A Fearless Fight Against Historical Trauma, the Yup'ik Way


They were building the young man’s coffin in the front yard when we arrived. Portable construction lights harshly illuminated the scene as men worked in the shadowy dawn that lasts almost until noon out here on the tundra. The men worked steadily and quietly in a manner that suggested front-yard coffin construction was a routine task. I soon learned that it was.

We arrived about 30 minutes earlier via a shaky nine-seat bush plane, the only way in and out of most villages here on the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta east of Bethel, Alaska. There are over 50 Yup’ik villages on this great frozen sponge of a place, where the great flat expanse of land leading to the Bering Sea is actually just permafrost and thus, constantly shifting...

Native Nations
Resource Type

Pember, Mary Annette. "A Fearless Fight Against Historical Trauma, the Yup’ik Way." Indian Country Today Media Network. March 16, 2015. Article. (https://ictnews.org/archive/a-fearless-fight-against-historical-trauma-the-yupik-way, accessed February 23, 2023)

Related Resources


Mike Williams is a well known indigenous leaders from being a Chairman and Vice-Chair of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council as well as Chief of the Yupiit Nation.  Mike offers his impressions about a variety of topics related indigenous governance including leadership, traditional governance,…


Harvard Project Co-Director Joseph P. Kalt provides a general overview of the Honoring Nations program and illustrates how people all over the world are learning from the nation-building examples set and the lessons offered by Native nations in the United States.

Feeding Ourselves: Food Access, Health Disparities, and the Pathways to Healthy Native American Communities

Echo Hawk Consulting, headed by Crystal Echo Hawk, released today a comprehensive report on the state of food access in Native American communities, and the resulting health disparities in Native Americans. The report--commissioned by the American Heart Association (AHA) and its Voices for Healthy…