Skip to comments.Alaska’s Palin, Yup’iks, and Cryptids
Posted on 09/03/2008 11:20:13 PM PDT by FreeManWhoCan
Lets check in a bit with some political news, which overlaps into our cryptozoological realm.
John McCain has picked a 44-year-old woman who was elected governor of Alaska in 2006, Sarah Palin, as his running mate. Alaskas First Gentleman is Todd Mitchell Palin (born September 1964). For 18 years, he worked for BP Oil in the North Slope oil fields of Alaska (he may still work for them). He is also a commercial salmon fisherman at Bristol Bay on the Nushugak River.
Photo above is from August 2007, when Todd Palin is reported to be going back to work for BP Oil, despite charges of conflict-of-interest with his wifes job.
Todd Palin is a four-time winner of the Tesoro Iron Dog Championship (snowmobile event). This contest is the worlds longest snowmobile race, which parallels the path of the Iditarod race with an extra journey of several hundred miles to Fairbanks added. He is a union member and a registered Independent.
This mask shows a distorted human face, with one eye partly closed and wrinkled forehead. Yupik Paul John of Nelson Island recalled stories about a strange noise coming from outside the qasgiq (communal mens house). When the people saw the face of the creature that had come to them, it would have a bent face with a sideways mouth. Arctic Studies Center.
After McCains announcement, almost immediately, some in the media were introducing Todd Palin as Sarah Palins husband, a Yupik, or infrequently, more correctly saying, that hes part Yupik. (Well, yes, hes part Yupik, 1/8th, like Im part Eastern Band Cherokee, 1/8th, since I have a great-grandfather, John Grey, who was 100% Cherokee.)
It turns out Todd Palin was born in the western Alaskan town of Dillingham to Jim Palin and Blanche Kallstrom, who is a quarter Yupik Eskimo, according to Snowweek, 2006, and other pre-2008 sources.
Wikipedias hastily posted new entry reports that Todd Palins grandmother, Helena Andree, is Yupik. This, of course, may only be a partial statement of fact (pun intended).
Dillingham is on Nushagak Bay, an inlet of Bristol Bay, an arm of the Bering Sea, in southwestern Alaska. The population of the city is 2,468, with about 60% of the residents being Yupik.
In cryptozoological history, this part of Alaska has been involved in some intriguing incidents.
Giant Eagle Mask by Duane Bosch, Alaska.
Thunderbirds: In 2002, in October, southwestern Alaskans saw a bird the size of a small plane, and within the month, David Letterman was making jokes and ABC Newss Buck Wolf was writing a column about the event. The events made my list of top cryptozoology stories of 2002.
It all began the week of October 5, 2002, when a Dillingham pilot John Bouker spotted a giant bird while flying passengers to Manokotak. His passengers also saw it. He calculated that its wingspan matched the length of a wing on his Cessna 207, about 14 feet across. Peter Porco of the Anchorage Daily News broke the story. He soon discovered that villagers in Togiak and Manokotak had also been seeing the huge birds in recent weeks.
On October 9, 2002, Moses Coupchiak, 43, of Togiak, 40 miles west of Manokotak, saw it and then said of the huge bird: At first I thought it was one of those old-time Otter planes. Instead of continuing toward me, it banked to the left, and thats when I noticed it wasnt a plane. The wing looks a little wider than the Otters, maybe as long as the Otter plane.
Porco reported Coupchiak said the bird flew behind a hill and disappeared. Other reports from Palmer, Alaska, came in, but after the nine-day wonder factor of the media flap, the big bird reports from Alaska got less and less attention. People went back to a local acknowledgement of what they already knew, big unknown birds fly around southeastern Alaska.
A mythological giant eagle or thunderbird which lived in the high mountains, volcanoes, and the sun plays an important role in Yupik folklore.
Bigfoot: Thomas Bay is located in southeast Alaska. It lies northeast of Petersburg, Alaska, and the Baird Glacier drains into the bay. It has gained the name of Devils Country when in 1900 several people claimed to have seen devil creatures (smaller Sasquatch-like beasts) in the area.
The creatures have always been described as looking neither like man or monkey, but covered with coarse hair and oozing sores. They are foul smelling. They are about four feet tall and have claw-like fingers.
