“Kenekngamceci Qanrutamceci (We Talk To You Because We Love You)”: Yup’ik “Culturalism” at the Umkumiut Culture Camp

Ann Fienup-Riordan and translations by Alice Rearden


Introduction. The gap between the older and the younger generations is one of the points where healing can benefit everyone. In recent years, “culture camps” have sprung up in rural Alaska as a means of bringing Elders and young people together to learn subsistence skills, oral history, and cultural traditions. In the Yup’ik region, the Elders have formed the Calista Elders Council (CEC) as a way of promoting activities that preserve and transmit Yup’ik values and traditions. Youth culture camps are one of the activities the Council supports. In the summer of 2000, Ann Fienup-Riordan, who has long carried out high quality research in the Yup’ik area, was asked to document the CEC culture camp, including the stories told during “Elder time,” an hour set aside each evening for the Elders to talk to the young people. In her presentation, Fienup-Riordan discusses not only what and how the Elders taught, but also their deliberate use of traditional narrative methods for instructing children, to counteract the diminishing narrative practices in contemporary village life. WHA

  • Ann Fienup-Riordan, 9951 Prospect Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99516

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