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The Akiak Project Jukebox is comprised of interviews with elders conducted in November 2004, with video clips of storytelling and slideshows of historic and modern photographs related to the people and community of Akiak, Alaska. This project was a collaboration between Shawna Williams, Yupiit Elitnaurutait Local Cultural Coordinator in Akiak, students of Elizabeth Kent's sixth and seventh grade class in Akiak, and the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The Yupiit School District formed by the Yup'ik villages of Akiachak, Akiak, and Tuluksak, designed a program in 1999 for cultural heritage education, entitled Yupiit Elitnaurutait (Cultural Teachings), whose central principle is "to strengthen and support Yup'ik identity of students through the Yupiit Piciyarait (Way of Life)." As part of that program, Yupiit Elitnaurutait staff members collaborated with the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to create the Akiachak, Akiak and Tuluksak Project Jukeboxes to bring together Yup'ik oral history, traditional knowledge, and historical documentation.
The Akiak Jukebox project was funded by the Yupiit School District and U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education Grant #S56A030068 & T290U010503. The original Akiak Project Jukebox was completed in 2005, and in 2021 it was upgraded from its original HTML format to Drupal. The information in this project reflects the context of the original creation date. Some information may now be out of date.
Bertha Beaver was a Yup'ik elder raised in Kasigluk, Alaska where she learned to fish and haul wood, as well as sew, cut fish, and cook. She lived with foster parents and took care of them when they became ill. She moved to Akiak, Alaska around 1950 when she got married at age sixteen. She raised nine children. Bertha passed away in May 2007.
Elizabeth Egoak was a Yup'ik elder from Akiak, Alaska. Her father was a reindeer herder so she grew up traveling with the herds and living at seasonal reindeer herding camps. When reindeer herding ended in the region, the family settled in Kwethluk, Alaska. In 1932, Elizabeth moved to Akiak when she married Lott Egoak. Elizabeth passed away in 2013. She was 90 years old.
Wassillie Evan (Misngalria) was a Yup'ik elder from Akiak, Alaska. He was born in 1930 in Napaskiak, Alaska and grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle of hunting, trapping, and fishing. Throughout his life, Wassillie spent a lot of time traveling on the land and waters in the region and became an expert on survival, navigation, trails, and traditional Yupi'k place names. He was also a traditional healer. Wassillie passed away in 2010. He was 80 years old.
Marian Jackson is a Yup'ik elder who was born in Akiak, Alaska in 1935 to Cecelia and Noah Jackson. Her grandparents on her father's side were John and Mary Jackson, and her grandparents on her mother's side were Kapiuli and Iqsina from Kwethluk, Alaska. Marian has worked as a tradition bearer in the local school and at summer camps to pass along her Yup'ik traditions, culture, language, and history to the younger generation.
Annie Kawagley was a Yup'ik elder from Akiak, Alaska. She grew up in Kwethluk, Alaska and as a young woman worked at the children's home there. She moved to Akiak in 1949 to marry Solomon Kawagley. In addition to caring for her family, she worked as a community health aide and helped her husband who worked in the Native store with his father. Annie was a gifted seamstress, skin sewer, and knitter.
Lillian Lliabon is Yup'ik and was born and raised in Akiak, Alaska. She grew up following a traditional subsistence lifestyle and listening to her grandparents, Helena and Waska Williams, and her mother, Maggie Japhet, tell traditional and historical stories in Yup'ik, including about how Akiak was started and the special Akiak parka design.
John Phillip is a Yup'ik elder from Akiak, Alaska. He was born at a fall camp near Eek, Alaska and grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle of hunting, trapping, and fishing. He moved to Akiak, Alaska in 1946 when he was eight years old after his father died and his mother married Eddie Owens. His stepfather took him to seasonal camps and taught him how to trap mink and beaver, set fish traps and nets, travel the country, and know the traditional Yup'ik place names of the area. In... Read More
Mary Phillip was a Yup'ik elder who was born in Aniak, Alaska in 1936 to Susan and Steven Ivan. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle and learned to sew skins and make boots (mukluks) and clothing from her mother. She attended school until the 8th grade and later became a community health aide and earned a degree in nursing. In the early 1960's, she married John Philip and raised a large family while also working. In 1971, the family lived in Bethel for eight months after... Read More