Akiak School Strives to Support Culture! by Middle School Teacher Alberta Demantle

Akiak is a predominately Yupik village located on the west bank of the Kuskokwim River. It is rich in culture with a heavy reliance on subsistence.

Highbush cranberries are picked by the gallons in August to make delicious jams.

Students at the Akiak School in the Yupiit School District are involved in many subsistence activities that take place in a particular season. Students learn at home what is “in” season, how to care for food, and about respecting nature: animals, plants and the environment. The Akiak School supports the culture by preparing subsistence foods to share with elders and families, experiencing the hard work involved in subsistence, and the value of hard work.

Elders are frequent visitors to classrooms, and talk to students about traditional knowledge and activities, like the use of medicinal plants.

The Akiak School also teaches the Yupik language and culture to all grades. The school invites community leaders and local elders to share; cultural values, traditional medicines, food preparation, Qaspeq making, Yuraq (traditional dance), story telling, and subsistence activities. We strive to keep the culture alive in our ever changing world. Please enjoy these photos of the many cultural activities that take place in our school.

Students participate in cutting pike fish in the spring. Pike are dried and eaten.
Students learn to gather medicinal plants like Wormwood in local areas.
Akiak is located in southwestern Alaska along the Kuskokwim River.
Students learn to clean and prepare locally harvested spruce chicken for eating.
Our students are learning to set goals and do public service in their community.
Students learn to ice fish in the winter on the Kuskokwim River.
Students learn to sew different kinds of materials, such as fur, and to make their own qaspeq parkas.
Students learn traditional dances called Yuraq.