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Regulatory impacts on a Yup'ik fish camp in Southwest Alaska Stariwat, Jory 2016

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    Regulatory Impacts on a Yup’ik Fish Camp in Southwest Alaska   by   Jory Stariwat  B.A., University of Alaska, Anchorage, 2008        A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS   in   THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES  (Anthropology)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)         AUGUST 2016  © Jory Stariwat, 2016  ii  Abstract  Yup’ik fishers on the Nushagak River of Southwest Alaska harvest salmon for both subsistence and commercial purposes, however their cultural protocol and formal resource management principles are unrecognized by the State of Alaska.  Drawing from two summers of ethnographic research and experience as an Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) anthropologist, I examine one state regulation preventing drift gillnetting for subsistence purposes.  The analysis reveals that the Alaska Department of Fish & Game is currently preventing cultural adaptation on the Nushagak River despite Yup’ik communities maintaining sustainable harvest levels for millennia.  Changes in river conditions, namely the location of sandbars and channels, in addition to warming water temperatures, necessitate the application of the traditional harvest method, drift gillnetting, to meet the harvest goals of Yup’ik fishers at the Lewis Point fish camp on the Nushagak River. The Alaska Board of Fisheries has maintained that drifting only be employed in the commercial fishery, not the subsistence fishery, despite policy dictating a subsistence priority over other consumptive uses.  While failing to meet the subsistence priority codified in its own policy, the State of Alaska also fails to provide a meaningful role to the tribes in the decision-making domain of resource management.  Yup’ik fishing is guided by a cultural ethos known as yuuyaraq, roughly translated to “the real way of life,” which provides a formal management institution that maintains continuity with the past while providing harvest protocol and principles for the present.  The incorporation of Yup’ik intellectual traditions and cultural principles is necessary to provide the tribe a “meaningful role” in the natural resource management of Alaska.    iii    Preface  This research required approval from the University of British Columbia’s Behavioral Research Ethics Board.  The project received approval on July 18, 2011 under certificate H11-00790 (Lewis Point fish camp ethnography). The research was conducted in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G), Division of Subsistence, under Phase II of an ongoing project entitled Lewis Point fish camp ethnography (2009-2013).  Jory Stariwat conducted all research and analysis during Phase II and is the sole author of this thesis.  No portion of the thesis has been previously published.  A separate report for Phase I is in review for publication in the ADF&G, Division of Subsistence Technical Paper Series.  Forthcoming. Stariwat, Jory, Theodore Krieg, and William Simeone. Lewis Point Fish Camp Ethnography. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence Technical Paper No. XXX, Anchorage, Alaska.          iv  Table of Contents Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... ii Preface............................................................................................................................................ iii Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................... iv Acknowledgements ......................................................................................................................... v Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 1 Purpose of the Project ..................................................................................................................... 8 Research Methods ......................................................................................................................... 12 A Yup’ik Cultural Ethos: Yuuyaraq “The Real Way of Life” ...................................................... 19 The Lewis Point Fish Camp (Nunaurluq) ..................................................................................... 26 Subsistence Salmon Fishing at Lewis Point ............................................................................. 29 Participation in the Bristol Bay Commercial Fishery ............................................................... 36 Yuuyaraq and State Management ................................................................................................. 45 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................... 50 References ..................................................................................................................................... 53 Appendix 1 .................................................................................................................................... 56 Appendix 2 .................................................................................................................................... 57 Appendix 3 .................................................................................................................................... 58 Appendix 4 .................................................................................................................................... 59 Appendix 5 .................................................................................................................................... 60      v  Acknowledgements    I am deeply grateful to the people of New Stuyahok for showing me a new way to think about and experience the world, and the unending hospitality my hosts extended to me.  My connection to Bristol Bay was galvanized by the warmth of the families at Lewis Point who shared their knowledge, their Native foods, and their way of life with an outsider.  I now consider the Nushagak River a second home. I am especially thankful for the guidance and wisdom of Moxie and Anna Andrew, the thoughtful conversation and warm meals from Honeybun and Wassillie Andrew, the inspiring morals and principles of Evan and Dorothy Wonhola, and the lasting lessons from Timothy and Mary Wonhola.  My stays in New Stuyahok are always a special treat with the family of Sophie Neketa, where I am always spoiled with my favourite agutak, and other Native foods. I must thank Sophie for her patience while enduring the challenges of trying to teach me Yup’ik.  The New Stuyahok Traditional Council and Ted Krieg were instrumental in making research arrangements for this project. I am indebted to them for their openness and efforts.   I am also indebted to my former supervisors and colleagues with the Division of Subsistence, ADF&G.  The insights of Davin Holen, Ted Krieg, Bill Simeone, and Jim Fall have been an invaluable resource for better understanding subsistence in Alaska. I owe a great deal of thanks to my graduate advisor, Charles Menzies, who helped me to step back and reflect on the systemic and structural conditions of state/indigenous relationships.  I pursued a graduate degree in order to better understand my involvement in state management, and it was Charles who aided me in thinking beyond the programmatic work of ADF&G in order to resituate my work within a decolonizing framework.   I am very thankful to Pat Moore and Charles for their fast committee work which allowed me to meet impending deadlines.  vi   This research would not have been possible without the financial support of the North Pacific Research Board, Alaska Anthropological Association, and Division of Subsistence, ADF&G.  Their generous support allowed me to spend multiple summers on the Nushagak River.  It was in my second season of fieldwork that I learned of yuuyaraq and the importance of this Yup’ik cultural ethos in the self-management of the fishery.  I am thankful for the opportunity to have spent the necessary time to begin documenting the tacit and less enunciated Yup’ik principles practiced on the water, and to more fully appreciate that Native people are not just Alaska’s first citizens, they are also tribal people with their own forms of governance and management.   Lastly, I am grateful for the support (and tolerance) of my family and friends who had to experience my attempt at balancing academic, professional, and adventurous goals.  I was spread thin at times to say the least, but as the time-honoured saying goes, “all’s well that ends well.”      1  Introduction It was mid-June again.  A strong southwest wind had just blown from Nushagak Bay into the low-lying basin where the Nushagak River begins to transition into maritime coast.  The peak of the salmon run had arrived at the Lewis Point fish camp.  A community leader of New Stuyahok, a Yup’ik community lying 80 miles (129 km) upriver from the fish camp, explained how the strong Pacific winds bring pulses of salmon into the river system and provide a tell-tale for fishermen to gauge run timing and strength.  Downriver reports from subsistence fishers in the regional hub of Dillingham confirmed the expectations, with many fishermen capturing 40 salmon—some more—in a single day’s catch with setnets spanning 25 fathoms or less from the shores of Kanakanak Beach.  The downriver harvests were another good indicator that the fish were on their way, about a day’s swim upriver to Lewis Point, or 15 miles (24 km) on the water.  These were Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), prized for their high oil content and their ability to be smoked into “king strips.”   Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) had not yet opened commercial fishing, allowing escapement levels in the river systems to rise to numbers estimated by fisheries managers as capable of producing healthy annual returns (sustainable yield).  Most families at Lewis Point had made the 80 mile downriver trip from New Stuyahok on June 6th to subsistence fish, a little delayed from a typical years’ departure so that council members could attend the monthly Traditional Council meeting held in early June in New Stuyahok.  The older people at Lewis Point, pinnacle figures of the fish camp and leaders in their home community of New Stuyahok, explained that they had been coming to Lewis Point for their entire lives (40 to 64 years) as part of a seasonal cycle of fishing, hunting, trapping, gathering, and wage work.  Summer is salmon fishing season, June to August, commercial and subsistence.   2  Pulling a salmon out of the water at the Lewis Point fish camp, however, involves much more than knowing when the fish are coming and how to harvest them.  Beyond navigating the tidal currents and shifting sandbars of the river, one must also navigate a complex web of regulations that dictate almost every fathomable facet of the fishing endeavour, from who can harvest what, when, and where, down to the details of net mesh size.  The fishers at Lewis Point live a highly regulated life that is imposed upon them by external entities.  In this thesis, I explore how state regulations supersede Yup’ik cultural protocol and intellectual traditions, with each promoting the principles and objectives of their respective cultural systems.  The state government has structured the fields of power in resource management to disadvantage autonomous tribal decision-making.