Friday, June 3, 2011

Field trip to Old Kasaan

This week we went on a field trip to Old Kasaan. It's across and down the inlet from the current Kasaan. OVK (Organized Village of Kasaan- the tribal organization) took us. We packed a lunch and loaded 6 adults and 10 students in two small boats and went. I didn't time it, but I bet it was about 20 minutes in the boat. And I wanted to share some of my thoughts as we were in the boats. First I was a little nervous. Stewart took the older boys in the skiff, and while that boat was smaller, I knew the boys had the sense to hang on and the ability to laugh about it if they fell in.
I was in the "big boat" with the little kids and girls. The boat was not made to restrain students as much as I had pictured when we planned the trip. It had two seats, so most of us sat in the bottom of the boat. Here is a picture of my view as we went, there wasn't much holding us in. What you don't see is that as the boat speeds up it tips. I was nervous, but we all survived and nobody fell in. I was watching my girls as their hair blew in the wind and I started thinking about how different their field trips are than the ones I used to go on. I remembered some pictures of the kids on a field trip in Chevak, when they took the kids out by sled behind snow machines.
My kids miss the snow. It just looks COLD to me. Now they are going on a field trip by boat. The funny thing is that they think riding on a school bus would be really neat.

Once we got to Old Kasaan, our OVK tour guide showed us around. Without a guide I don't think I would have noticed a single piece of the old village. I was very glad to have someone along that could point things out. First he showed us the one remaining support beam of a house. The kids all posed near it but not under, as it looked like it could collapse at any moment.

Then he showed us a watchman totem pole that was almost gone, except for the very distinct face at the top.
Then we climbed over a log that turned out to be an old totem that is completely covered in moss and was only recognizable because of the way it was hollowed out on the back side and rotted away very unevenly on the top (where it was carved deeper was rotting faster). On the other end of the village there was a small collection of memorial totems. They looked like big bare logs with a big chunk of moss on top. I'm sure the chunks of moss were beautiful carvings at one time.
Then back out on the beach we discovered a very new little fawn hiding in the rocks.

Everybody had to have a picture with it and then we moved farther down the beach to avoid scaring it too much. There we discovered a second one. The mother had run away as we were pulling up to the beach. When we discovered these two tiny fawns (one was still wet from birth) we decided it was time to go home and let these babies get back together with their mom. So off we went in the boats again. It was a beautiful day. We even saw a whale as we were traveling.

No comments: