Chapter One: WE ARE OF THE INUPIAT THE NORTHERN ESKIMOS
THE FIRST PEOPLE
Northwestern Alaska was once a very warm country. Alaska was close to the sun. This continent had no winter and it was warm always.
The Kauwerak Eskimos' ancestors were very large people. They were also healthy and very strong human beings. They lived long and were happy. They did not wear clothes. They never worried because they had everything they wanted. They did not work in their minds because they did not have to worry or think about how to survive.
There was a man, called Ekeuhnick, who lived in the ancient times before the First Disaster. His name means "burns like that which was burning and went out a glowing coal. Ekeuhnick was taught by an old wise man called Aungayoukuksuk. He appeared as a prophet to Ekeuhnick. Aungayoukuksuk came to teach Ekeuhnick so he might become a leading person to his people and to make known to them that he would be a leading person among them.
I. THE PEOPLE OF EKEUHNICK'S TIME
The stories of the old people, handed down from generation to generation, speak of the Eskimo people when the world was young. This is the way the old stories described the very first ancestors of the Eskimos of Northwest Alaska.
The Eskimo ancestors were very large in build and very strong in body. The women were built strong in body like men. Those people did not have to work in their minds to stay alive. That is, they did not have to think about how to make tools or use their resources around them to survive or to make themselves comfortable. They had no worries about living.
Everything was upon the earth. The sun was warm year round and there was no winter time like now. The people lived off the country. Everywhere they went they could find a place to stay. They used only rafts to go across the rivers and bays. In their time they never thought about building houses, boats, or other useful things because they did not need them. That is why the old people say the Eskimo's ancestors did not use their minds like later times when they invented tools, clothes, houses, boats, and weapons. Before the first disaster they did not need them.
They had all kinds of animals on the land and fishes in the rivers. People in those old days lived a very long time. Many of them lived up to seeing the fifth or sixth generation after them. Then they died. In those days the men and women believed that when they died they went to another world.
Those long ago people had a wide nose and mouth and bigger eyes than now. They had hairs on their bodies and long hair on their heads. Their bodies were weatherbeaten and brown in color. They did not stay in one place. They had to rove around.
The people in those days did not know about ghosts or spirits and they were never scared, either.
Those early Eskimos did not need houses to live in. They lived like wild animals until after the First Disaster. Very few of them lived together. When a son or daughter found someone to become man and wife, they lived with one of their parents until later. When the parents became old they took care of them.
A time came when the people began to notice that the country was not as warm as it used to be. It was still a warm country, but people had to cover more ground to keep living the way they always did.
Many years later they felt the ground shaking. They didn't know what it was. It was an earthquake, and the ground cracked and broke up in places. Until this happened, the people did not believe in spirits. They did not even know what a spirit was. When the earthquake happened the people began to have some worries. Because of the mighty shaking, they began to think there might be some sort of living being or something that got mad or cursed the earth. They thought there might be someone who was punishing them and there might be someone or something that might help them if they believed in it.
From that time on they began to think of spirits to help them.
After the great earthquake the Eskimo people began to look for others to find out what happened to them. They had a big gathering of the people for the first time. The older people talked together and decided they should stay close together from then on. They decided to live in one place together and make a village. Those Eskimos began to think about each other more than before. They began to talk about the resources around them and how they could have things on hand when they were needed.
People began to look forward. They decided to organize before another disaster came to them. This first village was only one of many that began. The population was great in those days. The Eskimos were so many they had to go many places in order to live.
As time passed, nearly every year great earthquakes were coming. That made the people change their way of living. They learned they had to help one another in order to survive. Their living changed from no worries about life to one of hardship. The people began to see the earth changing from the earthquakes. In some places the ground was sinking and new lakes were coming. In other places the ground was coming up. This made people begin to think about other and bigger disasters coming. They began to prepare for such a thing. They talked it over. They began to make things out of what they found around them. There were tools for making baskets, bags of hide and bark, pouches of animal guts, pots of clay, and equipment for packing and carrying and storing things, and equipment and tools for catching animals. Animals were mostly caught in snares and traps.
The people shared their ideas and what they learned with each other. But they came to understand they needed a leader. They needed to organize. They decided to appoint an older man to be the head leader or chief. This way they could talk over some things that needed to be done all together.
In those days there were no animals herded like livestock for the village to use. There were lots of animals around to hunt. There were no gardens or farms. Everything that was needed grew around the places the people lived without their help.
A day came which the ancient Eskimo people never expected. The sun came close to the full moon. Soon the sun went behind the moon. It happened around noon time. The sun eclipsed behind the moon and it was getting dark, but people could see because it was not real dark. There was a kind of reddened color everywhere and it got cold . It began to frost on the ground. The animals began to roam around . The birds began to fly everywhere. It seemed they forgot to be afraid of each other.
The people had no clothes to wear and they began to look for shelter. Some found caves. So were the animals looking for shelter. The birds were flying in every direction. The people could not hear much from each other because the birds and animals made so much noise.
The sun and moon stayed together for three days and three nights. Each day less and less noise could be heard. On the third day there were only a few little noises. On the fourth day, at noon, the sun came out from behind the moon, but it was still cold.
There were only a few people who survived to see what happened when the sun came out to shine on the world once more. Every plant, all the grass, and the fruits and berries were frozen. Even the birds and animals were dead. Only a few large animals still walked around.
Only four families were left after the First Disaster.
When it looked like the climate would get even harder to live in, and that other disasters might come, the people began to think about how they might need better tools and weapons. They talked it over with each other and with the leaders. They thought about how to use rocks and stones things like jade and slate and hard rocks that would break off with sharp edges when they were hit the right way. They thought how to use driftwood and growing live wood, and bark and the sap and roots of the trees and plants. They thought about all the parts of the animals they could not eat and how they could be used. They experimented and soon made useful things clothes, tools, bags and pouches to store things from skins, bones, teeth, sinew, guts, and even the blood of animals.
One man thought about making a spear. He found a long piece of wood like a water willow. Then he found a pointed piece of rock. He fastened the rock to the end of the wood with a strip of animal skin. He tried it and it worked.
Some man took another kind of rock and put it on a short piece of wood to make a handle. He bound it together with rawhide and it made a hammer. Others made things, too. Some found rocks with sharp edges. They bound a rock with a sharp edge to a handle like a hammer, but this kind of tool made an ax for cutting wood. They made knives of all kinds out of sharp rocks. Sometimes they put wood or horn handles on them. They kept improving the first things they made until they had tools to do all the things they wanted to do.
The womenfolk made clothes out of fur skin. No longer were the bodies of the people uncovered and exposed to the sun and rain.
The weather was changing little by little every coming year. One day a man saw lots of fishes in the river. He was wondering if there was a way to catch more fish without fishing with a spear. This would be a better way. One day he ran across a spider web and found that some flies had been caught. He began to see that if he could only make something like that web out of something, he would catch many fish with it. So he thought it over.
All at once he took a piece of rawhide string and studied it and the web of the spider. He tied a knot in the end of two strings and then another knot a little farther along between the two strings. He was making a mesh. He worked at tying the strings of rawhide together until he made a net like the spiderweb. He worked at it a long time. Then he set it in the river. Next morning he looked in the net. Sure enough, he had caught two fish in it. The fish were hanging to the net.
When he took the two fish the net twisted so bad he thought about how to keep the net straight. He found two long roots of a tree. He put them through the top and bottom lines of the net. Then he tied one end of the net to the ground on the bank of the river. Only the bottom of the net was not tied down. He thought a rock might keep it down. So, he put rock weights on the bottom of the net. Then he went home. Next morning, when he looked in the net, there were lots of fish in it. He brought the others and let them look. Since that happened, the Eskimos have made the nets better and better.
Once, a man cut a big tree. Then he chipped out some wood from the middle of the tree to make a hollow. After he finished it, he tried it to see if it would float in water. He took it out in the water with a long pole. He could go wherever he wanted to. That was the first boat built. After that, everyone built a boat for themselves. The boats got larger and better. They made paddles out of animal shoulder blades fastened to wood poles. Later they made the paddles all of wood from end to end.
One man thought about how wind might be useful for a boat. He saw a leaf blow off from the water willow tree into the water. The leaf was bent and dried by the sun. When it landed in the water the wind took it across the river in no time. So, the man imagined how he could make a sail out of light skin and the wind would blow the boat away along the water. That would be a new way to travel. He tried this idea after sewing a few hairless skins together to make a sail. His idea was successful. The wind took the boat across the lake. He only had to steer it. After the people saw this happen, all the others began to build boats with a sail.
So, the Eskimo people built more and more things. One man looked into a mouse hole in the ground. The mouse had made a home in the high dry ground. He had nice dry grass stored in the hole to sleep in and to keep warm in the nights. That mouse had found roots and seeds to eat and stored them in his home.
The man told the others about the mouse building his dry home in the ground, keeping warm, and how he gathered and stored away food for the cold time. The people began to build their homes to keep warm in the nights while they slept and to keep dry from the rain. Their houses were half in the ground and the upper part was covered with earth. Those houses were really warm.
Some other Eskimos learned to build homes from the ants.
The people learned to travel using the sun by day and the stars at night for direction. When a person traveled in the daytime he looked carefully at the place where he was. He felt where the wind was coming from. When it was stormy he looked at the blowing snow or into the way the grass was bent by the wind. He also looked to see which way a snow drift pointed.
