Getting ready for the feasts
by Mary Anniagruk Sage
otos by Roy Nageak, Sr (Akootchook Whaling Crew Captain).

Inupiaq whaling crews in Barrow prepare Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. The crews bring up maktak, meat and flippers from the ice cellars and thaw them out. They also prepare ducks and geese for soup.

On both Thanksgiving and Christmas, volunteers serve the maktak, meat, flipper, and fish in the various churches. They offer hot soups made from duck, geese or caribou. After the feasts, an Inupiaq dance is held.

Below are photos of the Akootchook Whaling Crew preparing for the holiday feasts on Veteranís Day. They stopped working for awhile, thanking the veterans in the house for their service. While they were working, different tapes of Kivgiq, the Messenger Feast, played in the background.

The crew members were fed a delicious caribou roast and some maktak for dinner.

 Renee Johnson, from the village of St. Mary's cuts maktak down to servable sizes.

Ernest Nageak, James Aiken, Ovluaq Akpik, Tony Kaleak and Ben Roy Sage stand in front of a portion of the maktak and flipper they brought up from the ice cellar.



 James Aiken puts maktak in the garage to thaw out.


Kignak sisters Lucy Kignak, Susie Oyagak and Flossie Nageak prepare geese for soup making.


 Mary Sage and her daughter Clara cut maktak into small, individual pieces for the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. The piece of maktak on the left is cut down to pieces such as those on the right.

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