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Tuluksak Elders
Tuluksak Elders

group1.jpgTuluksak elders, John Peter, Herman Hawk, Nick Alexie Sr., Carrie Alexie, Joe Demantle Sr. and Lydia Fly meet with Bill Schneider and Louann Rank on April 13, 2005 in Tuluksak, Alaska. Sophie Kasayulie and Frank Chingliak translated the discussion. Marla Statscewich and Richard Phillip were also present during the meeting. The elders speak in Yup'ik about the location of traditionally used places and the meanings behind their names. In the course of this discussion, they share traditional stories and talk about the earlier days of traditional subsistence life based upon seasonal movement to different camps in order to make the most use of available fish and wildlife resources. You can listen to the spoken Yup'ik discussion and read a translated English summary of the discussion below. The recording of the English translation by Sophie Kasayulie and Frank Chingliak made after the meeting on April 15, 2005 in Akiachak, Alaska is available from the UAF Oral History program (ORAL HISTORY 2004-07-33, PT. 1-5).group2.jpg

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-07-31, Part 1 and 2

Project: Tuluksak
Date of Interview: Apr 13, 2005
Narrator(s): John Peter, Herman Hawk, Nick Alexie, Sr., Carrie Alexie, Joseph "Joe" Demantle, Sr., Lydia Fly, Tuluksak Elders
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Louann Rank, Frank Chingliak, Sophie Kasayulie People Present: Marla Statscewich, Richard Phillip
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education, Yupiit School District
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
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1) Introduction in Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

2) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

3) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

4) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

5) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

6) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

7) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

8) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

9) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

10) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

11) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

12) Yup'ik from the Tuluksak meeting on April 13, 2005.

13) English

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


Section 1: office that burned down\ Nick Alexie, John Peter, Lydia Fly, Joe Demantle -- names of places\ from another map|

Section 2: Sophie and Frank -- how was Tuluksak named and how did it get its name?\ Lydia Fly -- Tuluksak was a fall camp\ John Peter -- no idea about the meaning of Tuluksak\ all discussing places\ John Peter -- before Uuarvik there was Uivarvigmiut with 2 qasgiqs\ outsiders were either killed or taken as slaves. They were killed or become part of the community\ John Peter -- tells others to "correct me"\ man came from up north -- what term to use?\ Lydia Fly -- suggests servant/slave\ John Peter -- person who captured him, made a kayak for him\ would let man go in the spring in the morning\ took paddle and put it on the ground to feel the ground\ ground was light -- community was light\ January -- bird (loon or goose) came to the village\ John Peter says it was a goose that circled around the village\ something fell off the bird while it was circling\ goose left, a creature came to the community\ uraqpuq -- sea creature\ community would fall into the ground\ ground was eroding -- the people scattered\ ran to the trails -- crossed at a big bend at Uuarvik and people were yelling for each other "uuu"\ calling for each other until everyone was accounted for\ Uuarvik was a settlement\ John Peter -- born in 1917 (estimated)\ big settlement -- had two qasgiq\ John Kilbuck -- missionary lived in Uuravik -- Native American man from lower 48\ subsistence lifestyle -- fish traps\ John lived like the natives\ adopted way of life\ John Peter -- utensils made of wood, only raw material\ Sophie Kasayulie -- asks a question about when the creature came\ winter time\ John Peter -- shamans had an attitude that was like "payback" -- "eye for an eye"\ underground creature was a Mastodon or wooly mammoth\ tusks are found north of Tuluksak\ variation about the name ekvik\ mastodon or mammoth discussion\ Lydia Fly -- talking about the creature\ elephant or mastodon\ tusks found in the cliffs along the river|

Section 3: Lydia Fly -- asks about where the people moved to from Uuravik\ John Peter -- says none of you were born yet when I was a little boy\ first people settled on the other side of Tuluksak -- buildings\ store owned by Tony Suma\ old Tuluksak, there were graves on platforms\ Lydia Fly -- they didn't have shovels to bury the dead\ John Peter -- he doesn't remember when the moved to Tuluksak\ Lydia Fly -- maybe because John was mischievous\ John Peter -- everyone is so much younger than John\ nick was a baby\ people his age are all gone so his account doesn't have anyone to back him up\ Joe is from somewhere else\ Uuravik got it's name because people we shouting for each other\ he remembers playing in Uuravik -- sliding on the banks\ Lydia Fly-- there were few houses built during that time\ all -- discussion about who owned the store\ other stores on the Kuskokwim\ John Peter -- Tony Suma then Natri owned the store\ Joe Demantle -- asks about another fur trader, Kantiayagaq, who had a store across the Kuskokwim on a big island\ a man living in Anchorage and is a pilot for Northern Consolidated Airlines\ remembers Tony Suma but doesn't remember Kantiayagaq\ Joe Demantle -- mentions names of who owned the store across from Tuluksak\ AC Company took over\ John Peter -- asks Joe if the store in Akiak was owned by Kantiayagaq\ Joe Demantle -- answers no, Carlson owned the store in old Akiak\ another store located below Akiak and above the fish camps owned by "a guy with big eyes" Iirpayaraq|

