April 29, 2005

32. Culture Week: Rabbit Drive.

Regular afternoon classes this week were canceled to make room for the learning of a slew of skills vital to Yup'k culture. The weeks activities covered a broad spectrum of current traditional practices, including a variety of fine native craft-making techniques and various methods of subsistence living, many different activities occurring simultaneously. All Culture Week instruction was delivered by village residents, who this week became temporary members of the school staff. Certified staff were to serve only as aids to the village resident teachers. I'll post some of the highlights over the next few days.

On Monday and Tuesday afternoons, I headed into the bush for rabbit drives with Robert Enoch and Henry Lupie. A rabbit drive is basically a group of people in line formation trudging through thick brush to corral any and all dwelling rabbits into a previously set net that extends about thirty feet on the far side of the brush.
Above is Mr. Enoch explaining to the kids in Yup'k how it's done.
Here we are heading out to the bush to try to catch some rabbits.
Too bad the rabbits got away. The second day, we took a much longer route and spotted at least one, but we found fox tracks and think we were out foxed. The net had been gnawed through and there was a tuft of fur nearby. Break up is a poor time to go on rabbit drives. Had we gone a week earlier, the snow would have been more firm and thus more easily navigable. Maybe next year.


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