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game attempts to address this inequality through a process of assimilation and incorporation into the scientific paradigm, often couched in terms of “co-management” and “capacity-building,” in which political conflict is absorbed into a technical domain of scientific research that distorts and devalues Yup’ik intellectual traditions.  This insidious form of political subjugation is a key mechanism reproducing inequality in Alaskan governance, and it demonstrates that ADF&G is currently not meeting the standards the agency sets for itself in stating that “department policy articulates and reinforces a government-to-government relationship between the department, the boards of Fisheries and Game, and the federally recognized tribes of Alaska … in a culturally sensitive manner.”1   I examine the turbulent history of Alaskan fisheries management and the impacts on Lewis Point through the analytical frameworks of political economy and political ecology.  I begin by discussing a Yup’ik cultural ethos that provides guidance and formal protocols for the                                                  1 ADF&G official website: (accessed March 18, 2013)   3  sustainable harvest and use of wild resources.  The ethnographic description of Yup’ik cultural beliefs and practices assists me in drawing out and denaturalizing the cultural assumptions and values embedded in the state’s approach to natural resource management.  This exposé of Alaskan settler society’s colonialism demonstrates how the current scientific paradigm is both cultural and contestable, and it is by shaking “science” from its authoritative positioning that a space is created for thinking of Yup’ik intellectual traditions as equally valuable and viable in managing the harvest and use of animals in Alaska.    Despite long-lived traditions of resource stewardship and relentless demands for sovereignty by Alaska Native representatives (Thornton 1998:30), all fishing activities on the Nushagak River are managed by the State of Alaska.  The state categorizes and regulates fishing activities as subsistence, commercial, personal use, or sport fishing with the distinction between each as much a regulatory construct as it is a reified reality for the fishers on the water.  At Lewis Point, the fishers harvest salmon under subsistence and commercial regulations.  The Yup’ik families use drift gillnets when commercial fishing, but are not allowed to use driftnets when subsistence fishing despite state policy requiring a subsistence preference over other consumptive uses (e.g. commercial fishing) (Thornton 1998). Under subsistence regulations, the fishers are limited to setnetting, in which they use the same type of nets, but anchor them from shore (in drifting, nets are fastened to a skiffs that drifts with the tide). Current regulations are preventing fishers at Lewis Point from being able to move their gillnets away from shore and into the channels where they will be much more effective at appropriately timing their catches, at controlling the number of salmon caught, and at targeting the desirable and traditionally harvested species of salmon (Chinook/king salmon).  The restrictive regulation is an example of the state failing to uphold the subsistence priority.  It denies Yup’ik self-determination and  4  autonomy, however, the Board of Fisheries (which holds authority over regulatory decisions) maintained in a 2009 hearing that the restrictive regulation should remain intact, despite considering evidence demonstrating that the regulation is in conflict with state policy.  Extending the tribes a role in the decision-making arena, alongside the Board of Fisheries, is one productive step towards achieving a more equitable and just natural resource management system.  A diversified set of decision-makers holds the potential to prevent policy failures such as the Board’s continued support of the drift regulation that is actively preventing sustainable harvest methods and the subsistence priority.   Building on Arturo Escobar’s notion of “difference in equality,” which posits that diversity can “enable functioning pluralistic systems and a measure of justice and equality,” rather than simply produce conflict and inequality (Escobar 2006:7), I arrive at a simple conclusion in this thesis: that the tribal entities of Alaska should be extended an equal role in the decision-making roles of natural resource use alongside the Board of Fisheries.  I support this relatively straightforward ideal with a more complex set of premises drawn from two summers of ethnographic research at the Lewis Point fish camp, in addition to my experience as an ADF&G anthropologist. I argue that a move towards equality that respects difference, as opposed to equality through assimilation, is best achieved through change at a decision-making level, not at the lower rungs of research within natural resource management.   I also draw from anthropologist Tania Murray Li’s theory on the ways in which issues of political economy and political ecology become “rendered technical” within scientific paradigms in order to examine the way the state absorbs conflict through co-management arrangements (Li 2007).  Lewis Point concretely demonstrates how the state has structured the fields of power to exclude Yup’ik organizations at a decision-making level by reframing conflict, opposition, and  5  subaltern politics as technical problems with scientific solutions within the management arena.  Current co-management efforts that do explicitly incorporate Yup’ik organizations deflect the tribe away from the decision-making domain of management into the research domain, creating an institutional arrangement that reproduces inequality shrouded by the positive light cast on research collaborations, not decision-making collaborations.  In this incarnation, co-management acts more to increase regulatory compliance, since cooperative agreements are less likely to be ignored or resisted (Hensel and Morrow 1998:1), than to afford tribes a degree of control.  State officials treat the role of the state as a trustee, democratically placed in trust to balance diverse user groups, whereas I reject the notion of the state as trustee, and instead argue that the state is itself an interest group in a position of cultural dominance that allows settler society to institute rules in their own favour while disadvantaging tribal groups.   As I describe in the following pages, the Lewis Point fish camp clearly demonstrates the guidance of yuuyaraq, a holistic Yup’ik concept roughly translated to “the real way of life” or “the way of the real human being.”  The yuuyaraq concept guides the way in which fishers manage their own efforts based on a cultural ethos of respect for other non-human beings. Yuuyaraq encourages a need-based level of exploitation in both commercial and subsistence sectors.  Anthropologists Charles Menzies and Caroline Butler describe need-based resource use as “harvesting the minimum required for food, trade, and sale for a reasonable livelihood... Community members do not approach a harvesting activity without first estimating their required amount of that particular resource. They do not harvest everything that is available at a particular moment but fulfill their minimum needs” (Menzies and Butler 2007:456). The very phrase “natural resource management” reveals a cultural contrast with yuuyaraq and Yup’ik cosmology in its discursive embodiment of Euro-centric cultural understandings of animals as resources (i.e.  6  capital or commodity) to be “managed,” rather than recognizing animals from a Yup’ik intellectual perspective as other non-human peoples with which one must sustain an ethical relationship to maintain abundance through the animal’s volitional retribution2.  At Lewis Point, harvest quantities, site selection, fishing methods, harvest timing, the kin-based organization of production at the camp, and the coordination of subsistence harvests with wage-work demonstrate a fluid and dialectical process of cultural continuity and change that is unified by yuuyaraq.  The overarching ethos of yuuyaraq provides threads of continuity with the past and a cultural cohesiveness that guides the way in which Yup’ik fishers at Lewis Point drive for change and adapt to the conditions of modernity.  It is living tradition.  The conventions of yuuyaraq, however, are currently superseded by the state regulatory system.  Salmon fishing at Lewis Point shows in fine resolution how the current management regime in Alaska prevents culturally appropriate forms of resource stewardship, and the fishing practices at the camp stand in to show how natural resource management can benefit from the integration of Yup’ik principles.  In the following pages I explore the potential for empowered tribal decision-making by exposing the mechanisms currently preventing it and by highlighting the Yup’ik system of self-management already firmly rooted in place.  Alaska state law (16.05.094) directs the Division of Subsistence to “evaluate the impact of state and federal laws and regulations on subsistence hunting and fishing and, when corrective action is indicated, make recommendations to the department.”3 Following in line with the                                                  2 I, and many of the Yup’ik individuals with whom I worked, use the phrase “natural resource management” in reference to a science-based political system of fisheries/wildlife conservation and allocation practices, but not in support of the cultural assumptions embedded in the lexical meaning (see Hensel and Morrow 1998:2 for further discussion of how management participants use the same words with different meaning).     3 Alaska Department of Fish & Game official webpage: (accessed March 18, 2013)   7  state’s directive to the Division of Subsistence, I provide both an evaluation of the impact of the drifting regulation on subsistence fishing on the Nushagak River and make recommendations concerning the management of Yup’ik fishing practices.  Ultimately, I intend to provide support to the people in programmatic and political positions—tribal, state, and federal—that hold the institutional knowledge and technical skills to build a path towards a pluralistic regime that accommodates “equality in difference.”                     8  Purpose of the Project The purpose of this project is to examine the natural resource management practices of the State of Alaska from the ground up, looking specifically at a public proposal to change one subsistence salmon fishing regulation affecting a Yup’ik fish camp in Southwest Alaska.  In 2009, a Bristol Bay resident, Hans Nicholson, submitted a proposal to allow drift gillnetting for salmon under subsistence regulations.4 Current regulation allows only for set gillnets5, a fishing method that requires the net to be anchored to the shore.  Yup’ik fishers at the Lewis Point camp find setnetting insufficient in controlling their salmon harvests and expressed a desire to use the same nets to drift in the tidal currents with the gillnets attached to their boats (rather than solely fish with the nets anchored to the shore) to have greater control over their harvests.   Nicholson submitted the proposal to change the regulations on behalf of the Yup’ik fishers on the Nushagak River, however it was unanimously rejected by the Board of Fisheries.  