Arts & Culture

Stories about the arts and culture.

Elias Venes died at age 91 in Bethel on November 29, 2019.
Connie Sankwich

Bethel lost a beloved Elder in the days after Thanksgiving. Elias Venes died on November 29, 2019 at the age of 91. For the following week, family, friends, and community members gathered in his home to share stories, grieve, and remember the man who served as father, grandfather, uncle, and friend to so many.

Krysti Shallenberger / KYUK

Santa Claus delivered presents to Napakiak a little early this year: on Dec. 4 instead of the night before Christmas. And instead of behind flying reindeer, he arrived in a Black Hawk helicopter. 

Wyatt White shows off code for the next game he's working on, called Raven's Nest.
Courtesy of Wyatt White

A video game was released last month, perhaps the first one set around Bethel, Alaska. Game creator Wyatt White, who was raised in Bethel, demonstrated the game.

Krysti Shallenberger / KYUK

What does it take to be a good parent? Mary and Ulrich Ulroan from Chevak say that it takes raising children with a fierce love for subsistence and their Yup’ik and Cup’ik cultures. Those efforts were rewarded last week when the Alaska Federation of Natives honored the Ulroans as Parents of the Year.  

Gladys Jung Elementary School Dancers perform at Bethel's Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration at the Bethel Cultural Center on October 14, 2019.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

Bethel celebrated its third annual Indigenous Peoples' Day on Monday. The celebration included an evening of Yup’ik dance, Native Olympic games, sharing of Elder wisdom, and a potluck. To begin the event, community members marched down Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway, holding signs, wearing headdresses, and beating a drum. KYUK walked with them and has this audio postcard.

At its annual convention last week, the Association of Village Council Presidents gave out awards to members of the 56 tribes it represents. AVCP models these awards on similar ones given out during the Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention.

Elders and community members sang a song at Sophie Alexie's potluck to celebrate her life.
Greg Kim / KYUK

The community lost one of its most beloved teachers of Yup’ik language and culture when Sophie Alexie passed away on Aug. 6. Community members gathered for a potluck in Bethel on Aug. 19 to celebrate her life. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

How do you keep a language alive? On Tuesday, a state council is asking people to call in with their suggestions on how to do that with Alaska’s many Native languages. Retired UAF Alaska Native Studies professor Cecilia Martz has watcher the languages change over time, and she has some ideas after dedicating her career to teaching cross-culture studies.

The state of Alaska Native languages is the subject of a teleconference today, Aug. 2. The Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council will use the testimony to write its biennial report to the governor and state lawmakers. 

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.