Alaska Native Studies Department
Marie Meade is a Yup’ik Eskimo raised in Nunapitchuk, Alaska. She has worked as a translator and Yup’ik language specialist, has taught Yup’ik at Alaska Pacific University, and is a member of the world-traveled Nunamta Yup’ik dance group. Anthropologist Ann Fienup-Riordan is the author of numerous books on the people of Alaska, including a companion volume to this book, The Living Tradition of Yup’ik Masks: Agayuliyararput, Our Way of Making Prayer.
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Our Way of Making Prayer
| ||Transcribed and translated by Marie Meade Edited by Ann Fienup-Riordan Drawing on the remembrances of elders who were born in the early 1900s and saw the last masked Yup’ik dances before missionary efforts forced their decline, Agayuliyararput is a collection of first-person accounts of the rich culture surrounding Yup’ik masks. Stories by thirty-three elders from all over southwestern Alaska, presented in parallel Yup’ik and English texts, include a wealth of information about the creation and function of masks and the environment in which they flourished. The full-length, unannotated stories are complete with features of oral storytelling such as repetition and digression; the language of the English translation follows the Yup’ik idiom as closely as possible. |
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Things of our Ancestors
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In the 1988s, the Norwegian-born traveler Johan Adrian Jacobsen spent a year in Alaska and amassed an unprecedented collection of Yup’ik material culture that eventually made its way to Germany’s most prominent ethnographic museum. More than a century later, a delegation of Yup’ik elders and educators from Bethel, Alaska, joined cultural anthropologists and museum professionals at the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin to examine and interpret Jacobsen’s collection, one of the world’s largest and most impressive Yup’ik collections. Things of Our Ancestors is a record of this unusual meeting of minds and cultures. Evoking the stories and experiences that the cultural artifacts embody, the Yup’ik elders examine and discuss these objects made by their ancestors, reclaiming knowledge on the verge of being lost. For this Yup’ik-English bilingual book, anthropologist Ann Fienup-Riordan has chosen stories and accounts of the Berlin exchange that best describe the collection and the visit. The narrative is accompanied by sixty-six photographs of this unprecedented episode of cultural revival.
This book will prove a treasure for Yup’ik readers, linguists, folklorists, anthropologists, and historians, and will hold much interest for anyone concerned with Native American oral tradition.