KYUK AM

Arts & Culture

Stories about the arts and culture.

A vital voice of KYUK's programming, John Active died on June 4, 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

John Active died one year ago, on June 4, 2018. KYUK misses him and works to continue his legacy of "Yup'ifying" the world. John was a translator, culture bearer, journalist, comedian, Elder, and National Public Radio's only Indigenous commentator. John identified as a storyteller, and made a career out of teaching people about the Yup'ik language and culture. KYUK reflects on John's legacy with his friends and colleagues.

A vital voice of KYUK's programming, John Active died on June 4, 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

This week marks one year since the death of public radio pioneer John Active. He helped create and define the bicultural and bilingual style of KYUK, and introduced the Yup’ik language and culture to the nation through his writing and storytelling. To this day, John remains the only Indigenous commentator to air on National Public Radio. 

Of all the roles John Active played: journalist, comedian, radio host, translator, and culture bearer, he identified himself most as a storyteller.
Katie Basile / KYUK

It's been one year since John Active died on June 4, 2018. Of his many roles in broadcasting, John identified most as a storyteller, a craft he learned from his grandmother, Maggie Lind. KYUK is remembering John this week by listening to his stories. Here is a selection of some of our favorites. Quyana, John.


KeoStrong shirts line the halls of Chief Paul Memorial School.
Greg Kim / KYUK

Graduations are in the air; BRHS celebrated theirs last Friday. In Kipnuk, seniors finished a week earlier, concluding a difficult school year in which senior basketball star Keoni Aliralria passed away from cancer. At graduation, diplomas were awarded to all the graduates, including Aliralria, who was nicknamed "Keo."


Making Art In A Changing World

May 20, 2019
Johanna Eurich KYUK

Four people from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta were awarded arts grants from the Rasmuson Foundation this year. Two are from the same family: Stephen Blanchett and his mother, Marie Meade. Blanchett, one of the founders of the musical group Pamyua, will use his $18,000 fellowship grant to focus on dance. He plans to use many techniques, including masks and the internet, to experiment with the traditional forms of Yup’ik dance.  

Attendees at Project Homeless Connect line up for a bowl of soup.
Anny Cochrane

Bethel held its fourth ever Project Homeless Connect event last Friday at the cultural center. The purpose of the event was to connect Bethel’s homeless population with services they might not already know about. 


Michelle DeWitt

Yesterday, two Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta women were inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame. Mary Ciuniq Pete was nominated because of her leadership in subsistence and education. Beverly Hoffman got the honor because of her work in the community and the long campaign she waged to get a fitness center built in Bethel. Many people from the hub community fished from boats in the Kuskokwim River, but did not know how to swim. They’ve been learning, because the fitness center that Hoffman helped get built has a swimming pool.

Rashah McChesney / KTOO

KYUK proudly took home seven awards during the annual Alaska Press Club Conference last week. Among KYUK’s accolades, former reporter Teresa Cotsirilos earned an honorable mention in the prestigious all media Public Service Award for her series about the daily struggles of a village police officer in Mountain Village. 

Two well-known Bethel residents will be inducted into the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame at the end of April: Beverly Hoffman and Mary Ciuniq Pete, according to the Delta Discovery. 

Drummers gather for the Heart of the Drums at the Cama-i Dance Festival at Bethel Regional High School on March 30, 2019.
Rashah McChesney / KTOO

The climax of the Cama-i Dance Festival falls in the middle of the event. All the drummers from the dance groups come together, circle the audience, and bang their drums as one. The ritual is called the Heart of the Drums and is led by festival emcee Peter Atchak. Atchak calls this moment his "favorite part of Cama-i." Hear an audio postcard of this moment.


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