Yup'ik Words of Wisdom


Yup'ik Words of Wisdom

Yupiit Qanruyutait, New Edition

new edition

Edited by Ann Fienup-Riordan
Transcriptions and translations from the Yup'ik by Alice Rearden with Marie Meade
With a new introduction by the editor and translator

346 pages
41 photographs, 1 map, 1 glossary


April 2018


$50.00 Add to Cart

April 2018


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

This bilingual volume focuses on the teachings, experiences, and practical wisdom of expert Native orators as they instruct a younger generation about their place in the world. In carefully crafted presentations, Yup’ik elders speak about their “rules for right living”—values, beliefs, and practices—which illuminate the enduring and still-relevant foundations of their culture today. While the companion volume, Wise Words of the Yup’ik Peopleweaves together hundreds of statements by Yup’ik elders on the values that guide human relationships, Yup’ik Words of Wisdom, highlights the words of expert orators and focuses on key conversations that took place among elders and younger community members as the elders presented their perspectives on the moral underpinnings of Yup’ik social relations.

The orators in this volume—including Frank Andrew from Kwigillingok, David Martin from Kipnuk, and Nelson Island elders Paul John and Thersea Moses—were raised in isolated Yup’ik communities in Alaska and were educated much like their parents and grandparents.

Translated, edited, and organized for a general audience, this bilingual edition is for those who want to know not only what the elders have to say but also how they say it. A new introduction explores this book’s impact over the past decade.


Author Bio

Ann Fienup-Riordan is an independent scholar. She is the author and editor of many books, including Hunting Tradition in a Changing World: Yup’ik Lives in Alaska Today and Wise Words of the Yup’ik People: We Talk to You because We Love You, New Edition (Nebraska, 2018). Alice Rearden is a Yup’ik speaker and leading translator for the Calista Elders Council.


“Significant and timely. . . . Wise Words of the Yup’ik People and Yup’ik Words of Wisdom together honor the richness of oral tradition among Alaska Natives while addressing a broader audience of the next generation of Yup’ik people, scholars of various disciplines, and policymakers alike.”—Andrea D. Robertson, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

“Valuable. . . . These texts are important vehicles for both the preservation and use of Yup’ik traditional knowledge for self-determination.”—CHOICE

“[Yup’ik Words of Wisdom] will prove to be a valuable record of Yup’ik tradition and knowledge not only for young people who might want to spend a few minutes reading, but also for scholars of oral history in the future.”—Polar Record

Table of Contents

Introduction to the New Bison Books Edition
Yup’ik Transcription and Translation
List of Yup’ik Contributors
1. Tegganret Qalartellruut Ayagyuat-llu Niicugniluteng
Elders Spoke and Young People Listened
2. Umyuaq Tuknilria
A Powerful Mind
3. Qanruyutet-gguq Egelrutaakut
They Say the Qanruyutet Guide Our Lives
4. Angayuqat Mikelnguut-llu
Parents and Children
5. Angutet Arnat-llu
Men and Women
6. Ilameggnek Tukuulriit
Those Who Are Rich in Relatives
7. Tuqluucaraq
The Way of Addressing One’s Relatives
8. Eyagyarat
Abstinence Practices
9. Tuarpiaq Yuuyaraat Yupiit Teguq’aqsi
Catching the Yup’ik Way of Life
Tuqluutet: Yup’ik Kinship and Relational Terms

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