49 Voices: Nolan Charles of Toksook Bay

Nolan Charles of Toksook Bay (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

This week we’re hearing from Nolan Charles from Toksook Bay. 16-year-old Charles is part of the Toksook Bay Yup’ik dancers, who performed in the opening ceremony to AFN.

Listen now

CHARLES: We’ve performed AFN back in airbanks two years ago. Now, we’re performing this year. It’s like passing it down to generations — even drumming and dancing is like a stress reliever for us. It calms us down. There’s much love around us, like family dancing around us. And we forget about everything when we dance and when we drum. We have LKSD dance festivals where all the LKSD gathers in one village and go dance.

There’s many things here in Alaska, like seeing different cultures from different places. Like they have Inupiaq people, we have the Yup’ik people, Cupik people, there’s all all kinds of cultures in Alaska.

I’ve been growing up speaking my language. We mostly speak in Yup’ik because they want us to. Both English and Yup’ik.

My goal is to go to college out of state and try to become something better. Like try and do good for the people, help people.

There’s love everywhere. We have a lot of relatives around. So if I make my family tree, I’d have to use maybe a couple posters. It will be a forest.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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