Archive for the ‘Pilot Point’ Category

Buckled Ice, Overflow, and Other Obstacles

February 16, 2011

Heading across overflow

Feb 16, 2011

One of the things that most Alaskans feel is a positive about our state is the ability for its citizens to get involved in the ‘politics’ of the state and stand the chance of actually having an impact if so desired.

Predator controls, aerial wolf shooting , a teacher killed by wolves, bear maulings, coupled with subsistence issues have all made the headlines in the past. All of these issues get dealt with, or ignored, by our state Board of Game, part of the state’s Department of Fish and Game. The Board members are appointed, once they voice an interest, by the Governor and then confirmed by the legislature for terms that  expire on a rotating basis.

There are a number of Advisory Committees, each dedicated to a specific geographical area and serve as a place for local residents and villages to address issues that come before the Board of Game.  Anyone can make proposals for changes in statues of how game units are run.  Every three years each area comes before the Board for those proposals to be reviewed and dealt with.

The Alaska Peninsula, that long skinny part of the state that stretches out to where the Aleutian Islands begins is up before the Board in March. Proposals have all been submitted months ago by a variety of local residents, village and city councils, guides, concerned citizens and of course the Department of Fish and Game.

Our Advisory Board, that deals with a small portion of that area, met this about three weeks in Pilot Point.

Due to a horrific event on Christmas Eve that happened in our yard the interest from this household was even more peaked than normal.  This interest comes on top of heightened interest due to an area teacher being attacked and killed by wolves last year, a continued issue with nuisance Brown bears and diminished opportunities for hunting game meat.

To make it to that meeting those of us in the villages near Pilot Point had one option of traveling over the frozen swamps, lakes and river to get there.

While making this trip under mostly blue skies, low winds and temperatures hovering around 0 degrees, not counting windchill it came to mind that many would have no idea what that entailed.

This distance between the two villages is only about 7 miles by way of the crow flying but overland in the winter it turns into about a 10-12 mile trek.  Snowmobiles and 4-wheelers traversus a frozen river, a number of creeks both frozen and not, frozen lakes, and a swamp that can frozen but again can have spots where it is not. (the thing to remember is we are near active volcanoes and this means there is activity that keeps some things from freezing solid all winter)

There has been some good snowfall in the week beforehand that I had heard caused a few places in the trail to need shoveling to clear. Also the trail is not marked except by tracks from traffic which can disappear from either more heavy snowfall or thawing that erase them.

We have to deal with things like ‘overflow’ which is where the tide as it moved up and down seeps up into low areas where the ice is cracked.

Overflow...where water seeps up through the ice when it rises.

We must also move through areas where the ice has not frozen smooth. These types of areas can have parts where it is just a little heave…..

Buckled ice on the edge of the river



….or these heave areas can go on for some time and be higher or rougher than you can transverse with a snowmobile or 4-wheeler.

Trying to find a safe way off or onto the river.

There is also the issue of getting on and off the actual river. Think of it this way….if all the ‘beach’ is taken up and all you have are the high banks of the river…how do you get up and over it?

Of course we have the normal issue of things like fog.  I have literally seen fog move fast enough to overtake a speeding skiff!! Just the other day I watched the fog roll in ……

Looking north toward our village, watching fog move in.....

…….and cover more than 8 miles in less than 5 minutes!

Still looking north but less than 5 minutes later!!!

So,  given all these issues sometimes getting to a meeting to lend your voice to an issue needs a little extra ‘consideration’  than just jumping in a car for the short 7 mile ride!!

Happy Anniversary Anonymous Bloggers! Looking back on our first year:

January 21, 2010

Anonymous Bloggers

Working together to bring relief to our fellow Americans!

Jan 21, 2010

Has it really been a year since Jane started this site?  We went from just a few of us who gathered here to exchange ideas on how to bring relief to rural Alaska, to having hundreds of people visiting here every day brainstorming both short and long term solutions to the issues that face rural Alaska.

We remember in the beginning when we first got excited that we had more visitors than board members.  Today we have someone visiting AB on average every 6 minutes!

What has brought nearly 100,000 hits to Anonymous Bloggers this first year?  Let us review.   Please feel free to wander the side bar and the archives to see everything we’ve been doing.

Here’s the time-line Jane created with a lot of hard work and patience.

Anonymous Bloggers our 1st year…a review…..

Jane started AB on January 21st, 2009  but we need to go back a few weeks before that to get a full understanding of why she made this decision.

Nicholas Tucker, Yup'ik Elder, Emmonak, Alaska

January 9, 2009

The crisis in rural Alaska came to light when Nicholas Tucker presented a letter to Fuel Summit Participants sharing the stories of people in his village who were suffering. His story was picked up by regional news outlets and eventually became headline news in Alaska.

Emmonak man seeks food airlift to combat economic crisis

A combination of extreme cold and high fuel prices has created a humanitarian crisis for the village of Emmonak, according to resident Nicholas Tucker.

January 14, 2009

Prominent Alaska blogger AKM brought the crisis in rural Alaska to the attention of hundreds of readers on her blog, TheMudflats, and asked for donations to send a filmmaker to Emmonak to document the situation. The footage eventually appeared on CNN.

A Cry for Help from Rural Alaska. Is Anyone Listening?

The Mudflats

January 14, 2009

One of our local progressive media heroes, Dennis Zaki of The Alaska Report, is stepping up trying to raise money to get to Emmonak and other villages to put a camera where it needs to be. Many national and international media outlets are interested in seeing footage. Flights are not inexpensive, and he’ll be traveling on his own dime. If you want to help put a spotlight on this issue as it relates to Emmonak and ALL Alaska’s rural villages in crisis, consider donating with the Paypal button below.

***

Emmonak’s Nicholas Tucker interviewed on KUDO.

Hope Coming to Emmonak and Beyond?

The Mudflats

January 14, 2009

If you didn’t get the opportunity to hear Nick Tucker talk to CC on KUDO, he had a message for all those who have stepped up to help rural Alaskans who are having to make the choice of whether to keep their children and elders warm, or fed. “It’s a blessed day. It’s like angels have landed on Earth.”

January 16, 2009

AnnS left this comment on TheMudflats:

January 17, 2009

Enough money to pay for Dennis Zaki’s flight has been raised and he is set to depart the following day.

Alaska’s Rural Villages in Crisis – Update.

The Mudflats
January 17, 2009 Thanks to generous contributions to the effort, many coming from Mudflatters, Dennis Zaki of The Alaska Report has raised enough money to pay for travel to Emmonak and other remote villages, to talk to locals on camera, and capture footage for use by the national media. Dennis needed $2000 for his ticket, and will distribute the rest for energy relief when he arrives in the bush. As of this writing, there is $6283. in the account!

