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Wassillie Evan and John Phillip, Part 1
Wassillie Evan, John Phillip

Wassillie Evan and John Phillip are interviewed on November 19, 2004 by William Schneider, Karen Brewster, Louann Rank, and Shawna Williams along with 7th grade students Leanne Jackson and Nels Jasper at the Akiak School Library in Akiak, Alaska. In this first part of a two part interview, Wassillie and John talk about subsistence activities, the history of Akiak, and refer to a map to talk about traditionally used places, travel routes and trails, and Yup'ik place names. John and Wassille have hunted and trapped together, and they talk about Qantar and the original trail, and mention two sites in particular: Anayaruaq - "a place up by the mountains that you are supposed to avoid;" and a small lake down by the Kuskokwim River that "if you drink the water from it you will disappear." Wassillie also tells a story in Yup'ik about starvation times and talks about traditional medicine and healing practices. Wassillie is most comfortable speaking Yup'ik, so he speaks in Yup'ik throughout much of the interview and John translates his comments into English.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-07-23_PT.1

Project: Akiak
Date of Interview: Nov 19, 2004
Narrator(s): Wassillie Evan, John Phillip
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Karen Brewster, Shawna Williams, Louann Rank
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education, Yupiit School District
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Wassillie Evan speaks in Yup’ik about his birthplace, childhood and why he came to Akiak.

2) John Phillip refers to a map to recall places and activities in the Akiak area.

3) Wassillie Evan speaks in Yup’ik when he refers to a map to recall places and activities in the Akiak area, while John Phillips interprets in English and recalls some of his own memories.

4) Wassillie Evan speaks in Yup’ik about the history of the community of Akiak and the establishment of the hospital.

5) Wassillie Evan tells a story in Yup’ik about starvation times.

6) Wassillie Evan speaks in Yup’ik about the traditions used to heal injuries and John Phillips talks about stories of personal injuries and healing methods.

7) John Phillips interprets what Wassillie Evan discussed about healing methods.

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: Evan, Wassillie\ (Yup’ik)\ birthplace\ Napaskiak\ birthdate\ mother\ father -- death of\ Yup’ik name -- Misnglaria\ childhood\ spring camp -- muskrat\ Akula\ tundra\ step-father\ Qasqirayak\ Piangarmiat\ Evan, Wassillie -- brother\ Evan, Paul\ villages -- tundra\ Nunapitchuk\ Kasigluk\ mother -- remarried\ step-father -- Kelila\ Akiak\ subsistence -- hunting\ trapping -- fur \ fur -- income from\ supplies -- purchase of\ equipment -- traditional versus modern\ nets -- traditional\ willow bark\ trails -- hunting\ Kuiggluar\ early days\ mountains\ story -- Kelila\ story -- no winter\ climate -- change\ Phillip, John -- (Yup’ik)|

Section 2: map -- referring to\ beaver -- hunting location\ map -- viewing of\ employment -- location of\ Tuluksak -- landing\ dredging -- supplies\ map -- travel and hunting locations\ map -- discussion of employment -- location\ tractor trail -- location of\ landing -- river\ supplies -- unloading\ dredge equipment\ travel -- locations\ map -- referring to\ Evan, Wassillie\ dog team\ travel -- mountains\ (Yup’ik)\ travel -- route\ travel -- dog team\ fall\ travel -- snowmachine\ winter\ Kisaralik -- location of\ Kisaralik -- meaning of\ mountains\ travel -- distance|

Section 3: (Yup’ik)\ travel -- springtime\ dog team\ places -- location of\ White Fish Lake -- map location\ spring camp -- map location\ Evan, Wassillie -- travel route\ (Yup’ik)\ Reindeer Slough\ (Yup’ik)\ river -- across\ Akiak -- move to\ moving -- reasons for\ (Yup’ik)\ parents -- marriage\ childhood\ (Yup’ik)\ birthdate\ places -- stories about\ Qantar\ Tuluksak -- used by\ Kawagley, Carl\ Qantar -- spring camp\ travel -- trail\ old trail -- use of\ trail -- find out from others\ trail -- between Akiak and Tuluksak\ trail -- river\ trail -- short-cut\ map -- referring to|

Section 4: (Yup’ik)\ Akiak\ Akiak -- history\ hospital\ sawmill\ church -- construction of\ electricity\ Killbuck, John\ missionary\ disease -- TB\ disease -- death from\ graves -- hospital\ graves -- eroding\ village -- location\ early days -- before white people\ (Yup’ik)|

Section 5: starvation -- stories of\ (Yup’ik)\ Kavialek's story\ Akula\ starvation -- death from\ starvation -- weak from\ starvation -- symptoms\ hunger pains\ starvation -- effects of\ muscle -- deterioration\ starvation -- unpleasant experience\ springtime\ birds -- arrival of\ eat -- small amounts\ broth\ strength -- regain\ starvation -- food to survive\ fish skins\ mukluk soles\ smelt (qusuuret)|

Section 6: (Yup’ik)\ healing\ body\ healing -- old injuries\ healing -- demonstration of\ pain\ (Yup’ik)\ pain -- revealed in muscles\ (Yup’ik)\ muscles -- swelling of\ injury -- treatment of\ pain\ (Yup’ik)\ blood -- drawing of\ injury -- story of\ step-father -- teachings of\ accident -- story of\ injury -- infection\ step-father -- healer\ treatment -- traditional\ mouse food cache\ worms\ worms -- touching\ worms -- power of\ worms -- disappearance of\ roots -- fireweed\ roots -- wormwood|

Section 7: story -- gathering food\ food -- worms\ worms -- disappearance of\ mouse food cache\ story -- boy\ frog -- used for healing\ worms -- used for healing\ worms -- in mouse food\ (Yup’ik)\ trail -- Akiak\ Akiak trail -- referring to map\ (Yup’ik) -- pronunciation of a place\ map -- referring to\ place names -- interpretation of\ (Yup’ik)\ mountains -- referring to map\ (Yup’ik)|