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Tom Kiarcimalria Wassilie
Tom Kiarcimalria Wassilie

Tom Kiarcimalria Wassilie was interviewed on October 13, 2005 by Louann Rank, Mary Frederick, Frank Chingliak, Sophie Kasayulie and Marla Statscewich at the Yupiit School District's "Blue Building" in Akiachak, Alaska. In this interview, Tom talks about living a traditonal seasonally-based subsistence lifestyle based on hunting, fishing and trapping, and learning traditional skills and values from his grandparents at their camps on the Elaayiq River. He shares experiences with fishing for blackfish and clams, and hunting muskrat and geese. Tom also talks about traveling by dog team, proper care and breeding of dogs, and even racing his dog teams. In addition to his own experiences, Tom also shares some traditional stories.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-07-42

Project: Akiachak - Then and Now
Date of Interview: Oct 13, 2005
Narrator(s): Tom Kiarcimalria Wassilie
Interviewer(s): Louann Rank, Mary Frederick, Frank Chingliak, Sophie Kasayulie, Marla Statscewich
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education, Yupiit School District
Alternate Transcripts
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1) His childhood and his grandparents teaching him how to hunt and trap, and other valuable lessons.

2) Caring of dog teams, traveling to different camps, and trapping blackfish.

3) Trapping blackfish, camping along the river, dog mushing, and traveling summer and winter trails.

4) Oscar Samuelson and his family, his son's dog-mushing team, and differences in dog breeds used for mushing.

5) Caring for dogs used for mushing, the building of dog sleds, and traveling and hunting during his childhood.

6) The negative effects on domestic dogs of rabies vaccinations introduced into Akiachak by Caucasians.

7) His grandparents, family seasonal camp sites, Mike Cyril's cabin, and a goose-hunting story.

8) Hunting muskrats, traveling to seasonal camps, and harvesting clams.

9) The importance of exercise, storytelling, and his personal stories.

10) The importance of village gatherings, elders' stories, the role of the chief, and the story of the pipe.

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Section 1: birth date \ birthplace \ parents -- name of\ Wassilie, John & Helena -- parents\ parents -- death\ parenting -- grandparents\ Cyril, Anna --grandmother\ grandmother -- paternal\ schooling -- home\ weather -- prediction\ childhood -- learning\ shoes -- without in winter\ grandparents -- guardians\ trapping -- lessons\ dog team -- number in\ Cyril, Mike\ activities -- outdoor\ hunting -- learning\ blackfish\ otter\mink\muskrat\ moose -- lack of\ whitefish\ natural resources -- living from\ fishing -- types of\ animals -- type of\ trapping -- number of\ traps -- types of\ animals -- trapping|

Section 2: dogs -- vitality\ dogs -- caring for\ Kuskokwim River\ water -- hauling\ hunting -- November\ traps -- checking\ Sundays -- rest\ traveling -- length of\ Taqikarpak -- grandparents? camp\ camp -- name of\ Pugcenar -- camp\ camps -- becoming aware\ Little Fritz\ camp -- location\ camps -- traveling\ camp -- grandparents\ camp -- abundant resources\ black fish -- food source\ creek -- mouth of\ creek -- managing\ creek -- story of\ blackfish -- migration\black fish -- storing\ blackfish -- grass sack\ grass basket -- kuusqun\ beavers -- dams\ creek mouth -- clearing\ creeks -- blackfish\ ice clearing -- handsaw\ blackfish -- ice hole\ ice -- first freeze\ blackfish -- behavior|

Section 3: trap -- blackfish\ trap -- location\ trap -- process\ blackfish -- winter\ camp -- story of\ camp -- location\ camp -- food resource\ dogs -- feeding time\ Elaayiq River\ camp -- current\ mushing -- story of\ snow machine -- travel time\ mushing -- travel time\ trail -- mushing\ trail -- tripods\ Akiachak -- trail\Yukon River -- trail\ Samuelson, Oscar -- trail\ Samuelson, Oscar -- mail|

