With great respect, thank you to all the people featured in this movie.
I see many relatives I danced with in this real Qas'gi.
Such beautiful people, our Elders. The last Real Yup'ik who actually lived directly off the lands and waters before plywood houses. I remember some families living in them. In the same scene as the men working on the Qasgiq, I see the very qayaq I used to check on the fishnet upriver.
I grew up in a traditional village of Tununak. I learned from my elders and art study at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
The artwork is themed with storytelling I used to hear as a child. Using native materials of mastodon walrus ivory, whale baleen, driftwood, clams, beads, quills, dentalium shells feathers and modern materials. Each individually hand carved and carefully formed into the overall theme of each piece.
I enjoy telling stories into the work celebrating the Yup'ik Dance, the environment, animals, fish, birds, dreams, visions and ancestral stories.
I studied under Professor Ronald Senungetuk, founder and Director of the Alaska Native Arts Program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. We met with Elder master carvers in Bethel. Among them were Kay Hendrickson, Nicholas Charles, and Qussauyaq "Uncle John", my father-in-law. Their work can be seen at the Yupiiit Piciryarait Cultural Center in Bethel, Alaska.
I am happy with great admiration and respect to have known these real Yup'ik, Cup'ig and Inupiaq gentlemen who shared ancestral wisdom and knowledge through their fine art.