I examine how the Board’s decision conflicts with state policy and is actively preventing Yup’ik cultural adaption to a wide array of changes in environmental conditions, social and economic shifts, and advancements in boats and harvesting technology. I unpack the complex and often turbulent history of fisheries management in Alaska by examining the cascading effects and detrimental impact of that single fishing regulation, however the critical analysis is lifted by a description of how Yup’ik fishers maintain cultural protocol and a formal system of self-management (unrecognized by the state) that guide their fishing efforts towards sustainable and efficient practices, demonstrating the potential for effective Yup’ik involvement in the decision-making domain of Alaskan natural resource management.  I provide ethnographic context for examining                                                  4 Alaska Department of Fish & Game official webpage: (accessed March 18, 2013) 5 5 AAC 01.320. “Lawful gear and gear specifications” only allows drift gillnets on the Nushagak River in commercial fishing districts during commercial openings.  All other times and areas are closed to drifting.  9  the socio-political forces and socio-ecological conditions that have given form to fishing practices at Lewis Point.  In a sense, the ethnography is multi-sited.  It is an exploration of two entangled domains, one of management as exemplified by Alaska Department of Fish & Game and one of the history and lived-experience of Yup’ik fishers at Lewis Point.   The very process of writing about and discussing Yup’ik fishing culture at Lewis Point, however, benefits from a decolonizing methodology in which the analytical lens is shifted away from treating the indigenous fishers and their way of life as “objects of study” and “sources of data,” (Menzies 2012 pers. comm.) to a broader examination of the intersection of cultural institutions.  In her ground breaking work on decolonizing methodologies, Linda Tuhiwai Smith writes “…it is surely difficult to discuss research methodology and indigenous peoples together in the same breath, without having an analysis of imperialism, without understanding the complex ways in which the pursuit of knowledge is deeply embedded in the multiple layers of imperial and colonial practices” (Tuhiwai Smith 1999:2).  Although many Division of Subsistence researchers understand their work in a collaborative sense as “projects with” rather than “studies of” subsistence hunters and fishers (pers. comm. 2010), the underlying institutional arrangement reveals a different understanding of indigenous peoples—in this case Yup’ik fishers—as technical subjects first, and potential co-managers and collaborators second.  This arrangement is deeply embedded in the structure of the state government.  The problematic “colonial gaze” is addressed in this thesis by expressly inverting the analytical lens and studying natural resource management practices in Alaska, while concurrently attending to and promoting Yup’ik intellectual perspectives, thus arriving at an intersection of cultural systems.  Applied social research can tend towards identifying “deficiencies” in subject populations (Li 2007), and from this process of problematizing comes the mobilization and intervention of “experts” and  10  their “expert knowledge,” which promotes an imbalance of power between “experts” and “lay” people in determining solutions to social and ecological problems.  This thesis seeks to address this form of tribal disempowerment by framing the research process itself around respect for the dignity and humanity of indigenous peoples, recognizing tribal peoples not as research subjects, but instead first and foremost as societies with their own enduring intellectual traditions, management systems, and governance that exist without and beyond external research and management efforts. The fishing practices at Lewis Point are guided by the Yup’ik cultural ethos yuuyaraq, whereas the fishing regulations and fisheries management practices of the State of Alaska are guided by democratic mandates and a scientific paradigm that are also products of a distinct lineage of intellectual traditions and cultural principles.  The unequal interplay of these cultural systems underlies state dominance over tribal peoples (Thornton 1998, Hensel and Morrow 1998, Worl 1998, Apassingok and Savoonga Native Corporation 1998), however the mechanisms that continue to reproduce this inequality are not as readily apparent, despite the rise of so-called “co-management” arrangements and the state’s explicit mandate to provide tribes a meaningful role in management processes.6 To paraphrase civil rights activist and law professor Mark Denebeaux’s appraisal of oppression and inequality today, “discrimination used to be the wolf at the door, now it’s the termites in the floor.  It’s everywhere, but you can’t quite put your finger on it” (Owen 2016). The purpose here is not to vilify the state management institutions or the people that drive the management processes.  Many are well-intentioned within their own conceptions of success-driven objectives and some are making considerable steps towards compromises that encourage                                                  6 Alaska Department of Fish & Game official webpage: (accessed March 18, 2013)  11  pluralistic equality.  Tribal autonomy is perhaps not a panacea that produces a utopian society and a flourishing ecology.  Tribes may fail at achieving some of their goals just as the state and federal governments do.  It is, however, their right to humanity and dignity to have the opportunity to succeed or fail on their own terms (Menzies, pers. comm 2010.).  As fisheries scientist Ray Hilborne argues, success is a subjective measure and objectives do not always align for a unified goal (Hilborne 2006).  A danger lies in constructing visions of ecological utopia under indigenous control, or conversely, criticizing the “inauthenticity” of modern indigenous peoples, as this dichotomy fails to capture the variety and reality of tribal goals and principles.  Steve Langdon explains “there is little doubt that such bimodal, toggling vantage points from one extreme to another provide little in the way of understanding the dynamic relationships in which and through which human hunting, fishing, and gathering populations have existed in the New World or the manner in which indigenous Americans constructed and deployed understandings of their world” (Langdon 2007:234).   In the following text, I highlight a governmental arrangement that disadvantages tribal decision-making, but I do not take a paternalistic position in assessing how tribes should proceed. I do not intend or pretend to offer the architecture for a reformation of the resource management regime that incorporates tribal autonomy in this thesis.  The nuts and bolts of the programmatic work is a highly provisional and on-going process that cannot simply be reduced to discussions of collaboration or negotiation.  Each tribe is unique and challenging to delineate, and internal difference and complex positioning produces a formidable reality. I, nevertheless, provide a straightforward assertion that Yup’ik tribal entities (however they may be understood) have maintained continuity in long-lived cultural institutions and protocols that provide ethical guidelines for hunting and fishing activities throughout Alaska.    12  Research Methods The project is based on two summers of ethnographic fieldwork at the Lewis Point fish camp in 2010 and 2012, in addition to my experience as a research specialist for the Division of Subsistence, Alaska Department of Fish & Game and Bristol Bay Native Association.  Participant observation, the cornerstone of ethnographic inquiry, produced the majority of information for this project, drawn from my time at the fish camp and my time working in the ADF&G offices.  Participant observation is defined as “a method in which an observer takes part in the daily activities, rituals, interactions, and events of the people being studied as one of the means of learning the explicit and tacit aspects of their culture” (Dewalt and Dewalt 2000:260).  The method gains its importance as a research tool through systematic recording (Dewalt and Dewalt 2000:259).   Participant observation proved a particularly appropriate research method amongst Yup’ik fishers who value and encourage learning through careful observation rather than explicit questioning, and who consider long-term commitment paramount to the learning process.  Targeted interviews would be sorely inadequate without participant observation as an accompanying method.  Many unanticipated findings, some of which are the most revealing in this project, would not have materialized from interviews or surveys alone.  To give an example, during the entire first year of my research, I was unaware that the community of New Stuyahok has a tribal chief who holds a position that is entirely disconnected from the federally-funded Traditional Council.  The chief is categorically distinct from the official Tribal President position housed within the Council.  I worked regularly with the chief of New Stuyahok but only discovered his position and title when I was admonished by a young man for allowing “the chief” to bring me a towel for the  13  nightly steam bath (maqi).  Moxie Wonhola had gone into his house for a towel and simply asked if I wanted one as well, to which I replied yes.  It was in that simple exchange when I was made aware that the man I considered a friend and key respondent to research questions for over one year was in fact a chief in a culture that historically had no chiefs.  Prior to missionary influences, shamans, known in Yup’ik as anagalkuq “were the most important men and women in the village.  The angalkuq were the village historians, physicians, judges, arbitrators, and interpreters of Yuuyaraq” (Napoleon 1996:8).  There was no position of “chief,” however.  Today, Elders are highly respected in Yup’ik communities, but it is rare to have any single individual designated as a leader except for Tribal Presidents in the federally formed Traditional Councils (which were established by the federal government, and are designed to incorporate traditional forms of political organization, however Central Yup’ik historically had no chiefs or presidents).  As Steve Langdon writes, “Among Central Yup’ik there existed a strong ethos of egalitarian, community-focused ideology in which elders as a collective were seen as a critical resource for the welfare of all.  No slaves or social, recognized wealthy, powerful persons were found in Central Yup’ik societies” (Langdon 2002:57).   Moxie Wonhola was the main informant for the kinship information I collected concerning the Lewis Point fish camp, and I helped him subsistence fish, cut wood, and haul water nearly every day of my fieldwork (Appendix 1). His humble and quiet nature mirrors that of Yup’ik culture, in which the tacit elements of political structure, social relationships, economic sensibilities, spiritual beliefs, and ecological knowledge outweigh the explicit elements.  The complexity and depth of Yup’ik culture is not immediately apparent from an etic or outsider’s perspective, particularly because Yup’ik people are often very quiet and share  14  knowledge in ways that take the form of guidance more than discussion, with an emphasis on long-term observation and teachings embedded in storytelling.  The state has developed a policy on “government-to-government relations with the federally recognized tribes of Alaska” designed to “reinforce the foundation for establishing and maintaining effective government-to-government communications between the department and the tribes, and between the [Boards of Fisheries and Game] and the tribes, and promotes consultation in a culturally sensitive manner.”7  Most rural Alaskan communities with federally recognized tribes have Traditional Councils or Tribal Councils headed by presidents.  