300 Villages: Teller

This week, we’ll go to Teller, a village on the Bering Sea, northwest of Nome. Dolly Kugzruk lives in Teller.

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teller alaska village
Photo courtesy of NOAA

“My name is Dolly Kugzruk and I work for Kawerak Incorporated as a Tribal Family Coordinator. There’s a few employment opportunities here for a few people, but not everybody. A lot of people here do their subsistence hunting and fishing and that’s what they mainly focus on. People are busy doing subsistence fishing for salmon and picking greens and berries… all sorts of greens that everyone picks to preserve for our winter use.We have a very beautiful landscape. People go out and about, you know, just doing hunting and fishing and there’s rolling mountains. It’s just beautiful here. A lot of people go out camping. You’ll see a lot of cabins. People will go out camping to put up fish and just to enjoy their times with their families out in the country.

I think this year it will be held at the end of September where we have numerous dance groups come to Teller to do performances. And we’ll have a Saturday for Cultural Day. Some people dance with various… very good grace, like it’s a natural thing that came to them, as they learn when they’re children. And the songs have a lot of meaning, too… to the dance, to each dance. There are hunting songs, berry picking songs, fishing… every dance tells a story.”

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