Calista Education and Culture, Inc. Publishes Book About Ircenrraat

Yukon-Kuskokwim Elders Share Their Stories about the “Little People”

November 9, 2021

(Anchorage, Alaska) – For over 20 years, the Calista Education and Culture, Inc. (CECI) research team has interviewed Elders in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region about their traditional knowledge and published books based on those interviews.

During many of CECI’s discussions with Elders, the subject of ircenrraat (ik-chin-HUT), the little people, would pop up.

The Elders’ ircenrraat stories have now been published in a new book, “Ircenrraat: Other-than-human Persons,” by Alice Rearden, Marie Meade, Mark John and Ann Fienup-Riordan, available through the Alaska Native Language Center.

“We have been very fortunate to have heard many stories, and we are pleased to put them together in this book,” says Mark John, Cultural Advisor, Calista Education and Culture, Inc.

The ircenrraat are said to be very crafty. Elders say they live in a different dimension, with the ability to appear and disappear as they please in our world.

“Those who have encountered ircenrraat have witnessed them hunting, fishing, and gathering together as our own people do,” John says. “They have also stated that being invited to their dwelling for a day is like a year in our time.”

CECI has mailed copies of the book to all 52 schools in the Calista Region. In addition, the book is available for sale on the CECI website, www.calistaeducation.org and at Title Wave Books in Anchorage.

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Calista Education and Culture, Inc. (CECI) is the Alaska Native-owned 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing educational scholarships, cultural immersion programs and burial assistance to Calista Corporation Shareholders and Descendants. Since its inception, CECI has been very active in documenting the traditional knowledge of the Yup’ik people. Find CECI on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CalistaEducation and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/calistaeducation. If you would like more information or to schedule an interview with CECI staff, please contact Russ Slaten at media@calistacorp.com.