeah, but we didn't go." laughs And three of us right now, right there. But Murphy older. Seventy-someplace now. Me and Alice and Gabe, three of us. Sixty-three, turn. Years. Sometime we together, these. Me and Gabe was talking about stories, back. We miss that, some time. 'Cause these days no more. Don't wanna stay in the village. I think that's why all the time start sicking and stuff. Stay home too much. Never move around. Bill: Yeah. Yeah, could be. Mary Ann: Uh huh.
Bill: So you took off with your family? Mary Ann: Yeah, I took off with my family. 'Cause I can't understand to stay with my, you know, my, my dad's parents. Mother-in-law and father-in-law. I can't understand. My sister-in-law always plays when I was pile up. Bill: Did you have any children that time? Mary Ann: Huh uh. I had first child 1950. Only one boy. They born up, new, Kukaklek, I mean Kokhanok. That time, I start moving down to Branch, 'cause my, my brother gonna get married from Branch. At, that, I think that's why they move down. Bill: Huh. So you moved down to Branch with your brother? Mary Ann: My, my, my parents. 1950. We move down. We move around from there. Branch. We stay down there for one, one year. We move back up to ?Don Flat. We build a house down there. I start, never leave my parents since. 'Cause, 'cause they treat me not nice, my mother-in-law and, mother-in-law and even my husband. They call me, I don't know about nothing. That time I'm not housewife, I guess. break
Bill: So you moved down to Branch River with your family, your mom and dad. And then at some point your husband came down? Mary Ann: Yeah, they follow us. 'Cause I got a child. Bill: So tell us about living down at Branch. Mary Ann: We're living with Mike's parents and them. Bill: Mike Andrew? Mary Ann: Mike Andrew, yeah. But we had a tent. Summer times we put up fish. Boy, I really don't like that place. There's just too many, you know, too many trees, you know, too many bushes, and too many mosquitoes. Bushes in these places I don't like. Boy, my, I tell my mom, "Gee, we should not move from Kukaklek. We should go back to Kukaklek. Good place." laughing Eee, momma told me, "'Cause we got no, we got no more, you know, getting old. Can't do nothing much. That, look us, we, me and your dad, we can't do not much. To do stuff like used to. We can't go back up." But gee, I should've go back up myself. I was just thinking of that.
Mary Ann: I, we had fun alright. But I just, really don't like too many bushes. Can't see no farther. And lots of mosquito, too. One summer we stayed up there. Bill: Just one summer. Mary Ann: Uh huh. One, from when we move down one year and one summer. And fall come. We moved back up, little. Me and husband make new cabin. When he start making cabin, I help him. Bill: Where was that new camp? Mary Ann: Down across from old village, Alakanuk. They call 'em Sluryaraq . We rename it "coffee place." laughs Bill: How far is that from here? Mary Ann: I don't know. I don't know how far from here. You know that bing courtney right there? We could cross other side. To Branch. The side of ? . We build our, start building there. Tree kind. Log cabin.
Bill: Uh huh. Why did you choose that place? Mary Ann: 'Cause good place to trap, and it, uh, good, good place to trap. Mink, fall time. I had fun start to trapping mink. Bill: Tell me about it. Mary Ann: Yeah, I started like it, to trapping mink and otter. That place. And from there, spring, this kind of year, we start moving this way. We always move around lots. Moving down between Branch River and Kvichak. Big lake, long lake about. And we stay there for, 'til, 'til May, May month. Bill: Trapping? Mary Ann: Yeah, trapping. And my mom's, my mom start, you know, me and momma start hunt squirrel. Ground squirrel.
Mary Ann: And late April, almost end, move down to Kvichak. Bill: For fishing? Mary Ann: For place to, looking for a place to, my dad's looking for a place to live. We picked that old Fish and Game camp, they said. That is below that flat, below that, what you call it, you know that house down there, below the flat. No more, it burnt, one part living right there became, other side. We stay there for four years for winter.
