KYUK's Yup’ik Word Of The Week Goes Digital

Jan 23, 2018

Students from Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, the Yup’ik immersion elementary school in Bethel, are helping KYUK produce a series of animated videos.
Credit Courtesy of KYUK

KYUK’s Yup’ik Word of the Week is entering the digital age. Students from the Ayaprun Yup’ik Immersion School are helping to produce a series of colorful, animated videos that can be shared on social media, each of which explains the meaning of a different Yup’ik word.

The project is the brainchild of radio host John Active and Multimedia Producer Katie Basile, who hope that the series will encourage the use of the Yup’ik language by the young.

Word of the Week has come a long way over the years. John Active started the project in the early 1980s by writing Yup’ik words in cursive on a piece of paper and taping it up in KYUK’s studios.

"And I would write on top of it, 'this is Yup’ik word of the day,'" John said in an interview with Native America Calling last week. "And it would be like waqaa with the English word [written] on the bottom."

Word of the Week eventually became a popular radio segment. Now, Active says that it’s available on every smartphone.

"I’m very happy and proud inside when I hear young people speaking our language,” John said in both English and Yup’ik last week. “The adults can't complain because these people have children that are interested in their words. And we’re glad that they’re interested."

KYUK will post a different Word of the Week video on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and our website every week.