Archive for the ‘salmon bycatch’ Category

Open Letter…

June 4, 2011

to  the Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative in Seabrook, NH :

Imagine our personal and collective surprise here in Alaska upon finding  Sarah Palin stopped by to boost morale there :

“Palin: Well, commercial fishing is near and dear to my heart of course, you know having fished for so many years. And I understand fish politics… Biology needs to dictate decisions in a fishery.”

Hoooo!

Um…

Oh, for heaven’s sake!

We  are as worried as you are as to what this catch share program will do to you.

We have many communities  which have suffered enormously under the experimental catch share program here but please do not mistake Ms Palin’s assertion that she understands fish politics or thinks biology should be the decisive factor in fish policy as the truth.

Examples abound of her lack of knowledge and  understanding of fish politics  and downright refusal to accept  biology before, during, and after her bizarrely truncated stint as our Governor. She has a long history here of avoiding answering direct questions with comprehensive and coherent responses and fish politics are/were no exception.

We’ll skip right on by her relying-on-biology routine over our polar bears here, but please keep it in mind should you ever feel a real itch to accept that she really does care for unbiased science winning out when big development is at stake.

Those little slogans about individuals’ entrepreneurial spirit, getting government out of the way, and so on which  she brings up repeatedly, are just that  -slogans.

As our Governor she cleared the decks  for government and big business to run right up over the top of the everyday person on more than one one occasion.

She also turned her back  , multiple times, on the very people she wooed into supporting her with all those slogans and suchlike.

You can see in the responses here , at the Alaska Dispatch, that news of Ms Palin dropping in to lift your morale and claiming to understand fish politics met almost universal Pffft!s no matter what side of the catch share issue one is on.  It is perhaps a sign of her greatly diminished influence here that the comments rapidly moved to arguing about catch shares themselves after folks weighed in on the ex-Gov’s fish knowledge base. We would urge you to do the same.

It’s hard for us to picture the short 13 mile coastline and small fishing fleet of New Hampshire  in relation to our coastline which exceeds those of all other states combined and fisheries which provide 78,500 jobs but it is not hard for us to understand the fears and concerns you have there about the change in your fishery management.

The catch share philosophy , while embraced by many , has had far reaching consequences here, many of which are not good.

We stand with you in your concern as this change comes to your shores.

The Alaska Dispatch story, Palin disses fishing quotas at N.H. tour stop, linked to a very good overview of  catch share information and philosophy per the status quo.

We would invite all who visit here to also look carefully at criticisms and recommendations for real change to the philosophy as well.

The concerns that these shares, granted free, granted in perpetuity, and treated like property to be traded or sold, is completely askew are real.

The concerns that these shares have tended to consolidate access with fewer and fewer and bigger and bigger businesses are real.

The law and policy which governs this should always be open to review and revision.

Everyday Americans need to stand together, not as individuals fighting the system, but rather as people striving to make a system which works for themselves.

This is not simple, easy stuff to follow but since it affects so many real, live people we think it is worth folks educating themselves some to be able to make better decisions when they vote  or align themselves towards or against policy.

We don’t speak up much here at Anonymous Bloggers about  things outside Alaska but this issue affects every ocean fishery in America and Alaska has been the “beta-tester” for the method.

Alaska Pi and Ugavic

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More important than any of the boy-are-we-tired-of-whatzername’s-lies  links above-

Further reading and criticism of catch share ‘stuff’ can be found at :

Rethinking Fisheries Policy in Alaska : Options for the Future

by Daniel W Bromley and Seth Macinko

Abdicating Responsibility:The Deceits of Fisheries Policy

by Daniel W Bromley and

FISHING COMMUNITIES AS SPECIAL PLACES:
THE PROMISE AND PROBLEMS OF PLACE IN
CONTEMPORARY FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

 by Seth Macinko

And we are hoping  Mr Whittier’s full length film comes to fruit.

Fish Sticks v the Salmon People

December 16, 2010

Dec 16, 2010

The Chinook By-Catch issue seems to have gotten put on the back burner in many areas of the news lately. It is still on the front burner for those who deal first hand with its fall out, most of Western Alaskan villages and their residents.
Dennis Zaki, who brought us some of the first video coverage when residents were dealing with the fallout in the winter of 2009 is still hard at work on the issue.
Dennis has now working on a documentary and could use some of our help.

