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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 6, 2001 - Issue 46


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 Hunter Says Elders' Wisdom Kept Him Alive


 by CBC North-September 27, 2001

Cambridge Bay, Nunavut - A Cambridge Bay hunter credits the inspiration of elders for helping keep him alive for four days on the tundra.

James Panioyak was lost about 130 kilometres northeast of the community. He says he managed to survive by using traditional knowledge and his hunter's instinct.

Panioyak says he knew the area where he was hunting last Friday. After catching three caribou, he headed back to camp.

While driving, he was surprised by two large muskox. He swerved on his all-terrain vehicle to avoid hitting them, and was thrown off. The accident left him shaken up and disoriented.

Panioyak didn't have a global positioning system, and started heading in the wrong direction.

On Saturday night he looked to the stars, remembering that his elders told him that the stars can give you a sense of direction. Like his elders, Panioyak also found a sharp rock to cut his caribou meat.

When the weather started to get worse on Sunday, he says he started to worry.

"That was a really trying time for me," he says. "I started thinking about home and my family and what they were feeling. I prayed to my elders and my ancestors to give them a signal that they were okay."

On Tuesday, Panioyak was spotted by searchers on a Twin Otter plane. He says he's happy to be home.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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