***

AnnS left a comment on Margaret& Helen’s blog (a blog that went viral in the fall when Helen made one of many on-target assessments of Sarah Palin’s character) saying that the crisis was more widespread. More people jumped into help.

By: Struggling in Nunam Iqua

January 17, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Hi everyone,

I was asked to come here and blog. I have been blogging on themudflats.net about how it isn’t just Emmonak that is struggling.

It’s not just Emmonak that is struggling it’s the entire Yukon Delta. I live in Nunam Iqua, a village that is 25 miles south of Emmonak. Not only are we faced with the same issues as Emmonak but also our crisis is harder because we no longer have a store here. Our trading post collapsed several months ago, so we have no place here to get groceries.

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January 21, 2009

The attention the crisis in rural Alaska was receiving in the comments section on Helen & Margaret’s blog caused complaints by some who thought the conversation was to far off-topic. Information about ways to help were strewn across the comments section of a number of blogs – it need a clearinghouse.

We our started our Facebook group and registered our domain name on Jan 21, 2009

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January 23, 2009

The first boxes arrive in Nunam Iqua and we started our blog!

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January 25, 2009

The first, and maybe only, story in the main stream print media about the crisis was published in the Los Angeles Times on January 25, 2009.

In rural Alaska, villagers suffer in near silence

By Kim Murphy

January 25, 2009

Reporting from Tuluksak, Alaska — As the temperature plunged to minus-40 degrees last month, Nastasia Wassilie waited.

The 61-year-old widow had run out of wood and fuel oil, and had no money to buy more. Nor was there much food in the house.

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February 5, 2009

Almost a month after the crisis in Alaska made news there, CNN brought it to national attention

In rural Alaska villages, families struggle to survive

By Mallory Simon

CNN

(CNN) — Thousands of villagers in rural Alaska are struggling to survive, forced to choose between keeping their families warm and keeping their stomachs full, residents say.

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February 6, 2009

Victoria Briggs first reported that the suffering extends to the Alaska Peninsula.

Letter: Hardship exists on the Alaska Peninsula, too

Victoria Briggs Ugashik February 6, 2009 at 1:28PM AST

Before you read any farther please realize we are not putting our hand out for assistance, but certainly do need it! I am a resident in a village that is very small, 10-12 full time residents, that face many of the same issues that the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta does.

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February 13, 2009

Food and donations from far-flung relief efforts begin to make a difference.

Worldwide donations find way to lower Yukon

A wave of donated food and cash has swept into lower Yukon River villages over the past month, with more than 19,000 pounds of supplies and $13,000 landing in Emmonak alone.

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February 17, 2009

The first boxes of food arrive in Ugashik/Pilot Point

ugaVic Says:

February 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Update – the first food reached us yesterday, thanx Seattle and MO (forgot the town – is written down – will fill in later) We got a box of food out to each of our most needy households yesterday. Since we hadn’t really said much about what we were doing until we had our food show up, they were surprised, overwhelmed and just so grateful my words can’t say enough. All of you who are working on this have them so surprised that someone actually cares – I can’t tell you the impact that has already made.

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February 19, 2009

Sarah Palin announces plan to visit rural villages on February 20.

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February 20, 2009

Sarah Palin Visits Russian Mission with Samaritan’s Purse

Video of Sarah Palin, upon leaving Wasilla with Samaritan’s Purse personalities to deliver faith-based aid to the villages of Russian Mission and Marshall. She states government is not the answer, faith-based organizations can help in the interim, but suggests young people should consider leaving their villages to find temporary work and return to the villages with the salaries the have earned to take part in the subsistence living skills they are trying to preserve.

Nicolas Tucker Sr., the brave villager from Emmonak who brought this crisis to our attention, flew to Russian Mission to speak with Sarah Palin. View a video of their conversation.

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March 2, 2009

Sustainable Gardening Becomes a Topic

The last few weeks in February brought some lively chatter in our Cold Weather Gardening threads. We were looking for sustainable solutions to life in the bush and got plenty of ideas and suggestions. Victoria answered many questions about garden tunnels and potatoes as a traditional staple; her growing season and tomatos and the 90 one-day-old chicks she was raising for summer egg production.

She told us privately she had been trying to get funds from the Ugashik and Pilot Point Village Councils to attend a sustainable gardening conference in Fairbanks to help start a community garden in Pilot Point but had not been successful.

We asked you to come up with creative ways to get her there.

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March 6, 2009

Victoria Will Travel to the Sustainable Gardening Conference in Fairbanks:

Thanks to all of you I am going to the sustainable/gardening conference!!!

L.Gardener stepped up and offered to pay for my plane ticket so it would be a ‘for sure’ thing. Then as people contributed we could gather funds and reimburse her. That is now done with a number of people from all over jumping in to help defray the cost. She shares some of the things she learned in her garden journal.

Victoria is a powerhouse! This post is a must-read to get an idea of her energetic enthusiasm in pursuing a more stable and richer life for Native Alaskans. By the end of it she’s already talking about her next project – the salmon bycatch issue!

***

Emmonak’s Nicholas Tucker rips Sarah Palin for “disrespect”

Emmonak’s Nicholas Tucker wrote to AlaskaReport.com editor Dennis Zaki and asked him to print his letter about his dissatisfaction with Governor Sarah Palin’s slow and lackluster response to the food/fuel crisis plaguing the villages of Western Alaska.

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March 17, 2009

Salmon Bycatch in the Pollock Fisheries

Our first post about the devastating effects salmon bycatch in the pollock fishing industry was having on the the salmon fisheries rural Alaskans depend on for winter sustenance.

We called for people to write letters to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which would be meeting in Anchorage April 1-7, demanding they call for a lower bycatch number than the one they were considering. We posted a petition and collected signatures from people from across the US and Canada and as far away as Germany who endorsed a lower bycatch. They were delivered by hand before the March 25 deadline for comments.

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March 31, 2009

Victoria to Attend the NPFMC Salmon Bycatch Meeting in Anchorage

Victoria, in an update, reported that she and Ann had been invited to attend the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting to speak before the council about the effects salmon bycatch is having on rural Alaska.

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April 5, 2009

Victoria Live Blogs From the NPFMC Salmon Bycatch Meeting

Victoria wrote about her first two days at the NPFMC meeting and continued to live blog through the rest of the conference. Sadly, the 68,392 limit was adopted, not the 32,500 that we had been urging, but Vic gave it all she had on behalf of all of us.

