Alaskan Eskimo Songs and Stories - Part 2

Album 1, Side 2

Lorraine Donoghue Koranda with illustrations by Robert Mayokok
Published for the Alaska Festival of Music in Cooperation with BP Alaska Inc. by the University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.

The publication of Alaskan Eskimo Songs and Stories is made possible by the generosity of several organizations and the assistance of many persons, whose interest and encouragement are here gratefully acknowledged.

I am indebted to Dr. Margaret Lantis, whose studies on Eskimo ceremonialism gave impetus to the search for traditional songs, and to Dr. Erna Gunther for her continuing interest in the project and her guidance at many points in the preparation of the materials. It was my good fortune to enjoy a warm personal friendship with the Amouak and Goodwin families, excellent informants who were residing in the Fairbanks area during the 1950s, and who were interested in the preservation of their own folk arts. Charles Lucier, University of Alaska anthropology student, contributed during 1950-51 valuable field notes from Kotzebue, Deering, and Shishmareff.

Through the efforts of Mrs. Mary Hale, former director of the Alaska Festival of Music and chairman of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, I received generous financial support for field work from the Z. J. Loussac Foundation, administered by the Alaska Festival of Music, an affiliate of
Anchorage Community College of the University of Alaska.

The encouragement and enthusiasm of Mu Phi Epsilon, international professional music sorority, for this project has been an extremely important source of inspiration to me. In addition, their financial support for travel, tape duplication, and my participation & Mui Phi Epsilon and Alaska Festival of Music programs has been of tremendous help.

Dr. Mantle Hood, director of the Institution of Ethno-musicology at Los Angeles reviewed some of the recorded materials and advised me in the preliminary stages of the study. Dr. Alan Lomax, folklorist and codirector of Cantometrics, has analyzed several of the selections, using the Cantometric system for comparing ethnomusic. The work done by Professor Irene Reed, director of the Eskimo Language Workshops at the University of Alaska, on the transliteration and translation of the Eskimo texts, was an invaluable contribution to the publication.

Robert Mayokok, noted Eskimo artist, has provided a variety of illustrations. His art is eminently suited to the subject it delineates. Succinct and evocative of the stark beauty of the Arctic, yet fluid and good-humored, it expresses a great deal "with an economy of means-just as does the music of the area. The photograph of John Kakaruk is by John J. Koranda; the drawing of the box drum is by John R. Koranda.

Many Eskimo informants recorded their vocal art for this project. I wish to acknowledge all who assisted me: Lena Ahnahquatookuk (Shishmareff, Nome), Nita Ahnupkhana (Anaktuvuk Pass, Point Barrow), Olive Akhivigiyak (Point Barrow), Otis Akhivigiyak (Point Barrow), Olga Amouak (St. Michaels, Fairbanks), Oliver Amouak (Unalakleet, Fairbanks), Dick Bolt (Point Hope, Point Barrow), Wesley Ekak (Wainwright), Charlie Goodwin (Kotzebue), Freda Goodwin (Kobuk, Kotzebue), Paul Green (Kotzebue, Nome), Agnes Hately (Bethel), Charley Jensen (Kivalina, Kotzebue), Lucy Jensen (Point Hope, Kotzebue), Thora Kachatag (Unalakleet), Nanny Kagak (Wainwright), John Kakaruk (Mary's Igloo, Anchorage), Owen Keeruk (Barter Island, Point Barrow), Jimmy Gilligivuk (Point Hope), Phoebe Kippi (Point Barrow), Sarah Kunaknana (Colville River, Point Barrow), Frances Lee (Scammon Bay), Abraham Lincoln (Kotzebue), Blanche Lincoln (Point Barrow, Kotzebue), Maggie Lind (Bethel), Martha Luke (Bethel), Mike Milligrok (Diomede Island, Nome), Phillip Nanooruk (Wales, Nome), Rose Ann Negovanna (Wainwright), John Nesh (Chevak), John Oalanna (King Island, Nome), Hazel Omwari (St. Lawrence Island), Molly Ooyahkak (Wales, Nome), William Oquilluk (Mary's Igloo), Rosie Paneak (Wales, Unalakleet), Simon Paneak (Anaktuvuk Pass) William Penn (Point Franklin, Wainwright) Aloysius Pikonganna (Kink Island, Nome), Neva Rivers (Hooper Bay), Joe Seton (Hooper Bay), Chester Sevek (Kotzebuo) Helen Sevek (Point Hope, Kotzebue), Joseph Sikvaoyungak Point Barrow), Nellie Sikvaoyungak (Point Barrow), Mary Statuk (East Cape, Nome), Theodore Statuk (Wales, Nome).

