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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Village spotlight: Oscarville

My snowmachine riding has taken me over to Oscarville a couple times in the last couple weeks. It is the closest village to Bethel, only a couple miles away. The trail is actually really short. It only takes about ten minutes. It is really a much smaller village than what I expected. Being so close to Bethel, they do not have their own airport as most of the other villages do.

Above is a picture of the main part of town and below is the school. I dont know how many teachers they have, but it cant be many seeing as how the town is so small. Maybe my Oville friends can help me out with some of this?Oscarville is part of the Bethel census area and as of 2000 had 61 residents. Aside from the teachers, 100% of the population is Alaska Native. The Yup'ik name for the village is Kuiggayagaq.

The slough that leads past Oscarville and out to the Kuskokwim river. I dont know its name. There are so many rivers, sloughs, and streams. It is hard to keep track.

Clothes hanging out to dry in below freezing temperatures. It was about 10 degrees this day. It reminds me of this post from a few weeks ago.
According to explorenorth.com....
In 1908, Oscar Samuelson and his wife, an Eskimo from the Nushagak region, moved from Napaskiak across the River and opened a trading post. A few Native families settled nearby and the site came to be known as Oscarville. Samuelson managed the store for 45 years, until his death in 1953. By 1955, there were 13 homes and two warehouses in the village. The Samuelsons continued to operate the store until 1975 when it was sold; it was closed in the early 1980s. A school was built by the BIA in 1964.

Every village has dogs...
Look at how cute the puppy in the background is...

Not exactly sure what this contraption of a building is, but I'm thinking it is a steam bath house and that duelly acts as a smoker for the meat/fish hanging above.

The cemetery just right off the center of town.

The trail home follows the electrical poles from Bethel. Oville is close enough to Bethel that they get their power from our powerplant. The interesting thing that we learned on our field trip to the powerplant in January is that their is no return. The return charges follow the natural current of the earth back to the power plant in Bethel to close the circuit. The guy that runs the powerplant told us that it was set up in the late 70's as an experiment to see if it was possible and it has worked effectively ever since so they have had no need to install any kind of return system. Pretty cool, eh?More of the trail home...
And some of the open wilderness between Oscarville and Bethel. It was really nice to see some trees!


Tamara @ Watching the Grass Grow said...

I love these pictures! It looks like the perfect setting for a novel. And thanks for bringing me back up to 7 followers--I feel much better! :-)

Kassia said...

That smoker/steam house "building" looks better than some of the houses in Hammond and Gary, lol.