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.