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National Geographic Photo Camp

July 25, 2018

Last week, while we were out digging, 22 young photographers attended National Geographic’s photo camp. A selection of their work was presented in a well attended final show in the village on Friday. You can see it here:

Here are some voices from the Workshop – on what it means to be Yup’ik, and hopes for the future:

Being Yupik to me means that I am closer to the earth, the spirits and the animals. Especially with being a woman we are close to the weather patterns when we become women, and the spirits are clear and close depending on out actions. Lastly, the animals are important in being Yupik because of the way we harvest and eat it. So everything just plays an important role as a Yupik person. 

My hopes for the future is to have the younger generations, as myself, carry on tradition and continue what our ancestors started. And for the community to come together as they used to, all in all, just to reconnect to our roots as Alaska natives. 

My gift would be that I am here, and in this generation to carry on our culture, and to learn more as I grow older. Also that I make people look bomb with a new hairstyle, cute nails, and cosmetics as well!

Ray Ann Tikium


To me Yup’ik means Native. Being Yup’ik is very important because we have a culture and we are very connected to it. Some of our cultural activity includes gathering berries over the summer, cutting fish for dry fish – also putting fresh fish into the freezer, hunting caribou and seal. Other culture women do is sewing grass basket, beading making grass dolls, and etc…. Being Yup’ik also has a Native language, I speak fluent Yup’ik… But not a whole lot. 

Thats what it means to me to be Yup’ik

Vanessa Hunter


To me being Yupik is being connected, to your culture, the stories, and your family. 

Being connected is an easy way to learn about our rich culture, culture that you’ll learn from stories that you hear from your family and stories you’ll find in books. Culture, you can see it every day around you from the older generations and the elders. They pass it on to you so you can pass it on to your kids and their kids. Can also read about our culture in books from our elders and our ancestors. They tell stories because they all have special meaning. 

Carl Nicolai

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