The councils are organized political bodies funded by the federal government that provide a point of contact, consultation, and negotiation for bureaucratic processes.  As mentioned above, prior to the introduction of these councils, Yup’ik political organization tended to be rather egalitarian, with the Elders providing guidance and wisdom.  Without easily identified leaders or governing bodies, so-called government-to-government relationships are challenging.  The creation of Traditional/Tribal Councils follows in step with the centralizing tendencies of the state (Niezen 2003) and provides a “government” with which the state can relate, transforming the political structure of the region to better suit dealings with a bureaucratic nation.   The Alaska Department of Fish & Game claims that “department policy articulates and reinforces a government-to-government relationship between the department, the boards of Fisheries and Game, and the federally recognized tribes of Alaska.”8  Tribal Councils made government-to-government relationships comprehensible. This structuring of relationships acts to further legitimize the                                                  7 Alaska Department of Fish & Game official webpage: (accessed March 18, 2013)  8 Alaska Department of Fish & Game official webpage: (accessed March 18, 2013)   15  state’s authority by prefiguring fields of power. The process of coordinating tribal involvement and identifying who must fill the “meaningful role” has structured the character of these distinct entities, both the state and the tribes.  The position of “chief” in New Stuyahok is a product of the Yup’ik villagers’ interactions with the federal government in the 1940s when the community of New Stuyahok was established.  A single individual spear-headed the effort to have a school in the community, now named “Chief Ivan Blunka” school.  “According to New Stuyahok elders… Chief Ivan Blunka gave up his log home and stayed in a tent so that his house could be used as a school for the children in the village. In 1942, the community constructed a log school, which was the first school in New Stuyahok” (New Stuyahok Comprehensive Plan 2005:7). Ivan Blunka’s effort in dealing with the federal bureaucracy gave rise to a delegate position that is not hereditary and not elected. The chief gained status from emergent leadership in dealing with external bureaucracies.  Later in the 1960s, federal and state policy-makers encouraged community incorporation, “but little management assistance was given to villages to help them master the obligations accompanying the benefits of municipal incorporation” (Case and Voluck 2013:327).  The position of chief arose to fill this void in early interactions with the federal government and later interactions with both the state and federal governments.  The chief is in a position to deal with new developments internally. It was not just chance that I worked regularly with the current chief during my fieldwork as a state official, it was a product of Yup’ik design.  My work at Lewis Point followed the research procedures established by the state in consultation with the tribes of Alaska (as well as research methods from the discipline of anthropology), but it was also guided by Yup’ik formalities that shaped the interaction.  Participant observation allowed this nascent Yup’ik  16  formality to take full form in this project, with the chief providing guidance to an outsider from a positon of acquired status and ritual maturity. In addition to participant observation, I conducted semi-structured interviews and informal interviews with each person at Lewis Point, including a group interview with the children.  The nature of the research materials themselves assist in revealing the disparate cultural underpinnings and social organization of ADF&G and Lewis Point.  For instance, the social structure of Lewis Point is best captured by a kinship diagram.  The organization of the camp is fundamentally family-based and the units of relation are in kin terms, whereas ADF&G structure is captured in a staffing chart in which the units are pre-determined institutional roles to be filled.  ADF&G requires no long-standing relationality between the people in the organization, the institution exists outside and beyond staff relationships, whereas for Lewis Point, the fish camp exists as a site of communal, family activity, and it arises from relationships rather than creates them.  The distinction is important to recognize because it touches on the depth and persistence of connections formed between people, places, and processes in the Yup’ik cultural system, which in turn encourages multi-generational, place-based knowledge systems, sometimes coined Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), Local Ecological Knowledge, or Indigenous Knowledge (IK).  This is a resilient form of knowledge production and transmission that is inherently different from the scientific method employed by ADF&G, but each epistemological system has its own unique strengths, making the two ways of knowing highly complementary to one another.  This is recognized by the state and the tribes, but the state subsumes TEK into the science paradigm, rather than grant it equal footing in management processes. To be “legitimate,” TEK is regularly refracted through a lens of “expertise,” meaning that if a tribal Elder shared ideas and observations at a management meeting, it may only be  17  treated as anecdotal evidence, whereas when the same observations are collected, coded, collated, and reported by a state employee, those very same ideas become something more like data, something more scientific.  This is an oppressive act that devalues place-based Yup’ik intellectual traditions.   As Hensel and Morrow argue, “Native-held knowledge only tends to be accepted after it has been independently confirmed” (1998:1).  This unequal valuation of knowledge systems exists despite the fact that most of the employees of ADF&G are living outside the socio-ecological systems they seek to manage.  Most researchers and managers do not have the epistemological advantage of place-based “traditional ecological knowledge” or “local knowledge,” but this is not treated as a limitation by the state.  Instead, technical research forms the foundation for “informed” decision-making in the current science dominated regime.    In a critical analysis of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Hutchings et al. argue that the current framework of the department, in which both fisheries science and fisheries management comingle, “nonscience influences interfere with the dissemination of scientific information and the conduct of science” (Hutchings et al. 1997:1). In Alaska, the Board of Fisheries makes most regulatory and allocative decisions, while ADF&G makes some conservation decisions and manages in-season commercial fishing. Hutchings et al. assert that this type of interconnectedness “permits the suppression of scientific uncertainty and a failure to document comprehensively legitimate differences in scientific opinion” (1997:1). A colleague of mine at ADF&G commented on the “bullet point prose” expected in management reports, in which complex findings are reduced down to short and digestable bullet points of information, ready-made for fast-paced management actions. This form of dissemination could indeed suppress uncertainty, yet the potential impact of this limitation is not widely recognized or discussed at ADF&G. The scientific method is still treated as the unquestionable pinnacle  18  achievement in a hierarchy of ways of knowing and knowledge production, and science is not recognized as a culturally specific epistemology with inherent limitations.                       19  A Yup’ik Cultural Ethos: Yuuyaraq “The Real Way of Life” Lewis Point is a traditional Yup’ik fish camp on the Nushagak River of Southwest Alaska. To call the camp “traditional,” however, requires some elaboration since the loaded term “traditional” is often used to paint a timeless picture of unchanging practices.  The customs and traditions at Lewis Point are best understood as ever-changing, but guided by a cultural ethos that provides continuity with the past.  Traditional indigenous culture is often mistakenly understood as “authentic” only if it is unchanged from the time of contact with European explorers.  Lewis Point, however, reveals a very strong continuity in the organizing principles and overarching worldview that informs the contemporary fishing practices at the camp.  Fishing methods and technology have changed and are changing, but the changes are guided by the formal Yup’ik cultural ethos known as yuuyaraq, roughly translated to “the way of the real human being” or “the real way of life.”  The fact that Lewis Point fishers use motor-powered, aluminum skiffs and nylon mesh fishing gear does not mean that their fishing methods are not “traditional.”  The Yup’ik principles they apply to their fishing efforts are derived from generations of knowledge and teachings, and it is this continuity in overarching principles that makes the fishing at Lewis Point both “traditional” and “modern” at the same time.    To describe yuuyaraq, “the way of the real human being,” as an ideology is unquestionably incomplete.  To describe it in any way is incomplete.  Yuuyaraq is lived and is living, and any articulation of it is provisional. At a Yup’ik environmental knowledge workshop hosted by the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in 2013, I asked a Yup’ik Elder from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta area—with translation by a Calista Elders’ Council official—to describe what yuuyaraq meant to him. There was a moment of pause and grins, followed by a fast-paced and lengthy discussion between the two.  The translation was certainly the abridged  20  version and delivered with some hesitation and glances back to the Elder for confirmation.  Simply put, I was told that yuuyaraq provides the way forward for all peoples of Alaska, not just Yup’ik.  What I was not told is how it provides a way forward, because the approach is not reducible to a roundtable discussion.  The move forward is a historically contingent process requiring fluidity and an appreciation for particularities.  Yuuyaraq manifests in practice.  To approximate the concept of yuuyaraq in English terms thus risks superimposing Anglo-centric understandings and ideas that can carry with them unjustified assumptions and cultural associations that fail to capture the complex constellation of Yup’ik principles.    Nevertheless, respect and deference to Elders, a need-based level of exploitation, strict sanctions against waste, and long-term, experience-based learning are some key characteristics I observed amongst Yup’ik practitioners of yuuyaraq.  The normative values encouraged by Elders with the ritual maturity to interpret and teach yuuyaraq are not always obeyed by Yup’ik fishers, but that does not mean the formal system of behavioural guidance and expectations ceases to exist.  Many critics of indigenous rights point out that not all indigenous people follow “traditional” ways.  