Priest, anthropologist to receive humanities awards

Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Alaska Humanities Forum will honor a priest who has served the Yupik people for 50 years.

Gov. Tony Knowles will present a Friend of the Humanities award to the Rev. Rene Astruc of Mountain Village on Oct. 25 in Anchorage.

Astruc was born in Versailles, France in 1924. He did not like his native hot climate and after becoming a priest, requested a mission where it was cold. He wound up in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

After his arrival in St. Marys, Astruc lifted a ban on potlatches. In 1996 he was made a Yupik in a special ceremony.

He left for France to retire but returned to Alaska a year and a half later.

The governor also will award a Distinguished Humanities Educator award to Ann Fienup-Riordan of Anchorage.

Her work includes serving as co-curator for the Agayuiyararput Yupik Mask Exhibition. The display was mounted at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art in 1996 prior to a run at the Smithsonian Institution.

Fienup-Riordan is the author of several books on Yupik culture and has lived, worked and taught in Alaska since 1973.

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