A long tradition of sustainability

First Alaskans have been managers and stewards of Alaska salmon for millennia. Learn more about this timeless relationship predicated on spirituality, respect, and reciprocity in the essay Deep Time. The material presented sets the stage for the State of Alaska’s Salmon and People (SASAP) project, and seeks to illuminate and elevate the story of the profound relationship between Alaska Natives and their Salmon Relatives. A thoughtful perspective on SASAP from an Indigenous point of view is offered in the accompanying piece, An Indigenous Forward.

Deep Time – Salmon and People in Alaska Before Contact

This deeply researched essay weaves together the evolutionary biology of Pacific salmon, the diverse and dynamic landscape that provided a template for salmon evolution, and the arrival of First Peoples through Western contact.

  • Learn about the evolutionary roots of salmon and the evidence that early human settlements were shaped by their annual return.
  • Discover how archaeology reveals the use of salmon by peoples of the Yukon River dating back 11,500 years.

While not diminishing the connections between contemporary Alaskans and salmon, this essay is intended as a celebration of the enduring relationship between Indigenous Alaskans and their Salmon Relatives.

Read Deep Time

An Indigenous Forward to Deep TimeĀ  – Salmon and People in Alaska before Contact

The divergence in rules of law between Euro/Western processes and Spiritual Connectivity as a function of Indigenous ownership and sharing of resources came sharply into focus during the SASAP project.

It became very clear that the dominant Euro/Western thought patterns within their own system were going to be reevaluated on a generational basis rather than the immediate needs or currying of political favors. Readers should presume that this dynamic shift in approach is neither new nor unique.

Bits and pieces of Indigenous-management thought philosophy and Spiritual meaning have floated through research papers for a hundred years, yet it only has been in the last decade that this uniquely successful system of management which looks at salmon as friend, neighbor and fellow traveler has come to the fore.

Much can be said about the best teachers having moved past their earthly existence, but it can also really be said that in the end, it is all about rediscovery and reshaping a value system aimed at connectivity and adaptation.

ReadĀ An Indigenous Forward