Atsaq - John Oscar at the new hospital Dental Clinic, December 30, 2019.
The painting symbolizes the Yukon-Kuskokwim region in three parts, the coast, the land and water. The main characters such as men, moose, fish and others are shown in threes. Except for the Raven, all the masks do not have carvings around them, because everything is already around them. There are hidden places. Do you recognize a mountain? Do you see Nelson Island, Nunivak, Johnson River or how many fish? Do you see a little seal hiding? The river on the right represents the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River on the left and the delta in between. The mask’s eyes are always watching.
Daughter, Caroline helping out in the production. Posing just after it was sprayed with protective coating, completed December 12, 2019.
The ancestors lived off the land, sky and waters. Everything in a circle. All the fish and wildlife honored their part to share with humans who followed Qaneryaqaq – The Word. The oral tradition of guidance, love, peace, respect and how to live as a real person. Our ancestors were a living obedience to the word.
For thousands of years the ancestors believed in Ellam Yua – Person of the Universe. They danced in celebration to honor the creator in Agayuliyararput – Our Way of Making Prayer. It was believed the animals gave themselves as gifts for sharing. The animals watched how their bodies were treated during the preservation process. Fish bones were also dried for meat and fat. The animals watch as food is shared to those less fortunate. They also saw the poor being clothed from their skins. And saw their other parts turned into masks, headgear, dance fans and drums in preparation for the great dance festival of sharing.
Ellam Yua then being pleased of the love, respect, and the gift-giving, everyone had permission to celebrate at the next festival. Each creature having one spirit for each purpose. Every gift from the land, air and water serving the other, for we are Atauciugukut – All as One.