A well-known Bethelite will be inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame on Oct. 20.
Reyne Athanas arrived in Bethel in the early 1970s to teach art at the Kilbuck School. After teaching in Bethel public schools for decades, Athanas began working with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus. There, she ran events at the Cultural Center and started what she might be best known for: Bethel’s Saturday Markets and, more recently, Taste of Bethel.
She’s also helped form other organizations. She started the Kuskokwim Art Guild and helped found the Tundra Women’s Coalition. She’s been a main driver in the Bethel Council on the Arts, youth art camps, the Best in the West small business competition, the Bethel Dog Show, and other programs.
Throughout her time in Bethel, Athanas has created spaces for the community to gather, usually around good art and good food. It’s a legacy that has made Bethel richer and more connected, and a legacy that so many of us look forward to continuing after the pandemic.
Join the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame 2020 inductees in a virtual ceremony on Oct. 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. You can find the link to the event on the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame website.
Past Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta women to be inducted are Mary Ciuniq Pete, Beverly Kikikaaq Hoffman, and Marie Mead.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Michelle DeWitt of Bethel was inducted into the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame. That is incorrect. She was awarded a Woman of Achievement distinction from the Alaska YWCA in 2017. Also, an earlier version of this story said that Reyne Athanas first started teaching in Bethel at Kuskokwim Learning Academy. She actually started teaching at Kilbuck School.