For over 20 years, the Calista Education and Culture, Inc. (CECI) research team has been interviewing Yukon-Kuskokwim Region Elders about their traditional knowledge and publishing books based on those interviews.
During many of CECI’s discussions with Elders, the subject of ircenrraat (ik-chin-HUT), the little people, would pop up.
The Elders’ ircenrraat stories have now been published in a new book, “Ircenrraat: Other-than-human Persons,” by Alice Rearden, Marie Meade, Mark John and Ann Fienup-Riordan, available through the Alaska Native Language Center.
“We have been very fortunate to have heard many stories, and we are pleased to put them together in this book,” says Mark John, Cultural Advisor, Calista Education and Culture, Inc.
The ircenrraat are said to be very crafty. Elders say they live in a different dimension, with the ability to appear and disappear as they please in our world.
“Those who have encountered ircenrraat have witnessed them hunting, fishing, and gathering together as our own people do,” John says. “They have also stated that being invited to their dwelling for a day is like a year in our time.”
CECI has mailed copies of the book to all 52 schools in the Calista Region. In addition, the book is available for sale on the CECI website, www.calistaeducation.org and is also available for sale in Anchorage at Title Wave Books and at Lucy’s Cache in Bethel.