Bill: At that time, was your husband commercial? Mary Ann: Yeah, he commercial, yeah. Bill: Set net, or. Mary Ann: Drifting. Bill: He was a drifter. Mary Ann: Uh huh. Bill: How did he get into that? Mary Ann: I don't know how they get in for it. They join, they pick. Bill: Crew? Mary Ann: Uh huh. 1953. Bill: And at that time did you go down to the bay with him, or did you stay upriver? Mary Ann: I stay with my parents. They start, you know, getting old. I start helping them then. Put up fish in summer time. In winter time I try to trapping. Bill: Hmm mmm.
Bill: Uh huh. did you have your own trapline? Mary Ann: Uh huh. I had to run a trapline with dog team. Back there, cottonwood river, creek. Bill: Cottonwood Creek? Mary Ann: Yeah, Cottonwood Creek we trapped. Good trapping right there. Bill: And was your husband trapping that time, too? Mary Ann: They was back and forth. I never go back up there, their places, you know, mom and them and, mom and them. He'd come back. I never follow, just stay ? first beginning, he spoil me; pick on me then, I guess. laughs
Bill: So you had your kids with you, that time, too, huh? Mary Ann: My kids don't live. I lost three. Bill: You lost three. Mary Ann: The first one was only two years old. That time we move around from down, spring time. And second one only four live, four months. Got pneumonia. Third one live only nine days. They born here, that's the third one. Second one born down some, same place, flat. And after that I never get for a while. Finally I got, I could live with Julia. We start moving around, me and husband. Bill: You and your husband started travelling? Mary Ann: Yeah, travelling around back there. Trapping back there, Kukaklek and ? and Peck's Creek.
Bill: Maybe this is a good time to get some of those names, those Yupik names down for that. Mary Ann: I knew about Kukaklek's other name, Qukaqlik, I know. Bill: We're looking uh, now at the Illiamna map. If you would, tell me the name of the reindeer camp here where you, where you lived. On the north bank of Kukaklek. Mary Ann: Um yeah. Reindeer station in there, inside a you know, they got that Christmas tree on it, around here, in here. They call this one Reindeer Lake. They put the wrong places. This is, they call 'em cuukvagpalek, they call 'em reindeer. Bill: The place that's called "Reindeer Lake" on the map? Mary Ann: Yeah,pack woods. That's why I tell 'em it's pack woods. They call 'em "Big Pike Lake," cuukvagpalek. This one used to be a qagan, they call 'em qagan, they call 'em "Reindeer Lake." Bill: Okay, so I'll remark that on, on the map here, "Reindeer Lake."
Bill: And what did you call this reindeer camp here? Mary Ann: Ah, winter in here. Our reindeer winter, winter village. Uksiyaraq, they call 'em. Bill: Uksiyaraq. Mary Ann: Uksiyaraq. Bill: And how about your spring camp, here, where you ... Mary Ann: Up'nerkiyaraq. Bill: And this mud house that was used by your dad for trapping on south, on the south bank? Mary Ann: Nengugtaq, uh huh. Bill: And then the summer camp for fishing? Mary Ann: Neqliyaraq. Bill: Okay. And the mud house your dad had down here on the cove? Mary Ann: Akuluraq. Bill: And the one he had up here on the northeast bank? Mary Ann: Etussugaq.
Bill: Okay. And this place here for red fish, up by Battle Lake? Mary Ann: Igyaraq. Anguaryaqliq, they call 'em, Anguaryaqliim igyaraa. Bill: Battle Lake? Mary Ann: Uh huh. This, they call this is Kuimliq, Kuimliq. Bill: That's the cove entrance area there, almost like a pass, it's so narrow. Say that again? Mary Ann: Kuimliq Bill: Kuimliq. Mary Ann: Mmmm. I know there's name of this, we used to go agvilqupak there, the mountain back there, Callarpalek. Bill: That's the mountain to the south. Mary Ann: Yeah, the mountain, I know. Callarpalek, canirnerpayagaq, inguqat up here. Smoke aq cikigpalek, these area right there, they call 'em cikigpalek, smoke aq just like a pipe, the little mountain. Just like a pipe, shape pipe. Bill: Shaped like a pipe? Mary Ann: Yeah. Bill: That's on the south shore of the river, of the lake. Mary Ann: Yeah, yeah, but it's not, little, little ways from the fish camp, neqliyam caniakun , it's on, you just, just walk little bit. Maybe from clear across the river.
