Infobox Ethnic group

caption = Cup'ig man of Nunivak Island, 1929
group = Yup'ik, Cup'ig, Cup'ik
(Central Alaskan Yup'ik)
population = 24,000 (2000 U.S. Census)
region1 = flagcountry|USA (primarily in Alaska)
pop1 =
languages = Central Alaskan Yup'ik, English
religions = Christianity (mostly Russian Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, or Moravian Church)
related = Other Yupik peoples (Siberian Yupik, Alutiiq, Naukan), Inuit, Aleut

The Yup'ik people (also Central Alaskan Yup'ik, plural Yupiit), are an Eskimo people of western and southwestern Alaska ranging from southern Norton Sound southwards along the coast of the Bering Sea on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (including living on Nelson and Nunivak Islands) and along the northern coast of Bristol Bay as far east as Nushagak Bay and the northern Alaska Peninsula at Naknek River and Egegik Bay.

They are one of the four Yupik peoples of Alaska and Siberia, closely related to the Alutiiq (Pacific Yupik) of southcentral Alaska, the Siberian Yupik of St. Lawrence Island and Siberia, and the Naukan of Siberia. The Yupiit speak the Central Alaskan Yup'ik language.Alaska Native Language Center. (2001-12-07). [http://www.uaf.edu/anlc/langs/cy.html "Central Alaskan Yup'ik."] University of Alaska Fairbanks. Retrieved on 2007-04-12.] The people of Nunivak Island, speakers of the Nunivak Island dialect of Central Alaskan Yup'ik, call themselves "Cup'ig" (plural "Cup'it"); the people of Hooper Bay and Chevak, speakers of the Hooper Bay-Chevak dialect, call themselves "Cup'ik" (plural "Cup'it").

Yupiit are the most numerous of the various Alaska Native groups and speak the Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, a member of the Eskimo-Aleut family of languages. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the Yupiit population in the United States numbered over 24,000,U.S. Census Bureau. (2004-06-30). [http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/phc-t18/tab001.pdf "Table 1. American Indian and Alaska Native Alone and Alone or in Combination Population by Tribe for the United States: 2000."] [http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/phc-t18.html American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes for the United States, Regions, Divisions, and States (PHC-T-18)] . U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000, special tabulation. Retrieved on 2007-04-12.] , of whom over 22,000 lived in Alaska, the vast majority in the seventy or so communities in the traditional Yup'ik territory of western and southwestern Alaska.U.S. Census Bureau. (2004-06-30). [http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/phc-t18/tab016.pdf "Table 16. American Indian and Alaska Native Alone and Alone or in Combination Population by Tribe for Alaska: 2000."] [http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/phc-t18.html American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes for the United States, Regions, Divisions, and States (PHC-T-18)] . U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000, special tabulation. Retrieved on 2007-04-12.]

Etymology of name

"Yup'ik" (plural "Yupiit") comes from the Yup'ik word "yuk" meaning "person" plus the post-base "-pik" meaning "real" or "genuine." Thus, it means literally "real people."Fienup-Riordan, 1993, p. 10.] The ethnographic literature sometimes refers to the Yup'ik people or their language as "Yuk" or "Yuit". In the Hooper Bay-Chevak and Nunivak dialects of Yup'ik, both the language and the people are given the name "Cup'ik".


The common ancestors of Eskimos and Aleuts (as well as various Paleo-Siberian groups) are believed by archaeologists to have their origin in eastern Siberia and Asia, arriving in the Bering Sea area about 10,000 years ago. [Naske and Slotnick, 1987, p. 18.] Research on blood types suggests that the ancestors of American Indians reached North America before the ancestors of the Eskimos and Aleuts, and that there were several waves of migration from Siberia to the Americas by way of the Bering land bridge. [Naske and Slotnick, 1987, pp. 9–10.] which became exposed between 20,000 and 8,000 years ago during periods of glaciation. By about 3,000 years ago the progenitors of the Yupiit had settled along the coastal areas of what would become western Alaska, with migrations up the coastal rivers—notably the Yukon and Kuskokwim—around 1400 C.E., eventually reaching as far upriver as Paimiut on the Yukon and Crow Village on the Kuskokwim.

Regional groups

Prior to and during the mid-19th century, the time of Russian exploration and presence in the area, the Yupiit were organized into at least twelve, and perhaps as many as twenty, territorially distinct regional groups tied together by kinshipFienup-Riordan, 1993, p. 29.] Pete, 1993, p. 8.] — hence the Yup'ik word "tungelquqellriit", meaning "those who share ancestors (are related)."Pete, 1993, p. 8.] These groups included:
* Unalirmiut (Unaligmiut), inhabiting the Norton Sound area.Fienup-Riordan, 1990, p. 154, "Figure 7.1. Regional groupings for the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, circa 1833."] Oswalt, 1967, pp. 5-9. See also Map 2, "Aboriginal Alaskan Eskimo tribes," insert between pp. 6 and 7.] Oswalt, 1990, p. ii, "The Kusquqvagmiut area and the surrounding Eskimo and Indian populations" (map).] The name derives from the Yup'ik word "Unaliq", denoting a Yup'ik from the Norton Sound area, especially the north shore villages of Elim and Golovin and the south shore villages of Unalakleet and St. Michael. Unalirmiut were speakers of the Norton Sound Unaliq subdialect of Yup'ik.Jacobson, 1984.]
* Pastulirmiut, inhabiting the mouth of Yukon River.. The name derives from "Pastuliq", the name of an abandoned village of southern Norton Sound near the present-day village of Kotlik at one of the mouths of the Yukon River. The village name comes from the root "paste-" meaning "to become set in a position" (for instance, a tree bent by the wind). Pastulirmiut were speakers of the Norton Sound Kotlik subdialect of Yup'ik, and are also called "pisalriit" (sing. "pisalria") denoting their use of this subdialect. in which "s" is used in many words where other speakers of Yup'ik use "y".
* Kuigpagmiut (Ikogmiut), inhabiting the Lower Yukon River.. The name derives from "Kuigpak", meaning "big river," the Yup'ik name for the Yukon River.
* Marayarmiut (Mararmiut, Maarmiut, Magemiut), inhabiting the Scammon Bay area.. The name derives from "Marayaaq", the Yup'ik name for Scammon Bay, which in turn derives from "maraq", meaning "marshy, muddy lowland". "Mararmiut", deriving from the same word, denotes flatland dwellers in general living between the mouth of the Yukon and Nelson Island.
* Askinarmiut, inhabiting the area of the present-day villages of Hooper Bay and Chevak. Askinarmiut is an old name for the village of Hooper Bay. (DCED).
* Qaluyaarmiut (Kaialigamiut, Kayaligmiut), inhabiting Nelson Island. The name derives from "Qaluyaaq", the Yup'ik name for Nelson Island, which derives in turn from "qalu", meaning "dipnet."
* Akulmiut, inhabiting the tundra or "Big Lake" area north of the Kuskokwim River. The name denotes people living on the tundra — as opposed to those living along the coastline or major rivers — such as in the present-day villages of Nunapitchuk, Kasilguk, or Atmautluak. The name derives from "akula" meaning "midsection," "area between," or "tundra".
* Caninermiut, inhabiting the lower Bering Sea coast on either side of Kuskokwim Bay, including the area north of the bay where the modern-day villages of Chefornak, Kipnuk, Kongiganek, Kwigillingok are located and south of the bay where the villages of and Eek and Quinhagak are located (Goodnews Bay?). The name derives from "canineq", meaning "lower coast", which derives in turn from the root "cani", "area beside."
* Nunivaarmiut (Nuniwarmiut, Nuniwagamiut), inhabiting Nunivak Island.. The name derives from "Nunivaaq", the name for the island in the General Central dialect of Yup'ik. In the Nunivak dialect of Yup'ik (that is, in Cup'ig), the island's name is "Nuniwar" and the people are called "Nuniwarmiut".NPT, Inc. (2004-08-24). [http://www.nunivak.org/people.html "We are Cup'it."] Mekoryuk, AK: Nuniwarmiut Piciryarata Tamaryalkuti (Nunivak Cultural Programs). Retrieved on 2004-04-14.]
* Kusquqvagmiut (Kuskowagamiut), inhabiting the Lower and middle Kuskokwim River.Branson and Troll, 2006, p. xii. Map 3, "Tribal areas, villages and linguistics around 1818, the time of contact."] The name derives from "Kusquqvak", the Yup'ik name for the Kuskokwim River, possibly meaning "a big thing (river) with a small flow." The Kusquqvagmiut can be further divided into two groups:
** Unegkumiut, inhabiting the Lower Kuskokwim below Bethel to its mouth in Kuskowkim Bay.Oswalt, 1990, p. 12.] The word derives from "unegkut", meaning "those downriver"; hence, "downriver people."
** Kiatagmiut, inhabiting inland regions in the upper drainages of the Kuskowkim, Nushagak, Wood, and Kvichak river drainages.. The word derives probably from "kiani", meaning "inside" or "upriver"; hence, "upriver people." The Kiatagmiut lived inland along the Kuskokwim River drainage from the present location of Bethel to present-day Crow Village and the vicinity of the 19th century Russian outpost Kolmakovskii Redoubt. By the mid-19th century, many Kiatagmiut had migrated to the drainage of the Nushagak River.Oswalt, 1990, pp. 13–14.]
* Tuyuryarmiut (Togiagamiut), inhabiting the Togiak River area.. The word derives from "Tuyuryaq", the Yup'ik name for the village of Togiak.
* Aglurmiut (Aglegmiut), inhabiting the Bristol Bay area along the Lower Nushagak River and northern Alaska Peninsula.. The word derives from "agluq", meaning "ridgepole" or "center beam of a structure".

