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Camp Qungaayux History 

In Unangan (Aleut) Culture), our stories were passed down through spoken word, song, and dance. Stories told through dance include:

  • Chagix - Halibut Dance, created in Atka

  • Slax  - Weather Dance, created by Crystal Swetzof Dushkin of Atka and Laresa Syverson of Unalaska

  • Kanuygaatux - Sea Otter Hunder Dance, from Unalaska -- melody and drumming by Laresa Syverson with the help from Crystal of Atka for dance moves.

  • Qalngaagin - Raven Dance, created in Unalaska by Laresa Syverson

*Moses Dirks is credited for the translation and grammar of all Unalaska songs.

Through the inevitable changes that the Unangan people have undergone, many of the elders who have passed on brought with them knowledge and wisdom. To combat the loss of cultural accessibility, Camp Qungaayux was established in August of 1997 with the help of Moses Dirks, Crystal (Swetzof) Dushkin from Atka, and Sharon Svarny-Livingston with the purpose of preserving the Unangan ways of being. This annual gathering preserves our cultural history and instills ancestral wisdom that our youth may carry on. 

Crystal taught Unangan Dances, including Chagix. To this day, Atkam Talingisniikangis (Atka Dancers) allow us, and all Aleutian and Pribilof Islands, to perform and teach Chagix. Since the first annual camp, Laresa Syverson, Delores Gregory, Alicia LaPlant, and Ariel Gustafson have all supported Camp Qungaayux in carrying on traditions of Unangam Axaa (Aleut Dance). Sharon Svarny-Livingston taught Traditional Plants. Moses Dirks has been teaching Unangam Tunuu, the Aleut Language. Although Moses is from Atka and speaks the Atkan Dialect o Unangam Tunuu, he does teach the Eastern Dialect at Camp Qungaayux, as this is the dialect that our ancestors would have spken here in Unalaska. Patricia Lekanoff-Gregory has also taught since the inception of Camp Qungaayux. For the Last 17 years, "Patty" has taught the art of creating traditional bentwood hats alongside Mr. Jerrah Chadwick.

Of all the different skills and classes that have been taught or demonstrated at Camp Qungaayux, the classes that are consistently taught every year are Unangam Axaa (Aleut Dance), Bentwood Hat making, Unangam Tunuu (Aleut Language), Weaving, Skin & Gut sewing, Salmon Preparation, and the harvesting of an isux (hair seal) or qawa (sea lion). 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Camp Qungaayux?
Camp Qungaayux, which means "humpy," was created as a way to preserve the Unangan ways of being by handing down Unangan knowledge and wisdom to the younger generations of Unalaska.
Camp Qungaayux is usually held at the end of July into August for one week. For live updates, follow our Facebook page @myqtribe.
What classes are taught?
Classes taught include:
  • Archaeology
  • Bentwood Hat Making (must be 7th grade or older)
  • Seal Skin Swing
  • Asxux (Spear Making)
  • Weaving
  • Volcanoes
  • Unangan Tunuu Language
  • Unangan Song & Dance
  • Drum Making
  • Traditional Foods
  • Unangan Art
  • Uluxtax (Traditional Kayak Making)
  • Ayaakux (Dart Making)
Who can participate?
Camp Qungaayux accepts students entering into 4th through 12th grade.
Camp Qungaayux is held in Humpy Cove each year.
How do I register for camp?
If you wish to register for camp, our applications are available here, or at our tribal office. Completed applications may be delivered to the tribal office from Monday-Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm. Our office is located at 1253 E Broadway Unalaska, AK 99685.
When are applications due?
Application deadlines are due July 23, 2021. We accept late applications with an additional $10.00 fee and the application is put in our waitlist. Unfortunately, the student is not promised a sweatshirt at the end of camp if they are registered late, as early registration determines our order quantities.
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