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Lucy Napoka
Lucy Napoka

Lucy Napoka was interviewed on September 24, 2004 by William Schneider, Freda Alexie, and Louann Rank in Tuluksak, Alaska. Marla Statscewich and Kristy Peter were also present during the interview. Lucy Napoka speaks in Yup'ik and Freda Alexie translates into English. In this interivew, Lucy talks about growing up in a traditional subsistence lifestyle where they moved between seasonal camps and went hunting, trapping, fishing and berry picking, and when using story knives to tell stories was a favorite childhood activitiy. She also talks about marrying Peter Napoka and the life they had together traveling in the area by dog team while he delivered mail and they hunted and trapped. At the end of the interview, Lucy discusses the traditional use of plants for medicine and treating illness.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-07-14

Project: Tuluksak
Date of Interview: Sep 24, 2004
Narrator(s): Lucy Napoka
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Freda Alexie, Louann Rank
People Present: Marla Statscewich, Kristy Peter
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education, Yupiit School District
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Her childhood in Tuluksak.

2) Playing and storytelling as a child, and places they would go out camping.

3) Life as a teenager, trapping for furs at spring camp, and being old enough to go on berry picking trips.

4) Her wedding and marriage to Peter Napoka.

5) The early mail and telegram delivery system that she and her husband, Peter, were involved with.

6) Mail delivery in the early days by dog team.

7) Trails and travels on the tundra, and camp activities when she was a child.

8) Sending telegrams and the first mail delivery by airplane.

9) Use of traditional Yup’ik medicinal plants for treating illness.

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


Section 1: birthplace\ spring camp\ fall camp\ village\ school\ travel\ fish camp\ fish -- quantity of\ summer\ berry picking\ berries -- blueberries\ food -- storage\ cellar -- underground\ freezer\ season -- end of\ Tuluksak\ Bureau of Indian Affairs\ school -- 4th grade\ Demantle, Joe\ Raptor, Willie\ maqi'\ store\ Sumi, Tony\ men’s house -- qasgiq\ grandmother\ Eskimo dance\ qasgiq -- not allowed in\ Eskimo dance -- knowledge of\ grandchildren|

Section 2: childhood\ brother\ grandmother\ staying home\ storytelling\ storyknife\ stories\ story -- house-guessing\ mud\ mountains\ houses\ berry picking\ children -- left behind\ bears -- fear of\ camping\ spring camp\ berry picking -- first\ camp -- location\ Bogus Creek\ Kasigluk\ Whitefish Lake\ wood\ lakes\ water\ Tuluksak -- return to\ travel\ ice -- break up|

Section 3: teenage years\ play\ grandmother\ spring camp\ spring -- hunting\ jobs -- lack of\ muskrat\ beaver\ otter\ mink\ fur -- sale of\ fall camp\ camping -- changes\ marriage\ boat\ berry picking\ children|

Section 4: marriage\ marriage -- arranged\ Napoka, Peter\ mother\ wedding\ Bethel\ Draper, Reverend\ Bethel Moravian Church\ family\ wedding -- feast\ wedding -- fall|

Section 5: Napoka, Peter\ Tuluksak\ Napoka family\ house -- location\ village -- old\ mail delivery\ Japhet, John\ job -- postmistress\ Napoka, Ida\ illness\ mail -- type of\ mail -- receipt of\ teachers\ meetings\ medical care\ mail delivery -- school\ communication -- telegram\ Bethel\ Akiak\ communication -- radio\ CB radio -- introduction of\ radio -- VHF\ radio -- channels|

Section 6: Napoka, Peter\ mail delivery\ mail route\ Akiak\ Tuluksak\ mail schedule\ teachers\ telegrams\ travel -- time\ dog team\ dogs -- number of\ trail\ trail -- conditions\ dogs -- benefit of\ dog -- leader\ mail carriers\ Samuelson, John\ Bethel\ Yukon\ Nyac Mine\ mail carrier -- travel\ mail carrier -- overnight\ camp -- locations\ village|

Section 7: trail\ tundra\ Kasigluk\ Nunapitchuk\ Tundra George\ Akulmiunguut\ berry picking\ funeral\ childhood -- lack of travel\ travel -- current\ childhood -- books\ camping\ paper\ pencil\ school work|

Section 8: telegram\ paper -- type of\ illness\ message -- sending\ Napoka, Peter\ mail delivery -- length of time\ airport\ mail delivery -- airplane\ mail carrier -- first\ kass'aq -- Bethel\ Anchorage\ Brown, Ned|

Section 9: medical care -- early days\ nurse\ illness\ medicine -- traditional\ plants -- medicinal\ plants -- use of\ plant knowledge -- teaching\ Eskimo medicine\ plants – Yup’ik names of\ earache -- treatment of\ seal oil\ pneumonia -- treatment of\ plant -- orange flower\ plants -- description of\ school\ elders\ kids -- learning about plants\ plant -- stinkweed\ stinkweed -- use of\ cut -- treatment of\ infection -- treatment of\ Labrador tea\ cold -- treatment of\ leaves -- chewing\ tree -- birch\ birch bark -- use of\ taste -- sour\ spruce needle -- use of\ dry skin -- treatment of\ granddaughter\ plants -- food|