One day, in winter time, a man cut a hole in the ice on the river to fill a wooden bucket for water. He looked through the hole into the bottom of the river. He saw lots of fishes going up the river. He came back to the house and told the others about what he saw. Then they talked about the fish and how they were going to catch them. Finally, one of the children went to look into the water.
Sure enough, there were lots of fish. So, he went and cut a young water willow. He sharpened one end, and began to spear those fishes right through the hole in the ice. He came up to the house with two fish. He laid them on top of the house. The people came out to see them. Those fish were stiff frozen. They had not seen this before in their lives. Those people had no idea of how to eat them. They left them lay there.
Pretty soon the boy was getting hungry. He took up one of those fish and tasted it. It sure tasted good, and he ate it all. He told the others. They first found out frozen fish are good to eat from that boy. Many people made spears for fishing through the ice. Lots of men, women, and children have speared fish through the ice since then.
II. THE PEOPLE OF BEEUEOAK'S TIME
The time passed and the lives of the people changed as the climate and land became different. In some things they had, their old ways seemed never forgotten. The Second Disaster came. It was a terrible flood and all the land was covered with water. Only three families survived.
They found better ways to live, yet they found some things did not need to be changed. They did find, as centuries passed, many ways to make their living easier and there were many, many more people, many more families, and lots of villages came.
One time some of the young men were far off. They ran into another village and found a man who made a weapon that could kill any kind of animal that is not too big. The young men told the other village that where they came from they had different kinds of tools they could make. Also, they had something to catch fish called "nets." It was decided that a man would come to the young men's village with his weapon. He would bring a woman. She would show the womenfolk of the young men's village an invention of some sort used for making clothes.
Finally, the two visitors arrived a man and his wife. The people gave them a really good home to live in while they stayed. The visitors and the village learned a lot from each other about the useful things the people of the two villages could make. Now, at last the village saw the weapon.
It was made out of a long piece of wood. It was a hard piece of wood with a rawhide string tied on each end. It was named sutguhk, bow. It used a light length of wood as long as the bow. This slim shaft had a very sharp piece of bone on one end and was called kugruhk, arrow.
This weapon was real powerful. It was strong enough to kill caribou or even bear. It killed squirrels, ptarmigan, and birds of all kinds. Everyone wanted to have one for himself. So, they made bows with arrows for every man.
The visitor's wife was sewing. She sewed squirrel skins together for a parka. She made foot mukluks. The other women in the village asked her what kind of a piece of bone was used to sew them together.
She told them it was a needle made of bone. Her husband had made it from a piece of bone off a squirrel leg. He took the piece of bone and made it sharp on one end and put a hole in the other. She told them she used sinew of the caribou for thread to sew the pieces of skin or fur together. She explained the sinew came from the legs and also from the back of the caribou. She showed the womenfolk how to twist those sinews together to make one long string. It was good strong thread.
The woman's husband learned how to make nets to catch fish. He also learned how to make tools of all kinds. Then they took a net for fish and some tools to their home village when their visit was over. They could share those with other villages, too.
III. THE PEOPLE OF ANAYUHK'S TIME
The way the Eskimo people lived did not change much after the Third Disaster except for one thing. After the Second Disaster, people were moving around living by the land and seeing all the changes that came after the flooding. Sometimes two or three families stayed together. They built their spring time hunting and fishing camps and their fall camps. They usually built houses where they stayed in the winter time. Mostly, they had caribou-skin tents they put up at their camps. Sometimes they built houses there, too, if the fishing and hunting stayed good and they had good luck in that place. That is why they were scattered. They moved around where the hunting and fishing stayed good.
Before the whalers came the Eskimos lived by the land. They made their tools and other things from the rocks and minerals around them and from the parts of the plants and animals. They had learned lots of things already about making weapons to hunt and traps and nets to catch fish and birds.
Before Anayuhk grew up to be a man and for a while later, the Kaweramiut (the people of Imuruk Basin) traveled everywhere. They lived in places called English names today. They lived at Cape Darby, Cape Nome, Sledge Island, King Island, Little Diomede Island, Cape Wooley, Wales, Cape Espenberg, Kotzebue, and all the way past Point Hope. After the Third Disaster, there were only a few people. The ancestors said that only seven Kaweramiut people were left. There were two people left at Point Hope (Tigamuit) who were not Kaweramiut. There may have been others living up near Wainright and Point Barrow, but nobody went that far. They did not go south farther than St. Michaels so the stories do not tell what happened down there.
Those few Kauwerak people, living after the Third Disaster, stayed mostly in Imuruk Basin. There was plenty for everyone and they were working to build their families up strong again. The new generations sometimes went to other places to live. The Kauwerak country was full of good hunting so many of the men stayed there and others came and found girls to be a wife to them. Sometimes they stayed there, too. That is how the population grew in this part of Alaska.
The people found most of what they needed in Imuruk Basin and along the coast near Port Clarence. There were plenty of seals and baluga as well as caribou and other animals and different kinds of fish. There was a place under Birch Hill where they could find green stone like jade. It was hard. They could hit it with other stones a certain way and it chipped off with a real sharp edge. They learned to make arrow points and spear points with it. They used this stone mostly for spears to hunt bear because it did not break as easily as slate or ivory.
There was a place near Glacier Lake up in the mountains where there was a lot of slate. The men would have to wear their mittens or wrap their hands in skins to pull it out; it was so sharp. The slate stone came out of the mountain in big, thin, flat pieces. It was so sharp on the edges that. when the geese built their nests up there, it cut the webs on their feet.
The Kauwerak men used to go to that place and get plenty of those sharp pieces. Then they would bring them home and fix them into knives and oolus. When they made an oolu, they would use a hard stone like a piece of quartz. They would make a groove in the slate where they wanted to shape it. After they made the groove, they could hold it in their hands and snap the piece off the blade. The women had to be careful not to break their oolus because they were brittle. They used to keep them in a little skin bag with an ivory piece carved like a bird or a seal used to fasten it shut like a button in a loop.
For a long time, the womenfolk did not have handles on their oolus. They just used the blade plain. Then, one time, when they were trading at Point Spencer, they saw the Siberian women had ivory handles on their oolus. After that, the Kauwerak women had wood or horn handles put on their oolus.
All during this time while the population was growing, the ancestors' stories do not tell about any troubles with the Siberians. They say sometime after Kauwerak was built, the wars began. There is a story about this. It happened during the time of Kauwerak village.
Even though the Siberians caused a lot of trouble and sometimes many people were killed, there were no more Disasters until 1917 when the terrible sicknesses began to kill so many of the Eskimo people. When the first big ships came there was some sickness but it did not seem to spread too much. Then the whalers came. They brought some sickness, too. The real bad times did not come until the miners came to look for gold. Not too many years after that, the Fourth Disaster came.
IV. THE PEOPLE OF KAUWERAK
The Eskimo population grew after so many years. Most of their places they settled along the ocean coast along Seward Peninsula north and up the rivers. There was no way to visit with other people in Alaska except the King Islanders and Little Diomede Islanders until after many years passed. The people of these islands had the same ancestors as the Kauwerak and they shared their ideas with each other.
In those days, the people did not visit with the Siberian people on Big Diomede or even the St. Lawrence Island people. They did trade a little bit, though, to get engagement presents for the women.
When the time came for an Eskimo to take a wife, he looked around for woman he would like to live with the rest of his life. When he found one he liked, he watched her. He looked to see how she could work. He watched to see how many good jobs she could do. He looked carefully to see if she would make a good wife and if he could make a good family with her. She had to be an honest person ready for a husband, for an Eskimo man cannot be shamed by his wife. He also had to be honest to her. The man had to be a good hunter and ready to be a good provider for the family he and his wife would make.
When a man found a woman he wanted for a wife, if she wanted him, he had to become engaged to her. First, he had to go hunting. He looked for land otter and killed five or six of them. He took the otters to the people from Siberia, the Russian land. He traded the skins for two long strings of beads and some short strings. The short strings stretched from ear to ear and had hooks on each end made out of ivory. The beads were given as an engagement present because in those days the Eskimos did not have beads, rings, or other kinds of precious jewelry for giving away.
In those days, like now, an Eskimo man and woman had to think of many things before they began living together as man and wife. They knew that Eskimos had to be alert for the times when their family circumstances would change. They had to look forward to many responsibilities and the work that a family would bring. They had to prepare in advance for changes that would come as time passed.
The arrival of a baby meant that one had to move to a new home of their own and had much more work. They would have to provide for their own needs and for that of the baby and the other babies to be made later. When babies came it was no longer right to live in the home of the family of childhood time. Sometimes, when people were wanting to be married, they did not think that babies coming would be a threat to their marriage . People had to look forward to the babies that would be made and be prepared for them. Then there would be happiness and new homes in the village. When it was the time for a marriage, the first thing Eskimos had to consider was the children that would be coming sometime.
As more and more babies were made, the population grew. One of the first big villages of the Seward Peninsula was called Kauwerak. It grew in a place where the Eskimo people used to seine for fishes.
There was a place all flat along the Kuzitrin River. Where the river goes into Salt Lake there was a little gravel sand bar. This was a good place to get the fishes of many kinds that came up the river. There were many birds and animals all around the place. The old people said it was a good place to stay. Soon a village grew on top of the flat bank of the river by the little gravel bar.
