Alaska traditions and customs

Alaska traditions and customs

Blanket toss

In other words, the "Cover jump". About twenty, up to thirty people support a walrus skin hanging, on which a jumper bounces. The ancestor of the trampoline, sort of.
Funny, no doubt, but not only: originally, according to some, the technique would have been used by hunters in Arctic villages to spot whales crossing offshore. The best jumpers can reach almost 10m in height!

Today, blanket toss (nalukataq) is practiced at all Inuit festivals and, of course, at the World Eskimo Indian Olympics - alongside other original events such as the knee jump (with compulsory landing on the feet), the running on the ground imitating the seal and carrying it weight with the ears ...


Indigenous traditions have long remained very much alive. One or two generations ago, the medicine men different peoples, Inuit included, retained an important place in the community. Capable, it was said, of communicating with spirits, of traveling to the moon, they had above all knowledge of animals : they knew how to say when the caribou would return, and reminded everyone of the taboos surrounding bear hunting. Better yet, they came into contact with the soul of the game, obtained its permission to be killed, or its forgiveness for being killed.

The shaman also healed men, of course. For their well-being, he often forbade them to eat certain foods or even to have sex (a formal prohibition during the time of beaver hunting) ...

Iditarod Race

If you are in Alaska on the 1st Saturday of March, do not miss the departure of the Iditarod, one of the most famous sled dog races in the world, which takes the Anchorage and Willow crews to Nome ... 1 km away on the Bering Sea coast.

The Iditarod borrows a legendary track, traced by the adventurers and gold diggers of the early twentieth century, a track on which circulated food, materials and mail. A track by which returned the gold for which so many men risked their lives.

The race commemorates more precisely a sleigh expedition led in 1925 to deliver a lifesaving serum to the arctic city, affected by an epidemic of diphtheria. Thanks to the crews who took turns, it was delivered in 5 days, where the gold diggers walked for months!

Today, the competitors, pulled by 12 to 16 dogs, take at least 9 days and more often a fortnight.

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