Bill: Just as you're entering into the cove, there, looking to your right, or looking south. Mary Ann: Now there they call it this little creek here dussugayaraq. Bill: This is the creek near the ? camp on the north bank. Mary Ann: Um, yeah. Close to, yeah. This, this little uh, this Qamiquluyaaq. Bill: Bear Island area? Mary Ann: Yeah. Qamiquluyaaq. I knew their name up here. That's why Nick Apakitak and Peter Apakitak wanted me, took me up there. They want to know the name up here. Bill: Yeah. Yeah. Mary Ann: In summer time. I could show 'em when he bring me up, their name. Bill: Hmm mmm.
Bill: Well that's very helpful. Let's continue your story, then, as, as you were growing up, I mean, well, as you were raising your family. Um, you were travelling around? You lost three children, though. Mary Ann: Yeah, I lost three children. I was travelling around too much, I guess. It got no place to stay, no place to live. But we find a place to live down there for, I stay with my folks for four years down there, flat. And this I do, move up myself, start thinking about move up myself 1956. '55 up fish camp. Right up there. I tell my husband, "We start, we should have start separated from our folks." He was kind of afraid of though separated from their folks. He told me, "We're gonna be starve when we alone." I tell him, "We're gonna try to do something, you know." That time he start to go fishing himself. laughs
Bill: Where was that place you lived when you moved up? Mary Ann: Right up fish camp. Bill: Close to here? Mary Ann: Yeah, right above, right, mouth of the, mouth of the Bill: Mouth of the river? Mary Ann: Yeah, mouth of river. Bill: And how did you do? Mary Ann: They help us to make put of, put up fish camp. You know, our smoke house and stuff like that. Since, I never move around from here. Getting used of it. I used to don't like. laughs That's why I tell everybody, "I'm not Igiuguk person. I'm person from Kukaklek, my home."
Bill: Take me through a typical year when you were, when you first moved up there. Mary Ann: 1955. Bill: Uh huh. What was the year like? What did you do in fall and winter and spring and summer? Mary Ann: Just start staying. We built a house, bought a house, that little house down there. Bill: It's, house is still here? Mary Ann: That little house right there, he, we move from down by that desk. Village contract desk. They move 'em up. Bill: That was your house in 1955? Mary Ann: Yeah, they bought, we bought it from Paul Wassillie, bought house. Still up right there. We, but we move 'em up.
Bill: Uh huh. And so you were fishing in summer. Mary Ann: And just put the fish, I had that time, I had no child. Before Julia born. And take care of one of Apakitak boys, John Apakitak, they stay with me, that time, summer time. Me and, me and only him. But we walk down fish, down below fish camp. We live down there. Apakitak and cousin, grandma lived down there, little ways. And we walk, walk, back and forth. Day time we were down. The evening time come up. Walk back and forth, me and Johnny Apakitak. I wonder they remember. I didn't ask 'em. They was kind of not very big. Bill: Maybe 10 or 12, huh? Mary Ann: He was what, not more, somewhere 7, 8 maybe. Bill: Oh. Mary Ann: I wonder they still remember. Bill: And you took care of him? Mary Ann: Yeah, 'cause their mom was in hospital that time. Bill: Uh huh.