The old men told the people they must not disturb the ground around the place where they were going to build the houses. They told the people to go some distance from the village place and get the earth and sod to cover the parts of the houses that stood up above the ground. They told them to pack the earth to the village site on their backs or to work together in pairs to haul the sod in skins. This was so the ground around the village would not be broken up.
Later, when the dance house was finished, the old people said: "We should call this place for the little gravel bar in the river in front of the village. We will call this place Kauwerak."
The village grew larger. The men hunted far away from the village. In those days the Eskimos communicated with each other by smoke signals, by stick waving, and by waving their parkas. They had special signs that everyone understood and they could make things known to each other from great distances.
In later times, one of the big villages of the Kauwerak Eskimos was called Aukvaunlook. This means black whale. The village was on the Kuzitrin River. In 1900 a man named T. L. Davidson called the place Mary's Igloo because an Eskimo woman who helped him out once lived there. She was called Mary, and he told others the village on the Kuzitrin River was the place of Mary's Igloo. Once someone put a mark on a map for Aukvaunlook and said it was Mary's Igloo. That is what that place is called today.
THE FIRST DISASTER
I. THE BOYHOOD OF EKEUHNICK
Ekeuhnick was the name of a man of ancient times. His name was given him by a prophet called Aungayoukuksuk. After the prophet gave him his name, Ekeuhnick learned many things that would come to pass for his people. The Eskimo ancestors, Ekeuhnick's people, respected Ekeuhnick a lot because he knew more. He led his people into a better living of their life. Even though these people did not use their minds very much, they knew how to govern themselves. There were no fights among them; and they did not know what war was.
When Ekeuhnick, before he got his name, began growing to a boy, he was already different than the others. Everyone noticed it. He always helped the older men and women and everyone liked him.
When Ekeuhnick was a small boy, his father took him to a mountain. It was some distance away from the place the family stayed. This large mountain had many springs. Most of the animals would go to one special place to drink the very clear water that flowed down from under the mountain top. The mountain was too steep for the animals to climb. Ekeuhnicks's father told him: "This mountain is so sharp men and animals cannot walk on it. We believe it is forbidden for us to go to the top."
The boy and his father looked to the east. There was a great big mountain far off. Ekeuhnick's father told him: "No one knows what kind of a place that is, in that country where that mountain is, because no one has reached it yet."
"Here we are, we know every slope and river by this mountain. Below it, at the springs, many different kinds of animals we know about come to drink water. Son, you may reach that far off mountain when you grow up, if you live long enough to reach it."
The boy heard his father. Finally, he turned to him and asked: "Where do the people go when they die?"
"I do not know," his father answered. "That question it is very hard to answer it." The father went on, "We take the bodies and put them deep down in a cave. This is like when your grandfather died. That is where we put his body."
"Most of our people live for five generations to come. Most men and women live to see five generations. They are active people."
Many years later Ekeuhnick grew up to become a young man. He was muscular in body and very strong. Everyone considered him to be the most developed and muscular man of all, for they had never seen anyone like him. He did everything well and excelled in all things done by the people of his area. He was a helper to his people and yet he was a young man. He was always doing his best to help whoever needed it. His father was very proud of him because he never made any trouble to anyone. He was always concerned about whatever he might find and tried to find better ways of doing things. Lots of people could see that Ekeuhnick was a different person from many of the other boys and young men.
He was a peaceful person with a friendly manner toward people. He was quiet and always ready to smile or help anyone. Sometimes he wanted to be alone and would work in his mind to think. Sometimes he told people to try to make some things to be useful to them. Other times he made them happy by doing things for them.
II. AUNGAYOUKUKSUK COMES
A long time ago, when Ekeuhnick was a young man, he always went to watch the animals at the springs that flowed from the mountain top. It was the place he visited with his father when he was a boy. Ekeuhnick went right to where the animals drank the clear water coming down from the top of the mountain. He saw many kinds of animals there. He approached close to those animals and yet they did not seem to be afraid of him. He walked all around them. All they did was just look at him. Many times after this, the man went to this place.
One day when he went to see the animals, there were none. No kind of animals went that day to drink water. Ekeuhnick went to the place on a warm sunny day, and like a dream, he saw in a vision all kinds of animals around the spring. He saw all kinds from an elephant to very small creatures. He was so surprised he stopped. He marveled at what he saw. He said to himself: "Why do I see all these creatures?"
Someone answered him. Whoever spoke, it seemed at first that the voice came from very far off. Then it came closer and closer, but the young man could see no one anywhere. There was only a voice that said: "Come here to me."
The young man looked around for where the voice came from. He heard, "I am here, Ekeuhnick."
The man looked where the voice was coming from. Here he saw a bearded and aged old man. His hair was gray and also his beard. His beard was hanging down. The young man was terrified. He had never seen any man like him.
The old man beckoned to him. He said: "Do not be afraid of me."
Ekeuhnick moved with slow steps toward the old man. Then, Ekeuhnick stood before him. The old man said: "Please sit across from me so we sit face to face to each other. I will tell you who I am. I come as a prophet to your people."
The old man began to talk. He told the young man that the earth would one day begin to shake. He said that after the shaking , this big mountain where they were sitting would soon blow up. He told how all the animals would move to a different part of the world. He said it would get so cold that plants of all kinds would freeze. Even the fruits and berries would freeze up from the cold.
He said: "I have seen you come to this place many times. I have come to meet you here where lots of animals come to drink the water from the springs. I have chosen you to be a leader to your people who are living in many places. I will meet you here this same place several times to teach you things that will be happening to this part of the world.
"I have chosen you because you are different than the others. You are intelligent. You are active and you already have some knowledge. You must carry all you learn and repeat it to the people. You must tell them what will happen to them. Each of them will be destroyed in all the places that they live together.
"First, when the trouble will be coming, the ground will shake off and on. The trees and rocks will shake so bad the trees will fall on the ground. Rocks will slide down. This will be a warning of the disaster to come, only no one will die this time. This thing is called an earthquake.
"I want you to tell each individual about the earthquake so they can learn from you about what will be next to come."
Aungayoukuksuk pointed to the mountain standing over the spring. "Next, what will happen is this big mountain will erupt one of these days. Before it happens, you may tell your people to leave this country and go into another place some distance from here. All around this mountain will be desolation. All the living creatures will be gone. You will give direction to your people whichever way you want them to go."
Next, the old man pointed his finger to the sun and to the moon. "These two take care of the earth. The sun keeps the cold climate away from this land. In days to come, this western country will depart away very slowly from the sun. The climate will be cold here. The heat of the sun will not reach the earth, making a warm climate like you have now. There will be only about six months of warm summertime."
"You must come tomorrow," the old man said. "There are many things to learn and events which shall come to pass that I will tell you about. You will pass this along to your people."
Ekeuhnick started toward his people's place. He looked back at the springs. The old prophet was gone disappeared. Ekeuhnick was amazed. He remembered what Aungayoukuksuk said and he went to tell his people.
III. AUNGAYOUKUKSUK TEACHES
The next morning Ekeuhnick sent another man out to spread the news about the prophet, Aungayoukuksuk, to the people in many places. Ekeuhnick went back to the springs to meet the old man and to learn more from him. The prophet was already there. He was glad to see Ekeuhnick present before him.
At this time the old man told him: "I will give you Wisdom and the Power of Imagination because your Eskimo people have none of these. You have to make every effort to teach them many things they have to learn to do to live in the changes to come. You must organize yourselves and struggle to live when this time comes. Now, the people live without problems. You will have to encourage them into a process so they will learn a new way of life. When this climate changes they will never know how to survive from destruction.
"The earth will depart farther from the sun every month. Soon the sun will run behind the moon. This is an eclipse. This will be the first disaster. The whole land will see it. It will happen all of a sudden. No one will know when it will be. Even the birds and animals will not know. It will be all unexpected when it happens."
The old prophet continued teaching Ekeuhnick. He told him: "You must try to advance your learning and understanding, no matter what it is you are doing. Accept it and do it. You and your people will go through great difficulties and afflictions in time to come. One of these days you and your people will find a new way to live. The present ways of life you are in will change. I tell you, before the changes come, you must prepare yourselves. This continent will be changed and it is going to be a different country altogether. You and your people will have to begin to use your minds to think. If you are wise enough, you will come through.
"Now, after the earthquakes and the eruption of this big mountain, for years to come, new plants will grow. Your future will change to meet the different climate that will come. The sun will be afar off because the earth itself will be changing. It will be moving away from the sun. When this time comes, you will be surprised to see how different the weather is. The earth will turn away from the sun, changing the weather.
"Before anything happens to all of this country, but after the disaster comes, your people must find another place to live by. I want to tell you I will direct you to a mountain in a land which will be a good land for your people.
"I have seen you come to this place often to watch the animals big and small. You always enjoy looking at them. You drive the wild animals away from the caribou and the little creatures. The wild animals just look at you. They do not seem to be afraid of you.
"I have watched you, and I have chosen you to be a prophet and a leader for your people. You will tell them of things to come before them like earthquakes or other things to harm them. When you go home you must tell them to move out of this place. In three days this big mountain will erupt and will burn the ground. A big fire will flow out from it. After it has done that, I want you to come back here. I want to talk to you, same time, two days after the eruption. Come back one more time before then and we will talk."
No sooner than the old man said the last words then he disappeared. He was nowhere that Ekeuhnick could see. Ekeuhnick looked all around for him, but he was gone.