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April 16-27, 2009

Unusually early break-up on the Ugashik River

Normally it is right around the very end of April or the first of May before we start to see holes in the ice or the river flowing.

We usually go through days or even a week or more of open holes and areas of water. Then some breaking up of the river. We woke up Sunday morning, after a night of some winds in the 20-30 knot range and the river was flowing some.

Hubby, who grew up in the village does not ever remember it going from basically solid to flowing like this.

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April 24, 2009

First the bad news…

Out of Fuel in Nunam Iqua

Ann reported that Nunam Iqua’s fuel/stove oil tank had run dry. This happened because the early fall freeze in 2008 prevented their last fuel order from being delivered.

The next day, with the food drive slowing down, she and Victoria gave us a detailed update on the situations in their villages. This post offers another glimpse of the monumental task Ann and Vic undertook to help their fellow villagers and the extent to which people from all over pitched in to help.

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May 6,2009

In a conversation Victoria brought up to Ann how busy she was getting ready for the fishing season, and they were in need of  a good crew member for summer.  After hearing how mostly nonexistent the commercial fishing on the Yukon would be this year,  Segundo and Ann decided to take the offer and leave Nunam Iqua to spend the fishing season in Ugashik.

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May 9,2009

‘Tsunami’ Of Ice Wreaks Havoc On Alaskan Town

Breakup brought it’s own challenges on the Yukon, especially in Eagle Village which was flattened by an ice flood. FEMA stepped up to the plate this time and a plan for sensibly rebuilding the town using kit homes with the help of volunteers from the US, Canada and beyond was completed before winter set in. Bloggers worldwide contributed by donating money and supplies.

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May 18-27,2009

Watching and Waiting for Breakup on the Yukon

As breakup continued down the Yukon, communities along the way kept close watch on the flood warnings.

Bloggers waited anxiously for news from Ann in Nunam Iqua at the rivers mouth. She sent updates on May 18, May 19, May 22, May 23, May 26 and on May 27 when she reported that planes were able to land in Nunam Iqua and that her family would be leaving for Ugashik the next morning.

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May 28, 2009

The Stronghearts arrived in Ugashik.  Things are different there,  including cooking in Vic’s modern kitchen and bathing in the land of running water!

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June 28, 2009

Palin tweets that Emmonak residents are meeting subsistence needs

by Channel 2 News Staff

Sunday, June 28, 2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — According to Gov. Sarah Palin’s posts on Twitter, half of the people in Emmonak have met subsistence needs and the other half believe they can do the same. Palin says her rural advisor, John Moller, recently returned from Emmonak and those were his findings.

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June 30, 2009

Emmonak villager demands apology from Palin camp

Posted by thevillage

Posted: June 30, 2009

What was that good news? I asked Palin’s spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, today in an e-mail.

“The good news – At the Federal Subsistence meeting in Emmonak last week, Nick Tucker reported that 50 percent of the residents have met subsistence needs and other 50 percent are confident they will meet their needs,” Leighow replied.

(Tucker drew statewide and national attention this winter when he wrote a letter describing a food and fuel crisis on the lower Yukon.)

Here’s where it gets complicated. Tucker says he never said that and is demanding a public apology from the governor’s camp.

“I want them to take it back,” Tucker said in a short phone interview today.

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July 3, 2009

John Moller: I talked to many, many people over those two days

The Alaska Daily News rural blog, The Village, interviewed John Moller, Sarah Palin’s rural advisor, on Wednesday. They we’re specifically interested in the display of civil disobedience in Marshall but, since Moller was just back in the office after being out of cell phone range while fishing, he couldn’t address that so they talked about other rural issues including the Governor’s tweet about Emmonak.

***

Governor Palin Resigns – Ann Asks What That Will Mean for Rural Alaska

After all the time we Alaskan Natives have been dealing with both the Palin administration’s actions and inactions toward the plight of our rural people, we now find ourselves asking a lot of questions. When I look at where we’ve come from and what I want for my people in the future, I find myself contemplating right now: What does this new leadership mean to bush Alaskans? Fisheries? Subsistence? etc etc

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July 11, 2009

Vic Took a Time Out to Give Us a Glimpse of Summer in Ugashik

So much of this time of year in Alaska, at least the western parts that fish, is rush, rush, rush!! You do any projects that need decent weather, earn most of your yearly income in a few short weeks and, if you can, get the relatives up to visit when it isn’t below freezing.

In the past few weeks I felt you needed to see part of what we try to sandwich in all this work, work and more work.

Time to view all the flowers, well some call them weeds, that spring up and give us color.

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August 2, 2009

AnnS Aired Rural Woes Internationally

Monday, August 3, 2009 – Salmon Ban on the Yukon River: (listen)

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has banned commercial fishing for king salmon along the Yukon River and is limiting subsistence fishing. The ban is in response to the state not meeting their treaty agreement with Canada for the past two years to deliver 45,000 kings via the Yukon. But groups of Native fishermen are ignoring the ban – facing possible jail time, heavy fines and equipment seizure. How will village residents make it through another tough winter if they’re not allowed to fish this summer? Guest is AnnS from the village of Nunam Iqua.

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August 5, 2009

Ann Writes an Open Letter to Rural Advisor John Moller

…During the program, moderator Harlan McKosato mentioned that he put in a call to you before the show but never got a call back.

Because rural Alaskans are openly voicing their serious fears about the coming winter, we were disappointed that you were not involved in the conversation with Ann and Nick on the air. Rural Alaskans need to know advisors have the ear of Governor Parnell and need to believe that the governor realizes today that things may be even worse this winter for rural Alaskan villages than the previous one….

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August 7, 2009

Alaska’s Governor Parnell Urges Disaster Relief for Yukon Fishery!

In a letter today, Governor Sean Parnell asked Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to declare a fishery disaster in the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery.

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August 10, 2009

Legislature overrides Palin’s stimulus veto By SEAN COCKERHAM

scockerham@adn.com

Published: August 10th, 2009 02:31 PM

Last Modified: August 11th, 2009 06:25 PM

The Alaska Legislature voted Monday to override former Gov. Sarah Palin’s veto of $28 million in federal stimulus money for energy cost relief. But it was as close as a vote can get.

(snip) Palin vetoed the appropriation of $28 million in federal energy stimulus cash in May, two months before she resigned as governor.

She kept up her fight against the money by posting a message on her Facebook page Sunday.

“As governor, I did my utmost to warn our legislators that accepting stimulus funds will further tie Alaska to the federal government and chip away at Alaska’s right to chart its own course.