The Strangest Story Ever Told by Harry D. Colp (1953), documents his and his associates 1900 encounters with these creatures after they traveled from Thomas Bay and their camp on Patterson River, upriver for about eight miles and into the high mountains, to a half-moon lake.
In 1942, the late well-known Bigfoot tracker Bob Titmus said he saw an upright ape from the deck of a ship that was passing through Wrangell Narrows. This is a winding, 22-mile-long (35-km-long) channel between Mitkof Island and Kupreanof Island in the Alexander Archipelago in southeast Alaska. It is used excessively by salmon fishermen and fisherwomen.
As recently as July 2004, fishermen found Bigfoot-type footprints east of Egegik, near Bristol Bay.
Other Bigfoot-type sightings have occurred in southern Alaska, usually in association with water. One of the best summaries of the contemporary stories is Robert Alleys Raincoast Sasquatch.
As far as I have been able to determine, no cryptid sightings are in the record for Alaska, tied to the Palin, Kallstrom, or Andree family names.
BTW, regarding the Eskimo vs Inuit business, let me share this helpful bit of information. The weblog VDare.com* detailed in 2002, how we should understand that the Yupik are not Inuit:
The official handbook of the 3-year-old Canadian Territory of Nunavut says, A word of advice, please dont call Inuit here Eskimos. Theyve always called themselves Inuit, or the people in Inuktitut, their native tongue.
The confusion over Eskimo vs. Inuit illustrates the paradoxes that accompany the many attempts these days to change the names of ethnic groups.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, Many Americans today either avoid this term (Eskimo) or feel uneasy using it. For example, a Web site of the University of Wisconsin School of Education advises teachers, There are no Eskimo people.
That would come as a surprise, however, to thousands of Yupik-speaking Eskimos in Western Alaska who much prefer to be called Eskimo instead of Inuit.
Why? They arent Inuit.
Steven A. Jacobson, a professor at the Alaska Native Language Center (of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks), told United Press International, Yupik speakers say, Were Yupik Eskimos; our relatives in northern Alaska, Canada and Greenland are Inuit Eskimos; they arent Yupik, and we arent Inuit, but were all Eskimos. Yupik speakers prefer to be called Yupiks and in contrast to Inuit in Canada dont mind the word Eskimo, but they do not like to be called Inuit.
Eskimo remains the only word that describes all the physically and culturally quite homogenous groups that extend from the Siberian side of the Bering Strait to Greenland. The American Heritage Dictionary sums up, While use of these terms (Inuit and Yupik) is often preferable when speaking of the appropriate linguistic group, none of them can be used of the Eskimoan peoples as a whole; the only inclusive term remains Eskimo.
*VDare = Virginia Dare. She was the first English child to be born in the New World, in August 1587, shortly after the founding of what was to become known as The Lost Colony on Roanoke Island off the North Carolina coast. The site is political in nature, not Fortean.
Monster whale-eater mask of the Yupik.
For comparison and as a demonstration of how realistic the artists are, the above are Yupik masks of a wolf and a polar bear.
[Please understand that none of the above should be read as an endorsement of John McCain and Sarah Palin, for indeed, I personally am for the other two candidates. But in terms of fully reporting the cryptozoological news as it relates to Todd Palin, I felt this would be of interest to Cryptomundo readers.]
A very happy Crypto Ping to my fellow Freepers!
who would have imagined a crypto tie in to Sarah Palin?
I thought the same thing!
Cryptic article? How about “drain bamaged” string of thoughts?
Yeah - a Democrat maybe - but Sarah? (Although at the moment she is bigger than life!)
I kept waiting for the article to state that Todd Palin is actually a child of bigfoot!
Thanks for the heads up on this Free Man!!!
Todd Palin was born in the western Alaskan town of Dillingham to Jim Palin and Blanche Kallstrom, who is a quarter Yup'ik Eskimo, according to Snowweek, 2006, and other pre-2008 sources. Wikipedia's hastily posted new entry reports that Todd Palin's "grandmother, Helena Andree, is Yup'ik." This, of course, may only be a partial statement of fact (pun intended).
No problem Dragonblustar. I’m surprised I spotted it before you!