Alaska Native Science Commission Y-K Delta Regional Meeting Summary u Changes u Possible causes of changes u Ideas for action
Changes u People dying of cancer u Increased incidence of disease - asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, heart attacks and strokes, brain tumors u Problems with drug abuse, alcohol, tobacco, FAS, huffing, suicide, depression, mental health problems
Changes u Change in diet –non- traditional food –store bought meats –pop, juices, junk food u Changes in traditional lifestyle - sedentary, not active, “couch potato”
Changes u Boredom u Young people’s diet results in changed lifestyle u Addition - There needs to be a change in what we mean by education – it is includes what we learn about living off the land. u Addition – teacher’s tell kids that they have to graduate and go to college; but when they get back, there aren’t jobs for them. Increased dependence on welfare rather than self-reliance u Correction to above – there aren’t many jobs in villages, even for people who go outside for education, so jobs aren’t an option.
u No identified tasks - e.g.chopping wood u Use of motorized transportation u Addition – young people don’t identify with Native foods or the lifestyle u Addition - “doesn’t taste good to speak Yupik, or Athapaskan.”
Changes u Loss of respect for traditional ways u Addition – elders are concerned about young people showing loss respect by not participating in traditional activities or respecting other people’s property u Failure to follow traditional restrictions and structures u Addition – loss of land base, selling off of Native allotments
Changes: Abnormalities in animals and fish u Whitefish wormy u White spots on flesh of salmon like lesions u Addition – probably the white spots were encysted tape worms u 8 dead whales washed up on beach near Quinhagak (southwesterly wind) u Addition – what kind of whales? when was this? u Addition – in the Bristol Bay area the harbor? seals are getting skinnier.
Abnormalities in Fish u Salmon skinny - going “round and round” - broken jaws u Addition – broken jaws from propeller action hitting fish u Addition – “round and round” behavior may be due to introduction of whirling disease (a parasite that grows in the brain of the fish) from outside sportsfisher’s waders.
u Trout, red salmon, coho, dog salmon - skinny, some eyes have been pierced u Addition – pierced probably from fish hooks u Fish with different colorings on skin u Codfish and halibut with cheek lesions
Changes u Lush fish livers u Addition - some kind of growth inside the liver or roundworms in the livers u Mercury from mining camps in rivers u YKHC studying burbot, pike and whitefish for methylmercury u Ballast water from barges introducing foreign organisms, species and pollutants
Changes u Decline of fish - numbers and sizes on all rivers in Y-K u Reduced migration of chinook, coho, chum on Kasigluk River u Correction – it should be Little Kasigluk River and Kisaralik River
Changes u Increase in beavers u Addition – given low prices, people aren’t trapping as many beaver as they used to. u Decline in shore birds and songbirds u Birds and fish found with plastic around their necks u Mink have disappeared upriver since not trapped anymore u Question – how far upriver? Which area?
Changes u Increase in sportfishing - increased waste in river and destruction of habitat u Addition – they tear up the shore by walking up and down the banks. u Fish being destroyed - too many people touch them, measure them, tear up their mouths u Addition – sportfishers and catch-and- release fishers.
Changes u Used to be good weather - now changed u Used to be more snow in winter u New plants and trees where they didn’t used to grow u Where there used to be an abundance of edible plants, now only a few u Addition – increasing wolf populations, possibly in response to increased caribou population. Wolves coming into villages are a threat to young children.
changes u Addition – increased human population puts more pressure on the environment; more trophy hunters and fishers – in winter as well as summer. A lot of wanton waste.
Possible causes of changes u Water pollution –chlorine and fluoride –rust running into river –outboard motors –fuel spills –antifreeze –honey buckets that overflow
Possible causes of changes –Population changes in the Delta –Playing with food - catch and release –Using berry pickers - scrape the ground and damage plants –Barges off-loading in set net areas and destroying habitat –Aluminum boats, tools, pots and pans
Possible causes of changes: u Transboundary pollution from Russia and Europe u Large airplanes going to Japan affecting the ozone layer u Question – just to Japan?? u Addition – Dust from storms long distances from here making the snow brown u Changes in the weather
Possible causes of changes: u Garbage left out on the land u Dumps that are not fenced - animals eat garbage u Addition – garbage like batteries, fuel cans, thermometers leaching into the environment
Ideas for action: promote traditional values u More listening to elders u Respect land and animals u Correction – you should group “land, rivers, mountains, sky” and then separately talk about the different types of animals: marine, terrerstrial. u Follow traditional restrictions u Use traditional medicines u Don’t do things carelessly u Preserve knowledge by sharing now
Ideas for Action u Addition – you need to get everybody involved so that there are no special interests – the idea of collaborative leadership. u Addition – you hear good ideas but the agendas get written up an agency so that it is restricted to what the agency wants: from one point to another without being flexible.
Ideas for action u Addition – the agencies don’t let their agenda be open to local people to implement. u Need to stop talking and do “hands on” work u Abnormal fish and animals should be tested - establish a regional lab u Get training for grant writing
Ideas for action u Agencies need to develop a government to government relationship with federally recognized tribes u We all need to work together - federal, state, private organizations and tribal governments u Addition – be sure to specifically include Native corporations in the above.