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August 11, 2009

Excerpt from a letter to a Tribal Administrator from Nick Tucker:

“…I want you, your children and grandchildren to get education. We’ve always been strong, intelligent, and wise, particularly our culture precious with values and teachings. Take that for our next generations. But, keep your heads up, your whole generation. We will have been a forced to be reckoned with, because I think, many of us are beginning to turn to God, and we might just rule with justice, goodness, fairness, and generosity again, but educated…”

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August 12, 2009

Obama’s Rural Tour Visits Bush Alaska

By KYLE HOPKINS

khopkins@adn.com

Published: August 12th, 2009 10:42 PM

Last Modified: August 13th, 2009 06:20 PM

BETHEL — Four of President Obama’s cabinet members whirled through a pair of remote Alaska communities Wednesday to hear an earful about the state’s novel needs and the borderline third-world conditions in some villages.

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August 14, 2009

Ann Writes an Open Letter to Governor Parnell, John Moller and others

…Although with another non existent salmon fishing season on the Yukon and winter fast approaching I am worried that this winter will in fact be worse than last winter. I was happy to see that Governor Parnell made a disaster declaration for the Salmon Fisheries on the Yukon, although I fear that this will not be enough

We at Anonymous Bloggers have been trying, in vain, to find out if the rural villages have enough fuel for the winter. We have contacted, with little to no response, the Rural Advisory Panel and the Rural Subcabinet and Rural Advisor Moller and the Attorney General.

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August 16, 2009

First Nations Call for Zero Bycatch

More than 65 first nations in Alaska and the Yukon are asking the United States’ Secretary of Commerce to ban the pollock industry’s bycatch of chinook river salmon.

At its annual meeting held recently at Lake Laberge, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) voted in favour of a resolution urging Gary Locke, the U.S. commerce secretary, to invoke his emergency regulatory authority and order the pollock industry to reduce its annual bycatch to zero.

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August 18, 2009

We were all saddened by the unexpected death of Segundo Strongheart on Tuesday, August 18. He suffered a massive heart attack in the early morning hours and despite immediate attempts to resuscitate him including use a defibrillator under the guidance of medical professionals by telephone, he passed away at 6:00 A.M.

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September 4, 2009

Another Open Letter From Ann to Governor Parnell, John Moller and Others

…Not only is the lack of both subsistence and commercial fishing, greatly diminishing our ability to put away fish for the winter but also the lack of funds brought in from commercial fishing is now making it hard, if not impossible, for rural Alaskans to put away other subsistence game.

Moose season is now. The birds are flying now. Now is the time to be out hunting for seals and whales. All of these types of game are critical for us to survive this winter. If we cannot purchase gas to go out and hunt then I fear this winter we will have a crisis of much greater proportions than last winter. Last winter we were able to depend a little bit on other game that we had put up for the winter since we were lacking fish.

It looks like this winter that option will not be available to many rural Alaskans because they simply cannot afford the gas and other necessities required to go out hunting…

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October 23, 2009

Pres. Obama Reaches Out to American Indian Tribes

By KYLE HOPKINS

khopklins@adn.com

Published: October 23rd, 2009 11:03 AM

Last Modified: October 24th, 2009 04:19 PM

The Obama administration is launching a rapid, sweeping review of the way the federal government manages subsistence hunting and fishing in Alaska, Interior Department officials said Friday.

“The system, frankly, today is broken,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced in a video shown at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention in downtown Anchorage.

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November 5, 2009

President Obama delivers remarks at White House, Tribal Nations conference

Pres. Obama delivered the opening remarks at a White House Tribal Nations Conference and participated in a discussion with leaders from the 564 federally recognized tribes. The conference is addressing issues facing American Indian tribes such as economic development, housing and education. This is the first such meeting since 1994. Washington, DC.

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November 26, 2009

Fall Sea Ice Flood in Nunam Iqua Leave Residents Struggling

Ice piled up during the Fall Flood at Nunam Iqua 11/11/09

The flooding wreaked havoc on the Yukon River ice. The flooding brought in massive amounts of sea ice from the Bering Sea that unfortunately is still clogging the Yukon. Several people lost their fishing nets they had set under the ice and a couple of families even lost their boats during the flood.

With all of this sea ice still in the Yukon River at Nunam Iqua it has caused a hardship on the residents. Normally during the winter families will go out onto the river and place fishing nets under the ice to catch fresh fish. But due to the mess of sea ice currently in the Yukon this has become very difficult if not impossible to do now. Fresh fish caught under the ice with nets is a large staple for families during the winter.

Since Ann is spending this winter in Ugashik,  she is gathering information for promoting an adopt-a-family program in Nunam Iqua to match donors and families directly.

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December 3, 2009

Bright Outlook for Winter in Ugashik

There is some better news this year coming from Pilot Point and Ugashik when it comes to our ability to deal with our winter conditions.

Our fishing season was much better this year than last on our main season of Sockeye salmon, although the Chinook/King returns continue to be dismal.

This allowed for most everyone to either work in the industry if they wanted/needed to and also to get fish put up for the winter…

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December 14, 2009

Rollie Briggs’ Energy Ideas for Rural Alaska

Roland Briggs watches new technology, guess it might be the Mechanical Engineering part of his background which keeps him “tuned in”, and he wants to share some of what he sees as exciting. As things cross his path and they look like they might have use in Alaska you will see him post on his new page in our Energy Section.

January 7, 2010

Alaska Federation of Natives calls for Native and rural subsistence priority on all Alaska lands

By Alex Demarban

The Arctic Sounder

The Alaska Federation of Natives lays out an ambitious agenda that seeks to expand hunting and fishing rights for Alaska Natives as part of the first-ever review of the federal subsistence program in Alaska.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar offering ways to improve the program, the statewide Native organization draws on historical arguments and legal precedent to make the case that all Natives, as well as rural residents, deserve priority over other hunters and fishermen.

Salazar announced the review in October.

The Jan. 7 letter, signed by AFN President Julie Kitka, also asks that the rural subsistence priority be applied to all land and waters in Alaska as Congress originally intended.

