Yupiit Nation meeting gets underway in Tunt

by Angela Denning-Barnes on July 29, 2011

The Yupiit Nation commenced their annual meeting this morning in Tuntutuliak. Yup’ik Tribesmen and women from the Kuskokwim area villages are there.

The Tuntutuliak Traditional council secretary Lena Galila made welcoming remarks, before Yupiit Chief Mike Williams senior went over the agenda for the two day meet.

Keynote speaker, Anna Davidson, who is the executive director of the Alaska Tribal Leaders Summit, made some points in her message. One stood out, when she told the Yupiit to stop blaming the United States Government for all the social and political problems. She says that the Yupiit have to understand the tangled web of federal and state laws the Yupiit find themselves in. That the laws need to be thoroughly understood before being able to properly self-govern Alaska tribes.

Davidson also gave a deeper meaning to who Yup’ik people are, she recounted a time when as a child she asked, “why are we called Yup’ik ?,” the answer she got was that the land and animals call us “Yupiit”, that we are the real people who walk on the earth, where they, the land and animals have become a part of the world.

Davidson says that the Yupiit need to put into practice the concept of the whole village raising a child, where an adult may discipline any child and send them off in the right direction of life. Communication between parents being key.

Along the same line, she said that when a member of a community commits an offense against society, the whole community shoulders the shame. Davidson was in strong support of villages coming up with their own local interventions.

The State fish and game and Federal Fish and Wildlife officials arrived mid-morning, and a hearty discussion of fish is currently underway.

Chief Williams will be giving a report on the status of the Yupiit Nation after lunch to be followed by a question and answer period. The Yupiit Nation meeting will continue on Saturday morning at 9 a-m.

By the way, I saw some bright red salmon berries ripening on my way into the village.

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