While Yupiit were nomadic, the abundant fish and game of the Y-K Delta and Bering Sea coastal areas permitted for a more settled life than for the many of the more northerly Inuit peoples. Under normal conditions, there was little need for interregional travel, as each regional group had access to enough resources within its own territory to be completely self-sufficient. However, fluctuations in animal populations or weather conditions sometimes necessitated travel and trade between regions.Fienup-Riordan, 1993, p. 29.]

Well known Yup'ik

*Todd Palin, husband of Sarah Palin (he is 1/8 Yup'ik) [http://www.sitnews.us/1006Viewpoints/101106_karen_rhoades.html] .



* Barker, James H. (1993). "Always Getting Ready — Upterrlainarluta: Yup'ik Eskimo Subsistence in Southwest Alaska". Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
* Branson, John and Tim Troll, eds. (2006). "Our Story: Readings from Southwest Alaska — An Anthology." Anchorage, AK: Alaska Natural History Association.
* Federal Field Committee for Development Planning in Alaska. (1968). "Alaska Natives & The Land". Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
* Fienup-Riordan, Ann. (1983). "The Nelson Island Eskimo: Social Structure and Ritual Distribution". Anchorage, AK: Alaska Pacific University Press.
* Fienup-Riordan, Ann. (1990). "Eskimo Essays: Yup'ik Lives and Howe We See Them". New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
* Fienup-Riordan, Ann. (1991). "The Real People and the Children of Thunder: The Yup'Ik Eskimo Encounter With Moravian Missionaries John and Edith Kilbuck". Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
* Fienup-Riordan, Ann. (1994). "Boundaries and Passages: Rule and Ritual in Yup'ik Eskimo Oral Tradition". Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
* Fienup-Riordan, Ann. (1996). "The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks: Agayuliyararput (Our Way of Making Prayer). Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
* Fienup-Riordan, Ann. (2000). "Hunting Tradition in a Changing World: Yup'ik Lives in Alaska Today". New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
* Fienup-Riordan, Ann. (2001). "What's in a Name? Becoming a Real Person in a Yup'ik Community". University of Nebraska Press.
* Jacobson, Steven A., compiler. (1984). "Yup'ik Eskimo Dictionary". Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
* Kizzia, Tom. (1991). "The Wake of the Unseen Object: Among the Native Cultures of Bush Alaska". New York: Henry Holt and Company.
* Morgan, Lael, ed. (1979). "Alaska's Native People". "Alaska Geographic" 6(3). Alaska Geographic Society.
* Naske, Claus-M. and Herman E. Slotnick. (1987). "Alaska: A History of the 49th State", 2nd edition. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
* Oswalt, Wendell H. (1967). "Alaskan Eskimos". Scranton, PA: Chandler Publishing Company.
* Oswalt, Wendell H. (1990). "Bashful No Longer: An Alaskan Eskimo Ethnohistory, 1778–1988". Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
* Pete, Mary. (1993). "Coming to Terms." In Barker, 1993, pp. 8–10.

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