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...

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://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/a-fearless-fight..., accessed March 30, 2015)