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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
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Yup'ik RavenMarshall Cultural Atlas

This collection of student work is from Frank Keim's classes. He has wanted to share these works for others to use as an example of Culturally-based curriculum and documentation. These documents have been OCR-scanned. These are available for educational use only.





Denali Last Laugh!


Twenty-seven years ago, while living in Fairbanks, I still hunted moose and caribou. I was a graduate student at the University of Alaska, and didn't have much money in those days to support my wife and son. So, when a friend of mine invited me along on a weekend moose hunt in the Alaska Range, I happily accepted the offer. My brother Michael also decided to come along.

We left Fairbanks early one Saturday October morning in my friend's Volkswagen van. The skies were clear until we reached Paxson, located at the junction of the Richardson and Denali Highways in the heart of the Alaska Range. As we filled up our gas tank at the lodge there, we noticed the weather had changed and the sky was now overcast with what could only be snow clouds. It became even cloudier as we drove up the steep grade leading to the pass that would take us deep into the valley where we hoped to find a tasty moose. There were no such things as four-wheelers in those days, so all of our hunting was by car or foot.

Three hours later, when we were at mile 108 on the gravel-covered Denali Highway, we spotted some big moose antlers moving through the brush down in a ravine not far off the side of the road. We parked the VW, quietly got out of the van with our rifles, then stalked what looked to be about a five or six year old bull moose. The wind was in our favor and we moved down to within 150 yards of him. He was still below us when he raised his head. Both John and I aimed carefully and released the trigger. The big bull went down immediately, and we knew we had made a good shot. He was dead when we got to him and we saw that we had killed him almost instantly.

Just as we were pulling our hunting knives from their sheathes, we were confronted by three G.l.'s who challenged our "ownership" of the moose. Our hackles went up, but when I noticed heavy snow beginning to fall I offered them a compromise. I told them that half of the meat was theirs if they helped us dress it out and carry it up to the cars. That way, I said as nonchalantly as I could manage, we all could make it back through the pass before it was totally blocked with snow. They scowled at us, glanced at the large snowflakes, then at each other, and finally back at us again, saying they'd changed their minds and we could keep the whole animal. A little later we heard their pickup roar back for the pass.

It took us about three hours to dress and pack the moose meat up to the VW. By the time we finished, there was about three inches of snow on the ground and we figured we had only a slim chance of making it back through the pass to Paxson. But if we didn't make it, we knew we had plenty to eat until someone found us. Meanwhile, we were a little worried the snow might get too deep for our van to make it even as far as the pass. But the closer we got, the more the wind picked up and cleared the snow off the road. Where this was fine on the open highway, we knew it did not bode well for the pass. There the road was subject to heavy drifts which in storms like this were virtually impenetrable.

Our worst fears were realized when we finally reached the dreaded pass and found cars and pickups stacked thirty deep along the highway. The wind was blowing up a real storm and men were out with their shovels, and anything else they could excavate with, trying to dig their way through a mountain of snow that had totally blocked the highway for as far as we could see. We got out of our van and squinted into the blinding storm. Directly ahead of us was a pickup with a sign on its bumper that read, "Fort Greely." Could it be, we wondered? Sure enough, when we got to the deep snow drifts, there they were, all three of the G.l.'s we'd had the privilege of bumping into at mile 108! They hadn't gotten through either and were digging for all they were worth. John and Mike and I smiled at each other, then we dug in too with our own shovels, bad feelings forgotten in our common purpose to beat the storm.

As it turned out, Mother Nature already had us beat. There was no way we were going to get through without the help of something really big, like a snow blower. It so happened that one of the hunting parties had brought along a snow machine, and someone had already jumped on it and headed for Paxson to roust out the road crew there. Just in case, though, most of us kept on excavating. That way we could at least stay warm. Finally, three hours later and close to midnight, we heard a deep-throated drone in the darkness. Then we saw headlights approaching, and blowing snow.

So it was that we didn't have to eat that moose prematurely, after all. And on our way back to Fairbanks, we sure did have the last laugh on those G.l.'s!

By: Frank JM Keim

As told to: Maurice Turet

Denali Last Laugh!

An Unexpected Catch

- Vernon Evan/Kimberly Fitka

I Never Want to See Eyes Like That Again!

- Lorraine Fitka/Rose Lynn Fitka

The Second Shot Got It!

- Frank Coffee/Willie Paul Fitka III

First Moose

- Alvin Owletuck/Cheryl Hunter


- Nick Andrew SR./David Andrew

Barely Able to Stand

- Angeline Coffee/Jolene Soolook

Early Spring Moose

- Theresa Boots/Tassie Fitka

Denali Last Laugh!

- Frank JM Keim/Maurice Turet


(Alces alces) The Moose


Moose Fact Sheet


Student Stories


Stories By Parents


Stories By Elders


Stories By Successful Hunters


Stories By School Staff


"If I were a Moose…"




Christmastime Tales
Stories real and imaginary about Christmas, Slavik, and the New Year
Winter, 1996
Christmastime Tales II
Stories about Christmas, Slavik, and the New Year
Winter, 1998
Christmastime Tales III
Stories about Christmas, Slavik, and the New Year
Winter, 2000
Summer Time Tails 1992 Summertime Tails II 1993 Summertime Tails III
Summertime Tails IV Fall, 1995 Summertime Tails V Fall, 1996 Summertime Tails VI Fall, 1997
Summertime Tails VII Fall, 1999 Signs of the Times November 1996 Creative Stories From Creative Imaginations
Mustang Mind Manglers - Stories of the Far Out, the Frightening and the Fantastic 1993 Yupik Gourmet - A Book of Recipes  
M&M Monthly    
Happy Moose Hunting! September Edition 1997 Happy Easter! March/April 1998 Merry Christmas December Edition 1997
Happy Valentine’s Day! February Edition 1998 Happy Easter! March/April Edition 2000 Happy Thanksgiving Nov. Edition, 1997
Happy Halloween October 1997 Edition Edible and Useful Plants of Scammon Bay Edible Plants of Hooper Bay 1981
The Flowers of Scammon Bay Alaska Poems of Hooper Bay Scammon Bay (Upward Bound Students)
Family Trees and the Buzzy Lord It takes a Village - A guide for parents May 1997 People in Our Community
Buildings and Personalities of Marshall Marshall Village PROFILE Qigeckalleq Pellullermeng ‘A Glimpse of the Past’
Raven’s Stories Spring 1995 Bird Stories from Scammon Bay The Sea Around Us
Ellamyua - The Great Weather - Stories about the Weather Spring 1996 Moose Fire - Stories and Poems about Moose November, 1998 Bears Bees and Bald Eagles Winter 1992-1993
Fish Fire and Water - Stories about fish, global warming and the future November, 1997 Wolf Fire - Stories and Poems about Wolves Bear Fire - Stories and Poems about Bears Spring, 1992



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Last modified August 23, 2006