Arts & Culture

Stories about the art and culture.

Esther Hana performs at Bethel's Cultural Center.
Teresa Cotsirilos/KYUK

On a rainy Friday afternoon, Esther Hanviriyapunt - known by her stage name, Esther Hana - sat down at the Cultural Center's piano and warmed up for her Bethel debut. A renowned musician with a brisk, warm smile, she's performed in Zurich, Bangkok, and Chicago. And now, she’s played in Bethel too.

The concert was a benefit for the Bethel Family Clinic, and the brainchild of a clinic dentist who just wanted to help out a friend.

Alaska celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day on Monday and first peoples in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta joined in the celebrations along with tribal communities across the state.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Alaska celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day on Monday and first peoples in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta joined in the celebrations along with tribal communities across the state. KYUK has this story from the Kuskokwim University Campus Indigenous Peoples' Day gathering.



Tonight at the Bethel Cultural Center, a celebration of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta’s first peoples is taking place.
Dean Swope / KYUK

The second Monday in October is Alaska’s first official Indigenous Peoples' Day, once celebrated as Columbus Day. The Bethel Cultural Center will be celebrating the first peoples of the YK Delta at 6 p.m. on Monday, October 9. The Kuskokwim Campus, along with all University of Alaska Fairbanks rural campuses, have planned a day packed with activities.


Dean Swope / KYUK

On Sunday, Bethel said farewell to Father Chuck Peterson. The Jesuit Catholic priest began serving in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in the 1970s, and spent decades building the local, indigenous leadership of the church. Following a series of health issues, including an incident of severe bleeding outside his brain, the church is transferring Father Chuck to California. The priest sat down with KYUK before he left.

Tom McCallson and Shana Silcott are flying to the US Virgin Islands tomorrow, to help as many people as they can.
Teresa Cotsirilos/KYUK

Until a few weeks ago, Shana Silcott had talked to her mother every day of her life. Shana grew up on St. Croix, the largest hub in the Virgin Islands’ green archipelago. And when she moved to the mainland a few years ago, her mother was worried.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Join the Tundra Women’s Coalition tonight, Tuesday, September 19, for a screening of The Drum Keeper. The short film, produced by KYUK, tells the story of one young man’s journey of healing and leadership through drumming.

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.

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.