Gambell Medical Field Trip, Day 2

There’s something so stark, and yet so alive about Gambell. Every time I asked my patients where their favorite place in the world is, they answer Gambell. Even those who have been to other states like California and Washington, and other cool places around the world. There is something about this place that draws on the essence of life.


Crisscross ATV tracks show the way to get through town. There are a few hard-packed roads, but the village is built on lots of beach gravel that is difficult to walk on. This is how we got out to our home visits. Today I went to a lovely house to see an elderly woman with dementia. Most of the elderly people need translators for their native tongue of Siberian Yupiq. I love hearing their language!
crisscross roads

Container house:container house

Snowy umiaq–they still have walrus and seal skin umiaqs here, made for whale hunting. The making of these boats is extremely difficult and time-consuming and is a dying practice, now with the use modern day skiffs and other modernized equipment.  It’s so cool to get to see these boats! There are many just sitting outside, slowly weathering.
snowy umiaq

Close up (green paint covering the outside of skin):
umiaq close up

Gambell mountain (some photos from Guy):snowy mountain

umiaq in the snow

At the base of the mountain:
snowy umiaq

I got to buy some dolls from a world-famous artist, Beulah Oittilliah: The hunter and the drum player:

She spares no details in her creations. The face and hands are carved from ivory from the walrus tusks and the eyes are inlaid whale baleen: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The back of the hunter–wearing a seal gut parka (which is waterproof with an ingenious waterproof stitch) with a gray seal fur ruff and sealskin satchel: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Doll mukluks!

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