Even with a dynamic understanding of “tradition,” these critics are correct, not all indigenous people meet societal expectations at all times, just as not all citizens of Alaska obey the laws that set out the expectations of what it is to be a proper citizen. The legal system is not lost or ineffective simply because it is not followed ubiquitously by everyone, just as yuuyaraq is not lost simply because not all Yup’ik people meet their cultural ideals. One of the greatest failures of indigenous representation is the treatment of all indigenous peoples as a homogenous, monolithic group in which each individual’s actions are interpreted as definitive, broad-scale cultural representations, rather than being understood as personal choices in the context of distinct cultural complexes. It is important to recognize yuuyaraq in Yup’ik fishing  21  operations, and to not rely on idiosyncrasies and isolated incidents to make statements about cultural “authenticity” or the ability/inability of a tribe to govern.  A Yup’ik leader from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Harold Napoleon, describes yuuyaraq in this way: “Yuuyaraq defined the correct way of thinking and speaking about living things, especially the great sea and land mammals on which the Yup’ik relied for food, clothing, shelter, tools, kayaks, and other essentials. These great creatures were sensitive; they were able to understand human conversations, and they demanded and received respect. Yuuyaraq prescribed the correct method of hunting and fishing and the correct way of handling all fish and game caught by the hunter in order to honor and appease their spirits and maintain a harmonious relationship with them” (Napoleon 1996:4)  Yuuyaraq informs every facet of fishing at Lewis Point, both subsistence and commercial sectors, and in many ways, it is more important to the fishers than the regulations imposed by the state. Nevertheless, the principles of yuuyaraq are superseded by state regulations. The drifting regulation is of particular concern as it conflicts with state policy and the stated intentions of the regulation, and it criminalizes a fishing method that allows greater control over salmon harvests compared to current legal methods. Current legal methods (i.e. setnetting) can inadvertently lead to overharvest, decreased species selectivity, more spoilage due to a lack of control over harvest timing, and interference with commercial fishing operations. At Lewis Point, this leaves the fishers fighting to sustain their cultural heritage and forces them to teach the next generation of youth in a constrained manner. It leaves them fighting to put enough food on their plates through legal fishing practices while illegal methods are more responsible and more effective, and it forces them to contest the regulation that is inconsistent with state policy only through costly and time-consuming litigation in state-controlled courts since the regulatory decision-making body, the Alaska Board of Fisheries, has maintained that the regulation should remain unchanged.   22   The State’s authority over salmon fishing at Lewis Point impacts the Yup’ik fishers’ ability to meet their harvest goals and undermines tribal self-determination, but it also impacts their spiritual relationship with the animals they harvest. One Lewis Point fisher proudly wore a t-shirt with the words, “Subsistence feeds our families… and our souls” (Appendix 2). Harold Napoleon explains how yuuyaraq mediates harvest and use practices in the physical world with Yup’ik understandings of the spiritual world: “Yuuyaraq encompassed the spirit world in which the Yup’ik lived. It outlined the way of living in harmony within this spirit world and with the spirit beings that inhabited this world. To the Yup’ik, the land, the rivers, the heavens, the seas and all that dwelled within them were spirit, and therefore sacred. They were born not only to the physical world … but into a spirit world as well … When the Yup’ik walked out into the tundra or launched their kayaks into the river or the Bering Sea, they entered into the spiritual realm. They lived in deference to this spiritual universe, of which they were, perhaps, the weakest members. Yuuyaraq outlined for the Yup’ik the way of living in this spiritual universe. It was the law by which they lived” (Napoleon 1996:5).   Yuuyaraq is founded upon the idea that humans exist in a living landscape. Rocks, mountains, rivers and the rest of the inanimate world are imbued with life in Yup’ik stories and teachings. Every act and every practice can be understood as an interaction with a landscape and seascape that not only hosts life, but is also living itself. This cultural understanding informs much of the fishing at Lewis Point, where fish are understood as other non-human beings instead of a commodity or a resource, even when the fishers are harvesting for commercial purposes, not solely subsistence. Anthropologist Ann Fienup-Riordan explains: “Not only do goods cycle, as do seasons, but human and animal souls likewise are continually in motion. The birth of a baby is the rebirth of a member of its grandparental generation. The death of the seal means life to the village. The same people and the same seals have been on this earth from the beginning, continually cycling, a life-celebrating system is put forward. The coastal Yup’ik Eskimos are not simply surviving on the resources of their environment but are living in a highly structured relationship to them. This relationship is important  23  to comprehend, not as an exercise in Eskimo esoterica, but as the key to why they act and feel the way they do” (Fienup-Riordan 1990:46-47).    The Yup’ik fishers at Lewis Point are devout Russian Orthodox Christians, but many of the animistic traditions that pre-dated Christianity in the region remain intact or have been incorporated into Orthodox understandings. During my second season of fieldwork, the brother of two fishers at Lewis Point passed away. Shortly after the man’s death, an Elder approached me while I was in the village of New Stuyahok and started speaking in Yup’ik. Her hand motioned around me and outward. She was giving me a Yup’ik name, Qessan’aq, which was the same name of the man who had passed away days earlier. Through the naming ceremony, it was understood that the man’s anerneq, the Yup’ik term for “human spirit”—literally meaning “breath”—cycled from him to me. It would be most common for the name and associated spirit to cycle into a newborn baby in the village following a death, but because I had no name and was close to his siblings, I received his name and his anerneq, or his spirit. Following the naming ceremony, people in the village said they could see Qessan’aq’s humour in me, and I was treated as a relative in a very real sense (not symbolically) by his family. I had not previously been told about the beliefs behind Yup’ik naming, and I likely would not have learned about the practice through interviews or surveys during the course of my fieldwork.  Like many Yup’ik customs and beliefs, “they are not enunciated explicitly” (Hensel and Morrow 1998:3). The naming reinforced my recognition of enduring but tacit Yup’ik traditions.  Of significant importance to natural resource management, Yup’ik intellectual traditions teach of animal spirits known as iinruq that are in a circular movement through time, continuously taking on new physical form in a parallel way to the spatiotemporal cycling of human spirits. This spiritual conception intimately influences the harvest and use practices of  24  Yup’ik fishers, the very practices the state seeks to manage. Napoleon describes iinruq, or animal spirits, as: “…indestructible, unlike the bodies in which they resided. And in the case of men, fish, and game, death was the spirit leaving the body. This is why Yup’ik prescribed respectful ways of treating even dead animals. They believed the iinruq would, in time, take another body and come back, and if it had been treated with respect, it would be happy to give itself to the hunter again. For a people solely dependent on sea and land mammals, fish, and waterfowl for subsistence, it was imperative that all members of the community treat all animals with respect or face starvation as a result of an offended spirit” (Napoleon 1996:7).  Despite the existence of formal Yup’ik codes of conduct embedded in cosmology, or as Napoleon says of yuuyaraq, “the law by which Yup’ik live and the protocol for every and any situation that human beings might find themselves in” (Napoleon 1996:5), the State of Alaska still imposes regulations that, if broken, are punishable offenses. This poses a significant source of conflict because “traditional perspectives typically underlie the positions of respected elders involved in co-management. Younger Yupiit may represent a wider spectrum of beliefs and use a variety of strategies to argue their positions, but still tend to trust local knowledge and be skeptical of scientific studies and research practices” (Hensel and Morrow 1998:3). The Yup’ik people of Southwest Alaska have their own system of natural resource management and trust that it produces sustainable harvest levels, but the state treats them as an interest group prone to over-exploitation, rather than a governing tribe with its own regulatory system. This is a source of conflict and a prime breeding ground for misunderstandings between state officials and tribal representatives.   The following analysis of fishing regulation (5 AAC 01.320. Lawful gear and gear specifications) demonstrates how state regulations not only conflict with and supersede the codes of conduct encouraged through yuuyaraq, but also demonstrates how the state’s very own  25  regulations can paradoxically contradict state policy that requires subsistence uses to be given priority over other consumptive uses (such as sport and commercial fishing) (Thornton 1998:29). In the following section, I work to unpack this regulatory bind through a description of salmon fishing at Lewis Point in current and past practice, and by describing how the Yup’ik fishers would like to move forward in their fishing practices if they can achieve regulatory change.                   