Zachary T. Alaska

Subsistence Living in Alaska

Alaskan Natives have been living and teaching the younger people like me how to live how my ancestors lived.

Dear Future President,

I am a teenager and my purpose in this letter to you is talk about subsistence living in Alaska. Subsistence has been part of my culture being passed on by generations to generations. I am still learning so that I am able to pass it on to future generations. Most of my grandparents teach me how because they are the ones that know where to go the lands.

Now that people are trying to take away the lands my family and I understand that once they take away our land, we are going to see our culture die. For generations my culture has been relying on the resources that they have found once they came over by the Bering Land Bridge. There is a bunch of resources that the Alaskan Native rely on and every single one is going to fight for what they have been for years and years. Learn how to collect all of what they are going to need for winter and once the summer comes they can be able to go with the adults and learn more then they know. Once they have figured out that they are able to get meat and berries in their freezers for their families. The meat that is able to be put into the freezer is moose meat, caribou meat, whale blubber, salmon, and etc of what types of meat that is edible. For the berries is made to have aqutak(made with berries, crisco, and sugar), and jam. The berries that are picked are blue berries, black berries, salmonberries, huckleberries, and ferns are also picked to have for aqutak or somewhat of a native salad. If we are not able to collect these delicious foods for the winter, we are not able to have them for about seven months. This can also save some money during winter instead of driving down to the store or restaurants to get food while you are able to stop by your freezer and collect whatever you decide to cook.

They will continue this and will teach it to their young ones, show them how to hunt, how to pick the right berries, how to figure out which wood they are able to get to smoke their fish or to light the maqii, which is also called a steam, it is a little building that you enter into the cold room, with benches , where people cool down from the hot room. The hot room is another area where natives put wood to keep dry so that once the wood is put into the oil stove it would be able to be able to burn.Once the maqii heats up the hot water above the oil stove you will be able to start talking a maqii (Not all maqii are all the same size). Once they know how to do this they are able to get enough for his or her family and for their grandparents.

In order for all of this to happen we need our land to survive in Alaska, we depend on our resources. Once if the state government decide it is right to take away our land we can not be able to get most of the resources and all of Native will stand and fight for all of the land that should be free for all of the wild animals, tree, and berries. Once there is barely and room for waste it will go into the water and our most reliable resource salmon will fade away because of the bad water pollution, eating waste, or getting trapped.


Zachary Tilden

Dillingham, AK