Drop  in, take a look and then click here to visit Kwickstarter to make a donation. Even if it is just for a few $$$.

Believe me when I tell you that it is appreciated by more than just Dennis!!

If you want to read more about some of the latest By-Catch numbers catch our post that came out just before the election.

There is more to report and we should have an update soon.

Stay tuned!!

Chinook By-Catch…Amount Almost Triples !!!

October 29, 2010

Oct 29, 2010

We were asked to believe the trawler pollock industry really did not want to catch all those King, Chinook, Salmon in 2007, over 120,000, and they were capable of figuring out ways to avoid catching the Kings. They did not need harsh limits and restrictions because they were going to just not catch them now that they knew it might be an issue, especially with Yukon Kings.

Well guess what…..they caught almost triple the Chinook By-Catch recent average this season and did most of that damage in less than 2 WEEKS. The average yearly catch has been around 20,000 for the last 2-3 years but this season they have caught 58,336 with almost 25,000 of those from Oct 1-17 of this year.

So what the heck happened? Where are all those ‘excluder devices’ they talked about? What steps come next? Will the industry be shut down?

The ADN is reporting

“Pollock boats and other commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska have accidentally caught an estimated 58,336 king salmon this year, a level of bycatch that could trigger restrictions.”

“COULD trigger restrictions”? WHAT? Only ‘could’?

We hear in the Kodiak  Daily Mirror that although the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is scheduled to meet in December there is nothing on the agenda to address this issue.

“The council is not scheduled to take any final action, but will consider a new paper on the subject.”

If you read the article you will also see …..

“By far this is the largest (bycatch) we have ever seen,” Josh Keaton, a fisheries manager with the National Marine Fisheries Service, told the Kodiak Daily Mirror. “Hopefully it means a lot of kings are out there to be caught and they ran into a big pack of them.”

I am not sure what rock Mr Keaton has been under for the last few years but King returns, back to the rivers to spawn, have been well below averages. This year we saw a number of closings all over Alaska due to low returns.  Bristol Bay has been hit the hardest for shear numbers of Kings and yet to hear almost nothing about that. Might it have something to do with it Bristol Bay Economic Corporation, the local CDQ, having partnership in a good number of trawling vessels?

We went through all those hearings in Anchorage in the winter of 2009 with the National Marine Fisheries Council where we heard how the industry really cared about the life of those who rely on the salmon for their subsistence lifestyle. Here’s my live blog — part 1 and part 2.

Not sure you if remember these two nuggets but I sure do….when one industry representative told us all how important it was for this less than 20 years old industry to survive  because the fish that for years have been considered ‘trash’ fish were feeding thousands overseas! I even remember the reaction of one of the board members, something to the effect of …..We are so glad to know that feeding others overseas was more important than those here in Alaska!!

Then…. one villager voiced that in his village they had been threatened with a reduction of CDQ, Community Development Quota, monies for his village if they spoke out or moved to reduced any catch of the pollock industry. (The six CDQ programs are major owners in a number of trawler boats and companies)

This was no surprise to many of us there who had been at the receiving end of CDQ antics over the years. To hear it stated in federal committee testimony by someone who could suffer ….was nothing less than courageous.

The reason this seems to be getting so much attention now ….it seems that some of those lower 48 endangered Kings might have been caught in this by-catch.

The more I read of this lack of action to address the issue for the Alaska King runs the more I have to listen to the village discussions of ignoring all the ‘advice’ from the experts and move toward getting those Kings/Chinooks listed as at least “threatened”.

To top that discussion off we won’t even start the discussion of how the Pollock industry can continue to garner a ‘Sustainable’ rating by the MSC.

~ Victoria

Tomorrow’s Fish Market Choices: Halibut? Trout? Wild Salmon? How ‘bout a Nice Fillet of Genetically Engineered AquaAdvantage®?

June 30, 2010

Jun 30, 2010

Many of us would agree that the science unit about salmon life cycles in elementary school was pretty intriguing.

We were struggling to understand life, death and where babies come from then, and here’s a creature that knows just when it’s supposed to leave the freshwater home of its birth and swim away to experience life in the big ocean, then struggle to swim back home, make babies and die. Cool.

We learned in later lessons that this homing instinct can be traced to the prehistoric-looking fish’s relatives in the Salmonidae family whose fossil “fin prints” can be traced to Driftwood Creek, British Columbia, during the Eocine epoch, about 45 million years ago. Hardy creatures!

Fast forward a few million years, and salmon are still swimming upstream. Humans have now evolved and are harvesting salmon from the streams in summer to sustain them through the winter. This continues for thousands of years.

Fast forward again. In the second half of the 20th century, people get greedy. The “take what you need and leave the rest” philosophy of the first peoples was replaced with a “take all the fish you can sell for the most money out of a big net and leave everything else in your catch to die” approach.

Today, huge floating pollock processing factory ships trawl the Bering Sea and leave a trail of dying salmon in their wake.

Bycatch combined with natural causes has seriously affected Alaska’s salmon fishery.  People dependent upon a healthy salmon fishery, both subsistence and commercial,  increasingly face limited fishing openings .

That’s the salmon story in Alaska today.  In the lower 48 states, rivers were over-fished or streams dammed, preventing fish from returning to their spawning grounds. Currently, many salmon fisheries are suffering.

What do we do? Do we implement sound environmental and biological science to stop the damage to the salmon fisheries and restore healthy levels of salmon returns to the natural habitats?

Not quite. We do a salmon makeover…

From NYTimes.com

Genetically Altered Salmon Get Closer to the Table

The Food and Drug Administration is seriously considering whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal that people would eat — salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate.

In other words, we are considering allowing a profit-making company to alter the genetics of a species that’s done pretty well all by itself, evolving through the eons, so it can be profitably farmed in pens.

Here’s the mission that Aqua Bounty, the biotech company poised to bring “muscle salmon” to our tables, has embarked on:

Our mission is to play a significant part in “The Blue Revolution” – bringing together biological sciences and molecular technology to enable an aquaculture industry capable of large-scale, efficient, and environmentally sustainable production of high quality seafood. Increased growth rates, enhanced resistance to disease, better food-conversion rates, manageable breeding cycles, and more efficient use of aquatic production systems are all important components of sustainable aquaculture industry of the future.

These genetically modified salmon will have no freedom to swim in the ocean until instinct calls and no final journey to native breeding grounds. They will be soulless, genetic, material on our plate. Tasteless.

And what if genetically modified salmon escape and run amuck in the natural habitats as has often happened in aquaculture?

According to an excerpt from an article in The Economist, that’s not a problem:

Aqua Bounty is addressing such concerns by subjecting developing eggs to high pressures. This alters their complement of chromosomes, giving them three sets per cell instead of the usual two. Such “triploid” fish are perfectly viable, but they are sterile.

If you believe that these genetically modified fish might escape from aquaculture pens and NOT have a negative impact on the resident native fish population, here’s the skinny from Scientific American.

The study, published online today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved growth hormone (GH) transgenic coho salmon, which have greater appetites and can grow up to seven times bigger than wild cohos. Robert H. Devlin of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and his colleagues divided their fish into three separate groups containing either all GH animals, all nontransgenic ones, or an equal mixture of the two. To examine the competition between the two types, the researchers varied the amount of food supplied to the fish.

The team found that all the salmon thrived as long as there was enough food to go around. Faced with food shortages, however, GH individuals in the mixed group outcompeted their wild tankmates, growing larger than both those fish and the ones living in GH-only groups; and the wild salmon in the mixed group exhibited reduced growth as compared to members of the wild salmon-only group. Furthermore, survival rates were significantly reduced in those tanks holding GH salmon–sometimes to the point of extinction. Some of the dead fish appeared to have died from attacks by other fish, and there were several instances of cannibalism. The fish that survived in these tanks were usually the most aggressive GH fish. Individuals in the wild salmon-only groups fared far better, experiencing a constant increase in population biomass over the 14-week period of low rations.

This blog was started to bring awareness to a food vs. fuel crisis facing rural Alaskans in 2009.  However, today our scope has broadened. The health of the salmon fishery in rural Alaska is now another important topic of our interest. Contributor Victoria, a commercial fisher of Alaskan Wild Salmon and a concerned Alaskan, has attended North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) meetings and spoken out for lower bycatch numbers. We are all now beginning to understand some of the issues of the bycatch problem.

Besides the food/fuel crisis of the recent past, and the lower bycatch/overfishing issues of the present, the proposal of future genetic modification of salmon adds a new, even more disturbing, layer of concern for the salmon industry, as well as the public at large.  A company located far from Alaska is proposing to introduce a new product to the global market that will compete with commercial wild salmon fisheries in far-ranging areas, including the independent commercial fishermen of rural Alaska, and replace their natural, wild caught salmon with laboratory-enhanced seafood.

A threat exists and has not been disproven that escaped genetically modified salmon will endanger native species.We’re not yet at the point where oil and toxic dispersants similar to the ones resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Spill in the Gulf of Mexico have polluted the world’s oceans beyond repair, thus making necessary a land-based aquaculture infrastructure to replace fresh seafood as a means of survival.

This is just another corporate grab at doing something bigger and faster than nature intended. Additionally, it will impact traditional fisheries by driving down demand for wild salmon and potentially harming the genetic structure of a fish that has been evolving for 45 million years. Aqua Bounty claims the chance that fertile salmon might escape and damage salmon stock is remote.

Only a small, sequestered breeding stock is allowed to remain diploid.

BP assured government agencies that every precaution would be taken to prevent oil spills from its deepwater wells and that any accidental spill could be contained using fail-safe measures.  BP also promised that any potential offshore leak would be never make it to the shore.

Let’s hope the Food and Drug administration does more than take Aqua Bounty’s word as fact.

Scientific Approach to Ugashik Salmon Returns

June 8, 2010

Some exciting research is going on right now at the Ugashik Lakes here in Bristol Bay, at least for us ‘fish people’! 

Through a combined effort of our CDQ, their ‘science arm’, a drifting fish marketing group, Pilot Point groups and some local residents up at the Ugashik Lakes, a sonar project to count salmon “yearlings” or smolt* is under way. This is just one of a number of tools that are used to make not only better forecasts of the returning salmon, but also help to better manage the entire system of salmon runs.
* Salmon life cycle

The state of Alaska used to do these types of projects on a regular basis but due to budget restraints they were cut a number of years ago. 

NOW I am sure many of you are hearing ‘sonar’ and thinking of all the issues that sonar  fish count caused on the Yukon last year BUT this is different. This sonar equipment is some of the newest and most sophisticated that can be used for this type of research. Also the conditions are much different than on the Yukon. One thing is the clarity of the water, almost crystal clear at the lakes, and none of the debris that the Yukon has make this different, along with other factors. 

This is a system of sonar ‘pods’ that are placed on the floor of the river, actually between where the lakes drain into a lagoon at the head of the river, that are linked to computers on shore to gather the data.

Now hang with me for a few more paragraphs and maybe you can see why we are so excited. 

This research, after a just a couple of years, will give biologists the ability to not only look at how many smolt come from the number of salmon that were allowed to ‘escape’ up the river, past the fishermen to spawn, but also how well the fish are doing when they return as full grown salmon. 

It can help us understand how our lake system is doing in providing a breeding and rearing ground for these young salmon. We might also be able to fine tune the numbers we harvest and that we allow to escape for spawning from the information gained. 

Sockeye salmon typically spawn in lakes and some of the side creeks that feed those lakes. They require, as do all fish, some environmental specifics, not only to hatch, but also to survive and grow the one to two years they spend in the lakes before heading out to sea. 

My understanding is that most often the Ugashik Lakes Sockeye spend two years in the two lakes that make up our system, thus leaving bigger, and hopefully healthier, to withstand the conditions they face in the ocean over the next 1-3 years before they return. 

If during this count, and hopefully there will be future counts, we see more fish leaving when they are only one year old we might well have to study what is specifically happening in our lakes to make them leave sooner than normal.

By knowing the number leaving, we can estimate their survivability in the ocean.  We will have a better idea how to insure sustainability if we know the ocean conditions as well as the genetics of all fish caught in bycatch, including the Chinooks. 

Please check back as I update you on what we are seeing this year as the first results come in from the counts. 

We need to also thank BBEDC’s fishing partners, BBSRI, the BB-RSDA, City of Pilot Point, Pilot Point Tribal Council and Mr and Mrs Robert Dreeszen.

