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Bird Man

Elizabeth Rexford

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September 7th

On the bridge.

My experience growing up between Barrow and Fairbanks brings me a unique perspective on the significance of events driving Inupiaq communities closer together during great change.  This time on the Icebreaker Healy is a window into the greater context of this point in history. Entrenched with personal opinion situated from my life as a young Inupiaq female student from a different generation, I cannot help but write in a way I see this experience as fitting into the lager cultural paradigm and historical context.  I am an Inupaiq-German-English amalgamation of passionately changing perspectives as events impelling self-reflection and exploration.  Although I grew up in a different generation than those of my grandparents and parents, I’ve noticed that my biases are inherently reproduced through the act of writing and defining events in themselves, which are not yet based in industry, not yet as a western scientist, and not yet a many other things, but are still drawn from experiences gained from a sharing culture.

At 9:30am Brian Hoover “the Bird Man” spotted an unknown species of an Eider duck.  Bryan is a bird observer on board from Moss Landing in California. Throughout the morning, we also spotted a short-tail shearwater, an unknown loon, and a black-legged kitty-wig.  As a child I ate some of these little birds while growing up in Barrow in Fairbanks.  While in Barrow, I would tag along to the shooting station at Pigniq, a place where we would stand up a brown board with a stick and hide from flocks with a shotgun.  As herds of Nigliq and Eider birds migrated through, we shot from behind our camouflage boards and brought home some ducks.  When we moved south to Fairbanks, relatives continued to send us different types of birds, which my grandmother made me pilaq (pluck and cut up) for soup.  They make some of the best soups and taste like nothing else.  As Bryan the Bird Man spotted birds in the name of science, I was thinking about the times we would spot birds for our dinner.  Just add rice, onions and salt and pepper to taste, and you have the best soup ever.


Brian Hoover counting birds.


Last updated: September 29, 2010

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