Through language, Yup’ik teacher passes on a way of life

May 10, 2019

On a warm, sunny day in the village of Tuntutuliak, a group of children run around each other on a boardwalk outside of the bright blue building that houses the village’s K-12 school.

Their shouting is a blend of Yugtun and English.

That blend of languages is mirrored inside the school. Small, flippable signs hang on the outside of each classroom door. They designate the language of the day. Some days it is English. Others it’s Yugtun.

In Alice Fitka’s class, it’s always Yugtun.

Hoonah’s Icy Strait Point is positioning itself as one of Alaska’s top cruise ship destinations.

Roughly 1-in-3 cruise ship tourists will visit the entertainment complex on the outskirts of the small Southeast community next year.

Executives from Norwegian Cruise Line visited Hoonah to participate in the groundbreaking of a second cruise dock designed for the company’s two megaships deployed to Alaska.

The statistics tracking the number of Native women who have disappeared in the U.S. are tough.

And Alaska, with its small population, has the fourth largest number of missing or murdered Native women. Anchorage has the third highest number of all the cities surveyed in a report from the Seattle-based Urban Indian Health Institute.

In death, beached Turnagain humpback offers clues, research samples and food

May 7, 2019

A humpback whale died after it beached in Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage near Girdwood. Biologists say it is an uncommon location for a humpback and they are now studying its death.

The whale became stranded twice early last week. It appeared to free itself but its body washed ashore Tuesday a few miles away from where it had first beached. Researchers carefully took measurements and samples, and subsistence users harvested blubber for food.

Emergency response workshop details communication shortfalls in rural Alaska

May 3, 2019

The Arctic Domain Awareness Center came to Nome looking to know specifically how rural Alaskans, particularly Alaska Natives, felt they were prepared to handle a major, weather-related crisis.

They invited residents from the Bering Strait region to gather at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks Northwest Campus in Nome for an event they called Arctic-focused Incidents of National Significance, or Arctic-IONS.

In a science classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé, students are holding carving knives. Teacher Henry Hopkins walks up and down the rows of desks, showing them how to shape the hunks of yellow cedar in their hands.

“The students were working on traditional Tlingit halibut hooks, which sounds like it’s primarily a Tlingit carving project, but it’s actually a science project,” said Hopkins.

Two tribes and Alaska governor at odds over tribal sovereignty

May 1, 2019

Two tribes say that Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his administration aren’t doing enough to consult with their leaders on big issues facing the state. The previous administration made it state policy to consult with tribal entities on a government-to-government basis, which is standard practice at the federal level. But while Dunleavy acknowledges the policy, he’s unclear about how it would apply.

Anchorage School District to allow for tribal, cultural attire at graduation

Apr 29, 2019

Kenneth Huffer always knew his family was Native American. But the blond-haired, blue-eyed Chugiak High School senior says the first time he truly felt Native was three summers ago. That’s when he traveled with his dad to the Blackfoot Native American Reservation in Montana where he participated in a traditional okan, or sun dance ceremony.

“It was life changing, how I felt there,” Huffer said. “I’ve never met my grandma. It’s like I met her, spiritually, or something like that. I had that connection to the culture. I had that deep passion to learn it, know who I am.”

Alaska’s rural schools could get a boost in internet speed

Apr 29, 2019

For the past five years, the state has helped Alaska schools pay for faster internet — up to a point. As technology has advanced, some say it’s time to raise the bar. A pair of bills before the Legislature would do just that.

Alaska faces a digital divide. Within the state, rural areas lag behind the larger cities when it comes to internet access.

An Alaska community gets healthier with running water

Apr 25, 2019

What’s it like to go from hauling all your water and sewer to one day being able to turn on the faucet and flush a toilet? KYUK traveled to Eek to find out, where a multi-year project is wrapping up bringing running water to the community for the first time.