FTT Prompt Due September 7 by 11:59pm

During Greenberg’s trip to the village of Emmonak at the mouth of the mighty Yukon River he saw first hand what it means to have a livelihood and culture tied to fish. In your own words describe Greenberg’s most profound (i.e. deep or important) observations and how the decline of Chinook salmon threatened a way of life. What other challenges to living in rural Alaska, besides the decline of salmon, did Greenberg observe?

Share your thoughts with us in your own post using at least 250 words by 11:59 pm on September 7. Respond to at least two posts with your comments by 11:59 pm September 8.

53 thoughts on “FTT Prompt Due September 7 by 11:59pm”

  1. I saw Greenburg make two very important observations during his trip to Emmonak. One being that the members of the community’s livelihood and wellbeing was closely tied to the land, and a decline in the chinook salmon run threatens this way of life. I think Greenburg also saw how differently natural resources are viewed by those who subsist upon them, and those who are attempting to make a quick dollar in some far-off land. Greenburg saw the stress that a low fish count was putting on the families that subsist upon it. He recounts hearing a woman cursing at her husband regarding his lousy fishing. He also draws the connection that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game very much recognize the community’s need for the fish. He illustrates this through carefully detailing how the run is kept open for subsistence fisherman. Greenburg then goes fishing with a family and gets a firsthand view of how they catch and process the plentiful natural resources. Greenburg watches the family trade the one chinook salmon they catch for frozen chicken and beef. This seems to have a profound impact on Greenburg. It caused him to think about the difference in how western culture view food as something to be manufactured and guaranteed, whereas native culture is much more closely tied to the natural order of the changing seasons. Greenburg then goes and helps process fish for smoking where he is surprised to learn that he was cutting his filets off the salmon too thick, due to the filets need to be thin to be properly smoked. These experiences were part of Greenburg illustrating that the people who live in Emmonak do not see the salmon on their plate the same as someone who is not so connected to the land. Again, Greenburg realizes the delicate balance between having food and not having food that the people living in such a rugged environment are in. Essentially, without the Salmon run there is a good chance there would be no Emmonak. Other struggles that Greenburg highlights are the bugs, difficult waterway to navigate, and how the weather puts a strain on doing all the outdoor activities.

    1. I like how you brought up how if there was conditions in which the salmon to live in, the salmon would not be there, as the same as the town Emmonack and how the place would not have been a place where the native would live at. Also the point in which you brought up with how the western culture think of the salmon that is produce and manufactured is guaranteed to be produced every time, as in which natives can only get the salmon in the season s. Very good point to be brought up, Never really saw that in the text as I nreiefpy skimmed over but once I went back, I saw what you brought up

    2. Hello Bryce,
      I find it really interesting how you mentioned without a salmon run there would be a good chance that there would be no Emmonak. It is something how many native tribes or rural villages are focused by rivers where salmon can be easily found during the season. It makes you wonder if those tribes would even still be there if the salmon did not run and if they would direct their attention on other foods such as caribou or whaling or if much fewer tribes would be present.

      1. I do believe that with out the sole purpose that the people thrive on the most which is the fish , will be looking into many other directions to find a way of trade to keep living in there homes. I don’t think they’d leave the land they have but more complicated situations will arise and the people struggle to keep there way of living.

    3. I like that you brought up that Fish and Game wasn’t just prioritizing the salmon population, it was also trying to help people at the same time. It can be easy to forget that it had to juggle both of those objectives, especially because they make the other more difficult. They had a tough job, and it looks like they did the best they could under the circumstances.

  2. Greenberg made observations about how closely fishing was tied to survival for local communities. Keeping the run closed leads to threats of violence against Fish and Game. The locals relied on the fish not only for subsistence and for food, but also as trade materials for other goods. Greenberg also noticed a difference in how the indigenous communities viewed the salmon and how western communities viewed it. Trading the king salmon for freezer burnt ground beef and chicken parts seemed almost sacrilegious, but for the locals, it was just another way to get the food they wanted and preferred. It was a commodity to be used for trade, and not some rare, expensive, and delicious meat to be savored. Greenberg also noted how when cutting salmon to be smoked, he saw what he thought was “wasteful” of salmon flesh, while to the indigenous communities it was wasteful to cut huge filets. If they were too big, the meat would likely spoil and wouldn’t dry well, ruining the meat altogether. It is a very intriguing insight into how different viewpoints can change how you view, and potentially manage, fisheries resources in different areas.

