First Potlatch

Another first since we got home: on June 21, our first potlatch! It was for the funeral of the mother of the pastor of Fairbanks Native Bible Church, and was a celebration of her full life and her new life in Christ in recent years. It was held at the Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall in Fairbanks, followed by a potlatch, which we found to be a unique and great experience! Elders sat at tables, while we youngers sat in chairs with paper runners on the floor in front of us (as pictured). Each place was given a paper plate, bowl, tableware, S&P all enclosed in a gallon ziploc freezer bag, which I assumed was just for ease of distribution. When all food and people were in place, the men who had been cooking in cut-down 55-gallon drums over an open fire all day (pictured, though not great) brought those drums in and started hauling them down the aisles, dipping out moose soup into every ready bowl, as fast as they could go! Behind them came other people handing out servings of various salads, breads, and sides, and everything kept going around and around until everyone was full. Then, everyone held out their ziploc bags to start filling those with leftovers to take home! It was so yummy to have fresh (out-of-season) moose, both in the soup and cut pieces. (Natives can get permits to hunt a moose for a funeral potlatch any time of year.) Following cleanup, bands set up, and we hear there was dancing until late, though, regretfully, we had to get our tired crew home and couldn’t stay. Next time…

 

Ready to be served

Ready to be served

Cooking moose soup in drums over open fires

Cooking moose soup in drums over open fires

Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall, Fairbanks

Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall, Fairbanks

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