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Berry picking in Kivalina, Alaska

I am from Alaska, member of the Episcopal Church women. Our elders have much respect in our culture, when they speak their words are passed down to younger generations. Many years ago an elder told us that we need to protect our wild berries. This elder predicted that our land would be changed or be threatened by change.

Our region is rich with wild berries picked every summer. We have a three month window of opportunity to pick four types of berries before winter sets in. Because of what has been happening in our region this past half century, we see today, now, that it is being threatened by global warming and also our river water is being adversely affected by one of the richest zinc mine in the world. A committee was formed to protect our land and water, and they were successful in one instance and are still active in protecting our lands resources.

We still live in our cultural ways. One visitor from another village along the coast once told us that we still hunt the traditional way, while the town he’s from uses westernized methods of hunting. Our women are very culture minded; whatever the men hunt and catch is taken care of by the women to be dried and stored for the winter. We have nine months of winter, not so much now that global warming is happening, and the winter snow is coming later and later in the year.

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Comments

lindanov's picture

Berries in Summer

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I live in the Pacific Northwest and we love our berries too. I am fortunate to have 3 bushes that provide us with a great harvest so I especially appreciate the gift of berries from the land. I also am seeing the changes of winter. Spring comes earlier and instead of cool mists, by late spring we have warm humidity that feels different than before. I think it's important for those of us who can remember what the land was like before these changes to help the younger people to know what has changed. Keeping a culture alive is also important to me because it connects us to a way of relating to the land and the environment that is being lost to technology. Thanks again for sharing.

Rebecca Snavely's picture

Picture painted

Marilyn,

Thanks so much for giving me a glimpse into life in your village. I especially liked reading about the elder who foresaw the changes in the environment and spoke to the importance of protecting it. I live in Los Angeles, and do not have many elders in my community, which I miss, and know that I miss out on that wisdom. Your words were a gentle nudge to me to find that kind of community, hopefully I can find part of it here, online!

It's good to hear that your committee is working to protect the land and way of life. I look forward to reading more of your stories.

Best,

Rebecca

sunita.basnet's picture

Nice picture

Your picture of Berry attract more quickly to your readers. Moreover, you have provide the clear picture of your community.

Thanks for attaching the picture and well describe of your land.

I hope to read more about your community in the future.

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

Nusrat Ara's picture

We need to safeguard and

We need to safeguard and preserve our culture.

Nusrat

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