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Studying the past

Malcolm Gorrill
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Jun 22/01) - Myrna Pokiak is going to be spending time this summer in nearby national parks to study the past.

Pokiak, of Tuktoyaktuk, is a research assistant at Parks Canada here. Since starting May 30 she's been busy reading and conducting research, but over the summer she'll spend a lot of time out of town.

In early July she goes to Tuktut Nogiat National Park.

"I'll be going there with five other people. We'll be doing an archaeology survey," Pokiak said.

"We're just going to be hiking, and a couple of others will be canoeing, moving our gear from place to place."

While there, Pokiak explained they will be looking for cultural remains from old campsites, and other artifacts.

After that Pokiak will stay at Aulavik National Park until the end of July. As well, in August she will spend a week with some Sachs Harbour students in an area just outside Sachs.

"We're just going to be doing some cultural and traditional events," Pokiak said.

Pokiak will also conduct some pingo research this summer. She did that a lot last year, as she also spent the summer of 2000 with Parks Canada here.

This fall Pokiak will enter her second year at the University of Alaska, in Fairbanks, where she is studying anthropology.

"The job they have me doing, a lot of the time is really relevant to what I'm studying at school, so it helps me out a lot," Pokiak said.

She said her introduction to anthropology and archaeology was two years ago. She worked with an archaeologist from the University of Saskatchewan at a site near the mouth of the Mackenzie River.

Pokiak then spent a few months in Mexico in 1999 to study anthropology.

She said one reason she's studying anthropology is to learn more about her own background.

"I guess that's what's making me go this way," Pokiak said.

"That's why I'm studying in Alaska, because they have a lot of programs about the Eskimo cultures. I'd like to learn about the past, and this is just what I'm able to do."

Pokiak is looking forward to the summer.

"The parks I have been to are really, really nice. And in the office, everybody is really nice -- good people to work with. It makes the job a lot better."