I wish to express my gratitude to Emily Ivanoff Brown, Paul Green, Oliver and Olga Amouak, and Fred Goodwin for their assistance as interpreters; and to thank Mrs. Oliver Anurok, Pansy Omwari, Augus~ Seton, Peter Kenug, and the Reverend Fred Nimmo for aid in translations. I extend my appreciation also to the Bureau of Indian Affairs teachers at Point Barrow and Wainwright for their hospitality.

I am deeply appreciative of the generous grant given to the Alaska Festival (of Music by B P Alaska Incorporated for the publication of this material.

Lorraine D. Koranda

Play song


Performed by


Native Words



Womens Juggling Song Thora Kachatag
Music location

Games and Game Songs

The Eskimos have many games and sports including story telling competitions, song contests, jumping, wrestling, kicking, and racing. Eskimo children particularly favor a game of teeter-totter played by placing a board across a low fulcrum and jumping on the ends of it. Basketball is popular both indoors and outdoors. Team games, such as throwing clods of loose tundra, and just stomping in the spring thaw mud are typical of the creative play of contemporary young

The Eskimo high kick is an exciting jumping contest depending only on skill and available materials. A leather ball, firmly packed with caribou hair, is suspended by a rope from a high framework or rafter. The contestant must jump with both feet together off the ground and touch the ball with both feet. The ball is elevated higher and higher until it can no longer be touched. A skilled jumper can touch a ball hung higher than his own head.

Song contests often take the form of ridiculing one's "joking partner." The joking partners are frequently cousins or distant relatives residing in different villages, or partners selected from one's own village for gift exchanges and other manifestations of friendship. Two of the singers who contributed to this collection of folk music, Mike Milligrok of Little Diomede Island and Jimmy Killigivuk of Point Hope, were joking partners for many years. The partnership resulted in some amusing songs, in one of which Killigivuk named his reindeer "Milligrok." Another round of joking songs with several other Diomede partners ended & some unpleasantness for Killigivuk. He recited in song the charms of the girls from Kivalina, Noatak, Kobuk, and Selawik, but claimed that the Little Diomede girls are "without eyebrows, without chins, and have big mustaches." His joking partners became angry at this slur on Little Diomede femininity.

Ridicule in song sometimes served the much more serious purpose of settling disputes. Judgment in civil grievances was often rendered through a contest of insults in song engaged in by the disputants. The winner was considered the innocent party. Another form of ridicule song, intended solely for amusement, is the juggling song, sung only by women. Juggling songs, which accompany the game of juggling beach rocks, are widely known along the coast of Alaska from Saint Michael north and occur in many variants. The text includes phrases and words that are difficult to translate, possibly because they are archaic or nonsensical. The song refers to a woman's lack of physical attraction for her husband and concludes with crude remarks about their relationship. Because of the nature of its text, the juggling song is considered indelicate, if not immoral, by contemporary Eskimo women who have been influenced by the Christian concept of morality. As one informant said, "I have shame for this song." Therefore, the women are somewhat reluctant to perform the song in public, or even to admit that they know it. John Murdoch, who observed a performance of this song in 1887, wrote: "I never succeeded in catching the words of this chant, which are uttered with considerable rapidity and do not appear to be ordinary words... Some of the words are certainly indelicate to judge from the unequivocal gestures by which I once saw them accompanied.

