49 Voices: Katy Miller of Eek

Katy Miller of Eek (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur, KYUK – Bethel)

This week we’re hearing from Katy Miller in Eek. Miller is the Yup’ik teacher at the village school.

MILLER: When we start our class, we start with centers and we sing in Yugtun the days of the week. The words we’re talking, we have qemikun qimagtuq, pulauq. Qemikin is through a hill, qimagtuq is running away, pulauq is hiding under the snow. Those are some of the words.

Well it’s mostly for the first time because they mostly all talk in English now. It’s beginning to be a struggle now. In the past, it used to be okay because the students were com,ing and talking in Yugtun. Now it has been different for the past maybe five years.

A lot of adults here talk in Yup’ik. But the younger generation, maybe late-20s, that generation mostly talks in English. But we’re trying. And the students get the hang of learning in Yugtun, and I think it’s good. Parents, grandparents need to start speaking more at home.

When the student starts to understand Yugtun and when they get it, we have so much fun. Like when they go, “Oh. I got it.” And we’re all enjoying the atmosphere and we’re laughing, that’s what I like. Like when the student learns, that’s what I like.