Read the story

January 15, 2010

FEDS DECLARE YUKON FISHERIES DISASTER

January 15, 2010 by alaskapi

From Governor Parnell’s news release:

State of Alaska > Governor > News > News Details Federal Fisheries Disaster for Yukon Chinook Printer Friendly FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 10-010

Secretary Locke Declares Federal Fisheries Disaster for Yukon Chinook January 15, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska –

Governor Sean Parnell today welcomed a decision by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke finding that a disaster has occurred with the 2009 Yukon River chinook salmon run, opening the door for federal aid to the area. “I appreciate Secretary Locke’s recognition of the severity of the situation along the Yukon River and the dependence of Alaskans on these salmon runs,” Governor Parnell said. The federal disaster declaration is in response to requests made by Governor Parnell, the Association of Village Council Presidents and the Alaska Federation of Natives. The request detailed the biological and economic situation on the Yukon River and the impacts of the reduced chinook runs. The declaration does not bring immediate aid to the affected area. The congressional delegation must still secure a federal appropriation. Federal aid, once secured, could be used for relief programs, stock research, training programs, fisheries infrastructure, or other regional projects.

Here's a copy of the actual letter from Sec. Locke to Gov. Parnell

YES WE CAN!!!!

Victoria Briggs: When We Have Days Like This

January 17, 2010

Jan 17, 2010

After a winter which started out cold with November in the negative temperatures, the last 6 weeks have been more like a winter from someplace “down below”!

We’ve had almost no snow and too many days in the 30s and 40s to maintain ice on the river.

Finally we have been moving into the 20s and lower.  Single digit and negative temps have shown up a few times to give us hopes that the river would again build up ice on the top layer soon.  This allows us to get out to hunt, trap and run to Pilot Point to visit :-)

 

Not frozen enough to travel on!

 

THIS MORNING  we woke up ……..

A river almost frozen over!

You can see little ‘holes’ of water, overflow, seeping through due to incoming tide.

 

Just the way we like it!

It looks like it will stay frozen at least for now,  since the tide has come in and nothing in our section broke up.

We hope the temperatures stay cold enough to build a minimum thickness of 4-6 inches so we can travel on it safely.

 

Could that new ice really be flat?

We were blessed that it froze smoothly in some sections, almost never heard of around here!  We do of course have to travel over all that chunky shore ice to get to the river, so travel on the river is never completely without hurdles.

 

Our local volcano smoking a mere 20 miles away.

What a beautiful morning!  We look forward to what the rest of the winter will bring.

All is good, at least today.

Enjoy!

Beautiful morning!

Giving Thanks by “Paying it Forward!”

November 25, 2009

Nov 25, 2009

Entering into our coldest season and the holidays, we made a point to reflect on much that has happened in the last ten to twelve months. Our lives have been hectic, joyful and heart wrenching.

This can be a time of great joy for many people, yet also a time of tension and fear for people and families having a hard time.

We want to share with all of you, who have shared so much with all of us this past almost a year, some ideas of how to ‘Pay it Forward’ and maybe make life a tad easier for someone needing help.

An action does not have to be large, or even involve money but more importantly just let others know that someone cares about them.

Please take a few minutes to read some of our ideas and find a way that you  can ‘Pay it Forward” in your community.

 

Ways to “Pay it forward”

*Offer to make deliveries for any group doing food baskets or even Meals on Wheels. (I looped a few deliveries into my normal running chores and it took me only a few extra minutes to do it)

*Every time you go past one of those Salvation Army bell ringers pull the spare change out of your pocket or wallet and drop it. Can do it going in or out of a store. Little amounts add up and it sure helps put a smile on a chilled bell ringer!!

*As was suggested on one of our favorite blogs– when shopping at one of the large box stores for groceries donate the rest of a case of something you might only need a few cans/jars of.

*For those in the south — when in the garden pick those last fall flowers and foliage and donate it to a local children’s or adult center. Helps if you call first to see if they have any rules.

*For those who sew, knit or crochet- contact your local hospital and ask if they need things for new babies or little ‘cough pillows’ for patients. You can use scraps and it WILL BE appreciated.

*Participate in the rounding up of purchases at the various stores, we have seen it mostly in grocery, for larger donations being grouped together.

*Write a thank you to those you interact with on a regular basis, like your child’s school office staff, your church staff, the local bus company.  A simple thanks goes along way!

*If you want to do something longer term that is more time than money think of being a Big Sister/Big Brother.

*If animals are more your style look up the service animal organizations. They are usually in need of people who will do what they call ‘puppy walkers’. You get the puppy at about 8 weeks and raise it through its first 12-18 months teaching it all the basic obedience training. They provide lots of support. It is REALLY rewarding but is a little hard to let that animal go the first time. They even let kids do this WITH A PARENT committing too.

*Respite care for foster families– you go through a background check and some basic training but then act as back up care for foster families so they get a break. Can be simply baby sitting or even overnight care.

There are LOTS of programs so just take a few minutes to look around-(ask if they can use your time if you can’t do donations)

Nursing/assistant living home

Schools

Churches

Animal shelters

Food banks

Shelters

Public TV

Hospice

Libraries

Make a Wish

Veteran Centers

More than anything we want to let you all know how much you have enriched our lives these past months with all your concern and help.

We would have never thought we could have the impact we have had, totally with your help, by just speaking up when we did. It has changed the lives of many you will never know.

Have a happy holiday and travel safely.  All of you are in our thoughts and prayers and we go into this season.

A glimpse into the Future? I hope not!

July 21, 2009
Nunam Iqua's Potlatch (annual meeting) 2009

Nunam Iqua’s Potlatch 2009.  Nick Tucker is seen in the plaid shirt.

Jul 21, 2009

My family is spending the summer in Ugashik fishing.   I was given a glimpse into the future – an eye opening experience that made me stop and think:  “I hope my people, the Yup’iks, do not end up like this!”

Since I have been in the Bristol Bay region I have had the opportunity to attend a couple of Tribal meetings.  My thoughts going into these varies from excitement at seeing another community’s culture and traditions, to wondering how local politics operate here compared to Nunam Iqua on the Lower Yukon River delta.

Unfortunately, my excitement about the prospect of learning about the culture and traditions of another village was  immediately let down.  I walked into an annual meeting expecting to see celebrations of Native culture, pride in being Native and efforts to keep their Native ways, language, and culture alive in this ever westernized world we now live in.

I donned my traditional kuspaq thinking that since this was their annual meeting, everyone would be celebrating their heritage and culture.  I was so wrong with that train of thought!   There was nothing that I saw which even hinted that this was a Tribal meeting.  There appeared to be no Native aspect involved at all.  Not once did I hear a single Native word uttered.  Not once did I see any tradition that I could remotely relate to keeping their culture intact.  The only thing I observed was a whole lot of squabbling and discussions of money.  Money here, money there, money, money (or lack there of) everywhere!

