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Nellie Ilegvak Moses, Interview 1
Nellie Ilegvak Moses

Nellie Ilegvak (Fritz) Moses was interviewed on October 12, 2005 by Louann Rank, Marla Statscewich, Sophie Kasayulie, Frank Chingliak and Mary Frederick at Nellie's home (sections 1 - 6) and on October 13, 2005 in the Yupiit School District "Blue Building" in Akiachak, Alaska (sections 7 - 11). In this interview, Nellie speaks in Yup'ik and English about her childhood memories of fish camp and other seasonal subsistence camps, camp locations and changes in the river channel, drying and smoking salmon, berrypicking, and traditional and medicinal use of plants. She also shares her memories of the qasgiq, dancing and potlaches in Akiachak, the use of story knives for storytelling, and coming across old burials and graves out on the tundra. View a map of family fish camp sites at Akiachak, circa 1939, as identified by Nellie Moses.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-07-38

Project: Akiachak - Then and Now
Date of Interview: Oct 12, 2005
Narrator(s): Nellie Ilegvak Moses
Interviewer(s): Louann Rank, Marla Statscewich, Sophie Kasayulie, Frank Chingliak, Mary Frederick
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education, Yupiit School District
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Her personal history, and her older sister in the Moravian orphanage who later worked in Bethel with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

2) Growing up in Akiachak, remembering the Nose family's sod house, and snaring rabbits.

3) Story knives made from ivory or sometimes metal strapping used in barge shipments; hair curlers made from coffee can bands; fall camp until December each year; and friends with whom she shared story knife stories.

4) Village participation in seasonal subsistence camps and school attendance.

5) Story knife stories like local news, how school writing paper was used and reused, and how story knife symbols were learned from older women.

6) The qasgiq in Akiachak, remembering a last big festival with dancing and a potlatch in the qasgiq, and becoming aware as an infant.

7) A photograph of her mother, Louise Henry, at fish camp and life in camp around 1957; cutting fish without icebox storage and how long to hang different salmon species to dry before smoking; and burying salmon roe in winter until April-May.

8) No longer going to spring and fall camp when her children started school in the 1950s-1960, and the location of her camp upriver on the island of former Qikertarmiut.

9) A group of women using a row boat to go berry picking and finding an old grave marker with mask, story knife and ladle.

10) Old burials by Akiachak's landing strip, separate swimming ponds for girls and boys in the past, Kuskokwim River main channel in front of the village, the river called Qugtuliaq, and how fish camps moved when the sandbar formed in front of Akiachak.

11) Wormwood (Artemisia sp.) and other medicinal plant use.

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


Section 1: birthplace\ birthdate\ Akiachak\ siblings\ orphanage -- sister\ orphanage -- visiting\ sister -- jobs\ Bethel -- jobs\ Bethel -- Army station\ Army Station -- FAA\ Bethel -- old hospital|

Section 2: sod house\ Nose family -- house\ shed\ Moses, Sr., George -- Ayak'aq\ qasgiq\ Nellie's house -- location\ Ukurralleq\ slough -- snaring near\ rabbits -- snares\ snares -- women\ airport -- prior to|

Section 3: story knife -- ivory\ story knife -- metal\ barge -- shipping\ shipping -- strapping\ coffee can -- use\ hair -- curling\ friends\ Peter, Annie -- Iilleq\ Manutoli, Edith -- Qac'aq\ James, Nina\ Demantle, Lucy -- Anguyak|

Section 4: spring camp\ fall camp\ seasonal camps -- village participation\ school -- seasonal attendance\ teachers -- seasonal camps\ Forrest, Marie\ Ukurralle|

Section 5: story knife -- stories\ story knife -- news\ story knife -- mud\ writing -- grandchildren\ writing -- paper\ high school -- journals\ school -- paper\ learning -- by observation\ story knife -- symbols\ story knife -- women\ Peter, Elizabeth -- best friend|

Section 6: qasgiq -- festival\ qasgiq -- dancing\ qasgiq -- potlatch\ becoming aware -- age\ memory -- infant|

Section 7: fish camp -- photograph\ Henry, Louise -- mother\ fish camp -- 1957\ fish camp -- appliances\ appliances -- gas-powered\ washing -- washboard\ fish camp -- salmon\ fish camp -- summer\ fish -- cutting\ fish -- storage\ storage -- icebox\ salmon -- smokehouse\ salmon -- King\ King salmon -- drying\ salmon-- chum\ salmon -- red\ salmon species -- drying\ salmon -- roe\ roe -- burying\ roe -- winter\ roe -- eating| View photo of Nellie's mother, Louise Henry at fish camp.

Section 8: spring camp -- children\ spring camp -- stopped going\ spring camp -- school\ fish camp -- months\ fall camp -- stopped\ fish camp -- location\ burial -- sites\ tundra -- burial\ tundra sites -- Keggiraqut\ camp -- island\ island -- Qikertarmiut (Kihtagamiut)|

Section 9: blackberries\ blueberries\ red berries\ salmon berries\ cranberries\ berry picking -- women\ boat -- rowing\ boat -- women\ grave -- old\ mask -- grave\ grave -- story knife\ grave -- ladle\ grave -- woman's\ grave -- underground\ grave -- fear\ grave -- man's|

Section 10: Akiachak\ cemetery -- crosses\ burial -- sites\ airstrip -- location\ pond -- stream\ stream -- location\ stream -- village\ swimming -- pond\ swimming -- girls\ swimming -- locations\ swimming -- boys\ Forrest, Marie -- store\ river -- location\ river -- changes\ river -- sand bank\ river -- Qugtuliaq\ river -- channel\ river -- depth\ fish camps -- location\ fish camps -- near old school\ sandbar -- increase in\ fish camps -- relocating|

Section 11: wormwood -- regional names for\ wormwood -- qanganaruaq (Kuskokwim River, Akiachak)\ wormwood -- naunrakayak (Goodnews Bay)\ wormwood -- caiggluk (Kwigillingok, Kipnuk)\ wormwood -- naunerrluk (Bristol Bay)|