New dance group in Unalakleet revives tradition - Photos by Megan Gannon
On a bright Sunday evening in July, a group of ten kids and adults gathered inside Unalakleet’s community center. They took out drums borrowed from the school, pushed a few of the tables normally used for bingo out of the way and started singing and dancing to a Yupik song about a goose on the beach that’s about to embark on its first flight.
“It’s kind of like our group because we’re still young and we’re still trying to take flight,” said Amber Cunningham.
Cunningham helped found the new Unalakleet dance group, which is called Uŋalaqłiq Iñuutchak, meaning “Unalakleet comes to life.” For almost a year now, they’ve been practicing Yupik and Iñupiaq songs twice a week, revitalizing a tradition that hasn’t existed in the town for more than a century.