Section 4: Samuelson, Oscar -- story of\ Samuelson, Oscar -- mail carrier\ Samuelson, Oscar -- dog team\ Bethel\ Russian Mission\ dog team -- caring of\ dog food -- dry fish\ Samuelson, Oscar -- daughter Marie\ Samuelson, John -- Datu\ mushing -- story of\ mail route -- travel time\ Aniak\ Russian Mission\ Bethel\ dog teams -- personal team\ son -- Wassilie, Schouviller\ son -- dog musher\ dog race -- story of\ Fairbanks -- dogs\ dogs -- differences\ dogs -- sprint\ dogs -- huskies\ huskies -- feet\ dog -- booties\ huskies -- size\ dogs -- breeding of\ Gareth Wright -- Fairbanks\ dogs -- training\ dog race -- placement\ dog race -- Russian Mission\ Kusko 300\ Bogus Creek

Section 5: dogs -- training\ lead dog -- recognition of\ training -- techniques\ relationship -- training\ voice -- cues\ sled -- differences in\ sled -- made of\ wood -- hickory\ wood -- birch\ wood -- purposes\ sled runners -- type of\ runners -- hickory\ runners -- steel\ runners -- plastic\ sled -- building of\ Samuelson, Oscar -- story of\ sled -- modern\ schooling -- background\ grandparents -- learning from\ grandparents -- hunting traditions\ travel -- family camp\ travel -- location\ winter -- season\ trails|

Section 6: Akiachak -- dog yards\ dog yards -- year\ dog -- story of\ rabies shots -- introduction of\ rabie shots -- negative impact\ snowmobile -- introduction of\ dog teams -- changes in\ 1950s -- change\ dogs -- raising|

Section 7: Pugcenar -- camp\ trail -- Yukon River\ trail -- grandparents\family camps -- two locations\ camp -- Taqikarpak\ blackfish -- abundant\ whitefish -- abundant\ grandmother -- camp\ grandmother -- first husband\ Iquarmiut -- husband\ Yukon River-- blackfish\ fish camp -- moving\ Cungartuliq -- camp\ camps -- family separated\ camps -- selection\ Pugcenar -- year round\ families -- number of\ McCarr, George -- Bethel\ grandfather -- birthplace\ grandparents -- Wassilie\ grandparents -- Cyril\ Pugcenar -- cabin\ Cyril, Mike -- cabin\ cabin -- log\ grandmother -- teaching\ hunting -- ammunition\ cabin -- building\ ammunition -- homemade\ ptarmigan -- hunting \ geese -- story of\ geese -- hunting story\ lake -- spring\ tundra -- tussocks|

Section 8: ammunition -- shell\ muskrat -- hunting\ camp -- fall\ camp -- spring\ elder -- conservative hunters\ Pugcenar-- cabin\ Cyril, Mike -- cabin\ cabin -- 1940s\ clams --dipnetting\ dipnet -- smelt net\ river -- blocking\ Pugcenar-- clams\ clams -- hunting \ clams -- net\ clams -- cooking\ clams -- migration\ clams -- lakes\ cabin -- logs\ logs -- source\ logs -- Petmigtalek River|

Section 9: church -- story of\ running -- exercise\ George, Frederick T. -- fox story\ running -- fox\ running -- speed\ Chingliak, Frank -- discipline story\ qasgiq-- visiting\ running -- around qasgiq\ running -- competition\ storytelling -- types of\ storytelling -- traditional methods\ Chevak\ Chefornak\ subsistence -- teaching\ animals -- hunting\ lessons -- teaching\ laziness -- lack of\ games -- darts\ villages -- war\ darts -- accident\ darts -- in qasgiq\ war story -- traditional\ darts -- stopped using|

Section 10: elders -- storytelling\ elders -- chiefs\ chiefs -- role\ gatherings -- story of\ teachings -- at gathering\ festival -- dance\ dance -- yuraq\ dancing -- end of\ hunting -- importance of\ teaching -- on laziness\ pipe -- story of\ pipe -- healing story\ pipe -- use of\ sickness -- stomach\ tribal council -- elders|