Bill: And was, was John fishing down at the bay? Mary Ann: Uh huh. He start fishing, yeah. Bill: And so you stayed up here alone? Mary Ann: Uh huh. Put the fish, take care of the dogs, too. 'Cause we used to use 'em, winter time, dog team, dog team. Bill: And then how about fall time? What did you do in the fall. Mary Ann: Just stay here. And we walk back and forth and trapping back there, little ways. Not far. Bucks Creek and Dicks Creek, back and forth, trapping. Be, uh, otter and mink, fox. Not many beaver that time. We have to look for beaver. Now lots of beaver, these days. We didn't hunt beaver no more, I guess. laughs Bill: Funny how that is, huh? Mary Ann: Yeah.
Mary Ann: Um, yeah. When we separated from my parents, we have, uh, kind of little hard time, you know. My husband don't do, and we were sickling, he got sickling, that time. Start sick sometime, can't do nothing. Take care of myself, get some wood, pack water. My husband start sick that time. No, I don't know how they get sick. We had that child, got Julia. I stay over there for it, I go over Dillingham for, let 'em born over there, try out he could live if he born in hospital. Finally we got Julia, it was. And these are born here. I deliver myself, 1960. Bill: Huh. So Julia was the oldest? Mary Ann: Yeah, oldest by those, the one I lost for it, 1957, Julia is born 1960. Lydia is born 1964. My youngest one 1970. Bill: Martha. Mary Anne: Yeah, Martha. Martha born 1967. Last one.
Bill: So you, it sounds like you were doing most of the hunting and trapping. Mary Ann: Yeah, most of the time. 'Cause I try to make money for, every time I go before I go to hospital, and get some money. Especially for those, two, Lydia and Martha. Back and forth, back. Bill: Uh huh. Was that pretty hard to have to do all the hunting and trapping and still take care of the three girls? Mary Ann: Um yeah, two girls. Bill: Two girls. Mary Ann: Yeah. But my parents was live with me, they watch them, too. Julia and them is here. They watch them and I go trapping, trapline. But a hard way I live. I carry Lydia out trapping for the, for my money to go to Anchorage. Bill: To go to Anchorage? Mary Ann: I send out my fur. When my money come, I go Anchorage, delivered uh Lydia, born Anchorage. Bill: To be close to doctor? Mary Ann: Uh huh. And when another girl for, ah, three years apart, my kids. When I had Martha, I start trapping again, same thing. For money for to go to Dillingham. 'Cause my, my husband not really can support us for, back and forth, you know, go up there and stay up there for four, sometimes stay up there for four months and come down. Six months sometime. break
Bill: And then you started work at some point in the school, right? Mary Ann: Yeah, I start working at school 1968, since I start working. Finally I quit last spring. Bill: Wow, and you were supporting ... Mary Ann: Yeah, I was suporting the kids. That where my youngest child, she said, "I don't know about my dad, much, 'cause he never raise us." I raise by hard way, I raise my kids. Nobody help me. Bill: That's, that's quite a story, how you did that. Mary Ann: Yeah. He finally passed away last two, two years ago. They said that he come down and he come down and take off without ask me. Third time I come down. He come from down the bay, from the fishing. They stay up there. Somebody come up and they tell me, they're for the house key. Ask me about the key. I give it to him for fish camp. They stay, Anecia and Julie and Lydia follow 'em down. I see him in the boat, he just in the boat he go by. Ah, those kids tell me, "Daddy take off again to Kokhanok." I was thinking about, gee, I'm not gonna keep and keep on like that.
Mary Ann: Ah, Martin Wassillie, that time is coming, they gonna go up Kokhanok in fall time. I get ready everything for his clothes and put one, bought one bunch and put 'em, all his clothes. I send 'em up. I just tell Martin, "You tell him when you bring these clothes, you tell him, don't come down no more he feel like that, he, I'm gonna split good. That's the way you wanna do, you could do it. I could do it my way. He could do it his own way." Bill: How did you make a living, though? You worked in the school some. Mary Ann: Um, yeah, school, cleaning. Bill: And you were out trapping, hunting? Mary Ann: Yeah. Lots of work, I am. Instead of, that's why I'm still moving fast. laughs