26  The Lewis Point Fish Camp (Nunaurluq) The Nushagak River system is situated in a generally low, flat basin with forests of spruce and deciduous trees in the lowlands near the river, and open tundra in the rolling uplands (Schichnes and Chythlook 1991:9). New Stuyahok is located in a climatic transition zone that is predominantly maritime weather modified by the influence of Interior Alaska. Cloudy and overcast skies, mild temperatures varying from averages of 30 to 66 F° (-1 to 19 C°) in the summer and 4 to 30 F° (-16 to -1 C°) in the winter, moderately heavy precipitation, and strong east winds coming from the coast are characteristic of the New Stuyahok and Lewis Point locales (Schichnes and Chythlook 1991:10). Lewis Point, however, is in a position closer to Bristol Bay where the maritime influence is greater than that of the upriver, inland ecosystem where New Stuyahok is situated. The fish camp is located where the river begins to resemble the bay, with a strong tidal influence and a span of over 1 mile (1.6 km) across from shore to shore (Appendix 3). In this position, the fish camp provides access to Dillingham, the economic hub of the region, and the Bristol Bay commercial fishing grounds. The position also provides access to sea-bright salmon freshly arriving from the nutrient-rich feeding grounds of the Pacific. Salmon predominantly stop feeding as they arrive to their natal watersheds and begin to degrade in nutritional quality as they move upriver. This phenomenon means that fish caught at Lewis Point are richer and fattier than salmon caught near the community of New Stuyahok 80 miles (129 km) upriver, making the fish camp a prime choice for subsistence fishers seeking high quality, oil-rich salmon. The camp is also a port of entry for the commercial fishery. The cabins sit on the northeast boundary for the Nushagak commercial fishing district where the Lewis Point fish camp acts as a staging ground for upriver residents who relocate downriver to coordinate their commercial and subsistence fishing efforts in June and July.   27  In June of each year, families from New Stuyahok make the trip downriver to Lewis Point. June, however, is not the beginning of salmon fishing at Lewis Point. The cycle of seasonal rounds has run continually since time immemorial for a people that trace a lineage of continuous ancestry in their homeland of the Nushagak River. Many Yup’ik fishers understand the return of the salmon as the same spirits circling back in new physical forms to offer themselves to worthy recipients. Some fishers understand this as an ongoing relationship between human spirits and salmon spirits encompassing all generations of Yup’ik inhabitation of the region. The archaeological record shows Yup’ik settlements within 100 miles (160 km) of Lewis Point dating back 9000 years before present. The estimated Yup’ik population of Bristol Bay at the time of contact is 3000 people, with communities on the salmon-rich Nushagak River ranging from 200-300 people (Langdon 2002:49-50). In the project years, New Stuyahok’s year-round population was just over 500 people and the 3 other communities on the Nushagak River were similar to pre-contact population levels or smaller. According to archaeologist and ethno-historian James VanStone, the Yup’ik people inhabiting communities on the Nushagak River during the 18th century lived in permanent communities along the river in the winter but relocated to interior hunting and trapping camps in the spring. As summer neared, the people returned to the river to fish for salmon, and in the fall, again relocated to interior hunting and trapping camps (VanStone 1971:20). This pattern changed when Russian and later American entrepreneurs developed commercial enterprises in and around Nushagak Bay. As described by VanStone, at the end of the 18th century Russian explorers established a trading post on Nushagak Bay approximately 8 miles (13 km) from the mouth of the Nushagak River. The presence of the post attracted Yup’ik people who altered their seasonal pattern to  28  include a visit to Nushagak Bay in order to exchange furs for commercial goods, as well as to trade with coastal people who had access to marine products such as seal oil (VanStone 1967:6). Establishment of the commercial fishery in 1884 increased opportunities for trade as well as opportunities for wage employment. Following the introduction of the commercial fishing industry, communities proliferated along the Nushagak River because more people, including families from the Nushagak River, began to stay at camps in the bay such as Lewis Point, to fish for salmon and work around the commercial fishery (VanStone 1967:128). Between 1920 and 1940, the scattered fish camps and villages began to coalesce around missionary churches and schools so that after 1940, river settlement patterns began to resemble the contemporary pattern, with four permanent communities on the upper portion of the Nushagak River. This pattern has also been influenced by increased state and federal government involvement in the society of the region through educational, medical, and barge service (VanStone 1971:131). Currently, people along the Nushagak live in centralized communities that include a church, a school, and for some, a store. Fish camps have persisted into present time, but hunting and trapping camps that were traditionally settled in the spring and fall are no longer as common or are generally used for shorter periods. Lewis Point’s history, however, is more complex than describing it as a subsistence fish camp that has persisted through time. The use of the camp has been dynamic and changing. This is in part related to the camp as an access point to the commercial salmon fishery and the fishers’ ongoing adaptation to changing economic opportunities with the commercial fishery. The current subsistence fishing regulation that limits lawful gear to setnets only, however, is placing undue hardships on the fishers who would like to employ drift gillnetting as a strategy—guided by yuuyaraq and linked to “customary and traditional” practices—in an effort to adapt to the recent changes in environmental and socio- 29  economic conditions described below, particularly changes in river conditions.  Lewis Point fishers want to be able to move their gillnets away from the shore and into the river channels in an effort to better time and control their catches, in order to target early arrival Chinook salmon with limited incidental harvests of other species.    Subsistence Salmon Fishing at Lewis Point June marks the return of the salmon, and it is this reliable return that compels the Kiatagmiut Yup’ik of New Stuyahok to load up skiffs and 32 foot (9.8 m) commercial gillnetters with supplies to relocate downriver to the fish camp of Lewis Point for the summer. There is no running water, no electricity other than that supplied by portable diesel generators, no roads, no stores, heat is supplied by wood stoves, and travel to and from the camp is dictated by the ebb and flood of the tide. Camp life requires hard work, but to quantify the product of their efforts, an average harvest—for any of the years in the past decade, that is—brings home an edible weight of over 100 pounds (45 kg) of salmon per capita annually in a region of the state where groceries must be flown in at an exorbitantly high cost (e.g. one gallon (3.8 l) of milk costs over $10USD). In the 1980s the average harvest was nearly double the current harvest, with over 200 pounds (90 kg) of edible weight in salmon harvested per capita.9 Store-bought foods are expensive, but the contemporary harvest of wild foods at Lewis Point also requires substantial resources and cash income.  For New Stuyahok residents, contemporary salmon harvests rely heavily on fuel-dependent skiffs with outboard motors. Fuel costs in the region during the project years exceeded $7 USD per gallon. In current practice, subsistence fishing at Lewis Point and in the surrounding                                                  9 According to permit data in ADF&G’s Community Subsistence Information System (CSIS) database  30  areas of New Stuyahok requires fishers to secure cash income to provide for their subsistence expenses. The use of Lewis Point as a fish camp proved an effective strategy for coordinating subsistence fishing with wage employment in the commercial salmon fishery of Bristol Bay for over half a century, however since the 1980s, participation in the commercial fishery has declined for New Stuyahok residents. Because of the declining participation in the commercial fishery and the introduction of faster skiffs in the 1980s, fewer families have chosen to relocate to Lewis Point for the summer. Two patterns of use of the fish camp have arisen out of this choice. Some families, those with whom I worked most closely, continue to relocate to the camp for the months of June and July as they have for their entire lives. Others have changed their use of the camp to a short-term fishing site where they make a quick trip of 1-3 days with powerful skiffs to catch as many sea-bright salmon as early in the season as possible, then try to meet the remainder of their harvest goals by fishing setnet sites spread along the river closer to New Stuyahok. Other families have chosen to discontinue use of Lewis Point altogether and subsistence fish solely upriver near the village.  In the project years, most households at Lewis Point reported targeting 60-100 salmon. Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (also known as king salmon) is the primary species targeted (Appendix 4). According to ADF&G permit data, sockeye (O. nerka) accounts for the majority of the catch for Lewis Point fishers despite efforts to target Chinook primarily. Chum (O. keta) and pink salmon (O. gorbuscha) are not targeted by any households but do account for a small quantity of bycatch that is kept and processed. Cohos (O. kisutch) do not arrive until later in the season, generally in August after families have relocated back to New Stuyahok, and are harvested in small numbers by setnet and rod and reel near the community.  31  Permit data show that in 2008, subsistence fishers reported harvesting approximately 51,000 salmon in the Nushagak District and ADF&G estimated a harvest of over 40,000 salmon for sport in the Nushagak, Wood River and Togiak area (Fall et al. 2011:77). 10 In 2009, more than an estimated 11 million salmon were harvested commercially (Jones et al. 2009:6). From the reported subsistence harvest of 51,395 salmon in 2008 for the district overall, residents of New Stuyahok harvested over one-tenth (5,755) (Fall et al. 2011:77-79). In 2006, permit data showed that 36% of the total subsistence salmon harvest of New Stuyahok (2,239 salmon) was harvested at Lewis Point (Jones et al. 2009), which empirically demonstrates the location’s continuing importance as a subsistence fishing location, despite recent changes in river conditions that are negatively impacting harvest levels. Just upriver of the camp’s position is a bend in the river where the head of a large sandbar stretches downriver towards the setnet sites. This bar has shifted and Lewis Point fishers reported that the shoal is pushing the salmon further away from shore when they near the bend, which in turn pushes the salmon farther away from the setnets lining the shore of the fish camp. Some salmon still hug the shoreline, finding reprieve from their struggle against the current in eddies of still water where some, hopefully, will be harvested in the strategically placed setnets. On their trip downriver from the community of New Stuyahok, some families drop the scant leftovers of last year’s salmon in burlap sacks into the middle of the river. This is said to help convince the salmon to swim closer to the shoreline. If that fails to work, some of the fishers, who are predominantly Russian Orthodox Christians, choose to pray for good catches. Despite their                                                  10 Alaska Department of Fish & Game Division of Sport Fish. Alaska Sport Fishing Survey 2008.  accessed Sept. 21, 2009.   32  efforts, the sandbar still pushes the salmon farther from the shore and increasingly out of reach of the setnets.  