Arts & Culture

Stories about the arts and culture.

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.

NASA Mars Mission Gets An Assist From Delta-Grown Engineer

Sep 15, 2017
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.

Archeologists, tribal leaders and volunteers are racing against time to recover as many artifacts as they can from Nunalleq, an ancient village along the coast outside of Quinhagak. This summer, volunteers found an average of 100-200 artifacts a day.
Teresa Cotsirilos / KYUK

It’s been eight years since a small team began excavating an ancient village outside of Quinhagak. Now archeologists and tribal leaders are saving what they can before the site washes away. This summer, volunteers worked to recover what they could. Over the years, the artifacts they’ve found have given new insight into Yup'ik history during a time of war.

Food Festival Celebrates Bethel's Diversity

Aug 21, 2017
Andrew Gonzales holds up a tray of his vegan enchiladas, paired with rice and beans.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Six to seven hundred Bethelites decided to participate in the Taste of Bethel Ethnic Food Festival this past weekend at the Cultural Center. KYUK’s Christine Trudeau brings us this tableside report.


Bethel Native Works To Program A "Yup'ik Siri"

Jul 11, 2017
Courtesy of Christopher Liu.

YK Delta communities are keeping Yup'ik alive through immersion schools, bilingual media, teacher training programs, and speaking the language at home. And now, Bethel native Christopher Liu is doing his part to bring his language into the 21st century.