Engigstciak

The Yukon seems nice.

I went down another Wikipedia rabbit-hole this weekend. The last time I did that I learned about Abiogenesis.

This time around, I began reading more about Aphex Twin, and ultimately ended up at Ivvavik National Park. Not so sure what I read in-between or how I got there — but in case you’re interested, Engigstciak, is a rock formation at the Ivvavik National Park. It’s really striking. I believe it’s particularly beautiful. So much so in fact, I was inspired to write a bit about it:

A rock formation jutting out of the Canadian tundra in the spring.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Case and Wikimedia Commons.

There’s also this really interesting paper available on JSTOR regarding Engigstciak’s surrounding geology. You can view it for free with a JSTOR account. I love this stuff. If you’re a fan of Bill Bryson, something tells me you’ll enjoy this paper too:

A page from the 1961 paper.

The Yukon is a pretty vast, and unorganized expanse (something my Texan heritage has informed me I might enjoy). Within the wide and unforgiving tundra are archaeological heritage sites. It turns out, Engigstciak happens to be one:

[Pottery found at the site] likely relates to the Norton Culture (Norton Check-Stamped Ware) which is found predominantly in the coastal reaches of northern Alaska. Although dating from the last few centuries B.C., this vessel is part of a ceramic making tradition which began in Alaska more than 3500 years ago and was inspired if not imported from Siberia.

The Ivvavik National Park is so remote in fact, that the nearby airport — Sheep Creek International Airport, is merely just a strip of gravel.

The Yukon seems nice.

4 Comments

Jill May 21, 2019 Reply

I would be even more interested in the pronunciation of this rock formation! Thanks for the read 🙂

Stephen Petrey May 21, 2019 Reply

Same! If I come across any resources on how to pronounce Engigstciak, I will definitely be posting a follow up 🙂

Kyle July 8, 2019 Reply

Hi Stephen and Jill,

I work in Ivvavik National Park and I asked one of my elder Inuvialuit colleagues who told me that there are a few different ways to pronounce and spell this landmark depending on which community or dialect of Inuvialuktun the person speaks.

Engigstciak is what Parks Canada calls it in our formal publications so I am inclined to use that but I will always let an elder correct me and say anything the way that they have called it for generations.

Engigstciak is pronounced much like it is spelled however the pronunciations of a lot of words here are tricky to get used to if you are not used to it.

Engigstciak (En-gig-sti-ci-ak) is how my colleague pronounced it and how I would go about saying it.

Stephen Petrey July 8, 2019 Reply

Kyle, thanks so much! I can’t thank you enough for inquiring with your Inuvialuit colleagues to share the pronunciation of Engigstciak with us.

Do keep in touch! I personally would love to know more about Ivvavik National Park 🙂

Cheers!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: