FFT Yupik People & Salmon

Greenberg found that the past of the Yupik people and wild salmon have been intertwined, so it stands to reason that their futures would be similar as well. He learned that the wild salmon population, not only in Alaska but everywhere that they are found, has decreased significantly and has been harmed, and continues to be harmed, by the fishing industry in the modern world. Unfortunately, the Yupik people have a heavy reliance on salmon as part of their lives – from ways to earn money to practices and traditions that are essential to their culture. Therefore, Greenberg makes the deduction that as the future of the wild salmon looks dimmer and dimmer, so does the future for the Yupik people. Greenberg points out that they have some of the highest rates of suicide in the United States. So, the Yupik people are clearly not supported by the rest of the country. They are in danger of losing their people, their ability to sustain themselves, and their culture. I do agree with Greenberg’s claim that the futures are parallel to each other. Society today has made it impossible to maintain healthy levels of wild salmon populations around the world and has created situations that not only decrease the number of wild salmon, but also damage their genetic diversity and the unique and strong DNA that took thousands of years to evolve within these fish. Salmon are and always have been a crucial part of Yupik life, so it’s clear that if the salmon are doing poorly, it is yet another reason for the same to be true of the Yupik people.

4 thoughts on “FFT Yupik People & Salmon”

  1. Fantastic Read! I never thought to incorporate the suicide rate among the Yupik People. That does make sense though, especially if you can’t provide for your family.

  2. This is a great take. I agree with you for the most part! I talked about the high suicide rate too, and I think that the declining future of wild salmon means a change for the Yupik people as well. However, I really believe that humanity is resilient, and that even if the fish vanish, the Yupik people will find a new way to live. I do think that it will never be the same though, as the salmon and the Yupik cultures are so closely intertwined.

  3. As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of sadness and loss for the Yupik people and what may happen to their culture if the salmon cease to exist or plummet to extremely low levels. So much of their culture revolves around salmon. They rely on it for so many aspects of the lives, both through subsistence and commercial fishing. I worry about the suicide rate, as well. My concern is that the people will be forced to leave the area they’ve called home for thousands of years and relocate closer to larger communities. If the wild salmon population does continue to decline, I hope the government is able to find a way to replenish it in a healthy way, so the villages along the Yukon can remain.

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