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Catch & Release

10.28.04

Discoverer seeks support for naming dinosaur site after Inupiat grandparents

During 1997, a palaeoarchaeology team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks made a landmark find that is making the Tegoseak family name a part of research history. The team was exploring the banks of the Colville River, examining sites similar to the bone-rich Liscomb bed, a site so rich that dinosaur teeth and other fossils have often been found strewn on the beach, exposed by erosion.

The group had found only isolated fragments since the early 1990s at the rivers edge when Ron Mancil, one of the crew members on that hot summer day in July, decided to try higher up investigating the stratigraphy upward along the sheer eroded bluff. Poking out from loose soil, near the top of that bluff, was part of a pachyrhinosaur, a ceratopsian dinosaur--technically a horned dinosaur like triceratops, but with a single thick nasal knob and no long horns over the eyes.

Since that discovery, the bed has proven to be unusually thick with fossils; it has already yielded evidence of at least 12 animals. Scientists theorize that a herd of dinosaurs died there and that the site may contain hundreds more.

Mancil is proposing the site be named “The Tegoseak Site” in commemorative honor of his late grandparents, Rueben and Edith Tegoseak. It’s his objective to have the site named an indigenous name in honor of his grandparents and past and present inhabitants of the Colville river and surrounding area. His grandparents were reindeer herders, lived a subsistence lifestyle, and were very integrated within Inupiat culture. They were also involved with the Presbyterian Church at Barrow since their missionary arrival on the North Slope. Additionally, Edith lit the seal-oil torch for the World Eskimo Indian Olympics, and assisted in developing genealogical and linguistic data still utilized as research tools to this day.

Overall, the commemorative value of the site stands for the good moral and ethical values they, and others stand for. Such values concerning sobriety, kinship and love for one another, respecting the law and each other. These are only a few of the morals and ethics they, along with other elders, stand for.

Although numerous media accounts have reported on the significance of the find, the site name will not be officially determined until an application is approved by the Alaska Historical Commission. The State of Alaska review board meets four times a year to review application proposals and ultimately decides whether to approve or deny applications. Once approved by the State of Alaska review board, the application is forwarded to a federal review board, which also approves or denies the application. If approved, the site will be officially listed on State of Alaska and federal registers and topographic maps.

The application process has been initiated by Ron Mancil. That application is titled “Proposal to Name a Geographic Feature in Alaska.” Once completed, the application will be sent to the Alaska Historical Commission. There is some information required on the application that is required before submittal and consideration. What is needed is letters of support. The commemorative name proposal must be accompanied by evidence of local support, which includes; local interest groups, ANSCA Native corporations and their subsidiaries, other corporations, municipal or city boroughs, or letters from individuals.

Many of you may have known his grandparents, or had associations with them. Many of you may not have known them as well. What matters here is what they stood for. For the good in humanity, for our struggles as individuals in this ever-changing world, for the struggle of our ancestors, for our stands against alcoholism and drugs, for the protection of our children, for our ancestors whose ancestors have been there since time immemorial. It is also for yourself and the good you stand for as well. Please send your letters of support, no later than December 2004, to: Ron Mancil, Post Office Box 70345, Fairbanks, Alaska 99707. He can also be reached at: ronmancil@yahoo.com, or (907) 479-2171. Thank you for your time.

—Submitted by Ron Mancil

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