In all of the money discussion I expected to hear  about spending money on programs to help protect and sustain or even recapture their Native culture, traditions, or language.  Nothing!  My heart began to ache for these people.

This is just the meeting portion, surely at the potluck dinner there will be more culture evident…  They set up the buffet of BBQ and potluck dishes and I am happily surprised to see two things happen.  First they did offer Grace, and second they honored the elders by allowing them to serve themselves first.   I stood there and anxiously waited to see what types of Native foods will be offered and wondering what new dishes I will be introduced to.   What Native foods do they enjoy here compared to the dishes on the Yukon?  Certainly there will be fry bread?  I have never been to a Native gathering that didn’t include fry bread!

Fry bread I made in Nunam earlier this year.

Fry bread

I looked down the table at the offerings.   I took a plate and  I am handed a hamburger bun.  So here is the fare:  chicken casserole with broccoli, shredded BBQ beef and pork, shredded carrot raisin salad, potato salad, fruit salad, green salad, snack mix, corn, green beans, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mt. Dew and Coke, juice, and coffee.  For dessert there was pumpkin pie, pineapple upside down cake, ice cream and Otter pops.

Where’s the fish?  Where’s the fry bread?  Where’s the akutaq?  Even Rollie was surprised that there were no corn fritters which he fondly remembers from his childhood growing up here.   I would expect this type of buffet in any south, Midwest or western town gathering.  Everything tasted delicious, but I was sorely disappointed that I didn’t get to try any new Native foods…sigh.

I noticed something else, looking around at everyone there…why isn’t anyone dressed in any Native clothing?  I am the only one…the solitary person who has donned any type of traditional clothing.  Everyone else is in jeans or sweats and t-shirts, and a few with dressy shirts.  Surely some of the women must have beadwork on?  A pair of beaded earrings or a beaded hair pin…nope.  Just me.

I began to think to myself:  “Is this what will happen to my people 100 years from now?  Will we have completely given up our cultural customs and become westernized by only fishing to make money?  Will we have lost all semblance of our heritage?  Will our children and our children’s children never know their native language, traditions, culture?  Will my people only squabble about money and give up the fight for these Native ways?”

I have now come to treasure every detail of my life back home in Nunam Iqua.  We are definitely PROUD of our NATIVE heritage and culture!  If you were to come to Nunam Iqua when we have our annual meeting, which we call a Potlatch, there would be absolutely no doubt in your mind that we are Native and darn proud of it, too!

Not only will I ensure that my children and god-willing my grand children will know where they came from but also they will learn their language, culture and traditions!  And I will also, do everything in my power to ensure that my nieces, nephews, cousins and others know these as well!

How did this happen?  Where did their culture and traditions go?  How can you claim to be a Tribe and not have any traditional practices other than fishing?  Where’s your language?  Why doesn’t anyone dance?  Or sing?  What caused this total loss of their Native heritage?  It’s not like there are big cities out here, this is very rural Alaska.  Don’t you have to keep your culture and traditions alive to survive?   How do we keep it from happening to my Yup’ik culture?

Although I mourn for these people and what they have lost not knowing or sharing their culture, traditions and language – I am grateful that I have been given this glimpse of what the future could hold for other Native villages across Alaska if we don’t take the time to fight for the old ways.  It was like stepping into the future and receiving a warning…

Victoria: Out of State Companies Dominate Our Seafood Industry!

July 3, 2009

airstrip endof 6-09 010

Jul 3, 2009

The reality of fishing, at least here in the Ugashik Fishing District of Bristol Bay, is that although the fish are here to be harvested fishermen are sitting on shore with nets out of the water!!

This has gotten so common the last few years that the state now has predicted which days that will happen, mostly the best fishing days!!

I am getting phone calls from fishermen all over our fishing district wanting to know if we are up and processing yet.

Hoping we can help them by buying a few more pounds, or even any, of their catch because they either do not have a secure buyer for their fish, are on limit by their present buyer, or their regular buyer hasn’t come down to our river yet as they are busy buying from the other river systems.

Ugashik Fishing District, one of the five in Bristol Bay, in the only river district, supporting 3 area villages, that does not have a large processor. This is despite our CDQ owning a major portion of one of the largest processors in Alaska. A number of fishermen, even resident fishermen do not have a market with this company. Makes you wonder what deals were made or not made. Given we, as all western village residents, are shareholders in the CDQ.

In our two villages of Pilot Point and Ugashik we have at least 30%, by last informal tally, of fishermen without a secure market, and all but handful get put on limit or have no buyer at all for anywhere from 1-6 days each year. In the village of Ugashik only our CDQ board member has a secure market.

Last year a special meeting was held in the area hub town of Naknek to discuss this issue, called forgone harvest. Overall the impression that most carry away from it, the state is going to let the private industry figure it out.

We have allowed, even greatly encouraged, out of state companies to dominate our seafood industry. Why?

I have heard lots about the lack of infrastructure in Western Alaska and thus we can’t compete. Did anyone ever think that if we were processing that seafood in the state there would be more dollars kept here to work their way through the system to support the building of more infrastructure?

I realize all of this is years in the making and not an easy situation but to continue this is a waste of talent, monies and the growth, healthy sustainable growth of our villages and state economy.

~ Victoria

Victoria Briggs: Getting Ready to start Fishing…

May 8, 2009
Two people setting a net

Two people setting a net

May 8, 2009

As I am already running around realizing I am not only weeks but probably a month behind on some things I realize Ann and I have to keep you “in the loop” so will better understand why we might “drop out of the loop” at times this spring and summer.

Fishing for us in Bristol Bay, and maybe most other places in Alaska from what I hear, is one of much planning but always of feeling like you are behind.

At the end of the season most try to do a number of things to make the following spring easier but to be honest you are usually so tired not as much gets done as should. Also ALL those other things you did not get time to do over the fishing season to either take care of your home/equipment or put up food for your family must get done before freeze up.

Most people think; freeze up- cold weather, spend more time inside. Freeze up also means outside building are usually no longer even slightly comfortable to work in except for VERY short periods, any construction usually comes to a halt or moves totally indoors, equipment doesn’t like to start when you want, any fuel issues- like not flowing – will show up, everything freezes to the ground from a stray hose to a dropped glove and generally just getting around for work purposes becomes hard.

So, when spring arrives, right now almost mid May, with days in the 40s or higher but nights in the high 20’s, we are out and moving to get things going. By now I am lucky enough to have all my fishermen/assistants hired something that is so darn important!! (Lucked out with getting Segundo hired!!)  We are lucky in two ways in that we have a local man who has been running our daily fishing operation for us so we can concentrate on the processing operation. He splits duties with us so our prep work is less and also he handles the majority of the full time fishermen.