    1. Very good point to bring up over how the indigenous really told Greensburg to keep the fillets thin, but how Greensburg thought throwing the thick fillets were a waste. There is many natives that will tell others who have caught fish to cut the fillets thin, but very good point that reminds me of how in Valdez, the natives that get paid to cut the fish youve cut, they will ask you if you are going to smoke it or regular cook it. So they will either cut it thin or thick

    2. I like that you brought up the threats of violence against fish and game. I think it really highlights what a volatile issue the salmon run is. It’s curious because fish and game is trying to ensure that there will be runs for future generations, but the immediate consequences affect peoples livlihood. I think regarding these issues it’s so important to keep in mind the human element and people’s need to feed their families.

    3. I like how you brought up the different perspectives different people had on the salmon. For Greenberg it was a precious meal, but for the natives it was simply a versatile resource. It really highlights the difference in perspective that natives and foreigners have on the same topic.

    4. Hi Kathryn, I loved your point about how different perspectives and viewpoints could change fisheries management in other areas. I think looking at traditional management versus scientific western management is so different, and the comparisons and contrasts between them are super interesting to study and learn about. We need to respect others viewpoints and consider how fisheries should be run in villages belonging to Indigenous peoples.

    5. Hey, Kathryn,
      I really appreciate the fact you’ve curated a narrative that executes discussing the constrasting perspectives of both the locals residing in Emmonak and Greenberg that gets its points across concisely and with compelling choices of words. I believe this chapter served to be an eye opening experience for Greenberg and the readers themselves, and you’ve done an excellent job expanding upon that.

    6. I like how you brought up the violence of the Fish and Game. When reading this part i found it interesting that while yeas they are trying to keep it so future generation of fish will return but also how much of an impact that the closing of the run impacted the community.

    7. I did ponder like Greenberg of how they cooked the fish and how they have there ways how to cut and Smoke the fish. It’s opened a different point of Vero for me as well like you put that there is all kinds of view points to how a certain things are done like for the people was the cutting of the fish and what they think is good and bad parts.

  3. Greenberg, during his travels around the village of Emmonak, saw firsthand the importance of sustainability of fisheries and how it links to entire communities’ subsistence. For these people, fishing was all they had, all they could do. It was such an important factor in their life that the mere idea of not being able to fish, due to impediments from Fish and Game, gave way to very serious death threats, as well as the prospect of suicide. Moreover, Greenberg indeed had the “cultural shock” that Jac had warned him about, when he went for a fishing trip and saw how masterfully the natives traveled along the ever shape-shifting river, which he explained could not have a single recognizable landmark, like it was nothing, like it had always been the same way. He also had a different point of view of what is “wasteful” when he cut bigger fillets of fish to smoke, only to learn that he needed thinner fillets in order for the water to leave their bodies and dry correctly, which is a longer-term approach of what it is to be “wasteful” or not, in an environment where commodities such as canning are not available.
    Perhaps the biggest impacts Greenberg had was the way the natives traded a king salmon for some frozen beef and chicken, which he felt was a complete and utterly unfair trade, and made him ponder over the course selective breeding had to take in order for that frozen chicken and beef to be so cheap. Another important point is how aquaculture was affecting wild populations of salmon, which made the fishing period for personal consumption shorter and shorter, while the commercial period were also being delayed.

    1. The salmon run being so low is often viewed as only affecting commercial fishermen and recreational anglers, but in reality, can adversely affect the way of life of the many indigenous communities that still exist in the area. Commercial fishers can sustain lower profit or find other sources, but a bad run can mean starvation for subsistence communities.

    2. I appreciate that you brought up that Greenberg touched on the suicide. I listened to some NPR podcasts this summer about the extremely high suicided rates among indigenous communities in the Arctic. It was very heartbreaking to listen to. The journalist commented on how the changing way of life seems to be closely tied to the suicides. I think Greenberg also alludes to how the decline in the salmon run is negatively affecting the communities’ mental health.

      1. Hi Bryce, that makes a lot of sense to me that changing the environment and not being able to continue their way of life could be devastating to native communities. I have learned a bit about Alaska Native history over the summer as well and one of the points that is always stressed is how important their traditions and the environment are to their communal and individual well-being. I think it’s great that you brought that up.

