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July 10, 1949 - Image 6

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1949-07-10

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PAGE SIX

THIE MICHIGAN DAILY

_______ .

Student

Couple

Explores

Aleutian

Scientific Summer Study

By JO MISNER
(Special to The Daily)
A young University couple will
round out their studies on the lip
of a volcano this summer.
Ted and Janet Bank have plan-
ned an island-skipping, volcano-
scaling Aleutian jaunt that would
make many an explorer green
with envy.
DELVING INTO the secrets of
early native inhabitants and
studying plant life, the husband-
wife scientist team will continue
the research in anthropology and
ethnobotany Bank began with the
University Expedition to the Aleu-
tians over a year ago.
One of the first stopovers on
the tour will be Great Sitkin
Volcano," the Banks said. "With
an Army officer and a Navy en-
listed man, we plan to climb to
the lip of the crater and camp
there in search of strange new
plants."
Army and Coast Guard will aid
the young couple with free plane
trips and boat rides. The Banks
planned to take to the tundra at
the first sign of spring-probably
sometime in June.
"COAST GUARD vessels will
haul us to out-of-the-Way bits of
rock arising from the North Paci-
fic and put us ashore by dory,"
Bank explained. "A week later
another ship will arrive to help
us seek out another island."
Daring tribal superstition, the
young scientists will visit small
islands supposed to contain leg-
endery mummy caves.
"The ancient Aleuts mummified
their chiefs and best hunters when
they died and placed them along
with their possessions in warm
caves located in the sides of vol-
canos," Bank said. "We plan to
search in these holes despitenthe
legendary taboonthreatening sud -
den death to anyone who enters
a burial cave."

A GRADUATE student working
on his doctorate, Bank started
field explorations in the storm-
tossed islands during the summer
of 1948. Robert E. Dorsett, an-
other University graduate, then
completed the research team.
Camping at Atka, westernmost
Aleutian village, the pair be-
came familiar with the language
and customs of the natives.
"During the summer's explora-
tions, we ransacked an ancient
burial cave on Kagamil Island,
coming out with several very an-
cient skulls, portions of Aleut
mummies and grass woven mum-
my cloth," Bank recalled. Valuable
plant collections from islands nev-
er before visited by botanists were
also made by the pair before Dor-
sett left the Expedition in Sep-
tember for a newspaper job in
Anchorage.
* * *
BUT BANK GOT a new partner
before long. His wired proposal
to Eleanor Janet Fowler, another
University student, was answered
with a "yes." Miss Fowler, a jun-
ior majoring in anthropology, tra-
veled to Juneau last September to
become Mrs. Bank.
Foregoing a honeymoon, the
newly-married pair set out im-
mediately by Army plane for
Adak, where the Expedition
maintains field headquarters at
the Naval Operating Base. From
there they headed by Army tug
for the village of Atka, 150 miles
away.
"The Indian Service maintains
a small, isolated school building
at Atka which promised to be em-
pty. The regular government
teachers, discouraged with the di-
sease, filth and neglect in this
remote village, had packed up and
left," Bank explained.
* * *
WE JUMPED at the chance to
live right with the natives, applied
for the vacant position and were
accepted."
As sole custodians, adminis-
trators and teachers there, the

Banks faced many difficulties in
dealing with the somewhat
primitive native. They fre-
quently found themselves
smoothing over ruffled tempers
to avert family feuds.
Acting as chief medicine men
to the 78 natives was also a heavy
responsibility for the young cou-
ple. Often they had to get our
suture materials and sew up gap-
ing wounds.
"ONCE A YOUNG Aleut named
Koolatchi raised the ire of a vil-
lage housewife and was rewarded
with an iron stove poker bent
across his head," Bank recalled.
It took five stitches to close
the wound and a lot of diplo-
macy to settle the quarrel.
Mrs. Bank did most of the
teaching to the 23 native young-
sters. "They crowded the school
room all year amid nose sniffling,
loud belches and other semi-ani-
mal noises," she said.
* * *
"BUT I DIDN'T mind the vocal
renditions as much as the silent,
penetrating aroma which resem-
bled a stale fish fry with rancid
lard."
Several times the young cou-
ple went out with the. natives
on hunting expeditions. The
odd sizes and makes of the
Aleut rifles made a native hunt-
ing party look like a band of
revolutionary raiders to the
Banks.
"On one expedition a native's
rifle was so rusty that the bullet
stuck in the barrel," Bank re-
called.
"LUCKILY, there were enough
holes in the barrel to exhaust the
power and the Aleut who fired the
ancient piece was saved from hav-
ing his head blown off."
In November, the Banks expect.
to pack their equipment and leave
the Aleutians. After a brief lec-
ture tour on the West Coast, they
will head for Ann Arbor, where
both of them plan to enroll in the
University for the Spring term.

