World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Chuna McIntyre of Numamta Yup'ik Eskimo Singers and Dancers

DANCE ORIGIN: Kuskokwim Bay, Bering Sea, Alaska
Chuna McIntyre
First Appearance in SF EDF:


Chuna McIntyre was born and raised in the village of Eek on Kuskokwim Bay. Yup’ik is the first language in his village, and they carry on the ancient traditions of fishing and hunting and gathering the berries and greens from the land. Chuna was raised by his grandmother, who lived to be 95 years old, in the village of Eek. She taught Chuna these ancient dances, songs, and stories, and he set them for stage. Through scholarly recording, and dancing for ceremony and theater, the Yup’ik keep their culture alive.

To share his people’s rich culture, Chuna McIntyre performs frequently for Inuit Eskimo and non-Native audiences. He is founder and director of Nunamta (“of Our Land”) Yup’ik Eskimo Dancers, which has traveled the world sharing Alaska’s Native cultural heritage. He attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and Sonoma State University, where he received a BA in Studio Art and Native American Studies. Chuna is assisting the Smithsonian Institution with their Yup’ik Eskimo collection, and he curated the Inuit-Eskimo permanent exhibit at the de Young Museum. Additional support for this performance comes from the Alaska Native Heritage Center.


Chuna McIntyreTITLE: I Take You on a Journey
SOLOIST: Chuna McIntyre
Vernon Chimegalrea

I take you on a journey, in the air, on the ground,
and in your mind.

Someone is singing to you and calls your name from the air,
from the ground, and in your mind.

Someone dances for you and moves gracefully from the air,
from the ground, in the deep recesses of your mind.

Chuna McIntyre is a Central Yup’ik Eskimo from the Bering Sea, Alaska. He performs I Take You on a Journey, a dance with movements from everyday life. Chuna wears a Yup’ik mask and traditional regalia, with handmade Yup’ik garments and dance accoutrement. His tambourine-like instrument is called “Cauyaq”, or “one that you face”, to describe the relationship between the dance and drum. Yup’ik masks help humans see through the eyes of the animals who dwell with us. Mask dances ask for well-being and gifts from nature—understanding that everything in the environment—even a speck of dust—has awareness.

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