The ancestors lived off the land, sky, and waters in a circle. All the fish and wildlife honored their part to share with humans who followed Qaneryaqaq – The Word. The oral tradition of guidance, love, peace, respect and how to be a real person.
They lived a simple life based on the gifts given to him by Ellam Yua. Describing him as the person of the sky, the heavens or the universe who had control over all. “They did not know his name, Jesus, until the missionaries came. They (missionaries) brought Qaneryaraq, the word in written form, the Bible.” Deacon Mike Angaiak, Sr. The Yup'ik people were already a living obedience when The Word arrived.
For thousands of years they believed in Ellam Yua. They danced in celebration to honor the creator Agayun, during the Agayuliyararput – Our Way of Making Prayer. The great dance festival of sharing was a celebration of lifegiving gifts honoring Ellam Yua. It was believed the animals gave themselves as gifts for sharing. Some masks had holes in their hands to represent Ellam Yua’s control over those gifts. He would begin to close them because man got greedy. The animals watched how their bodies were treated during the preservation process. Fish bones were also dried for the remaining meat and fat. The animals watched as their bodies were shared to those less fortunate. They also saw the poor being clothed from their skins. All living creatures from insects, mice to birds were also watching. They saw their animal parts turned into masks, headgear, dance fans and drums.
Ellam Yua Jesus then being pleased of the love, humility, respect, and the gift-giving, all creatures gained permission to celebrate with man once again. Each creature having one spirit knowing their purpose. We are a single connected living being. Every gift from the land, air and water serving the other in service to man and those around him. Selfless giving and sharing of these creatures served as a humble gesture of love from our creator Ellam Yua Jesus. Quyana Agayun.