Cetuqupak – Grey Whale

by Peter Twitchell

The grey whale was divided among the people of southwestern Alaska who wanted a piece of the Cetuqupak, Yup’ik word for the Grey Whale. People generously shared the blubber with their neighbors and friends. A friend of mine shared it in a wonderful salad she made, and passed that around the room.

Arnold Brower, Whaling Captain from Utqiarvik, former Barrow, and Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission Executive Director shared his wisdom with the people of our region and we’re eternally grateful.

He stated that as a boy he hunted with and helped the whalers of his village. He stated that grey whale meat cannot sit around for more than a week, and should be eaten. The skin and blubber on the other hand, muktuk lasts a little longer than a week since it will ferment. Thank you, Quyanaqpak Arnold.

I want to tell the world that I’m very proud of our Yupiaq people. We have the determination and strength to survive, gained and authorized by Ellam Yua, who we get our strength and wisdom from.

The wise, like Pastor Hugh of the Covenant Church here in Bethel said his farewell to the Bethel congregation last Sunday and gave God all the glory for the strength we get from the Almighty Creator. He gave the people in attendance the Book of James to reflect on in this regard.

Going back to the Yup’ik people, we are united, we stand together through thick and thin, and we speak the same language. When it comes to daily life we are together on the same page. Our Ancestors are smiling at us. They are proud that we have followed their example and retained our wisdom gained and carry on spreading the values of our people.

We can no longer neglect these values, because they are the cornerstone of our foundation and our strength. I realize this more and more each day that I am at KYUK and listen to the Elders who speak to us through this modern media. Thank you for your attention.