Talk to the Tundra: How a Yup’ik Village Heals Together | INDIE ALASKA

Roughly 500 miles Southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, the Yup’ik village of Toksook Bay faces the Bering Sea on the coast of Nelson Island, called Qaluyaaq by the residents who speak Yugtun. The small subsistence village has been grappling with grief and a lack of mental health resources for young people after they finish school.

This spring, high school juniors and seniors at the Nelson Island School partnered with the Lower Kuskokwim School District and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Alaska Chapter to lead the residents in community-wide events focused on hope and healing. Their efforts are the subject of this documentary short from Indie Alaska.

INDIE ALASKA is an original video series produced by Alaska Public Media in partnership with PBS Digital Studios. The videos capture the diverse and colorful lifestyles of everyday Alaskans at work and at play. Together, these stories present a fresh and authentic look at living in Alaska.

Charlene Arrsauyaq Bosco
Everett Nurauq Sipary
Jacob Minegtuli Nicholai
Jim Biela

Video by
Valerie Lake
Matthew Faubion
Joey Mendolia
United States Census Bureau

Editing by
Valerie Lake

Special thanks to
Nunakauyarmiut Tribe
The community of Nunakauyaq (Toksook Bay)
Nelson Island School Staff and Students
Lower Kuskokwim School District
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Alaska Chapter
Dustin Morris, AFSP-Alaska Chapter
Dennis Lasley, AFSP-Alaska Chapter
John Sharify, University of Alaska Anchorage
James Biela
Anne Hillman
Linda Isaac

Production support provided by
The Alaska Mental Health Trust
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Originally from the Central Coast of California, Valerie joined Alaska Public Media in July 2017. She creates original video content for the station's TV and digital platforms while also overseeing the Production Department. Before moving to Alaska, Valerie worked as an ENG Editor at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also served in the U.S. Air Force as a TV and Radio Broadcast Journalist where she traveled around Europe, Africa, The Baltics, Australia, and the Southern United States reporting on military events, exercises, and missions. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, backcountry skiing, backpacking, yoga, and traveling.

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