    3. Hi Cesar, I liked how you mentioned the suicides and depression that would occur over changes made in their villages. That’s something that is way more common than most people realize, and it really drives the point home that fish is the lifeblood of these communities. Something that seems like a simple or necessary change to us might actually flip their worlds upside down.

    4. I like how you mentioned how easily the natives could navigate on the rivers. There are many benefits of living on the same land for generations, you get to know the animals as well as the land.

  4. In the chapter we have read, Greenburg shares that in the village he traveling around in (Emmonak) saw in his own experience firsthand how life was around the village. For the people in the village, fishing was the only way they can mostly make a living. The natives will trade the salmon for any food that is special other than having salmon as their main food source. They use the salmon as also for trading to make a living on, but with the fish and game they needed so much of it the natives and fish and game but heads over the amount the fish the natives can take, because the fish and game wanted more than what the natives can get. Greenburg also draws the instance in which the one time they catch a king salmon area, they traded it for freezer burn meat, Greenburg totally thought that was an unfair trade, but the Natives told him that they’ll do anything to have a different source of dinner for at least and it was cheap. He also had another shock of how his way of cutting up the fish his way was wasteful in the eyes of the women who told him to help. Their way was to cut the fillets in thinner slicings to make it easier preservative for when they smoke the salmon and can them.
    Another shock Greenburg realize when he was traveling with the natives along the river, that in some areas the catch was so low, he saw the disappointment in some of the face of the men on the boat, because one of the men said better see if there is catch today because they so desperately needed it. Some of the wives were dissappointed if their husbands did not bring any salmon home. They hopefully wish in different areas they go up on the river they get lucky with at least some catch.

    1. It’s definitely interesting to see the different viewpoints of the local communities vs typical western views. To us, the salmon might be far more valuable. To them, it’s just another commodity they have and need to stay alive. The lowered catch directly affects their way of life, and isn’t just a hobby like recreational fishermen.

    2. I agree that it is really interesting how they are so willing to give up a fresh salmon for something that seems to be so plentiful in the western world (especially in the lower 48). Id take a salmon meal any chance I get and I am grateful that I was able to stock up a bit on them earlier this season so I can avoid having just beef and chicken over and over again. However, it still stands true that if you eat something over and over again you may eventually become sick of just eating that so it makes sense that they are willing to just trade it, despite our views on salmon being a better/ nicer source of protein.

    3. I too thought this was a profound piece of evidence. The transparent feelings of the people as they were pulling in Chums. They were not thrilled with the size or quality. Stating merely “it will dry”. The abundant nature of fishing in their ancestors land that had produced for so long was no longer as reliable as it once had been. Thanks for the article.

  5. During his trip he had many observations and encounters with the Alaskans and their way of life. A big part in place is a company called the Fish and Game which is a key for the peoples survival for a good season and for them allowing commercial fishing which gives them access to the rivers . He noticed how everyone depended on how the quantity of fish came back the head departments can come and allow people to fish. He understood how the dams and constructions in the rivers kept depleting the stocks this raised the people to be anxious and look for different methods of selling goods. I believe Greenberg started feeling as the people did with the conflicts arouse from his trip and how these people get the short end of the stick.

    1. I agree, this chapter was very eye opening for Greenberg and seeing how much the villagers relied on the land and it’s resources, and how when the Fish and Game had to limit it impacted them. This also was an eye opener for him about land growth and development, and how that effects fisheries and the surrounding communities and their way of life.

  6. During Greenburg’s trip to visit the Emmonak, at the mouth of the mighty Yukon river, he learnt about how important fishing was to this community and how much it affected the way in which they lived. He got to witness the impact a low fish count can have on the people living here and how arguments can occur within a family if enough fish was not caught. Fishing played a huge role in how their lives were carried out as it was not only a food source but also something that they could trade for various goods. Two experiences while visiting this village seemed to lead to Greenburg having his most profound observations about Salmon and rural Alaska. The first observation was when he witnessed some salmon being traded for freezer burned beef in chicken. This made Greenburg realize how food was viewed so differently in the western world. In the western world, foods are heavily manufactured and processed and salmon was viewed as a delicacy (to an extent). However, over here, salmon is such a staple part of their diet that they are willing to trade it to change up the meat in which they get to consume. Another experience was when he was helping filet the fish for smoking and he was informed that he was being wasteful cutting the fillets too thick. For smoking, the people wanted to cut the meat in thinner slices so it would cook better throughout and be less likely to spoil and go bad in the long run if not to be consumed right away. This again also made Greenburg realize how the mind set from the western world and the culture of rural Alaskan villages varied greatly as food was not as guaranteed for them and highly dependent on the seasons and what mother nature granted them.

    1. This was an eye opening chapter for sure. The indigenous looked at the salmon as a valuable resource not only for meat and subsistence material but also as a source of income. It is amazing how one set of people will create a dam or otherwise alter a landscape, spelling destruction for the neighboring people. Paying little mind to the adverse effects on the communities and villages surrounding the areas. Great reade.

    2. I like how you pointed out the trading of these valuable fish for something like the chicken which holds much les value in the long run. The way they prepare and handle the fish really shows how valuable of a source it is.

  7. Paul Greenberg traveled to the Yukon River , more specifically to a little fishing village named Emmonak in Alaska. The first thing that he noticed was the basic lack of infrastructure. Although there was a small village filled with people, there were no amenities. Greenberg goes to state how the southeasterly 30% portion of Alaska boasted Mcdonalds and psychiatrists, and the remaining 70% were largely poor and 3rd world living. He even states that the seasonal flux in jobs revolving around the fishing industry employed much of the transient population during the brief window of operation. Although noticing the lack of infrastructure and vast uninhabited portions of the northwest portion of Alaska, he immediately notices the large ties to the Salmon run that ran up the Yukon river and how much the community relied on these resources. Fish and Game pronounced there would not be a commercial fishing season for profit at all that year. Which spelled no income for Jac Gadwill and all the indigenous that he employed in the local area. Which had allowed him to operate in the area due to his ties to bringing prosperity to the local area. Jac stated there would be no “milk and cookies” for Fish and Game that year and it made the point in my mind that unfortunately this was because there were no “milk and cookies” to be had. The close of the fishing for profit made the pockets of the locals run dry. I drew another really cool conclusion from the reading which was that bartering was still open and a kind of grey area that the indigenous could use out of bare necessity. Paul Greenberg’s guide Ray and his wife Francine caught a beautiful King Salmon and rather than keeping the fish they bartered it to a vessel near by which was awaiting to trade for chicken and beef. The trader even saw the quality of the one king and upped the amount of food bartered for the prize catch. From 2 packs of chicken to 2 chicken and 2 beef packs. The option for barter was open for the indigenous to appease relations between the subsistence fishermen and women and Fish and Game. There were even rumors of “Death Threats” at the time, creating an image of just how important the fishing season was and how badly the lack of income would hurt the community. As depicted in the graph above, the Chinook Salmon numbers have dropped dramatically in the late 90’s, spelling an end to the allowable commercial fishing industry of the wild salmon of that time and area. The loss of rivers and the addition of dams had stunted the salmon populations, introducing the idea of canning and preserving the resource for the remaining seasons until the next salmon run. An eye opening chapter to a familiar story in the Alaskan bush.

  8. Paul Greenberg noticed that the global community’s actions had an impact on the Yupik Nation. By overfishing Atlantic salmon, the demand for Pacific salmon increased. Because that demand increased, communities such as the Yupik nation struggled more as the local salmon population they depend on became smaller. It became so small that Fish and Game intervened and set limits on what the natives could fish, which was met with strong opposition by the community, even going as far as to send multiple death threats. This was good for the salmon, but it made life more difficult for the Yupik nation, who fished in order to survive. Their way of life was still fundamentally the same in that they fished for a living, but it was different in terms of how they fished. In addition to the decreasing salmon population, life was difficult for the natives in that many of their trades with non-natives appeared unfair to Greenberg. A large, healthy king salmon was traded for a few pounds of chicken and beef, clearly a one-sided bargain. The natives were being exploited, which compounded the effects of the decreasing salmon population on their livelihood. The difficult climate, the seasonal nature of the availability of food, the decreasing amount of food, and exploitation from foreigners all made life much more difficult for the Yupik nation, a fact that was not unnoticed by Greenberg. This experience showed Greenberg the fragility of salmon runs and the communities that depend on them and the dire importance of sustainable fishing communities.

    1. I agree, Greenberg learned and saw the way of life for the villagers and how much they rely on the Salmon, and the land. I like how you said that the Fish and Game set boundaries that were good for the Salmon but also bad for the villagers because it was their source of food, and I totally agree. It was a very unfortunate situation and it was a difficult choice for them I’m sure, to know that they could be the reason someone goes without a meal because they have to protect a species due to low numbers.

  9. In the chapter that we read in Four Fish by Paul Greenberg, he learns how life is around the village (Emmonak), and how they rely on the land and its resources in order to survive and feed their families. Greenberg got to see first hand the way of life for the people of the village and their need to survive, which was fishing for most of them, and trading. Greenberg also got to see the people of the village trade the Salmon in order to get other needs of food or special items, but Salmon was their main source of meat. Greenberg also witnessed the Fish and Game interactions between the village during his stay, and heard about the possible death threats they were receiving because of the salmon run rules, all because they were proceeding with caution. Greenberg also mentions the needs of Salmon and how they need free flowing water that was clean and oxygen rich, and one by one each of the major salmon run rivers were being destroyed by industrial human development. During Greenberg’s stay, he witnesses a trade by the natives for Salmon for freezer burnt meat, because they were so tired of eating the same food over and over again and it was cheap, this made him sit back and think about how unfair this trade was but how eating the same thing over and over again because that’s all the resources there was for this village. Greenberg knows the market value of that Salmon and knows that the villagers are being taken advantage of. Greenberg also got to go process the Salmon with the elders and learned he was doing it wrong, so she shows him how to do it to preserve better, which I feel like in this story is very eye opening for someone who comes from a different type of culture, and shows him that this is very much so a way of life for them and a need of survival. I also feel like Jac Gadwill warned him before the trip about the cultural difference and tried to prepare him, but until you see it yourself and witness it, I don’t think you fully understand.

    1. It was eye opening for me too, I’ve never smoked or dried fish. I view it as wasteful to not try and make the biggest fillet possible, but it all just depends on what the end goal is.

    2. I agree that this chapter truly does open the reader’s eyes to an environment and struggles of those who reside within it to which, much like Greenberg, most likely weren’t fully aware of.

  10. During Greenberg’s trip to Emmonak he made several observations. The most noted one was the correlation of salmon to the community’s way of life. The community being quite aways from any large towns or cities, really made them depend on the resources of the land and river. With the decline of the Chinook Salmon, Greenburg noted how much stress the community seemed to be under. When he was out on the boat he noticed the catch rate was significantly lower in many areas, leaving them disappointed. Along with the decline, Fish and Game tightened regulation in regards to “if enough salmon had “escaped” into the upper river” and while Greenburg was visiting regulations were strict.
    In regards to challenges of living in rural Alaska; Greenburg observed that there aren’t many roads leading in, nor out of the village (seeing as he got there by a plane); this being that there also aren’t many stores to get things from, and it makes it more difficult to get supplies to the village as well. All this furthers the previous observations, that the salmon are very important to the wellbeing of the community.

  11. I really appreciated Greenberg’s first observation on how intertwined fishing was with the community of Emmonak: the culture, people’s livelihoods, and the entire village runs off of fishing and salmon, and has for many years. Native Alaskans there rely on strong fishruns for subsistence purposes, and materials that they can either use themselves or trade for other necessities. Emmonak was right beside my home village, where I grew up, and I have first hand knowledge on what salmon means to a community where a little goes a long way.

    Another observation Greenberg made was the difference between the western world and our idea of food and rural Alaska and how unique food is handled out there. Greenberg describes when fish was traded for “Safeway packages of frozen ground beef,” something difficult to get in villages, and more a luxury than it is for us here in a big city. The decline of salmon threatens Native Alaskans way of life because they have had access to it for hundreds of years–the decrease in salmon stocks is something that they shouldn’t have to worry about when it is their way of life.

    Greenberg was able to observe the challenges of living in a village that I know far too well–not being able to get fresh, sanitary foods easily or cheaply, having to save as much food as possible because waste in the village can be the difference between dinner and no dinner, and the difficulties of traveling out to the village and bringing supplies out there.

    1. Only just this last summer have I learned about some of the conditions in the villages along the Yukon myself, and it’s really sad that access to clean water, power, and food is so limited. It shouldn’t be that way.

    2. Maya,
      I can tell that you have a really intimate understanding of this topic. On one hand, I envy that you have had the opportunity to grow up and coexist so closely with the land, but on the other, I also understand that that experience would probably make the salmon’s decline that much more difficult for you to bear witness too. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this topic, and I always look forward to your input.

  12. When Paul Greenberg visited the village of Emmonak, down towards the mouth of the Yukon River, he had two notable observations. One being just how dependent the people of Emmonak, and all the other folks living in villages along the Yukon, are on the different salmon runs. Greenberg got to see the salmon through the local’s eyes, how much they valued them, and how much they valued other food items too. When Paul’s guide traded their beautiful king salmon for some freezer burnt chicken and beef, he thought it to be a very unfair trade.
    The second observation of worth was when he was told it was seen as wasteful to cut large fillets, for when they were dried, they could go bad. The thinner fillets dried and smoked more thoroughly and lasted longer through the winter.
    This account actually is pretty close to what happened this year, but it was the chum run that was incredibly low and not the kings so much. During my seasonal position with Fish and Game this summer I listened to the YRDFA (Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association) teleconference calls where villagers from all up and down the Yukon and adjoining rivers give account to what they’ve been seeing or catching. Fish and Game had to close everything, even subsistence, just to try and make the chum escapement goal, so many people had a lot to say about that. It was hard to hear people mourning about the small run of fish and then not being able to even catch any, but if the fishery wasn’t shut down, it would be worse in a few years. There was still opportunity to catch whitefish, sheefish, and pike, but I know it’s not valued the same to Yukoners.

    1. Payton,
      it’s crazy to read & learn that so many people rely on the land they live on. When those resources deplete or don’t come back, it can be very distressful. I never would have known to cut a thin filet rather than a thicker one because it dries better. Your encounter is super interesting, I can’t imagine what it was like first hand !

    2. Hi, Payton
      It’s so interesting to hear you have a similar experience. I can’t completely imagine what it would be like, but I can have an idea of how terrible it must be to not be able to fish for your own family subsistence.
      In case of the salmon, they know the longer problems it would create to fish when the “escapement goal” hasn’t been reached, but, how many other choices do they have?
      It’s good to know that in that case, they could still catch other types of fish.

  13. Although Greenburg’s research into fisheries sustainability was born from the realization that salmon has become a widely sought-after fish, his visit to the village of Emmonak in itself made him realize the full significance of this fact. He observed the fact that to the natives that rely on the fish of the Yukon to survive, the restrictions on their ability to fish for salmon due to their declining numbers is not only an inconvenience — it deprives them of a major part of their way of life. He notices in awe how the natives here navigate the ever-changing river almost on muscle memory alone, as though its waters and edges are an extension of themselves, and how they pull fish from their nets just to feed themselves because that is all that they are allowed. The most profound observation he made and biggest realization that he came to, occurred when the native family he was riding with traded a 30-pound salmon for 30 pounds of processed and freezer burnt chicken and ground beef. This was especially meaningful because it made him realize two things; firstly, the rest of the world that consumes salmon from outside sources do not truly need the salmon they eat as much as those in villages like Emmonak, and secondly, the abundance and sustainability of salmon is radically more important for these native villages than anywhere else, because if the fishery collapses and they can no longer catch what they need to survive, they don’t have the option of going to the store and replacing salmon with cheap chicken and beef. Losing this treasured resource due to the lack of restraint of outsiders would mean losing the lifeblood and main source of sustenance, which, for a people that have relied on and effectively sustained these fish for thousands of years previous, would be truly devastating.

    1. Hi, Felicia!
      I like how you describe that the natives felt the river was an extension of themselves. I think that’s one of the things that impressed me the most. It truly links to how fisheries, as a whole, is an extension of themselves, as you say.
      And I totally agree that they don’t have commodities that we might take for granted, like going to the store to buy food. Just getting food, not even “luxury” goods. Really puts you into perspective.

  14. Greenberg not only observed the effects of decline in salmon but also the decline in faith in each other when it comes to the native culture in Emmonak. When people struggle with not being able to provide for their families it causes many daily issues. Also when people do not follow a certain cultures ways especially if it is in their natural lands they tend to be aggressive towards that person. With the decline of salmon the natives to Emmonak loose their livelihood which means their food supply. The western world is completely different than the rural world in Alaska. Any part of the world you will witness the differences in culture but if you do not stop and watch you do not seem to notice. Greenberg did notice the differences, as in the way the natives cut the salmon so they are able to smoke the salmon. For example, I grew up fishing for as long as I can remember and I have always cut up my own fish it was my dad’s rule “you want to fish you bait your own hook, you take your fish off yourself, and you clean and filet your fish yourself.” That being said I never knew to smoke salmon you are supposed to cut the salmon thinner. We always learn something new as long as we open our eyes and ears.