Of the many versions of the "Marble Juggling Song," the following one, sung by Thora Kachatag and recorded at Unalakleet, is one of the best.
Iglukitamiyuma naruyamiyuma
Akulikutamiyuma naruyamiyuma
Amiiralegni Qilriirtalegni
Qikertat nunalraitni, nunalraitni
Cingilerni qaviyaartalegni
Ikitaar-raanga Ikitar-raanga
Rayaa-ya-camaa, Rayaa-ya-camaa
Rayaa-ya-camaa, Rayaa-ya-camaa
Paninaara paninaara
Paninaara paninaara
Paninaqutanuna uinganuna
Qaaltaaluugaaq pegeskaunriqii
Ikitaar arnaqalaaq
Arnaqalaq maqalaaq
I'm juggling like a sea gull
Parallel-juggling like a sea gull
Going faster like a hawk flies
On the island where the birds nest
On a sandy point of the island
On a place with loose sand
Ikataar [name of young bride]
[Special kind of chanting,
Indicates "something special"]
My favorite daughter
My favorite daughter
Her husband is demanding a mating
She won't let go of the old pail
Ikitaar in now a woman
Now a woman, all sandy
Nothing but sand
String Game Song Hazel Omwari
Music location

Another type of game for which there are accompanying songs is the string game or "cat's cradle." The Eskimos are very clever at making string figures that can be moved by drawing the strings taut and then releasing them. Most of these figures have an accompanying story and song. Some are merely amusing-for example, the fox chasing and catching the rabbit. Others are intended to teach manners or morals to the children. One of the latter, sung by Hazel Omwari of Saint Lawrence Island, is a reminder to children to obey their parents. The string figure shows a young girl who refuses to obey when her mother asks her to prepare the evening meal. She also refuses to obey her father when he asks her to obey her mother; but when Grandpa speaks, she jumps to do his bidding.
Song For Winding String Wesley Ekak
Music location

Two interesting songs, sung by Wesley Ekak, accompany a Wainwright string game. While the songs are being sung, the player twists-in time to the music-a long sinew string which is looped around his foot. The string must be completely twisted by the time he finishes the first song. It is then untwisted in time to the second song. Considerable skill is required to twist and untwist the sinew in exact time to the songs. The game and the songs are very old.
Song For Unwinding String Wesley Ekak
Music location
Nelukataun Blanket Toss Song Paul Green
Music location

At the successful conclusion of the whale hunt, an important tradition celebration, the nelukatuk,, is held. The Eskimos used to believe that the whale's spirit should be appeased by a special ceremony in its honor, and for many Eskimos the appeasement of the sea mammal's soul is still an important rite. The nelukatuk is also given as a victory celebration in honor of the whale and the whaling crews.

The whale is cut up and distributed first to the crew of hunters who helped the umealik, then to members of other boat crews who had assisted in the kill, and finally to the rest of the people of the village. After a day or two of feasting, races, games, and dancing, the festival ends with a very special event, the blanket toss, which, in the old days, was always accompanied by a drum song, the nelukataun.

A very large blanket made of walrus or bearded seal skins, with rope handles along the edge, is pulled taut to toss a contestant high in the air. The contestant tries to land on his feet on the blanket each time he is tossed. While he is on the blanket his friends make humorous remarks and sing ridicule songs, trying to make him laugh or embarrass him so much that he will lose his balance and the contest.

Following is a very old nelukataun that was composed for the nelukatuk by the shaman. It is sung by Paul Green of Kotzebue and Nome. Note the melodic pattern of measures 6 through 8, which suggests the flight of the contestant as he is tossed twenty or more feet in the air. The words of this nelukataun are, "Why is that crow (raven) hollering on the river bank?" The singer is reminding the contestant that he should look out across the horizon for the "hollering raven." If he looks out, he may keep his balance; If he looks down, he will surely fall.

