Yupik

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Yupik languages, English (in Alaska), Russian (in Siberia)

Christianity (mostly Russian Orthodox), Shamanism

Inuit, Sirenik, Aleut

The Yupik or, in the Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik, are a group of indigenous or aboriginal peoples of western, southwestern, and southcentral Alaska and the Russian Far East. They include the Central Alaskan Yup'ik people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta, the Kuskokwim River, and coastal Bristol Bay in Alaska; the Alutiiq (or Sugpiaq) of the Alaska Peninsula and coastal and island areas of southcentral Alaska; and the Siberian Yupik of the Russian Far East and St. Lawrence Island in western Alaska. They are Eskimo and are related to the Inuit.

The Central Alaskan Yup'ik are by far the most numerous group of Yupik. The Central Alaskan Yup'ik who live on Nunivak Island call themselves Cup'ig (plural Cup'it). Those who live in the village of Chevak call themselves Cup'ik (plural Cup'it).

Contents

Culture

Traditionally, families spent the spring and summer at fish camp, then joined with others at village sites for the winter. Many families still harvest the traditional subsistence resources, especially salmon and seal.

The men's communal house, the qasgiq, was the community center for ceremonies and festivals which included singing, dancing, and storytelling. The qasgiq was used mainly in the winter months, because people would travel in family groups following food sources throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. Aside from ceremonies and festivals, it was also where the men taught the young boys survival and hunting skills, as well as other life lessons. The young boys were also taught how to make tools and qayaqs (kayaks) during the winter months in the qasgiq. The ceremonies involve a shaman.

The women's house, the ena, was traditionally right next door, and in some areas they were connected by a tunnel. Women taught the young girls how to sew, cook, and weave. Boys would live with their mothers until they were about five years old, then they would live in the qasgiq. Each winter, from anywhere between three to six weeks, the young boys and young girls would switch, with the men teaching the girls survival and hunting skills and toolmaking and the women teaching the boys how to sew and cook.

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