Kipnuk holds traditional wake for elder

by Sophie Evan on April 1, 2013

An elder from Kipnuk passed away last Wednesday. The village suspended all outdoor activities during the mourning period. Sophie Evan spoke with a village elder from Kipnuk and has this report.

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With the death of an 87-year-old elder, the village of Kipnuk is held a traditional wake. It means that the community has suspended all outdoor activities during the mourning period, until after the funeral.

Evon Fox, or Ayaginaar, who was suffering from cancer, passed away in his home among family; he left six grown children and their families.

76-year old, Yuc’aq or Moravian Pastor David Paul remembers his friend, Ayaginaar, and explained the old Yup’ik tradition of suspending all outdoor activities.

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Pastor Paul says Fox and he called each others Iluurapak, or revered cousins, which is what their fathers called each other’s as well.

Paul says in order to support and respect the Fox’s family loss; the village becomes quiet and calm. Although not all residents comply these days, he says that even the young people, will ask permission about whether or not to play basketball.

Paul fondly and respectfully remembered his friend who came to Kipnuk when he married a local girl, Lena White. Paul says Fox lived in Kipnuk for over 60 years, and was practically invisible. Paul says the Yup’ik way of living in another village is to live like that, like one is gone, keeping quiet. Quiet in the sense that one does not give people something bad to talk about. Paul says that is how his friend Evon Fox lived.

Paul added that his grandfather was the first person to build a home where Kipnuk is now situated.

Sophie Evan KYUK news.

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