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> Getting to know a small, native, arctic village
Amy_Clapp
post Jul 2 2005, 03:54 PM
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Well, I am typing this from the Holy Name of Mary Parish Church in Tsiigehtchic. We are staying in a little apartment that is connected to the church.

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We have a fantastic view of the river and also we are sitting right above Noel Andre’s fish camp. We have been watching the fish camp all evening hoping to see Noel there so we could go down and talk to him again (he is the one we saw pulling in the net when we did our water sampling) and we were looking forward to learning more about his life at the fish camp. It was funny because about five minutes ago we saw movement down there and we layered up (it is actually chilly here today, feels like we’re actually in the Arctic) and headed out the door, but when we were about halfway there, a truck passed us by and Noel Andre was in it….oh well, hopefully tomorrow we will have better luck.

It took us a while today to actually leave Inuvik to go to Tsiigehtchic. Our goal for the day was to spend some time in Tsiigehtchic to try to get the community, and particularly some students involved in our sampling procedure. Max and I would really love to have students/communities get involved in the project at all the sampling sites for the PARTNERS Project (Lena, Kolyma, Ob Rivers (Russia), Mackenzie (Canada) and Yukon (USA)), and the first step for doing that involves getting to know some of the people at each of the sites. Luckily, getting to know the chief here in Tsiigehtchic is a good first step for us and a great contact as he is a super nice person, but we wanted to spend some time here to get some other contacts as well.

Anyway, as we got ready to leave, we realized that we needed to get some food as there is no place to eat in Tsiigehtchic, so we headed to the grocery store and bought enough food to keep us from starving. Then we were on our way, we got about 2 miles out of town, when Max started talking about a map. Now, there is only one road to Tsiigehtchic, so we weren’t nervous about getting lost, but we decided to turn around and get a map anyway. So we cruised back into town and got a map and then realized that we had been paying for everything with a credit card and that probably they didn’t use credit cards in Tsiigehtchic, so we found an ATM machine and got some cash. THEN….we were on our way—we got about 5 miles out of town and were just getting to the Dempster Highway when I asked Max if we had gas (he had just rented our car), he looks at the tank and we have a half of a tank—which would just be enough to get us there and back—maybe….so we turned around again and filled up. There certainly is a lot to think about before you head into a remote village.

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We got to Tsiigehtchic and went to the chief’s office, but he was in a meeting, so we ended up drifting around town for a few minutes and we went down to the fish camp but there wasn’t anyone there, so we headed back to the BAND office (the local government office where the chief is located)

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and poked our head into another guy’s office named Scott. He was very helpful and willing to talk to us—he made sure that we were all set up at the church and wanted to do whatever he could for us, both today and in the future with the project. At that point the chief came in and we talked with him for a little while longer, and then Scott and Chief had to go to a meeting, and so they introduced us to Elaine Blake, who helps run a student workforce in the summer. She forwarded us to James Cardinal, who pretty much has involvement in a lot of the scientific stuff that is going on in this area. We spent a good chunk of time talking to him about all the changes that he has noticed in the area, and he was very interested in staying connected to the project and what the PARTNERS Project was finding out. He also runs the radio station in Tsiigehtchic and invited us to go on the air tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. When we were done talking, he showed us to Olive’s house, who we got the key for the church from and settled into our quarters for the afternoon/evening. It has been nice to be able to spend some time in Tsiigehtchic and we are pretty happy with the connections we have made. The people here seem more than helpful to try and work together which is exactly what we were hoping for!!

Tomorrow we hope to just get to know some more people. It is also Canada Day tomorrow, so there are supposed to be some festivities in town for the kids. It will be nice to check that out--and maybe get a hot dog to boot--that will be the closest we get to July 4th celebrations I think since we are going to be on a plane to Canada on the fourth!!!
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