Islands
4.
..~.s

STRANGE SOUVENIRS-Ted and Janet Bank examine a model "Biderka" skin boat used by ancient
Aleuts. The skull is that of a native who might have walked the islands 1,000 years ago. It was one
of several "finds" Bank made when he explored Kagamil Island last year.

UNDERGROUND HOUSE-Ted and Janet Banks call their under-
ground house "University Hall, South Wing." It served as head-
quarters while they studied an old village site. Bank grew the
beard to resemble a Russian Orthodox priest-highly respected
among the natives.

NotPure?
JOHANNESBURG.-(/P)-South
Africa's Congress of Dutch
Churches backed tribal leaders
yesterday in opposition to a white
queen for the Bawangmatos of
Southern Rhodesia.
The chief's recent marriage
caused the church to say: "As
similation of white and non-white
is calculated to destroy race purity
and promote the downfall of
Christian civilization in South
Africa."

EVENTS TODAY
NSA Meeting: 1 p.m., meet at
the fountain on the Mall.
Graduate Outing Club-Picnic;
assemble 2:15 p.m., northwest en-
trance of Rackham Building.
EVENTS MONDAY
Education Lecture-Francis J.
Donohue, professor of education
and dean of instruction, Gannon
College, "Issue in Public Rela-
tions;" 4 p.m., University High
School Auditorium.

"U" Lectures-James Boyd, di-
rector of U.S. Bureau of Mines,
"The Mincral Position of the Unit-
ed States"; 8 p.m. Rackham Lec-
ture Hall.
EVENTS TUESDAY
Education Lectures-Edmund H.
Thorne, superintendent of Schools,
West Hartford, Conn., "Inservice
Education of Teachers"; 4 p.m.,
University High School Auditori-
um.

Calendar of Events

THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMS:
Religious Groups To Hear Speakers

1 1

A series of, addresses are fea-'
tured on this week's calendar ofc
the student religious groups.-
Westminster Guild will hear Dr.j
O. R. Yoder from Ypsilanti State
Hospital speak today on "Chris-
tianity and Mental Health." The
talk will be followed by an out-
door dinner.
ADDRESSING THE Lutheran
Student Association tonight will
be Prof. Henry Veld of Augustana
College, director of the Univer-
sity's Summer Session Choir. The
topic of his lecture is "The Rela-
tion of the Church to Music." The
guild's plans for the week also
include a party on Friday.
Tonight's speaker for Gamma
Delta is Prof. Fred Kramer of
St. John's College, who will dis-
cuss "The Geological Implica-
tions of the First Chapters of
Genesis."
Prof. Wesley Maurer, chairman
of the journalism department, will
address Roger Williams Guild on
"The Effectiveness of Christian
Ethics." For Friday the guild plans
a work party at which students
will pack books to be sent to a
college in the Philippines.
TONIGHT Congregational-Dis-
ciples Guild will hear Prof. Benoy
Sarkar of the University of Cal-
cutta, a guest faculty member,
speak
The problems of planning a pro-
gram will be presented to Wes-

leyan Guild tonight in a two-way forsake lectures for a picnic to-
conversation between Doris Reed night, while the Students Evan-
and Joyce Wilson, entitled "We gelical Chapel continues its reg-
Wanted a Program-" ular Sunday evening social and
Canterbury Club members will ! Hillel holds its weekly open house.

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