Point Hope Dancers Honor Late Hunter During Quyana Alaska in Anchorage

Point Hope Dancers Honor Late Hunter During Quyana Alaska in Anchorage

Three members of the Tikigaq Dancers stomped and sang, glowing in purple mild on stage in a crowded ballroom in downtown Anchorage. They confronted one another and reached out towards the middle, as much as the ceiling, and towards a photograph of a dancer who was finishing their circle however solely assembly in spirit.

The dance, carried out on the Quyana Alaska Gathering on the Federation of Alaska Natives’ annual conference, paid a spontaneous and shifting tribute to Aaron Tyler Milligrock of Level Hope, who died in August throughout a caribou hunt.

“The ability of it, however then the enjoyment that we had – that was him,” mentioned Tikigaq dancer Jeff Kinneeveauk. “Highly effective individual however very joyful, pleased and desirous to do his finest as a result of he knew what it meant to the group.”

“Dancing was so good for him nevertheless it was onerous on the similar time,” Jalen Cannon mentioned. “Enjoying it and dedicating it to him means a lot to our band, however not simply to our band – to our group. He meant a lot to all of us.

Milligrock, simply 24, died making an attempt to cross the Kukpuk River on a four-wheeled automobile, his sister Taylor Milligrock mentioned.

“We misplaced it in our river,” mentioned Milligrock, who was additionally an emergency responder on the scene. “Each day we take into consideration him. Each day it is onerous not to consider him, actually onerous.

“The guts of our group”

Milligrock spent most of his days fishing, whaling, and looking caribou, seals, and polar bears. With out asking for something in return, he shared his harvest together with his household, Level Hope widows, Elders and younger individuals who can’t hunt.

“My son was a great boy who helped anyone and at all times tried to chase down one thing that individuals wish to eat right here,” Milligrock’s father, Howard Stone Jr. mentioned. “He was my son and my finest buddy. “

In addition to being a beneficiant donor, Milligrock grew up “at all times had a smile on his face and liked to make folks chortle,” mentioned household buddy Eli Sales space.

One in all Milligrock’s closest buddies, Aaron Mitchell, remembers at all times discovering time for a joke or a track.

Mitchell first met Milligrock whereas dancing as a toddler throughout Kivgiq, a festive winter pageant in Utqiaġvik. On September 19, the day that might have been Milligrock’s twenty fifth birthday, Mitchell had a new child child. He gave the Inupiaq identify of his son Milligrock, Tigluk.

“He was the guts of our group,” Mitchell mentioned. “One in all a sort.”

As adults, Mitchell mentioned, the 2 bonded by fixing automobiles collectively or looking. Within the occasion of a storm or snow, they might exit into the countryside, and Milligrock was capable of stay calm, targeted, and conscious of his environment regardless of the challenges.

“As soon as we have been touring by snowmobile from one other village to Level Hope,” Mitchell mentioned. “All I might see was a bit crimson mild behind Aaron, and that is what I used to be following. And we noticed polar bear tracks. It was so stormy I could not see 5 ft in entrance of me, with the wind blowing, the snow blowing.

“He was an avid hunter,” Mitchell added, “and he liked it a lot he needed to be on the market each probability he acquired.”

Aaron Tyler Milligrock

For the previous two years, Milligrock’s mother and father have shaped a whaling crew, and Milligrock has landed a bowhead whale each season.

For Kinneeveauk, it turned a cherished reminiscence: Milligrock introduced him and different residents together with his first harvest of whales. That day, Kinneeveauk mentioned, he knew Milligrock may very well be counted on to look after the Level Hope group.

“Once they caught a whale, that was the primary time I cried” after a profitable hunt, Kinneeveauk mentioned. “It introduced us pleasure, that this man goes to be our chief.”


Tigikaq dancers honored looking and whaling by remembering Milligrock.

First, 4 girls – Milligrock’s girlfriend, Leanne Henry, and three sisters, Taylor Milligrock, Patricia Stone and Julia Stone – carried out their household dance which tells the story of catching a whale.

This dance comes from her grandparents, Howard and Delia Stone, who impressed Milligrock’s ardour and aptitude for dancing from the age of 6.

Later, three hunters got here ahead spontaneously with Milligrock’s picture. Their dance has been handed down for generations, Kinneeveauk mentioned. Throughout one of many hunts, Kinneeveauk, Cannon, and Milligrock determined to attempt performing it with 4 folks as an alternative of two.

“Me, Aaron and Jalen have been on the ice, ready for the whale, and we have been speaking about it: would not or not it’s cool if we did that?” mentioned Kinneeveuk.

The group kicked off their dance variation in Kivgiq to a terrific reception. On the AFN conference, the dancers felt that in an effort to proceed performing this dance, they wanted to have Milligrock with them.

“His image was there as a result of if he was right here he can be on stage with us, doing this dance,” Kinneeveauk mentioned. “It was so pure and it felt so good.”

The dance was a shock to everybody, together with Taylor Milligrock and Mitchell, who have been on stage.

“I had a bit lump in my throat for a short while, however I attempted to get pleasure from it as he would inform me to get pleasure from it,” Mitchell mentioned.

“I felt so emotional. It was onerous. However it was nice on the similar time as a result of they devoted it to my brother. It was very highly effective,” she mentioned, “prefer it healed, it healed us.”

The viewers responded to an expressive efficiency with applause, tears and a request for an encore.

“Level Hope’s songs have been highly effective,” mentioned Mary Lum Patkotak from Utqiaġvik. “You could possibly simply really feel the respect and respect for the good loss. It was a good looking factor to look at.

When Kinneeveauk was on stage, he mentioned, he felt like his dance group was there alone.

“I had no concept who was within the crowd and I did not care,” he mentioned. “As if there was nobody within the constructing. Prefer it was simply us with him.

However folks continued to method the dancers days after the present. A lot of them didn’t know Milligrock, Kinneeveauk mentioned, however they shared the tales of their loss – a lack of “another person of their household who they have been reminded of”.

“It represents an aboriginal man, a supplier, a hunter, a dancer,” Kinneeveauk mentioned. “No matter group you might be in, there was somebody in that group that he represents that he most likely misplaced. …Historical past is only a group mourning the lack of a provider.

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