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Yup'ik traditional knowledge

By: mpaukan

Yup’ik Traditional Knowledge

By Mariah Paukan

In the Yupik region the elders, parents, and Yup’ik teachers provide instruction for our traditional activities throughout the year. Learning Yup’ik ways begins at home, where we are able to hear our grandparents. and parents survival stories with the lesson they teach.

Most of the stories that were told tell of survival and what to do if you get lost. The purpose of some stories is to learn to bring extra gas, food, and extra clothes when you travel by boat or snow machine. You won’t be cold and will have enough gas to get you to the next village or city. the Elders and teachers of our communities teach us to trust most animals because the animals can be great help if you get stranded in the wilderness.

One story they told during Yup’ik class is about a man who went to go get blackfish for his mom. On his way back home his snow machine ran out of gas. He started walking home and when he was half way home he got cold and saw a tree and lied down at the foot of the tree. When he was about to sleep he felt some of the fish jump inside his coat. The fish that he caught were black fish, which are small fish. After he felt them jumping in his coat he saw a white fox which went into the trees and then came back to him. The fox was trying to help him get back home, so he followed it until the fox left him on the frozen river. So he continued walking again until he saw lights and heard snowmachine noises.

The person who was on the snow machine was one of his cousins, so his cousin brought him home to his mom. When he got home he lied down on the couch and almost fell asleep when the fish started to jump again. So he gave the fish to his mom and fell asleep on their couch.

 When the person told this story to our Yup’ik class they asked us what was the purpose of the story? We told them that the purpose of the story is to learn to bring enough gas, food, and clothes when you travel by boat or snow machine. You won’t be

 

 

cold and will have enough gas to get you to the next village or city. The stories also teach us to trust most animals because they can be great help when you get stranded. That is one of the survival stories that most people have heard and most people understand that the stories are true.

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