Inuit and Northern Forest Mythology

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From the First People
Part of the Series: Alaskan Eskimo Series
This is a film about change and contemporary life in Shungnak, a village on the Kobuk River in northwestern Alaska, 75 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Life in this inland community is dominated by the seasons and the river. In October, when the film begins, the Kobuk becomes filled…
Full Circle
In the summer of 2001, under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a totem pole in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University was returned to its original owners' ancestors, a Tlingit community in Southeast Alaska. The journey of the pole began a hundred years ago when it was…
At the Winter Sea Ice Camp, Part 2
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 2, color, 36 minutes In the morning the women spread the furs over the igloos to air. The children play, striking a ball of fur with a bone bat. The men wait patiently for sign of seals and the women play with the babies, sew, repair the igloos, nurse…
Group Hunting on the Spring Ice, Part 2
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 2, color, 28 minutes The men are out on the sea ice and the women work at the tasks of camp. Seal skins are pegged to dry in the sun and a woman, baby on her back, picks over a pile of gulls. The birds are skinned and then…
Tununeremiut: The People of Tununak
Part of the Series: Alaskan Eskimo Series
Four sequences, filmed over a two-month period, portray aspects of the lives of the people of Tununak, a village on the south-western coast of Alaska. In the first, the villagers evacuate their homes and camp on higher ground, fearing that a Nuclear test on Amchitka Island, 1000 miles away, may…
Joe Sun
Part of the Series: Alaskan Eskimo Series
Immaluuraq ("Joe Sun" in English) grew up moving among seasonal camps in the Kobuk River region of Alaska now resides in Shungnak. In this film, he describes the life of the earlier Kobuk settlements. He talks about women being isolated from the village when they are menstruating or when they…
The Drums of Winter (Uksuum Cauyai)
This feature-length documentary explores the traditional dance, music and spiritual world of the Yupik Eskimo people of Emmonak, a remote village at the mouth of the Yukon River on the Bering Sea coast. The Drums of Winter gives an intimate look at a way of life of which most of…
Fishing at the Stone Weir, Part 1
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 1 Full summer, and the tundra is bare; skin tents are up and it is time to attend to the fishing as the fish move upstream. The men are in the river, lifting stones and placing them to form enclosures to trap the fish. A woman skins a duck…
Alaskan Eskimo Series
Filmmakers Sarah Elder and Len Kamerling produced these films jointly with village councils. Since 1974, the Alaska Native Heritage Film Project has pioneered a community-based approach to producing cultural films in which the film's subjects play a central role in determining the production's themes and direction. This technique was developed…
Umiaq Skin Boat
Umiaq Skin Boat is a beautiful and poetic 30-minute film about a group of Inuit elders in Inukjuak, Quebec who decide one summer to build the first traditional seal skin boat their community has seen in over 50 years. Once an essential vessel for travel and for hunting large prey…
Group Hunting on the Spring Ice, Part 1
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 1, color, 34 minutes Late June, and much of the land is bare. There are sounds of running water, and melt ponds shine everywhere. The woman carries heather and moss to camp and the man makes a whirling bullroarer for the boy. Another child pretends to drive a dog…
At the Autumn River Camp, Part 1
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
It is late autumn and the Eskimos travel through soft snow and build karmaks, shelters with snow walls and a roof of skins, in the river valley. The geese are gone but some musk-ox are seen. The man makes a toy sleigh from the jawbones of a caribou and hitches…