Our Way of Living is Best
Chugach Regional Resources Commission (CRRC) is a non-profit, inter-tribal consortia formed by seven Tribes in the Chugach Region to protect the subsistence lifestyle through the development and implementation of natural resource management programs to assure the conservation, sound economic development, and stewardship of natural resources in the traditional use areas. In 2016, CRRC initiated a traditional foods program to conduct a baseline assessment of food consumption, use and harvest patterns to develop wellness strategies in the face of a changing environment. Through this endeavor, a traditional foods poster was created that portrays subsistence foods in southcentral, Alaska.
This poster serves as a window into the lives of the people of the Chugach, a glimpse of the traditional foods that are important to their cultural identity and a stepping stone to protect a subsistence way of life that desperately needs to be preserved. We realized for many people of the region, connections and memories to traditional foods are intertwined with the stories of their lives. The primary food sources have changed dramatically and foods gathered in the wilderness are no longer available. While traditional foods restore physical health, they are also central to cultural and spiritual traditions. These foods strengthen communities and support the unique culture of the region and are often the center of special occasions such as family gatherings and holidays. The intrinsic value of harvesting foods in traditional ways cannot be over stated. A local statement is "when the tide is out, the table is set".
Traditional foods are more than just commodities; they are gifts that help to always remember who we are and where we come from because foods weave together the very social fabric that makes a community. When people are actively pursuing wild game or fishing sacred waters, they are gifted with new memories and those of a distant past that bring a sense of belonging while promoting balance and generosity. This creation serves as a legacy to the people of Alaska. Alaskans have great potential to shape a food system that feeds the future in a way that strengthens relationships with all living things and promotes cultural continuity. This can be done by becoming more than just consumers of foods but advocating for ancient foods. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share a part of the culture with Alaska. Healthy and productive people are the cornerstone of healthy communities.