Yup’ik Teaching Moment:

Upnerkiyarluni [Oop-nugh-GHEE-yah-LOO-ni] “Go to Spring Camp”

Storyknife, March/April 2023 edition

Calista Education and Culture, Inc.
Salmon hanging on drying racks in Napakiak, Alaska. Photo: Russ Slaten.

Calista Education & Culture, Inc. (CECI) presents the Yup’ik Teaching Moment in our Storyknife newsletter. CECI highlights Yuuyaraq, the traditional/cultural way of being in our Region. This Yup’ik Teaching Moment is provided by Mark John, CECI Cultural Advisor of Nightmute and Toksook Bay.

Before snow machines came around in the late 1950s and early 60s, people in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region traveled by walking or with dog teams. They were not fast, so families often went to their spring camps.

In the coastal region, most went to their seal hunting camps and stayed and fished for summer fish. At their camps they also caught walrus, beluga, sea ducks and fished for salmon, halibut, cod and other saltwater fish. They usually stayed until going to their fall camps.

In the river systems, many went to their pike and white fish camps. At their camps they also hunted muskrat when the lakes thawed. Some, like in Kwethluk, went far up the river and returned home in a raft made of bear and moose skins when the river broke up in the spring.

Upnerkiyarluni [Uhp-nugh-GHEE-yah-LOO-ni] is Yup’ik meaning to “go to spring camp.”

Many looked forward to spring camps because food was plentiful. It is a season when people could access ptarmigan and all sorts of ducks and geese along with their eggs.

The mission of Calista Education & Culture, Inc. (CECI) is to celebrate and promote Yuuyaraq, the traditional/cultural way of being in the Calista Region which inspires and encourages our people to achieve their dreams through education.

The CECI scholarship program awards scholarships two times each year. The application deadline for the Fall 2023 Term scholarship is June 30, and the Spring Term scholarship application is due December 1 each year. Apply today!