Alaska U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan honored the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta’s very own John Active on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon.
A venerated Yup'ik elder and storyteller, Active recently retired from KYUK, where he worked as a radio host for decades. In addition to entertaining Alaskans, Sullivan said, Active has devoted his life to keeping the Yup'ik language and culture alive.
"In the not so distant past, Alaska Natives were discouraged, and sometimes even punished, for speaking in their native languages," said Sullivan. "John wants to spread not just the culture, but the values of the Yup'ik community, in his words, to 'Yup-ify' Alaska and the world."
Sullivan paid tribute to Active as part of his “Alaskan of the Week” series. Every week, the Senator publicly thanks a different resident for their contributions to their communities. Sullivan also had kind words for KYUK. "I want to thank KYUK for bringing bilingual content to Alaskans and public broadcasting," he said. "And of course, I want to thank John for being one of the major conduits for doing that pioneering work."
Active happened to be visiting KYUK when Sullivan took the U.S. Senate floor to thank him. He said that he wasn’t sure how Sullivan caught wind of his retirement, but was honored and humbled to be recognized.