Yuraq Diva Maryann Sundown dies

by Shane Iverson on October 27, 2011

Known as the Queen of Cama-i, Maryann Sundown prefroms at the Bethel dance festival in 2008. Photo by Chris Pike.

Renowned elder and Yup’ik culture bearer Maryann Sundown has passed away.  According to her family, the Scammon Bay elder died Wednesday night in her home surrounded by her family.

Sundown was at least 93 years old.

Despite her age she continued to yuraq, or dance, at local and statewide festivals.  She was a show stopper at the Cama-i Dance Festival in Bethel where she performed her ancestor’s songs along with newly composed pieces like the Macarena.

Sundown contracted pneumonia and her health had been failing in previous weeks. Friends and family flocked to her home in Scammon Bay to be with her before her death.

Sundown preforms the smoking song with the Upallret Dance Group at Cama-i 2008. Photo by Chris Pike.

Never shy on stage, Sundown and her granddaughters go for big laughs at Cama-i 2008 . Photo by Chris Pike.

Cama-i 2008. Photo by Chris Pike.

More Sundown and Cama-i photos.

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