Inupiat Eskimo Dance(at Nalukataq, on a ugruk skin “blanket”

At  Barrow Alaska Nalukataq is the Blanket Toss celebration in June following a successful spring hunt.  After a day long celebration that includes sharing of whale meat with the entire community, along with Arctic games and food to eat, at midnight there is an “Eskimo Dance.”  Eskimo dancing is similar everywhere, but this one is very special.  They are dancing on the ugruk skin that was once used for an umiaq boat, then made into a blanket for the Blanket Toss, and now is the surface for a group of dancers.  And even just that is special too.

As can be seen it is a multi-generation activity, with babies that can just walk all the way to the elderly who can barely walk.  The old man with a cane is the late Warren Matumeak who at the time was in just past 80.  While this picture to non-Barrow people is a group of people, when it is displayed in Barrow everyone describes  this as “a picture of Warren!”  He danced to his last breath.  He was at one time Director of the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife… and he was head of the choir at the Utqiagvik Presbyterian Church and sang with a beautiful voice.