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Merry Christmas in Central Yup’ik By the first week of January, most Americans are taking down their Christmas decorations, but for Alaska’s thousands of Orthodox Christians, who, in keeping with the Julian calendar, celebrate Orthodox Christmas on January 7, the holiday season is just getting started. The Orthodox Church in America lists over 90 active Orthodox parishes in Alaska. Most are along the coast from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta southward through southeast Alaska. They are a legacy of early Russian Orthodox influence, with Alaska’s first Russian Orthodox mission established in 1794 at Kodiak. Today, Orthodox Christmas celebrations include the Ukrainian practice of “starring,” where groups travel among homes and villages to sing folk and religious songs while spinning a crafted star that represents the story of the Three Wise Men. These and other practices are often mixed with Alaska Native foods and traditions. On Saint Paul Island, for instance, Slavonic songs…

By photographer James H. Barker The following pages present a tiny fraction of the extensive body of work (largely focused on Alaska Native peoples) created by legendary Fairbanks photographer James H. Barker. Now in his mid-80s, Barker was recently honored as the Rasmuson Foundation’s 2022 Distinguished Artist, the first photographer to receive the prestigious award. His photos, reproduced here from Always Getting Ready: Upterrlainarluta: Yup’ik Eskimo Subsistence in Southwest Alaska, are the result of 18 years spent capturing the intimate moments of the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta to give viewers a glimpse of Native life. Over those years, Barker joined his Yup’ik friends and subjects on whale hunts and trapping trips, in steam baths, and at fishcamp. Though each image represents a single, frozen instant, Barker’s work transcends the individual moment to reveal universal beauty and connection. See more of his work at jamesbarker-photography.com. —Michelle Theall

NOTE: Map is reprinted with permission from Travel Alaska (travelalaska.com) and Alaska Native Heritage Center (alaskanative.net); edited text is courtesy of Travel Alaska. IÑUPIAQ & ST. LAWRENCE ISLAND YUPIK The Iñupiaq and the St. Lawrence Island Yupik people call themselves the “Real People.” Their homeland covers Alaska’s northern Arctic region, remote and diverse, and accessible primarily by plane. Filled with an amazing array of wildlife and a landscape ranging from coastline to tundra, Alaska Natives here rely on subsistence. SUGPIAQ & UNANGAX The southwest region’s coastal communities and archipelago are defined by rugged shoreline and terrain. Having long depended on the sea for survival, water is central to the Unangax̂ and Sugpiaq way of life. Their homeland stretches from Prince William Sound to Kodiak Island and along the 1,200-mile-long Aleutian Islands Chain. TLINGIT, HAIDA, EYAK, & TSIMSHIAN The southeastern panhandle is home to the Tlingit, Haida, Eyak, and Tsimshian.…