Learning Something New Everyday!

Still hanging out here in Takotna… the press has moved on for the most part… the mushers and dogs have moved on.  It’s pretty quiet for the time being. Everyone who did their 24 hours here has moved on.  Danny Seavey and Eliot Anderson blew through a little while ago with their puppy teams.  Both stayed long enough to have their dogs checked, grab a few things from their drop bags, and kept right on going.  There are still several mushers who need to come through here, but they haven’t even left McGrath yet!

We’ve been talking about how much the Iditarod inspires people to help each other – whether it be mushers helping mushers, or the press helping each other… but today I learned of something really cool and special!  The vets who are here are going to have a clinic tomorrow for the villagers to have their pets checked out!  That’s pretty cool!

I’ve had lots and lots and lots of time to explore the community building and I found myself fascinated with two things. One is a map of the trail and the other is a poster about the values of the different groups of Alaskan Natives.

The map I saw here is similar to the map at this link:  http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/ak/afo/inht/maps.Par.1173.Image.-1.-1.1.gif  I spent a long time talking to Kevin Keeler who is with the BLM and is the Iditarod National Historic Trail Administrator.  I don’t think I realized that the portion of the race that is taken on the northern and southern routes was so far off from the main historic trail. The main historic trail would actually go from Takotna to Flat to Iditarod to a town that no longer exists called Dishkakat.  That town was in the middle of the big circle made by the northern and southern routes.  From Dishkakat it  would run to Kaltag and then the race route follows it again.  Kevin explained that today the Dishkakat site is in national forest land and all that remains of it is ruins.

I also found a wonderful poster that talked about all of the values that the Alaskan Natives hold special to them. Since we are in Athabascan country here, I thought I’d share their list with you.  It might make a good discussion or journal entry to reflect on whether you value the same ideals, or which one you think is the most important:

“Athabascan Values:

  • Self – Effeciency
  • Hard work
  • Care and provision for the family
  • Family relations
  • Unity
  • Honor
  • Honesty
  • Love for children
  • Sharing
  • Caring
  • Village Cooperation
  • Responsibility to Village
  • Respect for Elders and otherO
  • Respect for knowledge
  • Wisdom from Life Experience
  • Respect for the Land
  • Respect for Nature
  • Practice of Traditions
  • Honoring Ancestors
  • Spirituality”

Still hoping for a flight out tonight.. cross you fingers for me!