We still have to purchases nets, and lines if needed, get quarters set up, generators gone through and boats prepped.  One of the first things that gets done is “nets”. Although we all fish salmon in this village and bay we fish with a huge variety of different ‘gear’.

We fish for three different species of salmon; Chinook, Sockeye and Coho that require at least three different sizes of nets, one for each species.  Actually it can require 2-4 different sizes for EACH species of salmon.

The nets come in a bundle of just the web and then must be strung onto the line that goes along the top, the cork line, and also the bottom, the lead line.

New Net right out of the box 

New net right out of the box

 

Cork line that goes along the top of the new net

Cork line that goes along the top of the new net

Finished Net with cork line and lead line

Finished net with cork line and lead line

IF you are very good, experienced and determined you can get a 300 fathom (about 1800 feet) net hung in about 2 days. VERY long tiring days.  Now think of 3 kinds of salmon, with at least 2 different sized nets for each. Multiply that times the main nets, back up nets and if you can a third set.

It is fascinating when you look at all the different skills, gear and experience you need to even think of fishing for a living.  If you set net, as we do, and might be doing more than one ‘site’, as we do, it involves all that times how many sites. You get the picture.  Nets are a big thing here.

As we prep for the season, Ann and Segundo arrive and we move into all these tasks we will try and share them with you.  Our hope is for you to learn a little more about how we live and why we choose to continue this lifestyle.  Like farming, mechanics, machinists, plumbers, wood workers and so many other skills it is a long time in learning and hard to attract new people to it.

-Victoria

Ugashik Alaska

NPFMC salmon by catch meeting

April 5, 2009

UPDATE:
Greed, Money and Fear Took Over and Won

Anchorage – April 7, 2009

I KNOW – Big surprise!!
After many hours of preparation and then attending of the meeting  we end with really no progress on a the by-catch issue.

The Council reduced the recommended 68,392 hard cap down to 60,000, and also stipulated that if the by catch exceeds 47,591 in any 3 out of a rolling 7 year period, then the cap is automatically reduced to 47,591.

The overall opinion is that this was little more than a token gesture.

We had hopes of at least seeing something around 47,000 for a top but it looks like all the money spent, fear induced and overall impression that “what we do is more important” that was produced by a handful of processors and a CDQ seems to have won, at least the first round!

The need for people to have the right to earn an income, feed their families and maintain my culture , could not win out over, “If you do this I will loose most of my profit” statements.

We are regrouping and have not given up the fight but obviously the efforts will have to change and ramp up in a different way.

Thanks for all the support and we will pass on more details in the next day or so as I get home, have time to review what all this means to the actual fishermen.

Victoria

100_11801

Hello All from the NPMS meeting on Salmon By-Catch in Anchorage—

I am going to try and do a running comment section so you can have an idea of all that is happening here.
So far the first two days I have been here, we have had industry report after industry report on the salmon by-catch and impact of the pollack industry in Alaska.
Some highlights (and giggles when they came) as most of this is VERY dry. (hopefully all my facts are right as I am trying as I go with notes)
*A good recap was given on the Alaska State subsistence report back in 2005. A few interesting things I learned;
The cost of food in – over the cost of Anchorage stores;
Bethel – a hub village near Ann’s village 197%
Nome – farther north but nearer oil fields 204%
King Salmon- a hub near us in Bristol Bay 218%
This was in 2005 so you can imagine the impact your lower 48 dollars have in food for us in our villages. We have still more cost getting it to our villages outside of the hubs.
100_11822*One person who represented the pollock industry spoke on how many billions of pounds of fish stick that are provided to the world as an inexpensive food source. He mentioned that there are some high value items but much of what they produce feeds many overseas. He emphasis the importance of feeding all these people.
One board member stated that he was impressed that this company was so worried about “feeding the world”. He then asked what they did with the by-catch they caught. The man was a little confused as he stated that they are required by law to throw them overboard. (He was right)  Then the board member asked if they did not have the option to freeze the salmon and donate them to a food bank? (he is right too) The man then stated that the fish were too thick so they could not do it (this is due to equipment on board).
Interesting the reaction of the crowd at the time – it was a ‘gotcha’ :-))
(UPDATE – I just learn that the food bank donations most likely go to Seattle, the home port for most of these ships)
*One report showed that if there was the low cap we are now calling for the last few years the EXPECTED number of fish that would have returned –
Yukon river would have had 5000+ more fish
Kuskokwim ( a river on the east side of Bristol Bay)  12,000+ fish
If you take the price of fish to the fishermen at $5/lb for an average of 20 pounds ( a med sized King) you are looking at 100,000 pounds for Yukon and a value of $500,000 to the commercial fishermen. This is the value of just that portion to the commercial fishermen and does not even speak to the subsistence value to family and culture.
Approximately the same value is for the fish of the Bristol Bay as we are paid someone less, $1.50 to $2.00, but look to have more fish returning to that one river.
This does not count all the other rivers where Chinook return and are harvested and the volume we could have. They also spoke to some of the catch looks to be from OR, CA and WA – the fisheries that are so impacted the last few days!!
I will give you an update on the start of the actual public testimony after the break. The bum can only take so much before I have to spend some time standing in the back listening, thus typing is hard:-))
100_1185Nap time – the adults are envious
***

Nick Tucker’s comments- (I do NOT type fast enough:-)

Points-

That he is talking for his villages.

Is he talking to the air? His villagers deserve more than that. He hopes he is not.

He tended to the wounds of his village during this winter. (he referred to it as the human tragedy, the lack of food and fuel,  a number of times)

If you have ears and a heart make the two fisheries together. We need your help!

They have survived together.

This statement deserves more and I hope you have questions.

He was asked why Nick is going  back to 1991 for a by-catch amount versus what they, the committee studies have chosen?

He stated that in ’97 was the last time that they made their full catch. (From 1998 to 2000 they started getting fish that were returning not as healthy, caused by ocean conditions. Then from there a number of thing started to happen that have led to the disaster of this past year.- clarification supplied by a great lady from ADF&G sitting next to me:-)) They, the Yukon River Drainage,  have been in a building and restoration mode for years.

He referenced the United Nation agreement? they made in the 1990’s to stop high sea fisheries to preserve fish stock and I believe a way of life ( we will look this up and get more info)

He referenced that no one cried that they could not make money during that time so we should be able to return to that time.

Next question asked by a board member-

Assuming that by-catch will happen – if it were caught and frozen would the villagers accept it?

