Santos was proud to participate in Piuraagiaqta (“Piu-raa-giaq-ta”), held recently in Utqiagvik, Alaska, celebrating shared culture, traditions and community.
Piuraagiaqta- meaning “Spring Festival” – is a traditional annual event held by Inupiaq peoples, when Indigenous communities from across the North Slope gather to celebrate the return of the sun after the long winter months. Piuraagiaqta also marks the beginning of subsistence activities such as the spring bowhead whaling season, and the continuation of traditional knowledge focused around subsistence activities and skills are the centerfold of the spring festival activities.
A small but mighty team from Santos flew to Utqiagvik to help with the Piuraagiaqta community breakfast, participate in the parade, and spearhead the Arctic golf setup. On the day of the breakfast, the Santos team rose bright and early to head to the Utqiagvik Senior Centre where the pancake feed took place. In partnership with the North Slope Borough Health Department, the Santos team diligently got to work in the kitchen flipping pancakes, mixing up brightly hued cups of Tang, and visiting with elders and members of the community. On parade day, Arctic temperatures and sunshine shone through Utqiagvik’s streets. Candy was sprinkled from Santos’ decorated vehicle into the smiling parade crowds as people of all ages gathered up the sweets in the snow. The phrase “Happy Piuraagiaqta!” could be heard throughout the community, and after the parade, our team crafted holes in the snow and ice of the local lagoon for Arctic golf.
Other events included Eskimo dancing, Umiat races between whaling captains and their crews (a Umiat is a large, open boat made of skins stretched over a wooden frame to transport people on water or to pull goods on dry land when mounted on a sled), and traditional food competitions. The importance of shared culture, traditions and community shone through as salient values during the festival. Santos was honored to sponsor and participate in Utqiagvik’s Piuraagiaqta. Quyanaqpak (“Thank you”) Utqiagvik!
Pictured: Santos staff members Ann, Jaszlynn and Banner helping prepare breakfast.