Our Yup’ik Culture and History

A Heritage of Ingenuity Coupled with Modern Business Practices

We are the ‘genuine people’ of the tundra possessing a holistic approach between art, science and ethnography.

The Akiarmiu have had a strong history of tribal leadership, advocacy, governance and industrialism. We are a resilient people through times of change. Despite the barriers, we are increasingly successful in blending the traditional and modern for better outcomes for our peoples.    



Changing Lives. Living Values. 


The Way We Genuinely Live

According to Yupiaq creation mythology, the Yupiaq people were created and emerged at their present location, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. To ensure balance in our worldview it is necessary to understand the Earth as a resource for living.  The accumulated knowledge systems, world views and ways of knowing learned from our ancestors are woven into the fabric of our Indigenous society and passed on seamlessly from one generation to the next in the course of everyday life. 

Ellam Yua

The Yupiaq worldview of harmony with one’s surroundings is reinforced with giving of thanks to Ellam Yua, the Spirit of the Universe. 



Lillian Lliabon – Akiak Elder

This story I’ve heard over and over again from my grandmother and grandpa. As a child, the elderly people would get together and tell stories, and I’ve heard them tell this story and history of the village and how it became Akiak many times.

How Akiak Became a Village

There was a young married couple who lived in the old village who couldn’t have children. The man was a good hunter, always providing for his wife. One spring the husband returned holding a brown bear cub and gave it to his wife to raise.

Over the years, the brown bear cub grew bigger and bigger and became harder to handle. If the husband returned from hunting empty handed, the brown bear cub would growl and make noise and would become aggressive to the people in the village. One day the elders got together to talk about the brown bear cub (which had now grown to be a fierce adult) and what to do about the matter. The elders then asked the couple to get rid of the bear for it had become a danger to the community, or move far away with it, or move across the other side of the river.

The couple didn’t want to move away from family and the community and felt they had no choice but to move to the other side of the river. So the couple took the brown bear and raised the bear on the other side of the river. The people in the old village referred to those who lived on the other side ‘kokarmiut’, meaning people ‘from the middle”.  Akiak means ‘across’.

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