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Arts & Culture

Stories about the art and culture.

Originally from Bethel, Christopher Liu is the engineer behind the Muktuk Plot - a strategy that will help NASA pilot its next orbiter mission to Mars.
Courtesy of Christopher Liu.

Thousands of miles to the south of us, engineers at NASA are hard at work on the NeMO Mission, the next orbiter mission to Mars. This summer they got a little help from an engineering intern from Bethel, and something called the Muktuk Plot.


Mary Worm of Kongiganak laughs while telling a story during KYUK's "Waves of Wisdom" series, which featured interviews with YK Delta elders. This video and others are now available online through the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.
KYUK

Remember KYUK’s old TV shows from decades past? "Waves of Wisdom" with Yup’ik elders, "Tales of the Tundra" ghost stories with John Active, or "Ask An Alaskan," KYUK’s game show? Selections of these programs and more are now available online. KYUK has begun adding its self-proclaimed "world’s largest collection of Yup’ik and Cup’ik videos" to the internet. The collection captures glimpses of nearly half a century of life on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and for the first time it's available to anyone searching the web.


John Smith in his ivory carving workshop. Smith is struggling to replicate the ancestral work that volunteers have found at Nunalleq, but he says that the process has been difficult.
Teresa Cotsirilos/KYUK

After uncovering hundreds of artifacts, an exhausted team of archeologists on the Bering Sea coast just finished their dig at Nunalleq for the year. They plan to return to the 700-year-old village next summer. Provided, of course, that the winter storms don’t wash it away.

The discoveries at Nunalleq have had a quiet but profound effect on several residents. One of them is John Smith, an elder, former tribal judge, and longtime traditional ivory carver who’s struggling to replicate the ancestral work that has been found. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

For one night only, ALAXSXA | ALASKAan original theater production, is performing in Bethel this evening, Thursday, September 7. Both words of the title are names for our vast state. Alaxsxa is the Unangax indigenous word that means "mainland"; Alaska is the Russian interpretation of that word. Using video, puppetry, oral history, and Yup’ik dancing, the show explores cross-cultural encounters shaping the state’s history and the personal stories of its actors. Some of those stories come from actor Gary Beaver from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta village of Kasigluk.


Archeologists, tribal leaders and volunteers are racing against time to recover as many artifacts as they can from Nunalleq, an ancient village along the coast outside of Quinhagak. This summer, volunteers found an average of 100-200 artifacts a day.
Teresa Cotsirilos / KYUK

It’s been eight years since a small team began excavating an ancient village outside of Quinhagak. Now archeologists and tribal leaders are saving what they can before the site washes away. This summer, volunteers worked to recover what they could. Over the years, the artifacts they’ve found have given new insight into Yup'ik history during a time of war.


Andrew Gonzales holds up a tray of his vegan enchiladas, paired with rice and beans.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Six to seven hundred Bethelites decided to participate in the Taste of Bethel Ethnic Food Festival this past weekend at the Cultural Center. KYUK’s Christine Trudeau brings us this tableside report.

 


Bethel Native Works To Program A "Yup'ik Siri"

Jul 11, 2017
Courtesy of Christopher Liu.

YK Delta communities are keeping Yup'ik alive through immersion schools, bilingual media, teacher training programs, and speaking the language at home. And now, Bethel native Christopher Liu is doing his part to bring his language into the 21st century.


Cecelia Martz (left) and Len Kameraling discuss the film The Drums of Winter after a screening of the digitally restored documentary at the Bethel Cultural Center on May 12, 2017. Cecelia Martz is a retired UAF Kuskokwim University Campus professor of Ant
Dean Swope / KYUK Public Media

One of the most significant films about Yup’ik culture has been digitally restored. The Drums of Winter is an award-winning documentary shot in Emmonak 40 years ago that tells the story of Yup’ik dancing and potlatching between Emmonak and Alakanuk. After three years of restoration work, it's now being shown around the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta.


Filmed in Emmonak 40 years ago, The Drums of Winter tells the story of dancing and potlatching between Emmonak and Alakanuk. Filmed in collaboration with the communities, the story remains relevant and authentic today. The documentary has received some of film's highest honors, including being added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in recognition of its value to American culture. Now, the film has been digitally restored and is touring the Delta. KYUK sits down with some of the people behind the screenings to discuss the significance of the film and what we can learn from it today.


Carrying On The Legacy Of Yuyaraq, The Way Of Life

May 8, 2017
Katie Basile / KYUK

After this year's Yup'ik Heritage Week at Bethel Regional High School, a three-day Yuraq Yup’ik Dance Festival took place in the school gymnasium.

Dancers have come from villages across the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta for this year’s Dance Festival. This is the first year Yuraq has been held in Bethel, as it has traveled in the past from village to village. It’s one of the few times of year when groups can come together, listen to songs from other villages —some they may have never heard before—, and even join in with other dance groups.

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