He went on to say there is nothing that replaces the catching, skinning and all the other items it entails of the salmon that swim up the river. (interesting as I was wondering about the impact of not having those Chinook be able to spawn or at least a portion of them. Just a thought)

He STRETCHED it well:-) as he was only allowed 4 minutes but he made full time of it.

********

UPDATE –

Nick and I spoke after his testimony and when I said that I was trying to get his words out he asked that I get the following out ‘ as loud and much as you can’–

We must work together and IF the Pollock industry does not start to do conservation measures now  they are going to pay dearly for it in the future. He is referring to the reduced catch limits that pollock industry are currently working under.

If I am understanding his concern correctly he is worried that they are not taking care of their industry as well as they should be.

I felt this showed a great concern for those other villages, like Coastal Villages, that rely more on their CDQ monies than a salmon industry.

Also Nick JUST gave me a copy of the full testimony he HOPED to present but is stopped by time. I will read and give you the highlights a tad later. I need to listen while doing this – so please excuse the bullet point methods:-))

Vic

***

One villager from MT View Valley (?) spoke to the need for pollock money to the continued health of his family and village. When asked what is more important, he had to agree that salmon was.

Vic & Ann, salmon bycatch, gardening & more

March 31, 2009

By Victoria Briggs

Pilot Point/Ugashik has had enough blowing snow and wind the last ten days-to-two weeks for us to think it was mid-January.  It’s been a winter of prolonged cold spells but precious little snow. Global warming at its best, from what I understand.

I am doing this in a hurry, so, if it is not complete, I apologize.  I will double-check before doing the next update.  Unexpected plans (see below) are keeping me hopping.

dried-items-coming-in-for-food-drive-2-09

Mt Redoubt is wreaking havoc with mail deliveries, so do not be alarmed if your boxes are not listed.

1 box from B Family
Anchorage, AK

1 box from C T
Sterling, AK

1 box from E D
Wasilla, AK

Ms You Know Who – thanks for the hair dryer – it is already at work:-)

3 boxes from LG
NY, NY

1 box from Linda (my helper was writing, so not sure if the last name is missed or she couldn’t read it)
Willoughby, OH

5 boxes from TT
Juneau, AK

Thank you all so much and we really do appreciate the variety you continue to come up with. We are good at this point on beans, sugar, flour (I believe I got everyone stocked up well for a bit on these basics), and powered milk

Although we are low on supplies, I am trying not to panic, because I feel the lack of mail shipments is due to the volcano interrupting flights into the state.

Doing this each week, I (and sometimes my 4-year old ‘helper’) unpack and make up bags to distribute so we usually have a start on the next ‘bag’. This helps us give our families a balanced bag most times with a little from all food groups.

Spring may be the hardest time as we are still many weeks away from fresh game and fish or the chance to return to spring/summer jobs.

Two families were added to our list this past week, one returning from some time away due to health issues, and another finding themselves in a place they never imagined!

We have received the goodies for our toddler needing additional formula and for our lady with the yogurt/dairy need. Thanks so much from both of those families for keeping them and their needs in your thoughts.

I contacted the Alaska Food Bank and am attempting to track down some shipments of food to a local Native Association that the state sent out. No luck so far, but I will let you know when I find them.

OVERALL, please know we are ever so thankful that you continue to support us and keep us in your thoughts. The words of encouragement and ‘extras’ you are sending are helping ever so much!!!

Our kids have pen pals in Hawaii!

Our kids are corresponding with the 2nd grade class in Hawaii via letters and art. Wish I could send kid photos, but we have a bunch that are camera shy :-)

Hopefully, I will get some of the art work to share in the future with you.  Our kids are thrilled having ‘pen pals’ with whom they really have so much in common: fish, different weather than most of the US, different things to eat, ‘island’ life, Native culture, etc.

Salmon bycatch update

Yesterday, Ann and I were invited to attend the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage this week to testify directly to them on the Chinook Salmon By-Catch issue.

With travel being so expensive, over $1000 for us to just get to Anchorage, it was not within our individual means to go, and we did not feel we could ask for help again.

A group we have been working with offered to pay our way, which came VERY unexpectedly, and we are thrilled.  After some discussion between Ann and me, and considering her ongoing “bug”, it was decided I would make this trip alone. I am in touch with Ann and all those in her village who have helped us so far, and I will attempt to present their side of the issues as best I can.

IF I remember correctly, I will be allowed 3 minutes of testimony, amongst days of others doing the same thing. We expect to hear, mostly, from large corporations and some other groups.  Few individual speakers directly impacted by the bycatch limits are expected to address the council, so the hope is they will take that into account.

I will spend the next couple of days jotting notes on ‘talking points’ and getting ready to head out Thursday.  I will probably testify on Friday or Saturday and return Sunday.

The final bycatch decision is expected by the time the meeting adjourns the middle of next week.

Editor’s note: We wrote about the pollock bycatch cap in a previous post and asked you to leave comments asking NPFMC to set a 32,500 cap on salmon bycatch. You left a total of 43 comments and they were delivered to NPFMC before the March 25 deadline.

Victoria will now be there in person to present our comments and speak to the Council. Our comments from the lower 48 and as far away as Germany will let them know it’s not just rural Alaskans waiting for them to do the right thing.

In other news…

window-plants-kitchen-windowIn the Bristol Bay/Alaska Peninsula area, where Pilot Point and Ugashik are located, we have two different meetings this week.  The first one is in preparation for a meeting later in the year that deals with fishing regulations for our area.  A second meeting this week deals with the lack of a subsistence level of moose. These will keep a number of us busy for a few days.

I continue to work on the gardening updates so keep checking in on our ‘gardening journal’ page. We are putting a plan together for the kids to start seed before they leave school in May and planning how we will get the garden under way when life gets ever so busy for all of us due to fishing.

I am going to have to end for now as there is much to do before I leave for the meeting but know that Ann and I are ‘talking’ and our team of ‘helpers’ are keeping us sane with all of their support.

There are not enough or the right words to express all we both feel, and the villagers you are touching, with this show of support!!

Vic’s report from the gardening conference

March 25, 2009

By Victoria Briggs
March 25, 2009 

lettuce1After most of last week in Fairbanks attending the 5th Annual Alaska Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Gardening workshop I am still trying to process all I saw and heard. 

First off Alaska is in the great position of having much more demand for its agricultural products than supply. Most of the farmers, and there is a full assortment of products produced, are making a great effort to extend their offerings to more of Alaska than just their immediate areas. 

Read the rest of the report or leave a comment