Section 4: Lydia Fly -- asks John if he danced in the qasgiq\ John Peter -- say no, but he remembers watching them\ Lydia Fly -- when she "became aware" she saw a raft leaving old Tuluksak\ man wearing a qaspeq and dancing on the raft\ John Peter -- talks about when Akiachak asked for logs from Tuluksak to rebuild the qasgiq\ creek called Uuruniq where they camped\ when they were camping at Uuruniq\ Lucy Demantle's father (Robert Wassilie) came around the corner with all sorts of food with a welcoming feast, Paiqerluteng\ Lydia Fly -- asks if Macaa, her grandfather, was there\ in the morning, they had to line the raft with fabric\ the dancer fell in the water\ Lydia Fly -- mentions that they had lots of food and fabric\ people were busy if they had lots of stuff\ John Peter -- Tuluksak originated\ small sand bar where Joe Demantle's house is now on the other side\ main channel has changed\ the mouth of the Kuskokwim was close by the village\ the Tuluksak River and the Kuskokwim River were different\ Honey Bucket Lake (Anaqsarturvik)\ the main river and channels have been moving\ small lake called Akiqliquaq\ on the other side there's a small lake called Akcuar\ place names were written on a map all the way up to the mountains\ before Tuluksak became an establishment there was a gold mine called Bear Creek\ John Bennett came with 6 horses and a wagon from Bear Creek\ they would come down during the winter, about April and get food and equipment\ trail near Macivik\ trail was wide, between Tuluksak and Bear Creek by passing the Macivik\ trail called Macivikcaraq\ trail is now overgrown|

Section 5: Joe Demantle -- used the trail to go trapping\ wondering where the trail was that took them to landing because landing has bluffs\ take the Macivik slough to Nanviviik\ Sophie Kasayulie -- asks them to point on the map where they were talking about\ John Peter -- asks Joe if he could point out the trail on the map\ looking at the map\ there was a small island across from where Joe's house was on the Kuskokwim River\ Nick Alexie -- says that sailboats used to go through that space on the Kuskokwim\ place names are on the map\ mention that the current was really strong in the area\ old trails are marked on the map\ Honey Bucket Lake (Anaqsarturvik)\ old dog team trail above Anaqsarturvik\ Joe Demantle -- mentions that he never used the trails that are marked\ he used another trail so those trails are no longer in use\ John Peter -- talks about Qutgun, a creek that comes out below Bogus Creek|

Section 6: Frank briefly translates the last four sections. Sophie talks about Uuravik.

Section 7: John Peter -- remembers everyone else his age\ everyone there is younger\ refers to Lydia\ Lydia Fly -- wants to know more about Kuigurluq, Bogus Creek\ there was a hill with views\ John Peter -- Kuigurluq, high area\ another settlement\ Jim Kinegak's son Isailraq , had a fox farm\ there was a cabin at the end of the high area owned by Sugturlulria\ there's another creek off of Kuigurluq, where Moses Kinegak had his cabin\ Joe Demantle -- says he heard about the fox farm\ John Peter -- used to go to the farm\ lots of fish at that location and Jim knew it\ above Sugturlulria's cabin was another big settlement, Kuigurlurmiullret\ then the epidemics came\ the settlement was well populated and the flu wiped out the whole community\ Kuigurlurmiullret\ Flu epidemic was in 1918\ two places -- Segnayuq and Tagkuinellruaq\ small creeks -- Isailraq's fox farm\ Lydia Fly -- grandmother used to go hunting for artifacts at Kuigurluq\ way they buried their dead -- leave belongings on the grave sites\ a person could trade with the burial site\ Bill Schneider -- asking about Bogus\ Nunapicuaq (small land)\ would dig for artifacts\ John Peter -- used to try to get information from Old Man Japhet and John Napoka's father about Nunapicuaq and they didn't remember it being a place\ Lydia Fly -- remembers the ground was very decomposed and deep\ the artifacts on the river banks\ Joe Demantle -- says his daughter Sharon found an artifact\ Lydia Fly -- says they found uluaq there, out of stone\ John Peter -- says he used to ask around if anyone knew about that place and no one did\ Joe Demantle -- says there was evidence of a fire pit too\ John Peter -- says that Old Man Japhet and John Napoka's used to say the little people lived there. English translation|

