Music plays an important role in many people’s lives, especially today’s Youth. Friendships are formed over shared music genres, emotional connections are made with lyrics and a familiar song can trigger a powerful memory. Music speaks to people and it has been used for centuries to tell stories and share culture. Today, one teenage boy from Toksook Bay is using it to keep his heritage alive.
Byron Nicholai preserves his culture through music and drumming in his Native Yup’ik language. He was recently awarded the Roger Lang Youth Leadership award at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference for his commitment to his craft. Byron has traveled the state and even performed before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington D.C.
His love for music doesn’t stop with Yup’ik; he encourages Youth to explore their own heritage through their culture’s traditional music. Byron uses social media to raise awareness and promote his passion. He has 20,000 followers on his Facebook page titled I Sing, You Dance. His Facebook page is an outlet for his music and a way for his fans to share their own experiences with music. This is not the first time Byron has been honored for his leadership. Byron was previously honored by the Spirit of Youth Award and was featured on KTUU’s Morning Edition newscast.
Byron is a role model for his fellow Youth. He is proud of his culture and wants to preserve it. In school he is the leader of his dance group, plays basketball and was selected to represent Team Alaska this upcoming summer.
Calista Corporation congratulates Byron for his leadership and talent. Quyana for making a positive impact in our Region on our Youth.