The fishers at Lewis Point explained that warming water temperatures also contribute to the salmon runs moving away from shore into the cooler, deeper channels, and again, out of reach of the Lewis Point setnets anchored from the bank of the fish camp. Salmon moving into cool temperature channels is a well-documented phenomenon in the Fraser River of British Columbia where fisheries scientists attribute the shift in swimming pattern to climate change (see Mathes 2009). Salmon prefer cool water temperatures around 55° Fahrenheit (13° Celsius). To find that optimum temperature, the fish change depth in the water accordingly. As one might expect from a river, the conditions are changing and have been changing, but global climate change may be contributing to more drastic increases in water temperature. Nevertheless, the heritage of Yup’ik salmon fishing on the Nushagak River shows continual adaptation through time. From site selection, gear types, harvest methods, the social organization of production, harvest timing, species targeting, and many other nuances found in salmon fishing, Lewis Point fishers and their ancestral predecessors have adapted strategies and successfully made a living off the seasonal salmon runs of the Nushagak. Today, however, the critical need to adapt fishing strategies by drifting is threatened by the red tape of regulations. More worryingly, the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF), which holds the power to make regulatory change, chose to uphold the restrictive regulation that only allows setnetting at their 2009 Bristol Bay Finfish board meeting. The regulation is currently preventing fishers at Lewis Point from being able to move their gillnets away from shore and into the channels where they will be much more effective at appropriately timing their catches, at controlling the number of salmon caught, and at targeting the desirable and traditionally harvested species of salmon.   33  Lewis Point fishers provided a multi-faceted list of reasons for wanting to drift gillnet in addition to set gillnet. The variety of benefits and considerations reveals the complexity of fishing and fishing adaptation, and demonstrates that fishing livelihoods are better accommodated through local, responsive management, than non-local management that operates slowly and from afar as the current state system does. First and foremost, Lewis Point fishers describe drifting as a method to increase control over harvest timing, which in turn benefits the preservation process, increases species selectivity, and provides greater control over harvest quantity.  Lewis Point fishers want to control harvest timing carefully for three reasons: 1) Chinook salmon arrive before the other species. Fishing effectively early in the season aids in targeting Chinook before the run becomes mixed with sockeye and chum, thus, early harvesting acts as a tool for species selectivity. Meeting target goals of Chinook early in the season allows for less bycatch of non-targeted species, making it a tool for controlling harvest quantities in addition to species selectivity; 2) the majority of salmon harvested at Lewis Point are smoked. The smoking process requires hanging the fish after it is cut into strips on racks to dry in the wind. If placed too early in the smokehouse, spoilage can occur. The strips must dry adequately. Early harvests are dried when conditions are cooler and the meat is less likely to spoil, and before blow flies become more abundant. The flies lay their eggs in the meat if a pellicle, or hardened shell, is not formed by the wind, leading to increased spoilage. By meeting harvest goals early in the season, the preservation process is made more efficient and spoilage is prevented; 3) early harvest timing allows fishers to “put up” their harvest goals before commercial fishing. Generally women, children, and the elderly do not participate in the commercial fishing effort and instead remain at camp where they tend to the smokehouses. Most smoked strip preparations at Lewis Point  34  require 3 weeks in the smokehouse, so those remaining at camp prefer to have their smokehouses full before the men leave to commercial fish. The amount of labour required to tend to a smokehouse with only a few fish is the same as a full smokehouse, making it more efficient to harvest quickly early in the run to achieve full smokehouses (Appendix 5). These three reasons demonstrate the benefits of early harvests which are difficult to achieve by setnet only. Drifting would allow the fishers to reach harvest goals early in the season instead of struggling with the current inefficiency of setnets, compromised in effectiveness by the shifting sandbars and warming water temperatures of the river. The desire to have greater control over harvest timing through drifting is further complicated by the families choosing to remain in the village and only make one short trip to Lewis Point to harvest sea-bright salmon. This pattern of use of the camp is the result of decreased participation in the commercial fishery, and therefore less reason to relocate closer to the bay, combined with the ability to make fast trips downriver with high-powered skiffs introduced in the 1980s.  Drifting is a method that attends to technological change and economic shifts in the region, in addition to changing river conditions.    Drift gillnetting is a more active harvest method than set gillnetting. The net is constantly monitored as the boat drifts in the river, whereas setnetting allows nets to be left unattended and, from a fisheries management perspective, is more prone to accidental overharvest due to passive fishing. Drifting is also the primary means for harvesting the majority of salmon taken from Bristol Bay, as the commercial fishery is dominated by drift boats. The Board of Fisheries is required to provide “reasonable opportunity” for subsistence harvests, and it is required to provide a priority for subsistence over other consumptive uses (i.e. commercial and sport fishing). To allow the commercial fleet to harvest 95% of the regional catch with 90% of that  35  allocated to the drift fleet (there is also commercial setnetting in Bristol Bay with an allocation of 10% of the commercial catch), one must seriously consider why the Board of Fisheries would reject a proposal to allow subsistence drifting. In many ways, the decision is counterintuitive, both from a fisheries management perspective (by maintaining a more passive fishing method over an active method) and from the perspective of the locals who are struggling to meet their harvest goals in the most efficient manner despite policy dictating a subsistence priority. According to Langdon, in the pre-contact era in Yup’ik territory, “Kayaks were used for sealing and beluga hunting but also for tending drift and set nets used for catching migrating salmon. The nets were made from caribou sinew or willows with the size of the mesh varying based on the species of fish sought” (Langdon 2002:56). Contemporary nets are nylon mesh, 25 fathoms long with mesh diamonds of 5-6 inches, the larger being used to target Chinook. Despite having drifted in the past, and having compelling reasons to drift in the present, the Board of Fisheries unanimously rejected the drifting proposal submitted by Nicholson in 2009.  The Board is comprised of six members appointed by the governor (not elected), generally coming from commercial and sport fishing backgrounds. Rosita Worl argues that, “the historical facts clearly reveal that the expansion of commercial and sports hunting and fishing industries brought laws and regulations that favored commercial and sports hunting and severely reduced Native subsistence harvests” (Worl 1998:77). The power in Alaskan fisheries management is highly concentrated among the six board members who can make decisions in the interest of commercial or sport uses despite policy dictating them to do otherwise, with the only path for recourse through time-consuming and potentially costly litigation in the Alaska Supreme Court.  36  The Yup’ik fishers of New Stuyahok only take approximately 10,000 salmon per year or less, while in the Nushagak District in 2015, commercial fishing landed 6,152,333 salmon with 90% taken by drift gillnetters (Jones et al. 2016). Paradoxically, the Lewis Point fishers, who fish both for subsistence and commercial purposes, drift under commercial regulations but cannot under subsistence regulations. Both sectors have no harvest limits, however the numbers show that subsistence catches are a mere drop in the bucket when compared to commercial harvest quantities taken from the same salmon runs. The subsistence priority, codified in policy, appears to be more of a smokescreen than an effective management arrangement. Increased tribal involvement in the decision-making domain of resource management would aid in addressing policy failures of this nature.  A rebalancing of power is necessary to achieve a just and fair system.      Participation in the Bristol Bay Commercial Fishery  Much of the resistance to indigenous control over resource use in Alaska derives from public ideas about pre-contact sustainable harvest levels being the result of limited technology, small populations, and no pressures from global markets. There is an expectation that increased harvesting ability and the incentive to harvest more for cash income means that overuse is likely, or perhaps inevitable, unless appropriate regulations are instituted to protect fish and wildlife. In the following section I discuss how yuuyaraq guides not only subsistence fishing efforts, but also commercial fishing, with a need-based level of exploitation encouraged, and I discuss the limited profit motive present among Lewis Point fishers. Yuuyaraq itself is a regulatory institution, and when recognized as such, the sustainable harvest levels found on the Nushagak River can be  37  understood as an outcome of intentional and formal indigenous resource management sustained through time.     Industrial-scale commercial salmon fishing began in 1884 in Bristol Bay, following the advent of canning technology, but Alaska Natives did not take positions as boat owners and skippers at large until the 1940s (Troll 2011).  Cannery owners relied heavily on Asian labour instead of hiring Natives who were not trapped by location and more capable of leaving poor working conditions (Boxberger 1989). In a paradoxical turn of events, being considered second-class citizens opened the commercial fishery to Alaska Native fishermen. Due to race-based social and legal segregation, the U.S. military did not enlist Alaska Natives during World War II except for the Alaska Territorial Guard that served locally, however recruiters considered most other men eligible for overseas service and drafted them into the war effort. US commercial fishing positions were left vacant. On the East Coast, Paul Greenberg called the halt in fisheries production “The Great Reprieve,” as overfished populations were given time to begin recovery during the war (Greenberg 2010). In the abundant fisheries of Bristol Bay, however, a different kind of army was enlisted. As Karl Marx contends, the capitalist mode of production forms a “disposable industrial reserve army... for the changing needs of the self-expansion of capital, a mass of human material always ready for exploitation” (Marx 1867:646). What could be conceived of as an “industrial reserve army” of Alaska Natives provided elasticity in the fisheries production of Bristol Bay. By allowing Alaska Natives to take the role of skipper and boat owner in the salmon fishery in the wake of decades of exclusion and sporadic work limited to low-wage cannery positions, the fisheries production in Bristol Bay carried on through the war. The Native fishermen integrated well into the fishery and held a strong footing for decades, however changes in management, technology, and world market conditions has begun to dispose of the  38  industrial reserve army, with the punctuated decline of Alaska Native participation beginning in the 1980s. The Yup’ik fishermen of New Stuyahok are no exception (New Stuyahok Comprehensive Plan 2005).  