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Marie Napoka
Marie Napoka

Marie Napoka was interviewed on September 25, 2004 by Bill Schneider, Louann Rank, Marla Statscewich and Freda Alexie in Tuluksak, Alaska. There were complications with the tape recorder during this interview so this has been edited. In this interview, Marie talks about the meaning of and stories behind place names in the area, including Uuravik and Kuigurluq, and the origins of the village at Tuluksak. She also tries to find on the map the location of her mother's village on the Macivik River. While talking about place names, Marie relates them to traditional stories, including about the warrior, Apanuugpak; warring times and fending off enemies; and starvation times.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-07-16

Project: Tuluksak
Date of Interview: Sep 25, 2004
Narrator(s): Marie Napoka
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Louann Rank, Marla Statscewich, Freda Alexie
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education, Yupiit School District
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Personal information.

2) One of the stories Marie learned about the end of Uuravik.

3) Marie’s name for a place on the Kuskokwim River.

4) Story about Apanuugpak, a great warrior.

5) Kuigurluq and grave sites in that area.

6) How Uuravik got its name and distracting the enemy by drawing them away from the villages.

7) Origin of Tuluksak and why people would go to spring camp.

8) Starvation story from long ago.

9) Trying to identify the location of Marie’s mother’s village.

10) Going to spring camp and making skin boats to go to fish camp.

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Section 1: born -- Kwethluk/ Jackson, Harry -- father/ Andrew, Martha -- mother/ mother -- Tuluksak/ father -- Akiak/ went to school -- Kwethluk/ 1958 -- Mt Edgecumbe boarding school/ graduated -- 1962/ worked with elders/ 1964 -- moved to Tuluksak/ married -- John Napoka/ went to Kwethluk -- mother was ill/ moved back to Tuluksak|

Section 2: Mount Edgecumbe High School/ Fairbanks Summer School -- learned Yup’ik/ learned stories from elders/ Uuravik -- old story/ Uuravik -- different stories/ around 1600 or 1700s -- warriors/ warrior went to the Yukon/ stole a woman/ brought her to Kuskokwim/ husband’s father -- shaman/ Nukalpiaq -- great warrior/ winter time -- large goose came from the Yukon/ opened its belly -- blood spilled on Uuravik/ people scattered/ ground caved-in -- created ditches/ humungous bird -- created by the shaman/ abandoned the village/ moved to other places/ Kuigurluq -- Bogus Creek/ Kalskag/ angalkuk shaman/ Uuravik/ Kuskokwim|

Section 3: Uuravik -- Uuravirmiut/ Florida – Marie’s spring camp/ hunting camps/ below bluffs/ tut’aq / set net -- whitefish and pike/ named area Florida for grandson/ stories everywhere|

Section 4: warriors/ Apanuugpak/ fights between all people/ Yukon, Kuskokwim, up river, down river/ Akiak, Kwethluk, Akiachak, Bethel -- warrior from area/ look-out person -- guards/ Yukon warriors -- coming to attack/ ambush/ killed everyone/ river filled with blood and bones/ left one person alive -- tell others|

Section 5: tunuirun -- long cut/ sandbars become islands -- passage created is a tunuirun/ Uuravik -- Kuigurluq people/ Uuravik people -- moved to Uuravirmiut/ Bogus Creek/ fall time -- berry picking/ birch trees -- marking graves/ qasgiqs/ Kuigurluq/ camp/ church/ Peter, John -- family on old site/ grave sites -- bring an offering/ graves wrapped in birch bark/ people buried -- sitting position/ shaman’s grave -- twisted birch tree|

Section 6: every bend has a story/ Tuluksak River/ Uuravik/ sod houses -- disappeared/ when people are lost -- they shout u-u-u-uraluteng/ listen to elders/ father-in-law -- island name/ during warring times/ look out people -- enemies coming/ protecting people in the villages/ diverting the enemy from the village|

Section 7: Tuluksak Village -- beginnings/ all villages -- hidden around the bend/ Old Tuluksak -- other side of the river/ no trees/ current site -- higher ground/ Phillip, Joshua -- told her a story/ starvation story/ spring time -- no food left/ spring camp/ Nunapicuaq -- found artifacts/ Nuugpak – Marie’s fish camp|

Section 8: family in the Tuluksak Mountains/ food -- getting low/ sent daughter-in-law to her parents with her child/ headed towards Tuluksak/ encountered a sod house/ soup -- human thumb/ iiriuq -- directing someone to go out with your eyes/ escaped/ family had food/ returning to the mountains/ stopped to feed couple/ man was ashamed|

Section 9: Macivik River – mother’s village/ 10 bends/ Tuluksak trail/ village was a fall camp/ settlements -- along the river/ hunting or fishing -- draws people to an area/ Cauneq -- near Akiak/ the land changes|

Section 10: making skin boats/ Kwethluk/ after Easter -- travel to the foothills/ make oval boats -- skin boats/ used the skin from animals they caught -- bears, moose/ water -- swift and fast/ boat would rip/ fix the boat on the shore/ Kwethluk -- bad river/ channels change -- every year/ Nyac/ Easter -- special time/ going to fish camp -- leaves budding/ elders make everything possible|