According to legend from Point Hope and Kotzebue, where this nelikataun originated, it was the raven that gave the Eskimos the nelukatuk, and the raven is mentioned in several of the traditional blanket toss songs.
Suva pamna tulugaaq pamna? What is that raven doing up there? Eskimo
Welcome Song Charley and Lucy Jensen
Music location


Two of the most important Eskimo ceremonials were the Messenger Feast and the Bladder Festival, both related to hunting activities. These required elaborate preparations for the rituals, which lasted several days and involved almost everyone in the Eskimo community.

The Messenger Feast was known almost everywhere in Eskimo Alaska. Its principal features were the invitation sent by messenger to the invited guests; the welcoming ceremonies; special games contests, and ceremonial dances; feasting and the exchange of gifts. Elaborate Wolf Dances with box drum accompaniment were the outstanding event of the Messenger Feast, which was usually held in winter.

The Bladder Festival was concentrated in west central Alaska. Its purpose was to honor the bladders of animals taken in the preceding hunting season, for these bladders contained the animals' souls which would be returned to the sea. During the course of the festival, both bladders and hunters would be purified in preparation for the next hunting season.

Neither the Messenger Feast nor the Bladder Festival is celebrated now, but there are still some elderly Eskimos who recall participating in, or witnessing, the festival. The Messenger Feast more generally known, is described here as informants recalled the ceremonies of the past.

The Messenger Feast

This celebration, the most important Eskimo festival, was usually held in December, when the hours of daylight are very short and the great hunting activity of the fall months has tapered off. This is the time to gather together for song, dances and stories; to give thanks to the animal spirits if the hunting has been very good; and to enjoy a feast in celebration of success.

The headman (umealik) of the village organized the Messenger Feast, sending runners, or messengers, to invite the chosen guests, who might include the headman of another village or an important whaling boat captain. Others in the guest's village might attend the feast, but the runners were sent only to selected persons. The runners might carry an "inviting-in stick" ornamented with leather or fur. These sticks were both ornamental and useful, for they served to aid the runner's memory when he sang his invitation song to the chosen guest, listing the presents that had been requested by the umealik who was giving the feast.

Much planning and preparation of food and gifts were necessary, for the host had to provide gifts for his guests and an abundance of food for all who came. In return, he was privileged to ask his guests to bring certain articles of which he had need, for example, ammunition or caribou skins, for which he would exchange articles of like value. The items the umealik wanted were named by the messenger who sang the invitation song.

When the guests arrived for the festival they were sometimes met outside the village and escorted to the kazigi where the festival was to take place. The greeters frequently welcomed the guests by singing a special song. "Welcome Song," sung by Charley and Lucy Jensen, originated at Point Hope, but is known at Wainwright and Point Barrow. The text, freely translated, says, "It is a happy time–a very happy time–when ducks are flying. As they return to the tundra in the spring, they greet each other."
Messenger Feast Song William Oquilluk
Music location

Many games and contests were held at the Messenger Feast. One of the most important was a foot race between the best runners of each village. The winning village was permitted to present the first dances in the kazigi, or it might elect to be entertained by the losers. It was a great honor to win this race.

The "Messenger Feast Song" sung by William Oquilluk was composed many years ago for a Messenger Feast given at Mary's Igloo, a small village on the Seward Peninsula. This song was sung as an invitation to the guests to join in a "common dance" (all might dance as they pleased). It has the added significance of being a proprietary song belonging to the singer's old uncle.
Kaylukuk Song Rose Ann Negovanna and Nanny Kagak
Music location

An elaborate dramatic program of dances, songs, and pantomime called the "Wolf Dances" was presented at the Messenger Feast. Not many Eskimos now recall the old ceremonies, for they have not been given very often in recent years. Preparations for the Wolf Dances were guided by the shaman; special songs were composed, masks were carved, and pageantry was planned under his direction.

