Qanruyuteput/Our Values

Takaquciyaraq/Showing Respect

One of the most important instructions when traveling on the land is to show respect not only for one's fellow travelers but for the land itself and everything within it.

Denis Sheldon of Alakanuk said with feeling:

"One thing I think is mentioned is the great respect our people especially have for old villages, old cemetery sites, and what people are able to do and not do. Because that's one of our greatest laws as a people--respect for not only ourselves, but everything around us.

And especially in old places, like the time we went to Nanvaruk, and we saw that old, old house [eroding from the bank], and there were artifacts in there. I was greatly awed by that. And I was glad that we didn't take anything from there because that's one thing we're told not to do. And so, along with place names, our customs and traditions, showing respect is one thing that will come about and hopefully will continue."

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Wangkuta Yup'igni una alerquun arcaqanrat uungulria takaquciyaraq/The most important teaching for us Yup'ik people is having respect

 Maani-wa waten ayagaluteng makut yuut piaqameng makunun nunamtenun nunacillernun-llu, arcaqerluki tamakut nunacillret, waten-llu ellillrit, tamakut wani alerqurlaqaitkut makut angayuqamta teggnemta-llu waten tekiskumta tamakunun cat imkut aturluki pisqelluki pilallrit. Tekitaqameng tamakunun nunacillernun ilait merquurlartut aviukarluteng-llu tamakunun.

Tamakut wani tamaaggun-wa tua-i ayautaqamteki makut ayagyuaput irniaput-llu elicarlaraput tamakugtun takarnarquciatnek nunacillret ellilallrit-llu piunrillernek. Tuaten ayagaqamta makunun ellikuneng pug'aqluki piciquq tamana. Tua-i-wa yuut, wangkuta Yup'igni una alerquun arcaqanrat uungulria takaquciyaraq, cat tamalkuita takaqluki,yuut arcaqerluki-llu makut nunacillret,augkut ciuliamta uitavillrit.

When people are traveling to our villages and to old villages, especially those old villages and places where they buried people, our parents and our elders instruct us when we reach those places about carrying on particular customs they used to carry out. When they arrive in those old villages, some people give offerings of water and food to those [ancestors].

When we bring our young people and our children along when we travel, we teach them about how to respect old villages and the places where they buried people. When we travel like that, if they are put in these [books], that will be brought up. For us Yup'ik people, the most important teaching for us Yup'ik people is having respect, having respect for everything, for people and especially old villages, the places where our ancestors once lived.

About Translations

Denis Sheldon, Alakanuk

Denis Sheldon

Aviukaryaraq/Offerings of Food and Water

Elders shared a deep spiritual connection to the land. It was not unusual when out on the land for travelers to practice aviukaryaraq, giving offerings of food and water to the ancestors buried in the land as well as to the land itself.

During a trip to Nanvaruk, Emmonak elder Ray Waska said:

"The people of Nanvaruk here, although they have died and are gone, they still feed people, they still provide for people. Sometimes when I arrive at this place, I give them a little bit of water thinking about their old people, keeping in mind their souls and asking them to help me."

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Aviukaryaraq/Offerings of food and water

 Tauna tua-i ilumuuguq avaken ciuliamtenek; wangkuta piliaqenritarput. Ciuliamta augkut tayim' Kass'artangvailgan tamana piciryaraqellruat. Tayima ilumuuguq.

Tua-i Jasper-am-llu qanrutkellrui tamakut ilumun. Waten-llu nunacillernun, waten enem'un yuilngurmun nunacillermun, qungutangqerrngan paugna qungunek, tua-i tuaten pisqelluku, aviukaqluku ciuliatma piciatun. Camek-llu kaigakuni, uumek cimiisqelluku umyuamegteggun, uumek cikiisqelluteng; tuaten. Tua-i ilumuuluni tauna. Atsiyalriit-llu tuaten tua-i pilartut atsaitaqameng-gguq.

Jasper Joseph-aam-llu qanrutellruanga tuaten, ayaglutek-gguq avavet Qip'ngayak-llu augna tekilluku. Pillrulliniatki tamakut, atsartaunani, iqvallrulliniluki tamakut iqvaryaraatni.

Uterrlutek, utercamek-llu tua-i saanilillinilutek. Tuani tua-i tamana tua-i qanrutkellren, aviukarqelliniluni, aterpaggluku qanerluni, 'Utrinaqatartukuk waniw' cameg' unangevkenanuk,' Atsnek tua-i cikiisqellutek. Angyam-gguq iluani yuurqertuk tamaani. Ilumuupiggluni, tua-i. Qanemcikellrua elliin Jasper Joseph-aam.

Tua-i-gguq ayakataami tagluni kiartuk-gguq ik'iki-gguq makut atsat, watua im' piitellret. Tagvailegmek tuani pillrulliniuk. Tagevkenani, kaigallrulliniuq tua-i. Tua-i-gguq atsaitevkenani tamana.

Ilumuuluni tua-i. Alingengengaituq, camek-llu-gguq alangrungaituq tuaten pikuni nunacillerni qavartaquni. Ilumuuguq, avaken ciuliamta tamana piliaqaa. Maa-i taugaam tua-i carraat ukvekaat, tamana amllerem ukvekenriraa. Tamangut-wa tamarmeng Yupiit piciryarait tamakut. Ciuliamta pikngaceteng agayuvigmek-llu qanyuicaaqluteng, tua-i tamakut cikiutekluki pakmaken. Ilumuuguq tauna. Yup’iugut; Kass'anek tangerpailegmeng tamakut tamana piciryaraqellruat.

That is indeed true, it's something that has been passed down from our ancestors; we didn't make it up. That was a custom of our ancestors before there were white people around. That is true.

And Jasper indeed talked about those things. And in old villages, if one comes upon a home that isn't occupied, an old village, if there are graves up there, they were told to do that, to give anything as an offering. And if that person is asking for something, they would tell them to replace it with this particular thing in their minds, they'd tell them to give this particular thing to them—like that. That is something that is true. And those going to pick berries do that when they don't have berries, they say.

And Jasper Joseph also told me that they traveled out there, and they reached Qip'ngayak [Black River] out there. Since [people] had already [picked the berries there], there were no berries, since they had evidently already picked those berries in the place where they usually picked berries.

They returned home, and when they returned home, they boiled water in a kettle for tea. During that time, [following] that custom that [Denis] mentioned, he evidently gave an offering, saying, "We're going to return home now without having obtained anything." They asked to be given berries. He said they had tea inside that boat. It is very true. Jasper Joseph told the story himself.

He said when he was about to leave, he went up onto land and they searched, and he said there were many berries, those that hadn't been around. They evidently [gave an offering] before they went up on land. Not going up on land, he evidently asked [for berries]. He said that place wasn't without berries.

It is a true custom. He said he won't be afraid, and he won't be haunted by anything if he does that when he is about to spend a night there at an old village. It is true, since long ago, our ancestors made up that custom. But only a few people believe in that today, many no longer believe in it. All of the Yup'ik traditions are starting to be lost. These are our ancestors' [traditions] and they didn't speak of churches in the past, but those were gifts from above. That is indeed true. They were Yup'ik people; that was their custom before they saw white people.

About Translations

Benedict Tucker, Emmonak

Benedict Tucker

Group photo

Kotlik young people Deon Aketachunak, Joallyn Johnson, and Juan Akaran explore the country near their home, July 2011.

Photo Credit: Ann Fienup-Riordan

Brandon Murphy

Bossy (Brandon Murphy) and his first seal, taken near Em'amaq, just off the main channel of the Yukon River, July 2011.

Photo Credit: Ann Fienup-Riordan