~ Victoria Briggs

Scientists Using DNA To Track Salmon

March 19, 2010

Mar 19, 2010

Victoria is in Fairbanks this week attending sustainable gardening conferences. From her latest post you can tell she will have much to report but it will take her a little time to organize her thoughts. Bottom line – good things are happening!

While we wait to hear more about gardening in the bush, let’s roll back the clock to last year at this time.

Vic was heading off to the Northern Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage to testify about the Chinook Salmon bycatch issue. She live blogged from the meeting and we were all disappointed when the bycatch cap was set higher than the 32,500 cap we endorsed.

Before the meeting last year Vic wrote about the need for science in the salmon bycatch debate.

Given how complex not only the fishery but the science, or lack of it, that is used to manage fisheries we are working to figure out what looks to be the best solution for our villages.

Now there’s news from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Scientists are using DNA to chronicle the origin of salmon to river spawning beds up and down the Alaskan coast.

From the Tundra Drums, 3/19/2010

Scientists at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are pushing the genetics frontier with a multi-million dollar study designed to verify stock composition of sockeye and chum salmon harvested in Western Alaska, from Chignik to Kotzebue.

DNA is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in development and functioning of all known living organisms. DNA is a blueprint or code carried in the genes. By comparing samples of DNA in fish harvested in Western Alaska with DNA samples taken from fish in natal streams, geneticists will know where the harvested fish were headed to spawn.

This data could be used to identify causes for low salmon returns. As Vic explains it:

By knowing the rivers of origin, through the DNA, we can better manage the fish. Most of the fishing districts in Alaska are managed on the concept of a ‘terminal fishery’. This means that instead of fishing in the middle of a bay that can be fed by a number of different rivers, catching fish from who knows which river or even maybe fish that ‘wander’ into the bay from a whole other area, we can tighten down the fishing areas to target fish. We can bring fishermen into the mouths or even the actual river to catch only those fish destined for that river. If it is having an issue with returns of stock we can back off and fish another stronger river.

The collection of DNA data pinpointing the origin of Alaska’s salmon is a step toward compiling a dynamic scientific data resource to track the journey of salmon from their birth in the rivers of Alaska and Canada to their life in the pacific and their return to their spawning grounds.

Alaska Pi has the Tundra Drums story on her blog and welcomes your comments at Pi in the Sky.

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!!!!

*Update* Alaskan and Canadian First Nations and Tribes Along the Yukon Call For ZERO Salmon Bycatch

August 16, 2009

yukonriver

Aug 16, 2009

It’s too bad Commerce Secretary Gary Locke didn’t join the other Cabinet Secretaries when they visited bush Alaska as part of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Tour. Residents could have explained to him in person a couple of recent requests he has received from Alaska.

The first request was from Governor Sean Parnell asking him to declare a fishing disaster along the Yukon. Everyone reading this blog knows this is a year overdue and we are very glad Governor Parnell is trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s crisis. Thank you  Governor Parnell!!

The second message is from the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) urging Secretary Locke to invoke his emergency regulatory authority and order the pollock industry to reduce its annual bycatch to ZERO!

At its annual meeting held recently at Lake Laberge in Canada’s Yukon Territory, the Council voted for a resolution asking Secretary Locke to stop the pollock industry’s wasteful practice of killing and throwing back Chinook/King Salmon that is snared in the trawl nets of huge floating pollock processing factories. Pollock is commonly used in fish sandwiches, fish sticks and imitation crab.

From the Whitehorse Daily Star:

Under current practice, when salmon are caught in the huge pollock trawler nets, the dead kings are counted and most are thrown back into the ocean, while some are donated to the needy.

“We do know for a fact that the pollock fishery is slaughtering wholesale and wiping out the king salmon stocks out there that are coming into all the major tributaries,” Nick Andrew Jr., executive director of the Ohagamuit Traditional Council in Alaska, told The Associated Press this month.

“The pollock fishery is taking away our way of living.”

YRITWC is an Indigenous grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Yukon River Watershed. Made up of 66 First Nations and Tribes from Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory, it is dedicated to protecting and preserving the river that for thousands of years has provided sustenance for those living along its banks.

This advocacy group also protects the river from numerous Alaskan, U.S. and Canadian agencies charged with regulation of the river.