    1. Alyssa,
      different cultures are everywhere & it is so interesting to learn from them. I think Greenberg realized quite a bit & learned a lot from the natives. Who thought cutting a thicker filet would rot faster. I like how your dad told you that, sounds like something my dad would say. 🙂

  15. During Greenberg’s travel to Emmonak, he saw firsthand how important fishing was to the village and how it affected their lifestyles. Fishing was a way of living for them, not fishing meant not being able to feed their families. He recalls hearing a woman calling her husband “good for nothing” because he could not fish. The packaging company in the village made it so that white men could not fish, only the natives, so the fish caught gets sold and the money goes back to the natives. Greenberg sees firsthand how Fish and Game monitor the fish population and how they do it for the importance of the community. When the king salmon numbers dropped back in 2000, the whole community was startled. There was no reason for the numbers to decrease, they did it naturally. However, many salmon numbers declined due to dams being built. Greenberg uses a quote from the secretary of the U.S Department of the Interior, “The overall benefits to the Pacific Northwest from a thoroughgoing [hydroelectric] development of the Snake and Columbia Rivers are such that the present salmon runs must be sacrificed.” Salmon need fast moving, oxygen filled waters to thrive. When dams are built, they prevent that from happening, causing large drops in fish populations. Some other challenges to living in rural Alaska was getting different foods and resources. Since getting to a grocery store is not likely to happen, the natives must find other ways to get these accommodations. Greenberg went with a family to fish and when they caught a 30-pound king salmon fish they traded it to a commercial boat for 30 pounds of processed chicken and beef. After fishing, Greenberg went to help filet fish and ended up learning that less meat off a fish is easier to smoke and dry. He learned that moisture will rot the fish, making a thinner piece better for drying.

    1. It caught me by surprise when I read that a wife was yelling at her husband. I would think that there would be enough to do in a remote place like that. It proved to me how essential fishing was not only for food and money but for something to do in the summer.

  16. Greenburg noticed that the whole of Emmonak’s actives were put on hold because the Department of Fish and Game needed to make sure that there were enough fish released to sustain the population. The Yupik people should be using the knowledge that has been passed down and accessing the status of the fish presently and working side-be side with the Department of Fish and Game. If the native people in Alaska along with the Department of Fish and Game were to work together there would be a more in-depth understanding of the salmon’s life cycle. If fishing were to not produce a big enough yield the villages would be forced to find another way to sustain themselves. As Greenburg observed there is not a lot of other things for the villagers to do to bring in the food and supplies they need. Greenburg also said “ But even with demand growing yearly, managers reserve the right to act conservatively when they think things are going in the wrong direction. …” I think that Greenburg has a point in saying that conservationists should be thinking about how to manage species before they get to the point where they desperately need to be conserved.

  17. Greenbergs observations in Emmonak are one of the most Alaskan stories I’ve heard from someone from the lower 48. The observation about this rural small town, perfectly depicts for rural Alaska. We give our natural resources that should be sold at a premium for basically nothing because we are so used to having access to it and that anything foreign like food or products is highly sought after because of how hard it is to get to us. The perfect example is trading a thirty pound fresh king for 30 pounds of probably freezer burnt poultry and beef.

    In rural Alaska there is a very real chance of starvation and that’s why living off the land and having a reliable food source like salmon are so important. Managing the runs and being able to fish them isn’t for commercial value, its for making sure that there is a dinner when you need it. The native people have been living this way for centuries and the lower 48 hasn’t. That’s were the disconnect come from and just from how vast and empty the expanse of Alaska is.

