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Anchorage Museum displays KYUK piece on Red Devil

The logo for the Anchorage Museum's Pass the Mic exhibit.
The Anchorage Museum
The logo for the Anchorage Museum's "Pass the Mic" exhibit.

Several people have reached out to KYUK in regard to a 2019 news piece that is currently part of the “Pass the Mic” exhibit at the Anchorage Museum.

The exhibit website states that “this interactive sound experience offers visitors the chance to listen to, create, or interact with sound. "Pass the Mic" features music from Alaska music makers and sound artists, and was developed in collaboration with Alaska’s home-grown Grammy-award-winning rock band Portugal. The Man. An in-gallery music main stage hosts live and recorded performances, along with public programming.” Byron Nicolai of Toksook Bay, known as "I Sing You Dance," is among the featured artists.

The KYUK news piece in the exhibit is part one of a three-part series that explores viewpoints of the residents of Red Devil. Curators of the exhibit told KYUK that they chose the story because it speaks to the importance of the audio format in covering remote locations. Few places are as remote as Red Devil.

The way the news story is displayed in the exhibit has caused confusion and some sharing of misinformation. KYUK would like to address these concerns and remain fully transparent with the hope that our audience maintains full confidence in our independence as a local media outlet.

The Anchorage Museum contacted KYUK regarding this project and requested the use of two news stories, one of them being “This Old Alaska Mining Town Has Everything To Gain From The Donlin Gold Mine”. KYUK received a $200 honorarium from the museum for the use of these stories, although we would have happily provided them at no cost.

Any characterization that KYUK has received any other compensation from any other entity for use of these materials is false. KYUK’s vision statement reads “Culturally relevant programming for Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta residents, delivered to the world.” For this reason, we rarely deny nonprofits or trusted media organizations permission to use our news pieces. Like all of our news, this piece is publicly available and intended for broad, public consumption. We believe that participating in this exhibit helps us deliver on our core purpose.

Sponsors of the exhibit include the Atwood Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others, and can be found online on the exhibit’s page for the museum. The Anchorage Museum said that neither Donlin Gold nor Calista provided funding for this exhibit, nor any other funding to the museum in the last decade.

The way the news story is currently displayed at the museum has caused concern and left many perplexed, even angry. The exhibit identifies Bethel as the location of KYUK, but it could appear to some that Bethel is the village being featured. We have asked the museum to change the wording on the exhibit to make it clear that the village being featured is Red Devil, not Bethel.

This story accurately reflects the thoughts and feelings of the residents of Red Devil at that moment in time. We’ve covered the proposed mine for decades, and this piece is one of hundreds on the mine. We encourage our audience to reflect on our entire body of work when analyzing our approach to this or any subject.

From news stories to sources and the partnerships and collaborations that we choose, KYUK remains committed to responding to the issues that affect the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta with honesty, integrity, and independence. We look forward to seeing the next KYUK piece in the Anchorage Museum. It will tell the story of the return of Yup’ik dancing in Napaskiak after a seven-decade absence.

As always, questions or concerns can be sent directly to the KYUK General Manager at Also, KYUK’s Board of Directors can be found on our website.

Shane has been serving as General Manager since 2016. He joined KYUK as a journalist before he was promoted to radio director. He coaches several youth sports teams and enjoys hunting and fishing for his family and friends.