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This summer we found out about an added benefit to being members of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The first Sunday of each summer month would get us into the Alaska Native Heritage Center! That is a place on my list of ones to visit,but the admission for all of us was more than we could justify anting up. Inside, after looking through a room of ‘static’ display on different Native populations (called the Hall of Cultures), we watched a short instructional talk about Alaskan Native games. These are different feats of skill that appear easy, yet aren’t. Of the entire visit, this is what the boys enjoyed the most. This photo has the competitor resetting his target that must be touched with their feet. Sounds easy enough, until you add in the big rubber band going from their neck to under their knees! The ear pull is a popular competition that occasionally ends in some real damage. The rules are simple with the competitors ears hooked together by a band. But, it doesn’t take much to have rips and tears occurring. Another physically trying event is illustrated below. Instead of kicking with their feet, the competitor has to balance on one hand while stretching with the other arm to reach the target.
At the end of the demonstration, the offer was made to sample muktuk. D decided he was up for the adventure and procured his sample. Here he shows off the sample, which was met with contorted facial expressions when he finally tried it. The other boys and I sniffed it and decided we were NOT brave enough to try. Frozen whale skin and blubber is just too far outside our normal food to seem appealing. Later that afternoon, there was a demonstration of Native dance as shown below.