A special drum, the box drum (natukuk or, more commonly, kaylukuk) was used for the ceremonial Wolf Dances. A drummer was selected for the honor of beating the box drum, which was suspended from the ceiling or from a tripod. For the first dance he beat the drum with rapid strokes to represent the heartbeat of the eagle, the bird that according to legend, gave the Messenger Feast to the Eskimos. The drummer wore a headdress made of king loon feathers and a loon head with a beak.

The "Kaylukuk Song," performed by Rose Ann Negovanna and Nanny Kagak, was sung as the people left the kazigi at Wainwright at the conclusion of the Messenger Feast. This song is sung now as a part of the Wainwright Christmas celebration.
Caribou Hunting Song Thora Kachatag
Music location

The people of Wainwright celebrated the Messenger Feast in the same way as those at Kotzebue, including the sending of messengers, the use of a wand or stick as a reminder of gifts requested, the foot race to determine who should be guests at the festival for the coming year, and the use of the box drum for special ceremonial dances. But, according to Wesley Ekak, the dances done to the box drum accompaniment were not known as "Wolf Dances."

The Wolf Dances were done somewhat differently in the various Eskimo villages. As described for the Kotzebue area, the first dance was done by four women who held over their shoulders long wands decorated with eagle feathers. These dancers swayed gracefully while two men with loon or eagle-feather headdresses and long gauntlet gloves danced the pantomime actions depicting a wish to "go out into the clear weather." The dance gloves were decorated with amulets of bone, bird beaks, or bits of metal which jiggled rhythmically, adding a percussive effect.

Later a dancer wearing a wolf mask and gauntlet gloves danced the wolf character. Meanwhile four (some informants say six) dancers, all wearing wolf headskin masks and long gauntlet mittens, presented a pantomime at the "wolf den," represented by a screen or false wall with equally spaced holes cut in it. Each hole was just large enough to permit the dancer to squeeze his body through.

As the performance began, skin curtains were rolled up, exposing only the flexed right arms and shoulders of the four men. The dancers did some contortions assisted by unseen helpers before they emerged as wolves. The wolves danced and carried presents in their mouths to guests in the audience, as directed by their owners. Then each dancer leaped backward through the small hole from which he had emerged. The holes were so small that the dancer's mittens and mask were pealed from his body and fell in a heap as he vanished. To be caught in the wolfs hole was an omen of bad luck, and the Eskimos believed that a dancer to whom this happened would not have long to live. At Kotzebue, informants stated that it used to be the custom for pregnant women of the village to walk among the wolf dancers to bring good fortune to the impending birth.

Among the many dances performed by both the host village and the guests were story dances depicting hunting scenes. These were called "Acting Dances" at Point Barrow and Wainwright and "Motion Dances" from Point Hope south. The following "Caribou Hunting Song" was composed by the mother of the singer, Thora Kachatag of Unalakleet, to accompany a dance given at Unakleet during the Messenger Feat celebration about sixty years ago. The hunter sights the caribou and stalks it. Then he shoots the animal, skins it, ties it, and carries it home to the feast.
Farewell To The Chiefs William Oquilluk
Music location

When the dancing and games were over, the gifts had been exchanged, and the food had been eaten, the Messenger Feast came to an end. But before the guests returned to their village, there was a farewell ceremony for the chiefs who had attended. This song, "Farewell to the Chiefs," which is performed by William Oquilluk of Mary's Igloo, was sung four times to honor the four chiefs who attended the feast. As each left the kazigi, the song was sung while two boys performed a motion dance. According to the singer, the words say only, "Let us go out into the darkness."

Both the wolf and the eagle were important figures in the Messenger Feast. The wolf was regarded as a clever and dangerous animal with supernatural powers. But it was the eagle, according to the legend, that gave the Messenger Feast to the Eskimos. This is the story told by Oliver Amouak, who was born at Unalakleet, of the origin of this wonderful celebration.

How the Eagle Gave the Messenger Feast to the Eskimos

This is a very old story. It is true.