With much wondering, Ekeuhnick returned to the place his people were staying. He told them about the prophet and what he had said. He told them that this ground will earthquake and that the big mountain will blow up any time. He told them: "Aungayoukuksuk said we must move far away before three days when the mountain will blow up. Before this happens, we must move."
So, in the morning they moved.
IV. HOW TO TELL TIME IS PASSING THE ESKIMO CALENDAR
After his people had moved a safe distance from the mountain, Ekeuhnick went back to the spring. He started before the sun went down toward the west. When he got there Aungayoukuksuk was sitting in the same place. He raised his hand and said: "Ekeuhnick, I am waiting for you. We will study weather tonight and we will carve a four corner stick for a calendar. At this time I will teach you how to keep track of the month of each moon. When the moon becomes a full moon that means one month has passed. The days all together in that month make up the time from one full moon to the next one, and we will give them a name.
"The Eskimo calendar has twelve months for one year. It has names for each month. Each month is told by something to remember. April is the time of the New Year. To keep track of the months, Eskimos must carve a four corner stick. Along each side, on the edge, a notch will be carved out for each of the twelve months. A string of rawhide can be tied on the end of the stick and the calendar stick should be hung up in every home.
"When the moon is full in April, a notch is cut to show the start of the New Year. Every time the moon is full, a new notch is cut on the same edge of the stick. When the next year comes, a new edge of the calendar stick is started. Eskimos keep track of the months by the moon, not by the days passing. Each calendar shows the time passed for four years.
"The months are named this way:
|English||Eskimo||What it means|
|April||Nuwaitoivick||· caribou fawns are born|
|May||Ouchninick||· snow melting|
|June||Naisearseavick||· baby seal born|
|July||Omeitoavick||· begin to use boats|
|August||Naloseivick||· drive caribou into lake to kill|
|September||Segkuitoavick||· beginning of ice forming|
|October||Nicheiatoavick||· rabbit snaring time|
|November||Powtoavick||· catch ptarmigan with nets|
|December||Sainatovick||· carving time|
|January||Onaitovick||· short days|
|February||Cawnick||· days are getting long time daylight|
|March||Sainotoavick||· building with wood and carving for hunting (boats, paddles, spears, bows, arrows, etc.)|
V. HOW TO TELL WEATHER
Now, Aungayoukuksuk had told Ekeuhnick about the Eskimo calendar. It was still daytime. The old man said: "Come, Ekeuhnick, sit at this place and I will tell you what will happen many years from now. This will come in your time.
"This part of the earth will change as the northwest part of the country moves farther and farther away from the sun. Now we all can see that the sun is close to this part of the earth. We will notice the wind has come and the sun is not so warm any more. Late in this year, there will come a cold time. You will see a snow. It is a real white snow and it will come and stay for some months. Then it will become warm weather again. This snow weather will be called "winter." Those other months will be called "summer." All together, twelve months to a year.
"Tonight, I will show you how to go by the moon and stars to tell weather. You must tell your people about this. Keep this way to tell about the weather the same always. Never change because the stars never change where they are except two stars and Totoruk the Caribou Stars.
Aungayoukuksuk drew a picture in the wet mud by the spring. It looked like what is called the Big Dipper today. He said: "This is Totoruk."
They built a fire when evening came. It was getting dark. The sky was cloudless and bright stars appeared in the blue sky. The old man watched the stars. Aungayoukuksuk said: "Ekeuhnick, tonight I will teach you of the stars. You have to teach the others. Then they can teach their descendants from now on. Those stars in the sky will tell you what you should do and they are your guides at night. When it is dark you will know which star will be for your direction."
The old man pointed out Totoruk. He said: "On that end where the stars make a curve from the four in a square, the last star points west. It means the night has begun when you see it. When it comes to point straight up to the north, then time has come to midnight half way through the night time. When it points east, the morning is coming."
Next, Aungayoukuksuk pointed to two stars. "If these two stars are far apart the spring weather will be long with good seal hunting. When they are far apart it means a long spring and a time to go out hunting the sea animals. If those two stars are close, it is also good hunting for little fawn skins. You can tell how those stars move by the third little star beside the star on the right. These stars are called Pingahsuit tooahut, wise men."
"Look, now you see those stars are very still. That means that you will not have wind. If they are blinking, in one or two days there will be wind.
"You watch the clouds, you watch the sun and the moon. You will know what the weather will be by watching them. Watch your stars and you will learn your weather. Remember this and teach others so they will keep knowledge about how to tell weather from generation to generation.
"If the moon is quarterly and it dips very low, there will be stormy weather that month. If the moon dips so low it looks like the bucket of a man who is pouring water out, it means that in the spring there will be lots of sea animals as well as land animals. There will be lots of birds in the air and on the land. When the quarterly moon's dip is very high upward that means it will be very dry good weather.
"The sun rises at the east and sets in the west. Remember that the stars at the end of Totoruk point west, then straight north, then east, and then south. The wind comes from the west, then from the north, then the east, and then from the south.
Aungayoukuksuk said: "You must repeat this to your people. Everyone will know what it will be at each month. You have learned that which no one knows. There are some more things you must learn.
"Whenever you see water rise, even if it is nice weather then, if the water is real high along the water line of the big bay or ocean, that will mean bad weather will come. If a south wind blows, it will mean this high water came with the wind. When the water is low, it will mean that the northerly wind will blow. When the east wind blows and then turns to south wind, it will bring warm weather and rain.
"When the west wind blows and then turns and the wind blows to north, it means dry and clear cold wind and snow in winter. In winter east wind and west wind usually bring a snowstorm. In summer the east wind and south wind bring rain and fog.
"Soon the winds from the west will become cool. Then the wind will turn to the north. That will be a very cold wind. The east wind will come in wet and bringing rain. When the east wind turns to the south, it will blow much harder and bring great rains.
"Now, remember what I have told you. There will be summer and winter. Soon you will see white snow, but only in winter. Tell your people to prepare for winter. It is going to be long and cold and freezing. Even the rivers and lakes will become hard on top. They will be frozen and covered with ice. Your people must be prepared to keep warm."
Aungayoukuksuk told Ekeuhnick to leave him and to return when the time came after the ground shaking and the mountain burned. Then he disappeared.
VI. THE WARNING
On the third day after the people moved, Ekeuhnick went to the spring again before the sun went down. He rested and watched the animals drinking at the springs. He enjoyed seeing them. Later, he started back toward the place his people lived.
Suddenly, he could feel the ground shaking under him. Three times the shaking of the ground passed under his feet. Then he heard a roaring and a loud rumble. He looked back and saw that the great mountain was blowing up. The noise got worse and worse and he began to get scared. A big black smoke came out from the top of the mountain. A terrible red tongue of fire came out of the smoke. At the same time, red hot coals came out from the top and rolled down the side of the mountain toward the old place of his people. Ekeuhnick began to hear all kinds of confusion. He looked around and saw many kinds of birds and animals running and flying toward him.
The animals were all running away together, big and small, and the birds in the air. As the animals passed by, Ekeuhnick jumped up and rode on the back of a scared stampeding bear. He held it tight by the neck so they could keep up with the other animals. There was so much noise from the birds in the air and the animals he could not hear the noise of the mountain or anything else.
Together Ekeuhnick, the birds, and the animals fled fast away from the mountain. The birds and animals, every living thing was running and flying at the same time, all in the same direction.
Ekeuhnick's people, far away and safe from the mountain, heard an awful noise like a terrible bellow coming from behind them. Everyone turned and looked. A great spear of fire was coming from the top of the mountain. Red hot coals flowed around and down the mountain from the top. Everything was blazing all around it. There was a red-orange color rolling all the way down from the top of the mountain to the bottom. The people were amazed and very frightened. Now those people began to see the things Ekeuhnick had told them about. It was happening, and his words were true.
All the birds and animals around began running and flying across the plain. They made so much noise that the people got more scared. It seemed everything on the mountainside was burning and the fire was coming down on to the plain below the mountain. The people could see birds and animals running away before the fire and coming towards them.
The animals were traveling so fast that soon they came near to where the people were standing. Then Ekeuhnick jumped off the big bear. He joined his people. He was relieved when he looked back at the mountain so far away from them. His people were glad to see Ekeuhnick. They thought he was burned up by the mountain fire. Now that his words were coming true, they would talk together more about the things Aungayoukuksuk had foretold.
VII. THE LAST VISIT OF AUNGAYOUKUKSUK
Two days after the eruption, Ekeuhnick woke up early and went to where he used to meet with Aungayoukuksuk. It was cold and the wind was blowing. The weather turned good when he came round to the place of the old man. He saw Aungayoukuksuk still sitting there in the same place. He was glad to meet Ekeuhnick again.
"Now," said the old prophet, "You are to become my servant so you may serve and lead your people. You must go beyond this mountain on a long journey."
Ekeuhnick sat down face to face with Aungayoukuksuk. He looked around the place. He saw a great change. There was only black rock, like water frozen, everywhere. There was no kind of green living things around and not even a bird or animal anywhere. He saw that the water was still running from the springs same as ever. The place seemed deserted, it was so quiet.
Aungayoukuksuk raised his arm and pointed to a mountain in the far distance. They could just make it out with their eyes. The old man said: "You and someone should look into that distance. You will learn lots of things. It will all be new to you. You will now have the Power of Imagination in your mind of things not present to your senses. This is going to be a very important part of your trip to that mountain. It will mean much to you and to your people in time to come. It will be of very much value to them when you go to that mountain. Nothing will involve you or take your mind from the important thoughts you will be thinking on your journey.
