Aarigaa Qagruq! A time for celebration and giving.
A time for the whaling crews to share their bounty. And a time for us to enjoy their bounty. It really is ingrained in our DNA to share our food. When you live so far above the arctic circle in such a desolate place, we had to share to survive.
Most (I have to say MOST, because I know people who DON'T share) people up here, share, share, SHARE. They ask nothing in return. They are happy to provide and wish to give thank everyone for their help and prayers.
Especially in Point Hope. This year I believe they caught three whales. I could be wrong, but that's what I remember right now!
I was able to attend the Qagruq celebration where they gave away Akutuq (Eskimo Ice Cream), Avatraq (Flipper) and Mikigaq (Aged blubber, meat and blood). It was absolutely a beautiful day in Point Hope with the wind blowing, as it usually does, the Umiaq (Skin boats) turned to the side to block the wind for the elders. Plenty of tundra to sit or stand on and lots of fellowship.
I saw people who knew me when I was a baby, declaring, "You're so big..." Which to a different person, would be offensive. To me? I just smiled and said, "you're so old!" hahaha. My mom's Umaas my dad's Sunnaqs, and even my own classmates and everyone in between.
I waited patiently to hear the words, "Nalauqmiuts!" when giving away the Avatraq, my favorite part. They did say Iglaaqs, which I was one, but man...I can totally claim to be white (I am half!) and really wanted to get another piece!
The crews cut and handed out and the yells were heard above all the commotion. "Pastors!" "My Cousins!" "Brothers and Sisters!" "Visitors!" "My best friend!" Everyone who was called, walked up to the middle and received their piece of flipper. I went home with Mikigaq, Akutuq and one flipper. (Cause I ate the other one right then and there!)
I also came home with Natchiq, and a lot of scrap baleen so my kids could learn to etch. I did manage to purchase a beautiful etched baleen piece for my office too.
The tundra, though still speckled with some snow (yes, SNOW!) was alive and vibrant in color and smell. Tundra Flowers peeked out beneath the carpet of lichen and moss, daring to show their colors to the sky above.
My favorite part though was seeing old friends, and standing in awe of the awesome sewing skills of the Point Hope women. (The parky on the Right? They sewed that in ONE DAY!)
So, Quyaana Point Hope for allowing me to come to your village and experience Qagruq and sharing your wonderful bounty!