Signs of Spring Everywhere Signs of Spring Everywhere
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Signs of Spring Everywhere Update: March 26, 1999

Today's Report Includes:

Searching for Spring in Point Hope, Alaska

No sign of robins yet in Point Hope, Alaska! (Point Hope is at 68.20N -16.64W). We received this note from Sheila Gaquin, at Tikigaq School:

Dear Journey North:

It's March 19th, and the temperature is 19 below zero. The ground has been covered with snow since early October, and the sea has been frozen almost that long, still the rapidly lengthening days tell us spring is on the way.

Whaling in Point Hope, AK

Preparations for spring whaling are under way. Last week, the fermented whale's tails from last year's hunt were brought out of the siglaqs (ice cellars). People who enjoy this delicacy hurried to the Kalgi (meeting hall) for their share.

Now whaling captains are beginning to gather supplies, repair sleds, sharpen flensing knifes (large knives used in butchering the whale.) Soon the skins for the boats will be taken from storage and soaked in sea water to make them pliable. Then the skins will be lashed to the boat frames. Many of the boat frames are made from driftwood--the only wood available so far from the tree line. When ice, wind and current conditions are right, everything will be loaded on sleds and hauled 2 or 3 miles out from shore onto the sea ice to the edge of the open water. Then, just as it has for thousands of years, spring whaling will begin.

Late spring is a time of plenty for the Eskimo people. Game is plentiful; Ducks, beluga whales, bowhead whales and seals are all in and around the open water. Because subsistence hunting is so important to the lifestyle of the Inupiat Eskimos, boys are excused from school to participate
in the hunt, and girls are excused provide support in the whaling camp. At this time of year, everyone has a job to do, and every job is important.

Sheila Gaquin
Point Hope, AK

Challenge Question # 11
"After a whale hunt, what animals might try to share in the feast?"

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question

Please respond to only ONE Challenge Question per e-mail message!
1. Address an e-mail message to:
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 11
3. In the body of your message, answer the question.

The next Signs of Spring Everywhere Update will be posted March 29, 1999

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