"You will find a country beyond that mountain. Take one of your men with you and go investigate it. You will like it. On your way the Power of Wisdom will be with you and you will be amazed at the things you will see every step you make. You will become an expert person about the changed way of living. You will find different and new resources to bring to your people that they will use. You must reside there beyond the mountain for a few months until you find a land to reserve for your people's use."
The mountain Aungayoukuksuk pointed out seemed so far off, it looked small from where they stood. The old man said: "You have to go to that mountain. It will take a long time to reach it. There, no people are living. On the way to that mountain, on every day's journey, you will learn and discover many useful things. You will take advantage of the country as you pass through. You will learn how to help others with their problems from the things you will see and learn on the journey.
"All the thinking you will do will come in the form of Imagination. It will help you to find new ways to live and to make those ways useful by thinking about things in images. You must use your imagination all ways. You must make it begin to work and to picture things for you. It will make your journey easier for you.
"I will give you Wisdom, and your people will honor you because you are wise. Your wisdom will lead you into great honor from your generation and the generations to come through the centuries."
Those were the last words the prophet spoke. He disappeared.
Ekeuhnick felt fear and he was astonished. He said: "I must tell my people what I have heard."
This was the last time the prophet, Aungayoukuksuk, was with Ekeuhnick. Now he must carry on alone. He must start to obey the instructions from the prophet. He must become a servant to his people as well as a leader. He must begin to learn how to advise and lead his people. He must learn the new ways by observing the animals and birds. He must use his Power of Imagination to see how the people can find food and keep warm in the hard cold days to come. He must use his Wisdom to make his journey and then return to help his people.
VIII. THE DISASTER
Soon after Ekeuhnick's last talk with Aungayoukuksuk, the words of the prophet began to come true. The sun was very warm one fine morning. Many different birds were singing in the trees. The moon was sailing before the sun, but the sun was not very far behind. Everything was the same as ever for the people. They were enjoying themselves and the children were playing.
Ekeuhnick looked up and saw the sun was almost touching the moon. Later he looked up again. The sun touched the moon. It seemed the sun was going behind the moon.
Soon every person around was watching. They waited to see what was going to happen. They even began to ask Ekeuhnick: "Why is the sun so close to the moon?" Ekeuhnick told them they had better prepare for the change coming to the land. There were some who did not seem to believe him. Others, with Ekeuhnick, moved near a great cave close by the place they were staying. These are the only ones that survived when the disaster came.
They watched the sun. Soon a quarter of the sun moved behind the moon. The eclipse had started. The warm weather changed to cool. Later the whole sun passed behind the moon. Everything on the ground had white frost. The cool weather turned to very cold and it was freezing everything. The wind started to blow from the north. It seemed the cold spread all over the whole universe.
All the living green plants froze. Everything outside the cave froze before it was over. The people with Ekeuhnick went into the cave and built a fire to keep warm. There were lots of other people around the country, but they did not stay in a cave. There were not so many caves around that country. Most of those ancient people froze to death because they had no place to keep warm and no clothes to cover their bodies.
The sun and moon traveled together for three days and three nights while Ekeuhnick and four families huddled in the cave. On the fourth day the sun came out before the moon.
It was warmer again, but not so warm as before. Now the people could see what had happened to the earth. When the sun came out the frost began to melt and the green plants had changed into many colors. The frost had damaged every plant, leaf, and grass. The leaves of the trees had blown away in the wind. The country was very quiet. The only thing that could be heard was the wind. Not even birds could be heard.
When the people woke up on the fourth day and came out of the cave to find frost on the ground, they were still naked, like before the disaster. They were so very cold.
Ekeuhnick began to walk around. He found dead animals on the ground. He went to look for people not with the others in the cave. He found lots of them frozen to death. Ekeuhnick looked around for birds and animals. He saw only a few of the large animals.
The weather was cold, even though the sun was shining. It seemed the sun was far away from the earth. Ekeuhnick found the ground cold to walk on. His body was cold, too. He looked at the dead animals. He skinned some of them and took the hides to cover his body. He took some skins to wrap around his feet. Now, he felt warm. He could walk around and he felt better. He came back to the others and told them to do what he had done. He told them to look for dead animals to skin. Those men were tough. They looked all over for the dead animals and took the skins off. Soon everyone had some skins or furs to cover their body and skins to put on their feet. Now they were not so cold and they could look at the changed world around them.
When the disaster came, people did not wear clothes because the climate was warm. Now they covered their bodies and feet with skins of the animals and birds, but this did not work very well. There was no way to make clothes. Ekeuhnick was the only one who could design clothes, even though he was a man. He had the Power of Imagination.
Ekeuhnick went to work in his head, using the Power of Imagination. He saw in his mind how the clothes of people should be. He saw how arms and legs should be covered, too.
Ekeuhnick went into the trees and found a big piece of wood. When he found one the right size for a man, he worked and cut it until it was like his own shape. He looked at it for a long time. He tried to see in his imagination the best way to cover it so he could keep warm and still move around. He decided it most likely would take two pieces for a body cover. These would have to be made from hides of the animals. This meant they would have to be fastened together some way because the animal skins were not the right shape for a man. He thought about how skins could be held together.
Ekeuhnick found a piece of bone. He made it very sharp on one end. Next he made a hole in the end of the bone that was not sharp. After he cut some animal skins the right shape to cover his wooden image, he cut some strips of skinlike strings. He also took some of the tendons that look like string from the bodies of the animals whose skins he was using. First, he made a hole in the edge of the hides with the sharp end of the pick. Then he put the "thread" he had made through the hole in the end of the pick. Then he bound the edge of the skins together by "sewing" them. He made a shirt and a pair of pants and soft boots to protect his feet.
Ekeuhnick came back to the cave and showed the people what he had made. Ekeuhnick helped the womenfolk to make clothes out of animal skins. He helped with both men and women problems. For a long time the clothing of the people was made according to Ekeuhnick's pattern. And, very good warm clothing it was, too.
Keeping a fire going in the cave to keep the people warm was not easy. Everyone had to work to keep the fire going. They were afraid it would go out and they would get cold because they could not start it again.
One day Ekeuhnick found a stone that could throw sparks. He discovered that when the stone was struck by another rock he could make the sparks go where he wanted them. He picked a plant that looked like cotton. When he put that cotton and grass together and threw sparks into it, it would make a fire.
Later on the journey, he found another way to make a fire, also. He discovered that if one end of a dry stick were twisted fast on the flat side of another dry stick, it would get real hot and burn.
He took a piece of dry wood that was wide and laid it on the ground. The other piece was rounded on the bottom. He made a little dent in the flat wood so the other stick would stay in place. Then he took his bow and looped it around the stick that stands up. When he moved the bow back and forth, the stand-up stick whirled real fast. He put the cotton plant around the dent. When the cotton started to burn, he put it in some dry grass. Pretty soon he had a good fire going.
Now the people did not have to worry any more about getting a fire to keep warm or to cook their food.
XI. SNOW COMES
Ekeuhnick got along fine with his people because they respected his position of authority. Yet, the people had no feeling of inferiority. It was just that his knowledge was different in relation to that of the people. He tried to obey the words of Aungayoukuksuk and to do whatever he said to do. He did his work without any complaints. Somehow, he took more pride and enjoyment in what he was doing than anything he had ever done before. He saw that for the first time each man was necessary for the living of the whole people. The changed land meant everyone had to help each other in order to survive.
There were some large animals still alive. Those had hair on their skin. Very few birds came through the disaster. Many of the people of the land were frozen to death. Only those who stayed in the cave survived. There were only four families left.
Ekeuhnick thought about the changes that had come already. "Now the people have clothes, but they cannot just pick up anything to eat like they did before. They have lost their rich and easy way of living. Those times have passed away. Now the only way to live is to kill any of the animals for our food. They must also save food for the season of stormy days because it is cold and not so easy to keep warm in the cave or to hunt when the bad weather comes."
The people were still living in the cave where they stayed during the disaster. One day one of the men went out to see the weather. When he stepped outdoors everything was covered with white about an inch deep. More white was falling from the sky. It was snowing.
There was a heavy cloud hanging overhead. It seemed the stormy weather was still coming. This was the first snow-stormy weather these people had ever seen. Later the wind began to blow. It blew the snow away, but that was not the end. The wind kept getting stronger. The people could not go out of the cave until the storm had stopped. When the men went outside after the storm, they found that the snow could cover everything and anything.
They picked up the snow and tasted it. It became water and there was no taste to it. This new thing could melt and become water when it melted. They had never seen anything like it before in their lives.
A man called to his wife to come out to see the something white. She was surprised to see what was there. She picked some up with her hand and it seemed to disappear, but it left water. She found that the snow made her hand feel cold to hold it.
Ekeuhnick said: "No wonder Aungayoukuksuk said the weather would change. Now it has come true."
The people could see that now they would have to have warmer clothes. They would have to learn to make better skin clothes. They would have to have a warm place to live. They would have to have fires to cook their meals and a fire to keep them warm. They could see they could not live in caves because it was not warm enough.
XII. THE FIRST NET
One day Ekeuhnick walked around in the woods. Among the trees he saw a spider web. There were a few flies in it. He sat down and watched. Soon the spider came and ate the juice out of the flies. Then, while Ekeuhnick watched, the spider left. Another fly came and got caught in the web.
