St. Mary's Potlatch

Production Date: 
Marie Blanchett, Alexie Isaac
Bets Blassingham, John Active, Ed Andrus
Run Time: 

 The KYUK TV Productions Collection: A series of informative TV documentaries spotlighting varied aspects of life among the Yup’ik people of Southwestern Alaska. These films were produced by television station KYUK (Bethel Broadcasting) in Bethel, Alaska, which has kindly made them available to the American Indian Film Gallery.

Named locations: St. Mary's Village, AK;  Pilot Station, AK; Yukon River; Curukalriit (Men's House)

Major themes covered: residents of three lower Yukon River villages gather in St. Mary’s to celebrate the traditional Yup’ik Messenger Feast at which young people coming of age are honored.

Native activities shown:  One of the biggest dance festivals was held in the Yukon river village of St. Mary's in 1981. Three villages participated in this potlatch, celebrating the traditional Yupik Eskimo Messenger feast at which young people are honored as they come of age.

Individuals Named:
Jimmy Paukan; Billy Beans; Andy Kenzie

Native language spoken: Audible Yup'ik with English voiceover.
Noteworthy elements:

Print Resources:

Bracken, Christopher. The Potlatch Papers: a Colonial History. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1997. Print.

Bogeyaktuk, Anatole and Charlie Steve. Taprarmiuni Kassiyulriit: Stebbins Dance Festival. Trans. Sophie Shield and Marie Meade. Ed. Ann Fienup-Riordan. Fairbanks: Univ. of Alaska Press, 2004. Print.

Harris, Lorle and Robert Zuboff. Tlingit Tales: potlatch and totem pole. Illust. Dorothy Mandel. Happy Camp, CA: Naturegraph Publishers, 1985. Print.

Meade, Marie (translator) and Ann Fienup-Riordan (editor). Ciuliamta Akluit, Things of Our Ancestors: Yup'ik Elders Explore the Jacobsen Collection at the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 2005. Print.

Paukan, Andrew and Toupu L. Pulu. Potlatch = Curukaq. Anchorage: Nat'l. Bilingual Materials Development Center, Univ. of Alaska, 1981. Print.

Williams, Maria Sháa Tláa. The Alaska Native Reader: history, culture, politics. Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 2009. Print.

--Emily Thomas, 2013