Another great day and we'll all go to sleep buzzing. Qikiqtarjuaq was fab: the people, the place, the food, the air, the weather, the crafts, the welcome, the kids. Kids everywhere, excited about strangers in their town, better yet, students. Craftspeople displaying sealskin hides, jewelry from bone and baleen, walrus tusk carvings, polar bear claws. The naturalists among us also came home with skulls from polar bear and walrus and, most impressive, narwhal tusk. NARWHAL TUSK. No, really. The first time I saw one, never having heard of a narwhal, I battled with my inner belief system. What from this earth could this beautiful spiralling ivory possibly have been created by if it wasn't a unicorn? I saw three or four on display today,- the smallest about the length of my fore-arm, the tallest well over seven foot. Spiralling into the sky, taken from a male narwhal,- the alpha male is decided upon by who has the biggest tusk.
Our after-dinner entertainment was provided by students from the north. We heard stories from Alaska, the Yukon, the Denai, Nunavut and Nunavik. Stories of stampeding, and pet, reindeer, moose-hides on teepees, being chased by muskox, stranded in bear country, caught in a storm without electricity in the mid of winter. Learning their culture through dances, games, music, stories, an on-line course. It was great for them, it was great for us, it was just plain great.
Rhian is part of the Education Team on the IPY Students On Ice Arctic 08 expedition. To read stories by the students and watch them on video, please visit www.studentsonice.com. Photos by Lee Narraway unless otherwise stated.
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Saturday, 09 August 2008 03:49
QikiqtarjuaqWritten by Rhian Salmon
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