The Roy and Lila Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University recognized this in 2005.

While at least eleven federal, state, and/or provincial agencies have some regulatory responsibility for managing the River and its watershed, no advocacy group existed that was singularly dedicated to the well-being of this watershed. Recognizing the need to preserve the River for the health of their communities, tribal nations, leaders and citizens along the River initiated the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC or “Council”). The YRITWC is the first organization solely dedicated to the responsible management, use, protection, and enhancement of this resource.

The Ash Institute recognizes part of the success of the programs has been its non-Western approach to its internal workings.

The Council maintains external effectiveness in part, because of the authenticity of its internal relations. Its operational procedures are grounded in traditions common to the membership. A previous attempt to use Western-style committees failed. The organization succeeds now because its guiding principles are culturally appropriate and explicitly based on the desired traits of an elder-modeling inclusiveness, listening, patience, knowledge, wisdom, and tenacity in all activities. These traditional norms and procedures help maintain the Council’s relevance to, and re-affirm its authority with, the citizens it serves.

This is the voice the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) should be listening to. Pandering to industry and special interest has led to deep mistrust and resentment of the NPFMC among citizens along the Yukon.

YRITWC is an organization formed solely for the wellbeing of the Yukon and its Peoples. It is important that Secretary Locke understands the importance of this request.

The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council has a mission:

We, the Indigenous Tribes/First Nations from the headwaters to the mouth of the Yukon River, having been placed here by our Creator, do hereby agree to initiate and continue the clean up and preservation of the Yukon River for the protection of our own and future generations of our Tribes/First Nations and for the continuation of our traditional Native way of life.

We join the Council in urging Secretary Locke to consider the request sent forward by the YRITWC concerning eliminating bycatch in Alaska’s pollock fishery.

*Update*

Yukon River group granted UN status

Josh Saul
Aug 16, 2009

Earlier this month, Jon Waterhouse, director of the Alaska region for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, received an interesting e-mail from the United Nations.

The YRITWC is an organization dedicated to keeping the Yukon River clean enough to drink, and three years ago the group began seeking special consultative status to the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council.

The YRITWC succeeded and will now join the 3,284 other non-governmental associations that currently enjoy that consultative status.

“It’s one of the largest rivers in the world, and one of the cleanest,” said Waterhouse. “And we want to keep it that way.”

Read the rest in Alaska Dispatch here.

 

Valuable Lessons and Wise Words from Our Respected Elder Nicholas Tucker!

August 11, 2009

Nicholas Tucker, Yup'ik Elder, Emmonak, Alaska

Nicholas Tucker, Yup’ik Elder, Emmonak, Alaska

Aug 11, 2009

As many of you know,  Nick Tucker is one of Western Alaska’s respected Yup’ik Elders.

Recently he included me as a recipient of an email he sent to a Tribal Administrator.  It was a very heartfelt and honest letter about lessons that we should all learn and respect.  With his permission, we would like to share his letter with you.

*  *  *

Dear (Friend):

Look who’s writing! You have just touched a heart that is in pain. Thank you! I recall you as an infant being fed by your Mom.

I do not want you to have to go through what my generation, the many generations before us and your Mom and Dad had to endure us to stay alive from one year to the next. I do not want your cousins in here having to go through the same. How many more generations are we going to cry out. Will the generations of those who rule and make laws continue to be the generations of those for the last too hundred yearss, and for our State, the last 50 years?

Look at your dad. He is over 70 years old and is still struggling to feed his grandchildren, great grandchildren and your mother who is the same age as I am, failing some in health. At his age, your dad is resorting to work working many hours a day plus commercial fishing. He and your mom should be enjoying their senior years. But, the preventable, ever-existing high fuel prices, groceries and you name it prevent just have us keep going so that everyone else around us wouldn’t go hungry and cold. Yoiu know too well it got so bad this winter for many villages that great number of us had to choose between heating fuel or food on the table, and saddest of all, some without one or the other or both and, in case of food, some just one meal a day and some without days.

(Friend), remember us.  In our pain and struggles, we raised your generation. We had the best of hopes for you all while we had our own social problems that had been seeded and spawned from generations ago when the first non-Native stepped on our land. It could have been a beautiful, caring country – us having been accepted, trusted, respected, and honored – with our backyard resources generously shared with us. We did, but the recipients want more and more, and eventually all.

