Opinion

Peter Twitchell: Stop passing the buck on our Yup'ik culture





Peter Twitchell urges Yup'ik people to carry on their traditions and culture:
We keep passing the buck. Is our attitude that someone else can help heal our families? Only we can do that. Who knows more about our culture than we do – no one. We are the ones responsible for the survival of our cultural spirit. Through our extended family, we retain and live the Yup’ik way, which is no longer practiced.

One summer I didn’t fish, I asked a man from our church. The next time you go out, can I have a fresh Salmon, I haven’t had one all summer. His reply to me was shocking, when he said, “We’ll see.”

It’s good to see some of us still practice the old ways. We share what we catch, and if someone is hungry we will share what we have with them, and it’s not about whether or not it is an inconvenience to us, we just automatically share with someone who is in need. For this reason we need to instruct our youth about our traditional values and bring back our slowly fading culture.

We cannot assimilate into the western point of world view, because it’s not who we are. It is not in our genes to live a totally other way of life, it’s important to practice our traditional values, and cultural traditions. That’s the only way our Yup’ik tribe will survive in modern times.

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Peter Twitchell: Practice Yup'ik Ways (The Delta Discovery 4/9)