Summer school affords the opportunity for students to not only begin and continue working on skills like the ABCs, counting and addition, but also learn more about their Yup’ik culture.

After learning a bit about dance fans or tegumiak in Yup’ik, the students built their own dance fans using cardboard, wooden rings, glue and feathers. Each student decorated the handles (cardboard and wooden rings) using color markers.

Traditionally tegumiak, which means a pair of dance fans, are made of woven-grass and caribou whiskers or feathers.

According to the paraeducators for the summer program, Mary and Marie, both Yup’ik women, something is usually always in the hands of people while doing Yup’ik dances. Masks are used and men may wear gloves, while usually women use dance fans.

The songs and dances tell a story, whether it’s going on a seal hunt or berry picking. Dances often start with a slow drum where people can follow the beat.

Next week, after the students finish their dance fans, some one will come in to teach them about traditional Yup’ik dances and how the tegumiak is used.

By Chris Albert, Web Content Manager

Photos by John Froschauer, PLU Photographer


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