Your dad and I, as was with many generations well ahead of us, never held grudges, revolted, nor revenged no matter the treatment, but always wish well of our oppressors with kindness, care, and generosity – like our elders say, even if you only have a cup of tea, and, continue to treat them with open arms that we did  two hundred years ago. I want you, your children and grandchildren get education. We’ve always been strong, intelligent, and wise, particularly our culture precious with values and teachings. Take that for us 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.

Remember, Israelites were under oppression 400 years. The Pharaoh was given opportunity to work with God. He refused. Then from the lowliest of Israelites came Moses.

You are all from strong men and women. Know that. Your Dad, even barely able to see and having to use a magnifying glass to read, having been hospitalized number of times, and enduring much like rest of us, is telling you all who you really are. Young men and women of great strength. Tell your generation. My family is a family of veterans – we’re doing our part so those we leave behind will be free to treat each other as they feel. But, for your generation, look to ours. It is precious.

I’ve never talked this way to you. But, it is time to pass on some things. We’ve always shared and protected our resources. Now, they have been allowed to be squandered elsewhere, dishonored, and even in one case, literally thrown overboard while we cry for it.

Thank you so much for rising up.Please  look back at your ancestors and your elders today. Be patience, kind, generous, compassionate, caring, and sacrificing, but with one formidable tool: education. Use it with wisdom.  Make sure our future administration knows who you are. You equal to the rest of the esteemed citizens and do not have the right to be denied our country’s promised benefits and privileges. The generations ahead of you sat quietly in a cage, in a corner. Someone from the outside has opened the door. It is up to you all to walk out, men and women to be reckoned with -without revenge, without violence, and without ill-feelings, but with confidence that you can contribute in making our state better, even for former oppressors. Some didn’t know. Forgive them. Together, you will get the Alaska you want.

Nick

Open Letter to Alaska Rural Advisor John Moller

August 5, 2009

Aug 5, 2009

To: John Moller:  john.moller@alaska.gov

CC: Sean Parnell: governor@alaska.gov
Daniel S. Sullivan: attorney.general@alaska.gov
Linda Lord-Jenkins: ombudsman@legis.state.ak.us
Rachel Maddow: rachel@msnbc.com

Mr. Moller,

On August 3, Alaska Natives Ann Strongheart of Nunam Iqua and Nicholas Tucker of Emmonak were guests on “Native America Calling” on nationally-aired Native Voice 1 radio.  They were invited to discuss salmon bycatch and its effects on rural Alaskans.

Like so many other Alaskans, both Ann and Nick feel this is a critical issue facing rural Alaska today.

Ann Strongheart and her husband are working at a small salmon processing plant in Ugashik on the Alaska Peninsula this summer. She squeezed in time to spend an hour on the phone with NAC between cooking for the fishing crew, caring for a toddler, working as a strong advocate for rural Alaskans and being an expectant mother in the bush.

Mr. Tucker took time away from his subsistence fishing efforts to be on the program.

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.

If you were unable to work time into your schedule for that event, we would have greatly appreciated suggestions via the rural advisor’s office for an alternate speaker. Rural Alaskans want to hear what actions are being taken right now to avoid another winter crisis.  At the very least, we would have valued a simple response, of any kind, to the invitation.

People nationwide are paying attention to rural Alaska these days.  Will there be another winter crisis next January? Will people be asked to donate support to food drives because the government of Alaska ignored all the same warning signs, yet again?  If so, it will contrast mightily with the state attempting to pipe natural gas down to the lower 48 yet routing none of that gas to its own rural villages that recently paid $8 or $9 a gallon for fuel.

Please communicate with us.

The warning signs were there last winter but nobody paid attention.  We really want to know that efforts are being made now by the state to avert another disaster this winter.

We have posted this message on our blog. You may reply in the comments section at:

https://anonymousbloggers.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/open-letter-to-alaska-rural-advisor-john-moller/

From: Anonymous Bloggers

*  *  *

Commenters: Ideas, suggestions, personal experiences and constructive criticism are welcome. Inappropriate and personal comments will be deleted.

Bloggers: Post all or part of this letter along with your thoughts but consider closing comments on your site and directing comments to this thread. Thanks!

*  *  *

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