Hunting and Fishing
One of many lookout points where Selawik hunters may wait for caribou
The people of the Selawik River, in the Kotzebue Sound region of arctic Alaska, have survived for generations due to an in-depth knowledge of hunting, fishing, and their local environment. Families and friends work together to gather food, medicine, and materials from the surrounding lands.
Cutting Northern Pike in the community of Selawik with a traditional ulu knife.
This indigenous knowledge (Siilviŋmiut, the people of the Selawik River, are Native Alaskan Iñupiat) continues to be essential as wild-caught foods are healthier, fresher, and considerably more affordable for people in remote Alaska than any store-bought food, and this knowledge helps most households in Selawik and surrounding communities put food on the table.
Pulling Northern Pike and whitefish from a gillnet at Selawik Science-Culture Camp.
If you visit the village of Selawik on a crisp, bright September morning (you’ll have to take a boat or airplane to get there), you may see a boisterous group of kids clad in colorful life vests climbing aboard boats bound for Culture Camp. After a 15-minute boat trip, they spend the day in the outdoors with local instructors, elders, and Fish and Wildlife staff cleaning and cutting fish, berry picking, water and water-bug sampling, and caribou hunting.
Kids in Natures Classroom
Lowbush cranberries, aka lingonberries, are one of the delicious berries Alaskans enjoy.
You might see kids scaling whitefish, cutting Northern Pike with traditional ulu knives,
stalking and gutting caribou
An annual event for over fifteen years, the Selawik Science-Culture Camp has now become a local tradition, but it’s also a venue for the continuation of hunting and fishing traditions that are immeasurably older.
In Alaska we are shared stewards of world renowned natural resources and our nation’s last true wild places. Our hope is that each generation has the opportunity to live with, live from, discover and enjoy the wildness of this awe-inspiring land and the people who love and depend on it.
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