Ekeuhnick thought: "Suppose I make a string, small and light, out of the hide of a small animal. I could make a net just like this web to catch fish."
So, he prepared to make a web to catch fish from the water. He made thin strings from caribou hide. He knotted them together with even spaces between the knots to make a mesh. When it was complete, he put the web he had made in the creek and set it by fastening it to the bank. Sometime in the morning he looked into the net. Some fish were caught in it.
From then on, every man made a net. Some made them out of the sinews of the big animals with different size spaces between the knots so the nets had many kinds of meshes to catch the different kinds of fish. Now that the men could catch many sizes of fish, they began to dry them to use when the fish were not so many in the rivers and the cold weather came.
XIII. THE FIRST BOAT
One day Ekeuhnick went down to the river to look for fish to eat. The wind was blowing from the south. It was a stiff, windy day. While he looked for a fish along the bank of the river, the wind blew off a dry leaf from a tree.
The leaf landed in the water. It was curled up and the stem stood up high. The wind carried that leaf across the water without damaging it. The leaf could ride on top of the water, and so nicely landed on the other side of the river. Ekeuhnick sat down on the bank and looked at that leaf.
He thought about it. He said to himself: "Now, that leaf sailed over on top of the water across the river. Why can't a piece of wood float over the same as a leaf?"
So, he cut some dry wood and shaped it like the leaf. He put on a stick for a mast and a leaf for a sail. He let it go on top of the water. That thing sailed across just like the leaf.
Ekeuhnick had discovered how to build a boat. He was very pleased to find something so useful. Now he could take the good news back to the families. Before this, all they used on the water was a raft. Ekeuhnick could see that a boat that could sail on the water was not like a raft. It could go any place by using the wind.
Ekeuhnick made a model of a boat out of cottonwood bark. All of the men helped him to build it. When the boat was made, they tried it. All of them tried it, going across the river with it. They were all proud of their work. Now they would not have to use a raft any more. Soon, all the men had boats to use.
XIV. THE FIRST HOUSES
One morning Ekeuhnick went out into the countryside with many problems to think about heavy in his mind. This was because the world itself was changing. He thought about how his people must face this new climate without ever having known any way of living except the time when the country was warm. He pondered deep in his head about it. The people were not prepared to protect themselves from the cold or to find the food they needed now that the plants and animals were scarce. He could not follow Aungayoukuksuk's instructions about the journey to the distant mountain until his people were able to survive in the changed times.
Ekeuhnick was worried. "How are we going to be when something else is added to this that we are already going through? Those people sure need some kind of home. This cold season is going to be awful."
Ekeuhnick found a dry place and sat down in the dead grass. It was a good place for thinking, he decided. He looked down beyond his foot. He saw many ants. They were busy and it seemed they were building something.
He bent forward to get a close look. He watched them. He saw one go into the ground carrying a short grass into a hole. Other ants went into that hole, all carrying short grasses. When they came out they had nothing to carry. He looked into that hole. He saw those ants were working in the hole down in the ground. He could see a pile of dirt in front of the hole that they had hauled out from under the ground. They had replaced some of the dirt with dry grass to keep the cold weather out of the empty space.
"Now," Ekeuhnick was thinking, "they are very small yet they build a place to live and keep warm. We people are big and strong. Why, we could build a home a warm place to keep us out from the cold like the ants do. Those ants found a dry place to build their home. They sure are busy bringing grass and food into a dugout house made from a hole they made in the ground."
Ekeuhnick went back to the cave and told the other men about what he had seen. He led those men down to the ants to see the dugout house. After they ate their dinner, the men sat down around Ekeuhnick. He explained to them how the ants build their homes. They all agreed to build a house so each family can have their own place. Ekeuhnick told them: "We must look for a dry place to build the dugout houses. We must help each other so we can all have a home."
They were all willing to do it the way Ekeuhnick wanted. Ekeuhnick and the men sat and made a plan to make a house for each family. The men looked around for a place to build the houses. They picked a good place to build. It was a high, real dry place with lots of woods around it, a creek running water, lots of animals around, and fishes in the river nearby.
Next morning the people started to build. The first day they made two homes. On the second day they made two more. Now every one of the families had a home. The womenfolk cut grass for the floor and to lay on. They would use skins to cover themselves when they lay for the nights.
Ekeuhnick made a hole for smoke to go through in his house. He tried it by building a fire in the house. He really succeeded. The fire warmed the house and the smoke raised up and went out the hole. Soon everyone had a fire place in their house.
People began to pick the green leaves of different plants that they liked to eat. They put them in a pouch of skin to save them for winter time. The first short cold season they did not realize any of the problems until too late to prepare for winter season. By the next warm season they learned. That summer time womenfolk gathered plants and berries, dried fish, and gathered some wood with a stone axe. They also learned to dry meat from animals.
They picked and stored blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and salmonberries for winter use. They had found out they could not live without greens and berries in winter time. They had already tried it, and it was not good.
After this time the people followed everything that Ekeuhnick said to them. They had seen how he used his mind. Everything that came to his mind he thought about and looked at in his head through the Power of Imagination. Whenever Ekeuhnick thought of a plan, he tried it out. When it worked, he went and told the people about it. The people looked around. They could see that those who survived the first disaster had warm clothing and a warm home.
Ekeuhnick felt happy because the people had become successful in living in the changed climate. So far they had survived the disaster. They were looking at the things they found around them and trying out ways to make them useful so life would not be so hard.
In those long ago, ancient times, people's knowledge and thinking were slow to come. Everything was new and different. The people were learning to survive and to live with the changes that had come to their land. Their minds began to work one way or another and they began to live by their thinking. It was hard for them to start thinking to do things so differently at first. Now, each one's own mind could do that which they could never do before. The living had really changed for both the earth and the people.
VI. WINTER COMES
Soon the weather was changing. It was getting cool at night. Then it began to frost up during the night, but when the sun came up the frost melted away. Ekeuhnick and Seelameu decided they had to plan to winter somewhere. One of them said, "We must go back to the hot water creek. There is a lot of game around there and it will be warmer."
The men turned back toward the hot springs. When they arrived they prepared to stay for the winter. They built an igloo (a shelter place). They took cottonwood poles and bent and tied them to make a frame. Then they took skins of caribou and covered the poles to make a tent. Next they took pieces of sod they cut from the ground and covered the tent. This would keep them warm when the wind blew and it was cold.
The men kept experimenting with their ideas on ways to catch the small animals and birds. They thought up ways of making clothes to keep the cold from hurting their bodies. They made their first parkas out of rabbit skins. They made boots for their feet out of caribou heads. The boots showed the nose, mouth, and eyes. When the mouth opening was sewed shut, a man's foot stayed nice and warm, and the bottom of the caribou jaw made the sole of the boot. The boot was lined with dry grass and made it easier to walk on the stony places. The men made mittens out of muskrat skins. Later on they made parkas and pants from caribou skin. They experimented with the caribou skin and found a way to make covers for their bodies to keep off the rain. They took off the hair so they would not be too warm.
All through the winter time they talked and planned, and tried out different ideas for using the things they had found in this new land where no men lived.
The men found out how to catch fish by a hook. One man looked through the ice in the river in the fall season when the young ice froze over the river. He saw a pike swimming up and it caught a minnow and swallowed it. When Seelameu got back to the camp, while he ate his supper, he told Ekeuhnick about the fish, and the pike eating the minnow. He said, "I wonder how I can fool them with something to get them." His companion said, "Well, that is easy. All you have to do is make a hook some way with rawhide on the hook." The man said, "I can make a hook out of bone. It must be long enough so when the fish swallows it, it will get across the fish's mouth. With the string tied to the middle of the bone the fish could be pulled up. I could bait the hook with a piece of fish or meat."
The men also used a piece of caribou horn and put a string in the middle. Then they tied a piece of meat around it. They could leave it in a hole in the ice with the string tied to a long pole across the ice. In the morning there would be a big fish on the hook. Later, people used ivory to make hooks, too.
Those two men learned that it was a good idea always to carry a spear and their bow and arrows when they went hunting.
Ekeuhnick and Seelameu found caribou everywhere they went. They always hunted them because they could be used for so many things besides eating. They found that the meat tasted good dried or frozen as well as cooked. It was the same with the many kinds of fishes. They decided that rabbit and ptarmigan had to be cooked to be good to eat.
Those men looked for better or easier ways to cook their food. They decided to try making pots or bowls out of clay they found near camp. They took the sticky wet clay and shaped it with their hands so it would be useful to hold or cook their food when it was dry. The first things they made were not so good. They did not last. They tried adding different things to the clay like grass or feathers. Soon they learned to make good pots and bowls that would last. Later on, when the dark times of winter came, they found out they could put caribou fat or fish oil in a clay dish with some twisted grass it and it would burn for a long time. They could use this for a lamp or even to cook their food.
When the snow came and covered the ground, Ekeuhnick and Seelameu found it was very hard to walk around to check their traps and snares or hunt. They saw that the rabbits did not sink in the deep snow. They looked at their tracks and wondered why their feet did not break the soft surface of the snow. They talked it over. Ekeuhnick remembered the spider web and how he had made a net to catch fishes by using knotted strings. He took willow strips and wove them together and tied them with strings of caribou skin. He tied them to his feet. They made tracks that looked something like the ones made by the rabbits. After he and Seelameu tried a few times, they found a way to make the flat baskets for their feet that would keep them from breaking through the snow. They had made snowshoes and they sure made it easier to travel and hunt.