The family always hunted on the hills and knolls. One morning the boy went out to hunt caribou. He saw a very large shadow on the snow. He didn't know what it was at first. He saw the shadow a second time. The boy looked up and saw an eagle swooping down on him.

The boy lay on the ground on his back. As the eagle swooped over him, it missed him. The boy shot the eagle in the back with his bow and arrow.

The great eagle circled and flew down again. This time the boy shot him in the throat and killed him.

The boy skinned the eagle very carefully and took one wing feather. It was so large that he made buckets from the ends. (This eagle had come from a huge nest-big as a room--located about ninety miles from Saint Michael on the Clearwater Ichilynok River.)

A few days later the boy went out hunting again and saw the same thing–a big shadow on the ground. This time he knew what it was. But this eagle didn't attack him. Instead, she flew down, lay on the ground, and touched her head to it. When she got up, she pushed back her hood to reveal a human face. It was the dead eagle's mother.

The eagle mother told the hunter how she could get her son back.

"Get together some of every kind of game. After this is done, invite people from other villages to come. Then you are to have a big feast and songs and dances. You must make a drum that sounds like my heartbeats. This is the only way my son will come back to me."

The boy tried all kinds of drums. He made a keylowtik (tambourine drum), and he tried a box drum. None sounded like the eagle's heart. So he took a large wooden tub and put water in it and a caribou fawn skin over it. Then he beat it with a stick that had a soft ball-shaped end made of skin filled with caribou hair.

When he had tested his drum, he invited people from other villages to the feast. These people had never seen such a celebration before, or such dances. They couldn't believe their eyes. One man pinched himself to see if he were still alive or with the spirits.

The festival lasted for days, and the eagle son returned to his mother. This was the beginning of the Messenger Feast.
Anili taumna. Let him go out, that one. Eskimo
Wild Parsnip Song Joe Seton
Music location

Here is another Eskimo legend pertaining to the Messenger Feast, as told by Paul Green of Kotzebue.

The Origin of the Box Drum

In early days ago there were hunters from Kotzebue camped at Shasholik, ten miles across the sound from Kotzebue. One hunter paddled his kayak out to an ice flow and silently stalked an oogruk. While he did this, his kayak floated away.

His kayak was lost. He couldn't do anything. He would have to stay on that ice. He drifted way out. Soon he couldn't see land. His ice chunk was getting smaller and smaller. As it moved near larger pieces the hunter jumped from one to the other. But soon there was no more ice left, only the small piece on which he stood. And it began to roll over and over. He had to balance himself on it–he could not sleep–his oogruk was gone, and he was hungry.

Early one morning he saw something on the horizon. This object was moving–part of it stuck out from the water. It came closer to him all the time and finally floated alongside him.

From inside the object, which looked like a box with points on top, came a voice: "Jump in on me so I can take you back to your land."

The hunter hesitated. He didn't believe what was being said to him from inside that box. The voice repeated: "Jump in. I'll take you back." So the man jumped in from his ice cake.

The object floated off, and the voice from inside said: "I'm the one who made you suffer for a long time this summer. You know the reason why I let your kayak drift away? Because I wanted you to see me, and make a copy of me, and use me in the Wolf Dances."

The box floated to shore; the hunter landed about forty-five miles from Kotzebue near some cliffs. The box rolled over on the beach so that the hunter could examine it.

The box said: "When you get back to Shasholik, make a copy of me and use it in the Wolf Dance. Look up on top of that mountain–There's where you will find what you need."

So the hunter looked up on top of the big mountain. There he saw a big eagle. "Use those eagle feathers on each corner," said the box, "and on the end of the women's dance sticks and on the drum beater. Make a copy of me. When you have finished the drum go down to the salt water, get a little, and pour it on top of me. This is for my shade (inua, or spirit). I came from the salt water."

