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Joe Tanape, Sr.
Joe Tanape, Sr.

Joseph "Joe" Tanape, Sr. was interviewed on September 12, 1986 by Priscilla Russell and Ralph Johnson in Nanwalek, Alaska. In this interview, Joe talks about living a traditional subsistence lifestyle, including hunting, trapping, preservation of food, and use of animals for making clothing. He discusses celebrating the New Year with masking, starring, and singing, and how the practices have changed over time. He also sings some songs. Only the first and last sections of this interview are in English. The rest is Joe speaking in his Native Sugt'stun language. No translation of the audio is available.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 97-235-02

Project: Nanwalek and Port Graham
Date of Interview: Sep 12, 1986
Narrator(s): Joseph Tanape, Sr.
Interviewer(s): Priscilla Russell, Ralph Johnson
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Subsistence Division, Minerals Management Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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


1) Personal history

2) Land use and subsistence

3) Traditional knowledge and food

4) Family

5) Celebrating New Year

6) End of the New Year celebration

7) Food preservation

8) Masking and New Year's

9) Singing a traditional song

10) Singing a traditional song from Kodiak

11) Making a song

12) Masking and singing

13) Unknown subject - in Sugt'stun

14) More about masking and singing

15) Early New Year celebration and play

16) More about old ways of celebrating New Year's

17) New Year play

18) Masking and starring

19) Unknown subject - in Sugt'stun

20) Masking and children

21) More about masking, and porcupines

22) Hunting and trapping

23) Use of ground hogs (ground squirrels?)

24) Seal skin boat

25) Making clothing from animal skins

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

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


Section 1: English Bay/ 1914/ Nuka Island/ Nuka Bay -- winter/ Aleut/ food/ bear/ moose/ meat|

Section 2: Paying for land/ hunting seal, bear, and porcupine/ getting clams/ mussels/ tomcod/ smoking seal|

Section 3: People knew the land and food/ they didn't have to pay for food/ they didn't know what money was/ they never got sick/ he came over the land|

Section 4: Wife Aqasa and Old man Qeluisa/ the snow gets deep/ Agua came in winter time/ New Year|

Section 5: New Year and the Old Ladies and months of the New Year/ tear off the masks at 12:00 midnight/ singing church song -- God Grant You Many Years|

Section 6: End of the New Year ball/ what they do at midnight|

Section 7: How they put food away|

Section 8: New Year/ ripping off the masks|

Section 9: Singing a song of an old man and lady/ talking about the waltz after New Year's ball|

Section 10: Singing a song learned from the Kodiak people/ another song|

Section 11: Making a song of the old man and old lady laying on grass floor or rock|

Section 12: Masking/ sings a song about the New Year coming/ ripping off the masks at midnight/ what happens if you don't rip them|

Section 13: No keywords available

Section 14: Same as Section 12

Section 15: What the New Year used to be like before now/ talks about New Year play|

Section 16: Continuation of Section 15

Section 17: Ending of New Year play|

Section 18: Talks about New and Old Year/ masking on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd nights/ starring|

Section 19: No keywords available

Section 20: Masking/ how they never let the children go masking|

Section 21: Meaning of masking/ talks about porcupine/ seal skin|

Section 22: Talks of the wolves/ brown bears/ moose|

Section 23: Groundhogs (ground squirrels?)/ how to prepare by hanging and smoking/ the peoples different ancestry in Nanwalek|

Section 24: Seal skin boat|

Section 25: Clothing of groundhog (ground squirrel?) and seal skin|