Minuk: Ashes in the Pathway

Twelve-year-old Minuk is intrigued by the Hoffs, the American missionary family that has moved into her village. Although she has seen white men before, Minuk has never seen a white woman – or a white child. It soon becomes clear that although the Hoffs can speak the Yup’ik language, they don’t understand Yup’ik ways. When Mr. Hoff begins interfering with village ceremonies, even Minuk wonders why the missionary is so sure his ways are better than the Yup’ik ways.

Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Award for historical works, worthy of special note.

  1. #1 by Miranda on October 11, 2013 - 11:49 am

    Miranda Demientieff
    Po Box 52113
    Akiak, AK 9552

    Hi Ms. HIll,
    My name is Miranda Demientieff; I’m 13 years old and I play sports. My favorite sport is basketball. I’m still learning about my culture. The elders would tell us stories about how they grew up and when they first saw planes, TVs, white people and phones. One of our elders told us ”The Way Of Life”.. She said that out culture is dying. Back then they used to walk to their camps. Now we use boats to get to our camps. P.S My classmates were reading your books, Minuk and Winter Camp…. Akiak is a small village, but I go walking with friends and I talk to some relatives here in Akiak. By the way I just got in this class,so I didn’t get to read your books..


    • #2 by Kirkpatrick Hill on October 12, 2013 - 10:41 am

      Theresa..thanks for writing me, and thank your teacher for introducing you to my books. Minuk is my favorite book because it was all absolutely true. There are dozens of books written by anthropologists and explorers about those days and especially journals, so it was possible to learn everything about the culture. And wasn’t it the saddest thing ever? Imagine people having to bury their whole village at once. Please read some of the journals and books I list at the back of the book and you’ll learn more about the Yup’ik culture and then you can tell your kids when you’re a mom! Love, Pat

      Hi Miranda..I think I know about 700 Demientieffs! I once found a history book which told about the Russian Demientieff when he first came into the country back in the 1800s. Wouldn’t he be amazed if he could see how many Dementieffs there are now! I can hardly think of anything sadder than what the epidemics did to all the people on the Kusko and the Yukon and the coast. You should read some of the journals people wrote at that time–I’ll bet your teacher can get them for you. Thanks for writing, Love, Pat

  2. #3 by Theresa Ivan on October 11, 2013 - 12:04 pm

    Dear miss Hill,
    My name is Theresa Ivan, and I have read your book “Winter Camp” last year. I live here in AKIAK, AK, 99552. My P.O. box is 52114.

    I am reading your book “Minuk”. Both your books have reminded me of a trip I went on last year. I am interested in your book “Minuk”. I just want to ask you a question about both your books–how do you know about the Yup’ik culture? I hope you can send me a letter of what your answer will be for my question.


  3. #4 by Karl Ivanoff on October 11, 2013 - 12:14 pm

    Karl Ivanoff
    P.O Box 52116
    Akiak, Ak 99552

    Dear Ms. Hill,
    My Name is Karl Ivanoff and I live in Akiak, which is on the Kuskokwim River. I have read two of your books, Minuk and Winter camp. Minuk is interesting because of the epidemic that killed a lot of Eskimos. Is it true? Winter Camp is interesting when Nelson the Musher was attacked by that moose. I wanted to keep reading, but class had to quit. Our school is in the YSD( Yupiit School District) there are about 100+ kids going to school in Akiak. Akiak is the smallest village in the YSD. Akiachak is the biggest and Tuluksak is the second biggest. Have you ever been to Akiak?


    • #5 by Kirkpatrick Hill on October 12, 2013 - 10:32 am

      Karl –how nice to hear from an Ivanoff. I know what a big family you have! I’m so glad you’re reading my books because I wrote them just so village kids would know how it was in the old days. I think Yukpik history is sad beyond sad. It’s really true, everything in Minuk, and imagine having a whole way of life wiped out almost by an epidemic. You should look in the back of the book and see the list of books I used to write Minuk and read them because there’s a lot more to learn about those times. And find the book about the Yupik art..really beautiful stuff.I’ve never been past Grayling but I hope to get down your way some day. The story in Winter Camp is true too. That’s our family’s trapline on the Sulatna, and Nelson was our old friend Clarence who was stomped by a moose. But it was his little wife who shooed the moose away! I hope you read the rest of my books, too. You made my day by writing to me.

    • #6 by Theresa on October 15, 2013 - 11:23 am

      I already know about the yup’ik culture cause I’m a yup’ik eskimo. Not a pure bred one though. I’ve been learning yup’ik all my life. and we’re going to read all your books.

  4. #7 by Agatha on October 11, 2013 - 12:48 pm

    Agatha Andrews
    P.O box 56
    Akiak.Ak 99552

    Dear Ms. Hill,
    I love your book Minuk; it was interesting and amazing. I am still learning about my culture. Minuk and I have kind of the same culture. I even love to eat fermented fish heads, akutaq, dry fish and native food with seal oil. We don’t really go camping in the winter, but we do more in spring and summer to fish and hunt.

    • #8 by Kirkpatrick Hill on October 12, 2013 - 1:29 pm

      Agatha! I loved your letter–and glad to hear your family is doing so many of the old things. You’re very lucky. I hope you’ll read some of the books I listed in the back of Minuk, especially this one: Inua. It has pictures of all the old tools and baskets and things which are in museums now. I think the Yup’ik and Inupiat were the greatest artists ever. Even the handles for water buckets were beautifully carved and decorated. Ask your teacher if she can find it for you. Love, Pat

  5. #9 by jasmine andrews on October 14, 2013 - 11:49 am

    Jasmine Andrews
    p.o box 56 Akiak ,Ak

    Dear Ms, Hill
    i read to of your books Minter Camp and Minuk; i really loved them both i am a yupik it was great to learn about more of how it was back then. my gram awlay’s teaches me how to do things like skinning, cutting fish also berry picking. when it is really cold here in our village my gram lets me use a eskimo parka and boots that my amau made for me. my grams tells me what is right or wrong; she talks about how were to read the signs of the wether to know if it will snow or not or if it is time to put fish or if it is time to hunt. my gram awlay’s telles me never to leave my culture behind to let it awlay’s be with me

    Jasmine Andrews

  6. #10 by Ethan Ivan on October 15, 2013 - 11:37 am

    Ethan Ivan
    P.O. box 52047
    Akiak, AK 99552

    Dear Ms. Hill,

    My name is Ethan Ivan, and I live in Akiak, AK, which is on the Kuskokwim River. I read two of your books; they are called Minuk and Winter Camp. I liked them very much.They made me want to read more of your books. Our village has almost 250 people. How many people live where you are? In the last year I caught lots of ptarmigan, a rabbit and lots of fish. Did you catch anything?

    Ethan Ivan

  7. #11 by mark on October 25, 2013 - 12:18 pm

    Mark Ivan
    Akiak,AK 99552

    Dear Ms,Hill
    I read two of your book Winter Camp and Minuk. I loved the part when toughboy and sister had to take care of Nelson and the part that scared me was when sister fell in the ice. In Minuk I also like when the missionaries get to learn some stuff of what the yup’iks do and how they do or eat. I am a Alaskan Native Yup’ik person. I like to go hunting, fishing, trapping, and eat native things like eskimo ice-cream, dried fish, moose soup, and all the native foods. When i’m older i would like to keep the yup’ik culture alive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: