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Wise Words of the Yup'ik People

We Talk to You because We Love You, New Edition

Ann Fienup-Riordan

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: Bison Books
Published: 04/2020
Pages: 402
Subject: Social Science
eBook ISBN: 9781496211163


The Yup'ik people of southwest Alaska were among the last Arctic peoples to come into contact with non‑Natives, and as a result, Yup'ik language and many traditions remain vital into the twenty‑first century. Wise Words of the Yup'ik People documents their qanruyutait (adages, words of wisdom, and oral instructions) regarding the proper living of life. Throughout history these distinctive adages have guided the relations between men and women, parents and children, siblings and cousins, fellow villagers, visitors, strangers, and non‑Natives. Yup'ik elders have chosen to share these adages during Calista Elders Council gatherings and conventions since 1998 because of their continued relevance and power to change lives. The Calista Elders Council (now Calista Education and Culture) recently spearheaded efforts at cultural revitalization through gatherings with younger community members. By describing the content of traditional instruction as well as its central motivation—"We talk to you because we love you"—elders not only educate Yup'ik young people but also open a window into their view of the world for all of us. A new introduction explores this book's impact over the past decade.Wise Words of the Yup'ik People will continue to serve as a valuable resource for the Yup'ik people and those who wish to learn more about their lives and values.  


Ann Fienup-Riordan is an independent scholar. She is the author and editor of many books, including Hunting Tradition in a Changing World: Yup'ik Lives in Alaska Today and Yup'ik Words of Wisdom: Yupiit Qanruyutait, New Edition (Nebraska, 2018). Alice Rearden is a Yup'ik speaker and leading translator for the Calista Elders Council.