Thursday, June 26, 2008
Tuntutuliak is situated on the Kuskokwim river, I think. Its a small Yupik Eskimo village with very friendly folks. Religion there is Moravian (Protestant) and Russian Orthodox. The name itself means "place of plentiful caribou" (I think) Years past, the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta had these creatures roaming the country. These days, there's none to be found. Older people reminisce about times when wildlife was abundant. They were probably over hunted or migrated to less populated areas. Anyway, back to Caribou Land. I think I've visited Tuntutuliak 4 or 5 times in my life time. A few times for basketball and every single time (Don, I know you hate that saying, hehehhe) we'd get weathered in. One trip, we got to roller skate in their gym waiting for weather to clear out -- our gym floor at home had carpet (who ever heard of that??? ouch! rug burns!) It was the first time I got wheels on my feet and it was pure enjoyment. I went there for a church thing one winter (and got weathered in till Tuesday!) was supposed to leave Sunday. I had a friend who was a Russian Orthodox who had lived there her whole life and had never attended a service at the Moravian Church. She really loved the songs I grew up hearing and how people would go up and sing requested songs, or whatever they chose to sing. It was an eye opener for my naive young self, for where I grew up, there was only one church. I myself have never attended a Russian Orthodox service. One summer I got to go there with fellow young people to attend Youth Camp (another church thing) for a week. I don't remember too much about it but Christine and Ringo and I stayed at the Enochs, who had two young boys. We'd have to get up early to attend services and do church-type things during the day. And thats all I remember about it. I was probably 14 yrs old. One winter we went snow machine riding through their curvy river, through willows and it was pure bliss, it was beautiful, with the snow so crisp, a white paradise. In Kipnuk, we'd just ride in open country, never in the rivers, because it was bumpy and the scenery was the same. Now, the only time I get to see Caribou-liak (as Sophie says) is when we stop for a mail drop or picking up passengers on the way to for from Bethel on the way to my hometown. Its probably changed just as much Kipnuk has, growing in population, crime rising, kids wilder ... but that is what I have to say about the land called "Tunt".