FTT #02 – Syrena

I think that Greenberg meant that the Yupik people are so reliant on the salmon as a part of their way of life that the declining salmon populations will lead further hardships for the Yupik in the future. Assuming that my interpretation is correct, it is understandable to make such a conclusion. I think that this is one possible conclusion. While the salmon struggle so do the Yupik, that is true today, but it does not always have to be.

It would be a long hard road, but the Yupik can find a way to survive without the salmon, which should hopefully never be required. It is in human nature to investigate and solve problems, that is how we cover the globe and continue to do so. While some elements of the culture would change, it is possible for the Yupik to continue to record their history and find new ways of moving forward. The fall of the salmon does not necessitate the end of the Yupik people.

Of course, any change in culture would come with hardships. It is not the desire of the Yupik to lose the salmon, to lose a way of life. If all is considered lost as the salmon population declines, then the Yupik people will be lost. Their history and stories, unique only to them would no longer exist. If the Yupik ask “Where do we go from here?” then there will continue to be hope in the future. That future may hold a different way of life, but it would also be theirs to create different from the rest and entirely their own.

2 thoughts on “FTT #02 – Syrena”

  1. Syrena, while I do agree that the Yupik are resilient and can deal with hardships, I believe this type of assumption does not correlate directly with the Yupik community. Yupik people are known to be native to Western Coastal Alaska, which is not for the faint of heart. This part of Alaska is known for its rugged and bush-lifestyle, therefore, it lacks many of the resources we see in South Central Alaska. Salmon make up a large majority of Yupik peoples’ diet throughout the entire year, help prevent them from diseases (such as obesity and diabetes), and allow them to continue to live the subsistence lifestyle in an area where there truly isn’t another option. There is not a near grocery store to most of these villages and where there is, just a watermelon can cost upwards to $50. When you live a subsistence lifestyle, you do not rely on a job or money. There is no savings accounts. If the one resource they use for about 52%+ of their diet is removed, how can we as Alaskan’s ensure they have the money to move out of the bush, jump into corporate America, find housing, find a job, and learn to eat foods that their bodies are sometimes intolerant to? These instances made me actually wonder if they truly could survive in a world without salmon.

  2. I like your positive note Syrena, yes indeed it will be hard. The human race is strong and was able to get to the top of the food chain, so the Yup’ik people will bounce back after this hardship and will be stronger because of it.

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