The hunter went back to his camp. Everyone was surprised to see him for they all had thought he was lost. When he told them of his strange experience with the mysterious box, his friends said: "We are pleased that this thing would bring you safely to land. If he wants us to use him in the Wolf Dances, we must make a copy of him as you tell us."

The old people collected driftwood and set about making the Wolf Dance box drum. They hung it from the tent pole, and when it was struck the people at Kotzebue, ten miles away, could clearly hear the Wolf Dance drum, the natikuk.

From that time on, the box drum was used for the Wolf Dances at the Messenger Feast.

The Bladder Festival

Another important celebration was the Bladder Festival, held each year to honor and appease the spirits (inua) of all the animals taken in the hunt during the past season. The Eskimos believed that the spirits in the bladders would enter animals of their own kind, be reborn, and return again, bringing continued success to the hunter. The festival was held over a period of several weeks, starting usually in late November and concluding about a month later. During the course of this festival the bladders of the first animals taken by the young boys were honored. While there were apparently several minor differences in the rites performed by various villages in their local Bladder Festival, the Eskimos of Hooper Bay (where the last celebration took place in about 1927), from whom this information was obtained, carried out their ceremonies in the following manner.

The animal bladders were saved, then dampened and inflated. There was a special song performed while the bladders were blown up. Then they were fastened to harpoons and hung in the kazigi. When the time for the Bladder Festival arrived, the members of the two rival kazigis (called kazzim at Hooper Bay) began practicing, in complete darkness, three new songs for the celebration. These new songs
were later used at festivals and celebrations throughout the year until the new ones were composed. The same songs were used "until the days got long." The first team to master three new songs signaled the rival team and the village by beating loudly three times on the floor. At this signal, lamps were lighted in the kazigi and in the village.

The women then brought the men's plates to the kazigi and waited nearby. Four times a howling "dog sound" was made. Then the men formed a long line and circled the village about five times with their plates, asking at various homes for food, which they took to the kazigi and ate, first pretending to toss bits of food to the bladders to appease the spirits.

Essential to the celebration were stalks of wild parsnip or celery, which were gathered by several young men and later were burned to purify both the bladders and the people. A very significant song was sung on the evening before the men went out for the plants. The words, "Go toward the land where there is parsnip," were accompanied by an extremely tiring dance performed by the five young men while holding their arms high over their heads. This "Wild Parsnip Song" is sung by Joe Seton of Hooper Bay.
Song To The Bladders
Music location

When the stalks of wild parsnip were in place, the traditional dances were performed. Among the first was the Dance to the Bladders. A young boy in a gut rain parka danced this while the bladders, tied to the harpoons, were held low before him. The accompanying song is sung by Joe Seton.
Jump Dance Song Joe Seton
Music location

Another tradition of the festival was the jump Dance, a lively dance performed by a young man who jumped repeatedly, holding both feet together, while acting in pantomime the hunting scene described by the song, sung by Joe Seton: "He is hunting the caribou. He is hunting a fawn. So swift is his arrow that it cannot be seen in flight."

After several days of festivities it was time to return the bladders to the sea. The bladders want to go back to the sea. They must not be kept too long," warned one old hunter, "or the spirits will become angry and bring sickness and death to the people." To prepare for this rite, the dried parsnip stalks were burned in the kazigi to purify the bladers. Then the bladders were removed from the kazigi,> the burning parsnips were taken to the river bank, and the bladders were passed through the smoke. The hunters also walked through the smoke. Then the bladders were pierced to release the air, and both the bladders and the burned parsnip were placed in the water." Thus, the spirits of the animals were honored.
Tuntussuleriim (agiyaa)
Qurraa-kin tangeneritaqa
Massiinaam-qaa acianun-qaa
(Agiya, etc.)
Nurarculeriim (agiyaa)
Qurraa-kiyin tangeneritaqa
Qaliriim-qaa acianun-qaa
(Agiyaa, etc.)
The caribou hunter
His arrow, I do not see it
Underneath the machine
The fawn hunter
His arrow, I do not see it
Underneath the tarpaulin [?]