John Pingayak, a co-founder of Alaskool, is a Cup'ik man who was born and raised in Chevak.
has been teaching for over 25 years and has spent all his
life in the preservation and retention of Alaska Native Culture and Languages.
created the The Cup'ik People of the Western Tundra on Alaskool
John is an award-winning educator, and the founding director of the Kashunamiuit School District's Cultural Heritage Center, and of the Chevak Tanqik Theatre and is featured in An Interview with John Pingayak, Chevak Tanqik Theatre also on the Alaskool site.
In addition he
contributed much input to the Guidebook for Integrating Cup'ik Culture and Curriculum . John
believes that continuation of traditional knowledge is essential to the survival of culture and communities.
states: "This knowledge promotes high levels of self esteem and a sense of belonging.
After teaching history in Greek and British schools in the 1970s, Bill McDiarmid taught with John Pingayak
in Chevak in the early 1980s and, subsequently, in the Rural Alaska Honors Institute
in Fairbanks in the mid-1980s.