The men decided to try another way to catch fish. They thought about how they could trap and snare the animals on the land. They talked about ways to trap fish, too. They took willow sticks and tied them with thongs of caribou skin. They made a big cage with them and left one edge of the cage with a big open place. Then they made the opening narrower and narrower as it went farther inside the cage. Pretty soon it got so small, when the fish went through it into the cage, he could not find it and get out again. Seelameu and Ekeuhnick put the trap under the ice in one of the bigger rivers. They fastened it so it would not get lost and pointed the opening against the current. This trap worked very well and soon those men caught more fish than they could use right away. They laid the fish on the ice and they froze hard. Later on, the men tasted the frozen fish and they were good to eat. They decided they would keep them near camp when they were frozen. This way they would have a lot of fish to eat when it was bad weather and they could not hunt.
So, Ekeuhnick and his companion lived through that winter in the country by the big mountain where men had never lived before. The sun began to get warmer and the early spring weather came. They hunted then while the caribou were fawning. They got enough fawns to get skins to use for the light parkas they needed for late spring time and summer and for boots to cover their feet. The soft fawn skins make very warm, dry boots.
The two explorers were very successful with their experiment all through the fall and winter time. During the stormy weather they sat in their camp and talked about going back to their people They talked about how they could show them the things they had made and tell about the useful animals and materials of the country of the mountain. They would be able to bring back many things and new ideas to make living better and easier for everyone. They discussed the different things used for summer and winter seasons and how there were ways of doing things that worked best during the different seasons.
They talked about how they would get back to their people. They began to plan the best way to travel. They talked about making a boat. First they planned it all out in their minds and talked it over. Then they started to work to design the kind of boat they would need.
When the weather began to get warmer, they cut long water willows and peeled the outside bark away. They let the sun dry the willows before the spring came. Soon they had many long willow poles drying by their camp. They looked among the cottonwoods and found long strong trees. They cut these and fixed them the same way as the willow poles. They would use these for the frame of the boat. They put lots of caribou skins to soak in water. This let the hair come off the skins. They could use these hides to cover the frame of cottonwood and willow. They planned to make a skin covered boat an umiak. As soon as the snow went away and the ice began to melt, Ekeuhnick and Seelameu planned to build their boat.
VII. SPRING COMES
Soon the spring weather came. The sun was getting warm and the snow was melting. Birds of all kinds were coming to the country. Canadian geese were flying all over. Ekeuhnick and Seelameu began to make the skin boat according to their plan. The willows and cottonwoods were ready to put together. They had lots of caribou raw hide strings, thongs, and ropes ready to bind the joints together. Soon the frame was finished. Next they sewed the skins together with thongs. They used many caribou skins because the boat was large. It was long and wide for they had lots of things to take home to show the people.
While the men were sewing the hides together they saw that the caribou skin ropes would not be strong enough for all the lashings to make the boat. They decided they would have to kill a bear to use. They must have this stronger hide to make ropes and thongs to bind the skin cover to the boat and to tie it inside to fasten it to the frame. They got a bear and cut the skin into heavy strong strips. They kept the sewed skins in water until they were ready to put them on the wood framework. This kept the skins soft. They made holes all along the outside edge of the big cover made from the caribou hides while the skins were still very wet. Next they pulled the cover tight over the frame and fastened it to the top of the boat with the bear hide rope. It was still very wet. After the skin cover was tightly bound to the boat frame, the boat was ready to use. All those men had to do was wait until the skin cover dried.
That boat sure looked good and strong to Ekeuhnick and Seelameu. They were proud of it. They smiled at each other. They made paddles out of cottonwood while the skin cover was drying. Now, the boat was done.
They put samples of things they had found and all the things they had made that were successful and useful into the boat. That boat was really loaded when they finished. They had a load of new and strange things to make life better to show to the people they had left many months ago.
VIII. THE WAY BACK
A few days later Ekeuhnick and Seelameu started down the river in the umiak. They planned to go down the river, across the big lake they saw from the mountain, and follow a river to the ocean. They would use the sun to guide them back to their people. Their journey would be a long trip. Ekeuhnick and his companion expected to explore and learn about the country as they traveled. They wanted to find more useful things to make life better and easier. They wanted to do this for their people, not for themselves.
Those two men were the first explorers to go into the land of no men to find out things to help their people. They had found a good place for successful hunting with lots of fishes , animals, birds, trees and plants. Still, those men had something more to explore. Ahead of them, on their journey back to their people, were places they had not yet seen. Their plan to travel by boat was not easy. It was a new experience for them.
Ekeuhnick and Seelameu saw lots of new country at every bend of the river. They came to the big lake they had seen from the top of the mountain. It had looked small for the place where they sat high on the mountain. But, when they came to the end where the river joined the lake, they saw it was very large and long. The lake ran from east to west according to the sun. All around the lake the land was wide and flat. There were a few low hills on the north side of the lake, and a big mountain on the south. When they came out on the lake they found more things than ever. There were many big and small lakes around the largest lake. They saw many kinds of fish, game and seals. There were birch, water willow, and cottonwood trees on the land around the lake. There were no fir trees, but lots of wild berries.
Ekeuhnick and Seelameu looked around. Here was a place to their satisfaction. Around this big lake there was plenty to take care of their people. No man would go hungry here. Finally, both men agreed, this country around the lake was a good land for their people to occupy.
There were five rivers large enough to carry a boat in that place. There were lots of fishes in the rivers. Many streams flowed from the big mountain on the south side. Every river and creek flowed into the biggest lake. Many different kinds of birds, big and small animals, and the caribou were in the land. They lived in the rivers and in the mountains as well as along the shores of the lakes and ponds.
"This is it," Ekeuhnick and Seelameu agreed, "a plenty for every Eskimo."
In a few days the men were again on their way back to their people. After they passed through the one big lake in the basin, they found another lake. They had to go west to follow the water. After a long journey they came to a third lake. It was a very big one. They knew they would come to the ocean soon.
The men traveled in their umiak only when it was calm. They were learning how to travel with a boat. They learned how to make a good sail. They sailed when the water was calm and there was the right kind of wind. When the wind was calm they paddled or walked on the shore and pulled the boat with a rawhide rope. Finally, they went down the last river and came to the shore of the sea.
The men looked at the sea and along the beach. One man found a dead walrus. It was the first time in their lives they had even seen a big sea animal. They began to find out what was in it, and how the animal could be used. They cut it open with a stone knife. It had a tough heavy hide and it was hard work. They cut the hide off from the meat. There was lots of oil on the meat. The men tasted it. It sure was good. One man got some dry caribou meat and put some oil on it, then he ate it. He said it sure was good. Seelameu and Ekeuhnick decided the oil was so good, they would take some with them on their journey. They put it in a skin bag.
The men saw that the walrus hide was so thick and strong and big it could be used for a boat cover. It would be better than the caribou skins sewed together. Many people learned from Ekeuhnick and Seelameu to use walrus hide for a skin boat. Walrus hide has been good to use for a boat ever since their time. People know now that walrus has a useful skin for boats and it lasts a longer time than caribou hide.
Ekeuhnick and Seelameu figured all this out, and decided to make a big umiak. They found long beach woods (driftwood) would make a better frame than willow and cottonwood. As they camped on the shore that night they were still figuring and planning how to build a new boat. They talked about how much better it could be. They discussed how the people could move using the bigger boats. They knew the time was getting short for such a long journey for so many people. The season was changing. It would turn into winter time soon.
"So," Ekeuhnick said, "We will bring our people here and stay to build boats in the summer season. Then our people can move to the good country we have found."
The men started off again on their journey to where their people lived. Finally, they came to a river they saw they must follow to get to their people. Those Eskimos of ancient times were sure surprised when they saw Ekeuhnick and Seelameu come back to the place they were staying.
IX. THE RETURN
Ekeuhnick and Seelameu had many things with them to show their people. They were things to help the people live a better and easier life. These men had learned ways of doing things that made living possible in the changed times. Ekeuhnick and Seelameu became teachers. Soon the people were learning to make the things like Seelameu and Ekeuhnick had done, and they learned how to use them just fine.
Before night time, on the day they came back, Ekeuhnick called the people together to tell them about their journey and to tell them about what they found and what they learned. They showed the people how to make tools to build the snares and traps and the other things to catch the animals, birds, and fishes. They told about the rich country where no men lived. They explained how this land could be a new home with plenty for everyone. They told about the better living they had found in that far off country and how they could travel there by using boats. They told stories about more food for the winter time and described what they had seen.
Then Ekeuhnick said, "We must make preparations if you people want to move. You will have to build boats like the one we came in. You can see what kind of boat we built and how to use it with your own eyes. You people must begin to do as we tell you, and do it the way we want you to do it. When we tell you people to do something, you must do it. That is the only way we will get to the place where there is better living in a short time.
"First we must move to where lots of beach wood has drifted up so we can build big boats. We will use those big boats to go to the rich and useful land. Once you people arrive at the place we found you will not be sorry. You will be happy."
Soon every man agreed to go. Everyone began getting ready. Ekeuhnick and Seelameu led the way to where they had found lots of driftwood along the beach. The men made a large house for everyone to live in through the coming winter time. Soon the stormy weather came and it was winter time again.
The people lived off the land along the ocean shore and did the things Ekeuhnick and Seelameu told them to so they could get ready for the long journey when the spring time came and the boats could go up the rivers.
