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My Interview with Victoria Ongtowasruk

Hi, my name is Julia. I interviewed Victoria Ongtowasruk. She was born July 9, 1983. She is currently a student at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, majoring in education. About one hundred fifty people live in her village. For entertainment she climbs mountains, visits her friends, walks around, and sometimes plays Eskimo baseball. She has one dog. His name is Pepper. They got him in Nome.

Her paternal grandparents are from Wales and her maternal grandparents are from Teller. All of her grandparents are retired. She can speak some of her language, which is Inupiaq. She has 5 sisters and one brother. One sister is training to be a health aid. Her youngest brother who's seven just went out on his first boating trip. He was hunting seals and whales.

There's a dancing festival every year. It's called Givic and they invite three or four other villages. Children learn the dances from school as well as learning crafts. You eventually learn the songs and the dances. Most of the songs and dances tell stories about their past.

She beads necklaces sometimes. Her gram makes Eskimo dolls. Her Father carves faces on whale's vertebra's and ivory.

She eats walrus, seal, whale, reindeer, ducks, and moose. Her favorite is reindeer. Her least favorite is moose.

Her grandma runs the reindeer herd. So far she corralled 350 reindeer. She used to be able to corral 1,000 reindeer but in the recent years the numbers have dropped down. She's going to corral more later in the year. If the reindeer don't come back to the area where they usually carrel then they may have to use a helicopter. The helicopter has to fly low so they herd into the carrel. Reindeer eat moss and grass. They're about the size of a small horse. Victoria helps her grandma grab the reindeer's horns and helps put the rubber bands on the fauns. She said it's hard but fun work. They don't butcher all the reindeer. They only butcher them if they need meat.

I think Victoria has a very interesting life; it's very different from our life. I'm glad I had the chance to interview her! I learned a lot about her culture!

Victoria Ongtowasruk. Her grandmother is Faye, her great uncle is Pat.

Amy, Jim, Danitra, and Victoria had to pose again for me. I like this picture a lot!

Victoria and Danitra are relaxing in the Dome. It must have really rained that day for us to be inside.

Victoria helped out with the reindeer roundup. She has done this since she was a little girl. Her father and uncles also are a major part of the roundup. They have to put up burlap, because the reindeer do not like being in the pen.

Julia interviewed Victoria.

Reindeer in pen at roundup time.

Victoria is on the left, Danitra on the right. They both worked on the excavation. This was Victoria's 2nd season.

She is taking a breather form excavating.

Victoria is seen here working at the Beach Ridge.