Performing Asveq (The Walrus Hunt)

Overview

Enduring Understandings

Through this video and text, students can explore the ways one group of Alaska Native high school students express their cultural identity.  The big ideas are:

  1. Song and dance provide a direct and immediate way to engage in one's cultural community.
  2. Song and dance communicate specific messages as they embody feelings.

The Inupiaq and Yupik People of Alaska

The students who composed and performed this dance come from the Inupiaq and St. Lawrence Island areas of Alaska (orange in this map). The two peoples speak different languages, but they are similar in their dependence on sea mammals such as the walrus, bowhead whale, and various species of seal.

This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, shows how students in Anchorage, Alaska, develop a song and dance to tell about a walrus hunt. Their goal in creating this dance is to connect with their Yup'ik and Iñupiaq cultures, help preserve the cultures for future generations, and express their joy in being part of those cultures. To share their dance with others, the students produce a music video of their work, excerpts of which appear in this video.