X. THE PEOPLE MOVE
It was still cold and the ocean was frozen far out to sea. The people were getting hungry. One evening the men talked about finding a way to catch seals from under the shore ice. They had not hunted the seals before.
A few days later one of the men caught a seal out on the ice. He caught it with a spear. The spear had a skin rope on it to haul the seal out of the water. Later, every man made a spear like that one to catch seals because it worked so good.
Some of the men brought in seals every day. Whoever hunted caribou brought in caribou every day, too. The hunting was good.
When the spring season came the people gathered the long pieces of beach wood to be ready for building the boats. In March the men began to cut long driftwood into the right sizes for the boat frame. The people named this time Sainotoavick just as Aungayoukuksuk had foretold.
Soon the people had everything they needed to begin building the boats. They had made all kinds of light rawhide ropes. They even made a light rope to bind the wood together. They had no kind of nails to use then, only rawhide to bind things together.
Everyone worked very hard. Before long, most of the families had their own boats. Everyone helped each other. They had to build the boats before the ice was gone. Every boat was finished before that time.
One day, after the ice left, it was real calm weather. Very early in the morning there was not a breath of wind. The people started off with Ekeuhnick and Seelameu leading all of the boats. The boats were being pulled along the shore by three or four men to each boat. Late in the evening they camped and rested. It took them eight days to get to the big lake that Ekeuhnick and Seelameu promised them they would see. This lake was the start of their journey into the better land near the great mountain. Here the Eskimo people would find a better life for many generations to come.
The people of Ekeuhnick and Seelameu were not sorry they had moved. New generations came and the people settled in many places on the lands around the big mountain. They remembered the First Disaster and told their children the stories of Ekeuhnick and Seelameu. They were happy and lived in a plentiful land until the time of the Second Disaster.
Chapter Four: THE SECOND DISASTER
I. THE SECOND DISASTER
There were many people in Alaska when the Second Disaster came to the earth. This time it was a great flood. Water covered all of the land. Before the time of the flooding, four Eskimo families found out how to survive and they lived through the Second Disaster.
This is how it happened: The earth had real good weather from the middle of the winter time. It was now early summer. The Eskimos were beginning to wonder: "Are we going to have a real good summer, or does this mean we are going to have lots of bad weather?"
One night a man called Beeueoak dreamed a terrible dream. He was in great terror. His life was in danger. In the dream he was standing on the very tip of a high mountain top. When he looked around there were no other mountains. There was no land around about except where he stood. There was water as far as he could see. He was alone. He got so scared he called out, "Is there anyone to help me out of this bad trouble I have?"
A voice answered his call. He looked around. He saw a man. That man was the exact same image of himself. He was standing on top of the water. The image of Beeueoak said, "Go to your people. Tell all of them there will be a great flood coming."
Beeueoak woke up. It was the most miserable dream he had ever had. He told his people about the horrible dream. They just laughed at him. They said to each other, "How can water flood over all this land with the big mountains like we have? We will have lots of safe places if there is a flood. How can a man believe only a dream?"
Beeueoak told the people he saw himself standing on the water. He told them when his image talked to him it seemed like he was talking from another place. He told everyone about the man-image and his advice, "He told me to tell all you people to build a raft and to prepare for a big flood."
Beeueoak said to three of the men who listened to him, "We must follow my dream. We must build a raft of logs. It must be big enough so waves of the storms will not reach on top of it. It has to stand a high sea. We must use big tree logs and bind it with tree roots. Roots are the strongest binders there are in the world. We must start to build it at once. When the flooding comes this raft will be our only safe place for a long time."
The men agreed to follow Beeueoak's dream. They made plans to build the raft. They told others to do the same things they were doing. But, the others did not believe the flood was really coming.
The four men moved to where there were big trees. All four men walked in the trees to find the tallest, thickest timber. They found a place where there were lots of big fir trees around. All they had to do was cut them down. They cut some trees for going across. Then they cut some more to lay on top to make the raft high and strong. They moved the timbers very close to where they were going to work. Then the men cut plenty more trees to make the raft big enough for their four families.
The men did much hunting while the logs were drying. They were bringing in lots of meat and fish. They hung all of this to dry. The womenfolk gathered lots of leaves, roots, and berries and put them away to eat later. They were preparing for the flood time when there would be no hunting for a long time.
The women made caribou skin covers for tents. The men pulled lots of roots from the trees. Some of those roots were twelve feet long or more. They put the roots in water so they would not dry out. They had to stock up lots of roots to bind the timbers for such a big raft. They dried many skins of all kinds from large and small animals. The men cut most of the skins for lashing ropes and tied them between the trees to dry. These strips would make the large and small ropes for lashing things to the raft.
Finally, the men began to build the raft.
In mid-summer it began to rain. It rained more and more and the water rose up. The four men began working harder on the raft. They told the other people to build rafts too. Those others just laughed. They said to those four men, "This water raising will not come up to cover the earth. There are many mountains around to make a safe place in high water."
The four men did not stop. They still kept building the raft. They were working to bind the timbers together with long roots. The raft was nearly ready. Finally the great raft stood on the land. The men put caribou skin tents on the top. Each family had a tent. The womenfolk helped their men. Soon they had all the dried meats and fish and the other foods on the raft. They tied them on real good so the stormy weather would not wash them away.
For many days after the raft was done it sat high up on dry land. Pretty soon the water began to reach it. Very soon it flowed around the whole thing. The storms were getting worse all the time. Big waves began breaking into white caps. The raft began to float safely on the water. The four families were living in their tents on the raft. The people began to worry because of all those rough storms. Still, the raft was holding together good. Nothing had happened to them yet and they could still see some land.
Soon all the earth was swallowed up by water. There were no mountains. The people could see no land anywhere. Lots of human bodies floated around the raft. Bodies of animals floated everywhere. Lots of birds were flying around looking for a place to sit. Many were sitting on floating wood. Some birds sat on top of the floating bodies of animals and humans.
After many months the rain stopped. The people were still floating on the water. The blowing wind stopped, too. Still everything was flooded. There was no sign of land. At last the weather changed. It was calm everywhere.
Beeueoak and the others saw something they had never seen before. No one had ever heard of such a thing. It was a rainbow. They pointed to it and talked about it. They were kind of afraid, too. Every day, after the calm came, the rainbow appeared. It had many colors in it. The people decided it was a sign the flood would go away.
Many days passed. The sun was warm and comfortable. One morning Beeueoak came out of his tent. It was calm and still. He looked around and saw the top of one mountain sticking out from all that water. It seemed good just to look at it.
Beeueoak called for the others to come and see. He said, "It is a sign the flood has stopped and the water is going down. If more and more of the earth appears it will mean the flood will leave. Things will go back to the way it was before."
That night Beeueoak had another dream. He saw a great man looking down at him from the top of a mountain peak. This was a mighty and giant man. Beeueoak had never seen anyone like him. His voice came out like a roar.
The Voice said: "You will be a father of a great people for generation after generation. Prepare, and I will make you a man honored by your people. Your son, and your son's sons will spread all over this country and live by the land. You have been through the Second Disaster. You saved your family and the families of others. Your wisdom and pride saved you and them. They will share with you in this land."
In the morning Beeueoak told the others about his dream. He told them what the mighty man on the mountain peak said. He told them how the roaring voice had spoken and said that Beeueoak was to be honored for what he had done to help them all survive the Second Disaster.
Beeueoak said, "We will be given a plentiful land. We will be able to use every living thing in that place. When the land appears it will have many rivers, lakes, and trees. There will be lots of different creatures living there. They will use the land with us.
"There will be a new generation beginning. It will spread all over this land. We must tell them about their ancestors who survived the First Disaster when the sun and moon eclipsed. The new generations must know about Ekeuhnick and Seelameu. They must know about the Second Disaster. They must remember these things for their coming generations. They must obey the things our old people taught us. We must all remember and keep the customs of our ancestors and teach them to the new generations coming along. Our children will become many people in this land."
The others thought about what Beeueoak said. They saw they would have to start a new life but they must still keep the customs of the generations before them. They saw they had a wise man among them in this Second Disaster time. It was his wisdom that saved them. They were -the only survivors of the great flooding of their living place.
The water dropped down more and more and the land showed. It was like Beeueoak told them. The Second Disaster was over. The great flooding time had stopped. A new land appeared after the waters drained away. It was full of rivers and lakes. There were many fishes. There were alders and willows and big flat lands covered with moss and grasses. There were lots of birds, small animals, and large animals like caribou and bear.
Beeueoak and his people made homes on the land. Beeueoak was a wise leader and was respected for a long living time.
The Eskimos began to spread all over. They settled along the sea coasts. They moved apart from each other. Their way of talking began to change from each other. In different places the people began to speak different dialects of the Eskimo language. This happened even though they were not very much distance away from each other. Even so, they could still understand each other when they wanted to. This was true for people to talk to each other from where Pt. Barrow is to Cape Darby. They call their language Inupik.
Farther south the Eskimos got a different language that is hard for others to understand. This is true as far as past the mouth of the Yukon River to where the rivers come to the places where the Indians live. The Southern Eskimos call their language Yupik. The Aleut people on the islands have their own language and it is not much like Eskimo at all. The Eskimos of the North, even though they have different ways of saying things, can still talk to each other from Alaska clear over to the other side of Canada.
These changes all came after the terrible times of the Second Disaster. Our ancestors, Beeueoak's people, were our Forefathers. The earth has not changed much since their time.