  18. While visiting Emmonak, Greenberg was able to see personally just how vital the livelihood of the local fish stock and ethics/sustainability of the fisheries was for the wellbeing of those residing within the community. Not only was salmon a primary aspect of the locals’ diets, but it also served as their means of making a living through working within the industry of fisheries. Greenberg states himself that, while the population of salmon returning has over the years slowly began to recover, the community is still greatly affected by the devastation of the salmon stock they faced in 2000-2001. Even as Alaska holds the title of being the “richest” habitat for salmon population post industrial revolution, its sanctity in holding that title is increasingly threatened with the climate of modern day fishing industry and literal temperature of our waters. With this, those within communities just like Emmonak whose livelihoods depend on these fish suffer as well. Fish and Game puts forth calls to completely halt the fishing so heavily tied into the locals’ work and culture because there quite simply isn’t enough salmon returning for it to be safe. Within this, I believe Greenberg experiencing and learning of the indigenous views firsthand of how to handle and process these resources gave him an incredibly eye-opening introspective to the worth and value of these fish that he previously didn’t have nor consider in depth.
    Aside from the plight that depleting fish stocks bring, rural communities within Alaska face the struggle of being disconnected from the other aspects of the state. Greenberg expressed surprise at how salmon was so freely traded for things he considered “unworthy”.
    The residents within Emmonak also deal with rugged weather with less resources than those who live in areas such as Anchorage or Fairbanks.

  19. Arriving at Emmonak was like having “the sand thrown under his feat” (pg.22) in that after his visit to Alaska his ability to return to a arriagned lifestyle would be in jeopardy.
    He appreciates and understands the State of Alaska’s management tactics to monitor fisheries as a means to prevent what has occurred in other salmon fisheries across the world. He also observes the careful approach to harvesting by the people on the Yukon and how closely tied their way of life is to the salmon annual return.
    During his fishing trip on the Yukon with Ray Waska they catch a brilliant King Salmon. Greenberg thinks “what if ” the Salmon had made it all the way to Canada in order to spawn and return. When Ray with no hesitation gills the fish, he accepts its fate. What he doesn’t appreciate is when Ray decided to trade the King salmon for commercial meat. He internalized the transaction as an example of the broad commercialization of animal and agriculture for profits that produce more for less and “ignoring genetic truths.” His experience with Ray reminded him of two types of ethical dilemmas when harvesting life; either the consumer is so far removed from the process that they see no cause for concern. The other dilemma is similar to what he witnessed Ray’s approach to the salmon in that there is no harm in one person bending the rules. It’s not the single shrug of regulation and harvest of the King that worries Greenberg, it’s the reminder that at one point the fisheries where he grew up on the East coast were just as bountiful and are now either gone or in jeopardy.

  20. I think Greensberg is able to observe how differently people in a town like Emmonak treat their resources versus what we see in Western culture for the most part. The fact that people on the Yukon live such a closely-knit life with their environment shows how a bad year for salmon could completely jeopardize the existence of Emmonak. With places like this being disconnected like much of Alaska, harvesting the surrounding land is a part of life. The Fish and Game dept. sets limits on how much Salmon can be harvested, and while there are measures put in place like “subsistence openings” to ensure those living on the Yukon get salmon, many individuals do not look at ADFG’s limits favorably, in some cases even receiving death threats. I think the situation where Greensberg watched a beautiful king salmon get traded off for twenty dollars worth of basic safeway meat produce is when he realized how the indigenous people use salmon as a commodity to trade for more desirable items, unlike in the states where the same salmon is highly desirable and would fetch a premium price in paper currency. So when an entity like the ADFG tries to justifiably enforce regulations on an invaluable resource like salmon, the resentment shared by individuals in Emmonak and other places along the Yukon is understandable. One last observation Greensberg made was while assisting in cutting some filet for smoking. He thought that the thinner cuts of filets were wasteful, but learned that if they were cut too thick, they would rot and not be good for storage. This shows how people that live in rural areas of Alaska know food isn’t always available, which is not the case for most of those living in the US.

  21. I believe Greenberg was able to experience what a society such as Emmonak is like when they are solely dependent on a healthy fishery to survive. Cultures and towns that don’t necessarily rely on certain resources tend to not really care about some getting wasted. Greenberg was able to see how this village was living off these fisheries and if the fisheries weren’t healthy then it will negatively affect that village. Most people especially in the lower 48 take for granted what they have because they have abundance of resources and they could care less if some gets wasted. But with his past experience of his fish dying off, helped give him the appreciation for strict fish and game regulations to make sure that these fish stay healthy. Since he understands and has seen and felt when someone or a culture looses fish that they are relying on for their lifestyle, can be super damaging.

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