FTT 9/15

Greenberg was exposed to a lot of the harsh realities of Yupik life, including the high suicide rate and relative scarcity of fish. It seems that while the wild salmon were doing well, so were the Yupik people, as their culture emphasizes their connectedness to nature. Salmon is their main source of food, and many of their practices and habits revolve around the health of the salmon at the time. As the salmon numbers drop, so does their opportunity to practice their culture. Now, salmon are valuable enough that they sell the good ones, receiving packaged meat in return. This is a big change from what it used to be. Greenberg also heard about the high suicide rate in the area, and probably connected that negativity with the conclusion that the Yupik people have a very different position now than they used to. He is probably thinking that as the salmon numbers continue to decline, the Yupik people will be forced to lose even more of their culture and identity, so their futures are as entwined as their past has been.

I do agree with Greenberg to some extent. I think that the future of wild salmon, if dark, will result in a further loss of culture for the Yupik people and mean a definite change for them. If the wild salmon experience a resurgence, I think the Yupik people will have an opportunity to revert in part to their old ways and regain some of the cultural identity they have lost in recent years. However, I would say that the modern world is changing at a fast pace, and even if salmon rebound, I’m sure that the Yupik people will have combined elements of Western culture and their traditions. If the salmon’s future is to decline, I think that some of the Yupik people will adapt to new times and, while losing some of their history, will rebound in a new way that none of us can foresee.

3 thoughts on “FTT 9/15”

  1. Great read! 🙂 I agree with everything you have said, but the part that is unclear is if they could actually adapt differently to things changing. I didn’t think to put this in my post, but I think because that they will not be able to adapt, that the suicide rate will become higher. Possibly destroying it all. This is their culture, and it has been for many years. This is all they know. If something isn’t done soon, Yupik culture could disappear forever just as the salmon.

  2. I like how much you emphasized the interconnectedness between the salmon and the culture and traditions of the Yupik people and the declining health of salmon is directly related to the declining health of the Yupik culture. I agree it’s interesting to see the significantly different role that salmon plays in the daily lives of the Yupik today than it did years ago, but it also shows that even though the specifics are different, the salmon and the Yupik people remain very closely tied. I am less optimistic about the future, but I like your perspective that they can adapt to changing times.

  3. I agree. It worries me that if the salmon continue to decline, the Yupik will lose even more tradition, culture, and a sense of identity. Salmon is a huge part of their identification and way of life. In some ways, it defines them. You brought up a great point that I hadn’t considered. If there is a resurgence, and the salmon become more abundant, then perhaps the Yupik way of life will see a resurgence, as well. Given their location and vastness of empty wilderness surrounding them, they need to be able to continue their traditions for survival. Having to learn a whole new trade or means of subsistence living may cause the suicide rate to increase.

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