Oral History Interviews:

Daniel Karmun

Daniel Karmun was born and raised in the village of Deering on the North side of the Seward Peninsula. He is proud of his Inupiaq heritage and the subsistence lifestyle they lived.

Daniel uses the annual cycle of hunting, fishing and gathering to portray the wide variety of activities necessary for his people to survive. Each spring began with seal hunting. The meat was used for food. The hides were used for containers. As the migratory birds returned, the Eskimos welcomed the new source of fresh meat. As spring progressed, bearded seals were harvested to provide oil for dipping food and for lamps. "Greens" were collected in early summer to add nutrients and flavor to the diet. Fishing season in the summer brought another source of fresh protein. The ripe berries of late summer required lots of work, but offered a sweet treat for the long winter months ahead. Early autumn was a time to pursue ptarmigan and hares. Trapping season in early winter provided furs for garments and also offered one of the few sources of cash. Reindeer herding in late winter gave the community fresh meat at a time when it was otherwise scarce.

Karmun describes how many of the food products were kept cool or frozen in underground storage areas dug out of the permafrost. He also explains the separation of community activities by gender and age.

Throughout this recording, we hear the keen observations of this soft-spoken man regarding the annual cycle of events and natural phenomena found in the world which he loves. He also conveys his passion to share his knowledge and love of the outdoor lifestyle with his children, grand-children and subsequent generations.

Click here for excerpt from Karmun interview (MP3)

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