Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I know you've all been dying to see and hear about Norway. YES! We made the trans-atlantic flight with Mr. Keet. You would think it could be a flight over the Arctic, but NO...Seattle, over the East Coast, over Greenland, into Amsterdam.

Keet in the Amsterdam Airport making friends.

Then to Oslo for the IPY Oslo Science Conference where I moderated the Polar CINEMA film festival.

It was a rough voyage, with Keet having diarrhea, me throwing up, and then Da-ka and I getting a bit of the runs once we settled in. Something we picked up in Juneau I'm sure. Luckly, we learned to travel with a carry-on with a change of clothes for all of us, and about 4 changes of clothes for Keet. We went through them ALL!

The film fest was great. I saw a fantastic film I hope everyone will add to their netflix cue and look for at their local arthouse:

The writers, director, and lead actor were all present for the screening, making it feel like a real premiere. Fantastic film from Greenland.

With a few days off in Oslo after the conference, we were able to do some sight seeing.

Keet and Da-da sign for "flowers".
A familiar feeling?

Vigeland Park in Central of the city was gorgeous.

A Sunday afternoon, it seemed the whole town was there going for a stroll. The center of the park has a huge tower of nudes climbing over one another. Quite epic.

We found some food on the Wharf, and enjoyed some time in the city, going on boats, and visiting the various sites. Museums weren't really Keet's cup of tea, so walks were the best thing. Luckily the weather cooperated at the end of our journey, and we were all feeling healthy again!
A sea-faring people, the Viking boats, then the Kona-Tiki Museum with the actual straw boat used to prove that travel with grass boats was possible. Then the modern sail boats that fill the Oslo harbors.

Oslo Opera House is designed to look like a Glacier slipping into the Fjord. Pretty spectacular. We didn't get to see the stage as that was reserved for tours or performances only.

Soon enough, it was time to head home. We had a connection on return from Oslo to Paris. Paris, it turns out is a wild and unruly airport. Not even enough time between planes to get a cafe au lait! So sad...

This is my experience of Paris.

The first European Work/Vacation complete, we are all so happy to be home in beautiful Fairbanks. Keet has been drumming like never before. Aunt MacKiki is in town, and more updates soon to follow.

With love,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Keet's favorite song

Git Hoan is the dance group lead by David Boxley. This was at the Anchorage Museum. Keet was a bit frightened by the raven masks, which you'll see at the end. But now, all he wants to do is watch this (poorly made) clip I took!



Writing now from Lillistøm, Norway - just outside Oslo. It has been a whirlwind of a week to be sure!

A week ago, the family traveled to Juneau where we all danced in our first Celebration!
A gathering of Tlingit, Haida, Tshimsian, Nish'ga and other members of the Seaalaska (Native) Corporation, it is truely a thing to behold. We flew into town just in the nick of time to get into the panaramic photo taken every year. You can see the camera in the center below. (Picture's over!) We'll have to order a copy.

The amazing thing about Celebration is that it is just that. When else does a community get together when it's not a wedding or a funeral? This is a party wrapped up in a family reunion wrapped up in a cultural renissance. Started in 1982, Da-ka and I attended our first Celebration together in 2004. Then again in 2006. 2008 - I was too tired and pregnant after spending 2 weeks on the sea ice to travel again, so it was a joy to attend this year!
Keet, Da-ka, Akka (Shirley), and Nathan Jackson (Shirley's first cousin).

Nathan is a world renowned carver. At the Anchorage Museum the week before Celebration, we saw they have his picture right as you walk in to the museum. Every time we passed it, Keet signed "Grandpa". They hadn't even met yet!

Here are the four generations: Da-ka, Keet, Yé (Chris McNeil Sr.), and Akka.
We learned from Chris that "Yé" is Great-grandpa in Nish'ga. Originally from the Nass river area on the Canada side, Keet's great-grandpa now lives in Juneau, but has been a fisherman all his life.

 The family danced all toghether three times with two different Dance Groups. Da-ka wore the Killer Whale Tunic woven by his cousin, Anna Brown, as well as a Chilkat Blanket she wove on seperate occasions. It was a great honor to wear the family at.oow (the artistic/ ceremonial objects and songs of the clan belong to the clan, not to individuals).

Keet slept through the entire first dance, and only wanted to be held the second dance. He's a great dancer at home though!