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Home  >  Digital Archives  >  People of the North  >  Native Peoples
Yup'ik / Cup'ik

The Eskimos of western and southwestern Alaska live in many villages, most of them along the great rivers and the coastline. Throughout history, dancing, carving, and storytelling have enlivened a subsistence lifestyle in which marine mammals, big game and fish play an important role. Bethel, on the Kuskokwim River, is the "Bush capital" for this huge region dotted with villages that are not connected to Alaska's road system. People rely on airplanes, boats, snowmachines, and ATVs to get around, using rivers and trails as their roads. Today a majority of Native people in Southwestern Alaska speak a Yup'ik dialect as well as English. Young and old, the people enjoy getting together for potlatches and holiday festivities. Young girls often share stories by using a "storyknife" to draw figures in wet mud or sand as they talk. Native games to exhibit special strength or skill include one-foot or two-foot kick, ear pull, and others.


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Gallery of Images
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Shelter cabin - Tuliksak to Kalskag, 2/1940
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In Native steam bath at Kalskag, Alaska, 2/1940
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Eskimo housewife going to the cache for food, Nunachuk, Alaska, 3/40
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Coiled grass basket in the form of a tea kettle
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Yup'ik wolf mask
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