Uksuum Cauyai: The Drums of Winter

A film by Leonard Kamerling, Sarah Elder,
Country: USA,
Duration: 90min,
LanguageYup’ik, English,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 1988

Dance was once at the heart of Yup’ik spiritual, social, and economic life. It was the bridge between the ancient and the present, the living and the dead and a person’s own power and the greater powers of the unseen world. Uksuum Cauyai: The Drums of Winter, presents the spiritual world of Yup’ik dance, music, and reciprocal gift-giving. The Yup’ik people speak about how their history, social values, and spiritual beliefs are woven around the songs and dances that have been handed down to them through the generations.  Named to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2006.

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Doing the Norway

A film by Gry Mortensen,
Country: USA,
Duration: 31min,
Language: English,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2009

In Petersburg, Alaska, the inhabitants celebrate their Norwegian heritage with great enthusiasm. By the use of old symbols and artefacts, and the annual “Little Norway Festival”, an abstract relationship with “the old country” is constituted. For some, being “Norwegian” plays a vital role in the making of identity, even though the bloodline is getting washed out and the first-hand connection with Norway is limited. The strive for belonging and people’s need to feel special are fundamental subjects in this film, as we follow Vikings and Valkyries, Leikarring Dancers, Rosemalers and other inhabitants.

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