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