Section 8: Nick Alexie -- talks about the goose dropping eggs and making divots in the ground\ people who all over originated from Uuravik\ tells the same story as to why people left Uuravik\ there was another place that Nick found when he went spring camping\ he found two old qasgiqs accidentally\ Iiyassiq -- he saw young trees growing and it was a dry place\ he found two places that he thinks were qasgiqs because he found big poles and he used to ask about them but no one knew about them\ he asked people from Kalskag but no one knew about them\ Lydia Fly -- there was a house built at the end of the bluffs that they call an army base and they were told to never camp at that site\ that location is already eroded so the building is gone\ Edward Wise camped at that site\ Joe Demantle -- remembers going up to that site and seeing the cliff\ Nick Alexie -- says that people in Tuluksak came from Uuravik\ Tuluksak was a fall camp and a good fishing spot\ Lydia Fly -- names people who live in the Tuluksak\ Tuluksak is where people went to get fish and a person who owned a plane even came there to get white fish\ Nick Mellick and people from Sleetmute|

Section 9: English translation\ Nick Alexie -- talks about how people would walk out to the lake to go to the bathroom for privacy|

Section 10: Joe Demantle -- talks about places around Nuqaq, Arnacunguaq, Tayarungualek, Qemilleraak\ they were places used by people in Tuluksak\ Joe Demantle -- Akiak people camped around Qantar, Kwethluk\ people use the land and share the land\ no one owns the land\ the Yup'ik way, no conflict\ when people camped there would be two families camping together\ all the villages (Kwethluk, Akiak, Akiachak, Tuluksak and even Kalskag) used the area near Petmigtalek for muskrat hunting in the spring\ trapping areas were identified by older generations, passed down in their family\ when people went to the camps, they would bring their children and show them the best places to camp\ hot springs -- Ophir near mountains\ Ophir was used for squirrel hunting\ people shared the land\ they shared the land and kept it clean\ he never saw a place that was littered\ there used to be lots of muskrats in the old days\ when they didn't want anymore meat they would bury the muskrat meat in the ground\ even the bones were buried\ whole families moved during spring camp and villages would be almost deserted except for the ones who were handicapped\ everybody from the small towns would all go camping on the Petmigtalek, the Elaayiq and Kuicaraq\ it used to be so calm you could hear gun shots from far away\ sounds like a pop\ you can hear sounds from really far and closer shots sound like, makes sound\ back in those days it was so calm you could hear sounds from far away\ now it's different\ today you can't hear anything because of all the motorized sounds\ when he goes up to Bogus, he can sometimes hear dynamite from the mines\ doesn't know exactly where the sound comes from\ Anqatarvik -- place where you can go towards a valley or open area\ there was gold there\ near the mountains\ some mountain ridges that are pretty narrow\ a pass|

Section 11: Nick Alexie -- talks about in 1949 when Tuluksak Native community formed, they set up boundaries bigger than the map\ Nick Alexie -- in English traditional boundary markers\ John Peter -- remembers when they were working on the boundary\ Willie Napoka and Waska Roland\ Waska Roland understood that ANSCA was looming overhead so he talks about land claims in 1973\ Waska could speak English and knew he had to make boundaries to be able to get a piece of the ANSCA pie\ old man Japhet, his son Nick and Noah Andrew's father helped create the boundary to the Kilbuck Mts and down to Akiak\ even whitefish lake was marked\ half of Whitefish Lake but Lydia and Nick says the whole lake is theirs too\ they placed metal posts or markers on the boundaries\ John Peter -- was wondering where the map went...the 1949 map and documents that verify the exact boundaries or jurisdictions\ Nick Alexie -- says the map might be in Washington DC.\ Calista claims that the Tuluksak land is theirs now\ Joe Demantle -- says he's sweating\ Nick Alexie -- says we're getting off track|

Section 12: Nick Alexie -- once the people returned from their spring camps, they went right out to fish camp\ they didn't stay in one place, they kept moving\ they stayed in Tuluksak from November to April and then they would go out to spring camp, fish camp and fall camp\ now children get into trouble because they aren't keeping themselves occupied by going out to camp. The longer they stay together in one spot, the more trouble they get into because they are bored\ in the old days, people would live together in harmony, no disputes or quarrels\ repeating -- one place causes problems in the children\ spring camp to fish camp\ no bingo or western dancing or square dancing only Yup'ik dancing|

Section 13: closing the discussion|