CLARENCE TOWARAK

UNALAKLEET

  Towarak at the home of his sister, Willa Eckenweiler, in Unalakleet, in front of a case of Inupiaq carvings and art pieces.                                                           

Towarak at the home of his sister, Willa Eckenweiler, in Unalakleet, in front of a case of Inupiaq carvings and art pieces.                                                           

"I go fishing, I haven't really retired. Fishing is one of my main occupations, and I do that commercially over the summer. During the winter I go out jigging for trout for home use, and I also trap. I go trapping. ...Just: life in general."

 

 

throughout the years, life changed

I grew up in a generation where there is a big transition from the so-called old subsistence ways. The local people here are into the cash economy, so I watched a lot of that activity.  I was trained by my dad and mom to go out and know what I was doing when I was out in the country. I feel privileged that I had grown up in that generation, where all the young men were taught how to go out and hunt and fish and trap, and do it in the proper manner. Throughout the years life changed here. I take it in stride. I always feel like my past has helped me a lot to where I am at today.

 

DOG DAYS ON THE SEWARD PENINSULA

Life was complete, in the sense that culturally, the people here lived a lifestyle for eons, or hundreds of years, you know. Their life was in order then. In the Eskimo culture, there was something to do everyday in order to survive. And the dog team was part of that survival fight. You used them for transportation, or hauling wood, hauling water, or ice. You would cut up chunks of ice in the freshwater area and bring it home. Also they used dog teams for traveling between--of course you know that they used dog teams for the mail runs. And that was a big part of it here in Unalakleet, there was a lot of mushers here that became mail runners or mailmen, and they used their dog teams to haul all the mails here. Like from here to Kaltag, or here to Shaktoolik, or Koyuk. 

BEFORE OUTSIDERS CAME TO ALASKA...

I’d say, before outsiders came to Alaska, life was complete here in Unalakleet. The families were a unit. The village, as far as I can remember, was always very strict with their controls here. You know, the part of life that I always appreciated was that you could relax here, and not worry about what happened or what’s happening. The leaders were more or less the older, older people. And they followed the rule by the books, so to speak. And I always felt that life was complete, because you can get up in the morning and say “What do I do today?"