“I couldn’t help but think that in a way the future of wild salmon and the future of the Yupik people were somehow sadly parallel to each other.” This comment by Greenberg is such a bold, yet understandable and valuable sentiment. When a community’s life is based upon spiritual and physical worlds being interconnected- we must remember what salmon are and mean to the Yup’ik. Salmon are not just a food source, they are a way of life. From the small milestones of studies proving that Yup’ik peoples’ health has benefited from the Omega-3 rich salmon preventing them from diseases like diabetes and obesity to the smokehouses that stay full of protein all winter when hunting is not an option for the community. The way children are brought up and the way members of the community interact due to the salmon runs.
Salmon proved perseverance to Alaskan Natives. They proved when you take only what you need and do not take with greed, life is sustainable on both ends. Settlers would soon show how true that was. To no surprise, Native Alaskans have had a productive economy based on salmon much before the arrival of settlers. Yup’ik have never had to rely on money to get them through a season, or better yet, a lifetime. Imagine the shock to the community it would bring to one day have no fish to make life go round. I think it’s fair to say without a lush run of salmon, Yup’ik people will have lost a large piece of their self, heritage, and the safety net for survival in some of the most harsh places that contain human life. Though, with that being said, this is obviously a resilient community who can likely survive a lot more than we’d think. I believe deep down, there could absolutely be adaptation, but would they still feel the will to live a life that is not the one they were intended to- on the outskirts of corporate America?