As Native fishermen entered skipper positions during World War II, Alaska was still a decade away from achieving statehood in 1959. Residents of the U.S. territory were fiercely protective of fishing grounds and fought for statehood as a way to curtail non-local interests and the corporate control of canneries. The resulting state constitution and later subsistence laws governing contemporary resource use are heavily rooted in the territorial localism surrounding resource conflict prior to statehood, particularly in fisheries access and control. The early struggles sedimented the ways Alaskans connect to the nation, challenging the control of federally-backed corporations and refusing to become a peripheral site of resource extraction dominated by non-local interests. “The Last Frontier” was not to become a victim of what Anna Tsing calls a “resource frontier,” a place (or rather, an imaginative project capable of moulding both places and processes) where “the small and the great collaborate and collide in a climate of chaos... They wrest landscape elements from previous livelihoods and ecologies to turn them into wild resources, available for the industries of the world” (Tsing 2003:5100-5102).  Alaskans would not let the federal government reframe the land and waterscape of the state as a new frontier to be “discovered” and exploited. The frontier was already made. Settler communities had begun the imaginative project of re-making Alaska wild, erasing the socially inscribed landscape of thousands of years of indigenous history. Ignoring or criminalizing the controlled burns enhancing moose and caribou habitat in Dena’ina territory, or the creekscaping practices enhancing salmon spawning habitat (Langdon 2007) and herring cultivation in Tlingit territory (Thornton 2015), Alaskan settler communities failed to recognize the ecological  39  transformations driven by indigenous inhabitants of the state and remade the landscape into a wild frontier to which they held first rights, or at least “equal” rights. Settlers united to claim a position of authority, not to make the resources available to the industries of the world as Tsing contends, but to make resources available to the industries of the state’s choice and under the state’s control.  Scale is lost in this narrative of localism celebrating the underdog territory’s unity and opposition to federal exploitation. Indigenous positioning and claims for authority were denied both by the federal and state governments. Through an “equality” clause in the state constitution, all residents of the state are granted “equal access” to renewable, wild resources as common property. In practice, this means that a non-Native, urban Alaskan who has never been to Bristol Bay can fish at Lewis Point or in any other state waters with the same privileges and limitations under subsistence regulations that the local Yup’ik have. No preference is given based on indigeneity or local residency. On the other hand, non-Alaskans are barred from subsistence fishing even though the argument to eliminate restricted access is framed in terms of “equality.” The state’s localism subsumes all other localisms and ethnicity-based claims. This practice is guised in the discourse of “equality.” Through the paradoxical equal access clause, the state simultaneously sanctioned accessibility and enclosure to the land base and resources, effectively denying indigenous rights by opening access to all residents of the state (and industrial exploitation), while restricting access to exclude non-residents. These early struggles structured the character of the State of Alaska and its relationship to the nation and the indigenous inhabitants of the state, and it is from this initial structuring that the constitution was developed, institutions arranged, and seminal policy decisions made. Contemporary management actions are  40  seated within this framework and should not be treated as fixed or inevitable, but instead recognized as emerging from this particular history.  The state has managed the Bristol Bay salmon fishery by limiting access and fishing effort, not by privatizing the resource with allocated quotas or catch shares. Since the 1970s, managers have used a dedicated access regime known as the Limited Entry Permit System to control how many fishing boats are on the water, in addition to vessel and gear restrictions as mechanisms limiting fishing effort. In the 1940s, all fishing was done from sailboats. During this time, Yup’ik fishers successfully secured their positions and became well established skippers in the fishery.  Alaska achieved statehood in 1959 and the newfound government established the Alaska Department of Fish & Game “to protect, maintain, and improve the fish, game, and aquatic plant resources of the state, and manage their use and development in the best interest of the economy and the well-being of the people of the state, consistent with the sustained yield principle.”11 A year after the passage of a constitutional amendment in 1972 that allowed the state government to restrict fisheries participation, ADF&G established a limited entry permit system for the Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery. The permit program is administered by the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC). The CFEC employed a point system that awarded prior experience in the fishery and economic dependence when evaluating the initial permit applications, thus solidifying the role of Yup’ik fishermen as skippers. Many received the highly valuable and scarce permits. The CFEC issued 44% of the permits to Alaska Natives who comprised only 18% of the state population (Apgar-Kurtz 2012:14).                                                   11 Alaska Department of Fish & Game official webpage: (accessed March 18, 2013)  41  An onslaught of technological improvement, also called “capital stuffing,” and recent permit strategizing12 in Bristol Bay has been fueled by what fisheries privatization champions and critics of “the tragedy of the commons” call “the race for fish,” in turn fueling fisheries scientists and managers to develop “incentives” or regulatory restrictions to manage the hard-driven profit motive of many fishers. Fisheries economists calculate this profit motive as an inevitable variable of “human nature” with which to contend. These “experts” make their calculations and recommendations to control the cultural drive of industrial capitalism, not a universal drive of “human nature” as the fisheries economics school of thought assumes. Popular fisheries author Paul Greenberg wrongly asserts that “there is a general rule when it comes to overfishing. If no regulations are put in place, the more fish populations decline, and the more extreme and ecologically damaging fishing methods get” (Greenberg 2010:101). But my host Evut, preparing to leave his subsistence fish camp for the next commercial opening, offers a refreshing perspective. Far from an “outlier” in the economic models that reduce human behaviour into a set of quantifiable variables and predictable outcomes of self-interest and overuse, the ideology Evut espouses was common to those at Lewis Point. As we sat finishing the pike he had harvested ice fishing earlier in the spring, Evut explained that he tries to make enough money to continue supporting his seasonal rounds of subsistence harvests, and that is enough. Nevertheless, fewer New Stuyahok residents are able to fund their subsistence efforts through commercial fishing compared to the halcyon days of the mid-1900s.  The participation of New Stuyahok residents in the commercial salmon fishery of Bristol Bay is declining (New Stuyahok Comprehensive Plan 2005). Families in New Stuyahok reported that nearly every household fished commercially prior to the 1980s, particularly in the 1960s                                                  12 In a contentious decision, permit stacking was legalized by the BOF in 2003.  42  when the number of Native-run boats was highest. Only the village postmaster and a couple families without boats stayed in New Stuyahok for the summer, while the rest of the 300-400 person population relocated 80 miles (129 km) downriver to Lewis Point to “put up” subsistence salmon and commercial fish in Bristol Bay. The punctuated decline in commercial fishing occurred just before the 1980s. Over 90% of the community population relocated to Lewis Point seasonally in the 1960s and 70s, both to subsistence and commercial fish. In the project years of 2009 and 2011, only 10% of the 500 New Stuyahok residents made the summer move to Lewis Point, in large part due to the decline in commercial fisheries participation. World War II opened the commercial fishery to Yup’ik fishers, but the limited entry permit system and the costs of operation in the fishery are closing skipper positions once again.  The commercial fishery of Bristol Bay is a relatively high capital, industrial fishery. In the mid-1900s, control over and investment in boats shifted from canneries to individual fishermen. From many angles, the salmon industry experienced changes and annual variability some permit holders simply could not absorb as independent operators. The permits are transferrable, giving fishermen the difficult choice of selling their permits for a one-time lump sum. Many hard-pressed fishers from New Stuyahok reluctantly sold their permits and boats in the late 1970s. Others continue to do so. Of those same fishers, not a few regret the decision. They will likely never enter the fishery as skippers again. Simply making enough in a volatile, high-capital fishery has unfortunately proved to not be enough. Other permit holders in less stressed financial positions, however, have opted to lease their permits through emergency transfer provisions, a choice that produces a nominal annual income and preserves the option to hand down the permit through family lines. As Apgar-Kurtz writes in her thesis on the factors affecting local permit ownership in Bristol Bay, “Fishing is an expensive industry and successful  43  participants are financially savvy and think of fishing in business terms rather than in traditional ways, and (perhaps most importantly), have supplemental non-fishing income” (Apgar-Kurtz 2012:2).    All of the families I interviewed at Lewis Point described commercial fishing as a way to support their “subsistence way of life.” New Stuyahok fishers dedicate much of their profits to funding fuel and equipment for subsistence hunts and fishing. Departing from the capitalistic enterprise in which “money begets money” through reinvestment, expansion, and one’s “financial savvy,” New Stuyahok fishers have deliberately chosen to fish towards a target income known to be capable of supporting hunting, fishing, and general living expenses. In this way, money is not fetishized, it is an auxiliary input into an economy dependent on hunting and fishing. Locals call it the “subsistence way of life.” Division of Subsistence researchers call it a “mixed cash/subsistence” economy.  World War II opened the fishery to Yup’ik fishermen, who for the first time achieved a level beyond fringe engagement with the industry, however even with full participation, many New Stuyahok residents still prioritized subsistence fishing and hunting over increased profits. They have chosen to enhance and support subsistence with commercially acquired income, a choice that has in turn pushed skippers into unrecoverable debt. The selling of permits is certainly regretted by many, but a history of commercial pursuits as secondary inputs into the subsistence economy demonstrates that the Kiatagmiut Yup’ik of the Nushagak region have prioritized continuity in their hunting and fishing way of life, even at the expense of wage-earning positions. The limited profit motive, as opposed to a boundless entrepreneurial spirit, is certainly not isolated or particularly unique to Lewis Point fishers in Bristol Bay, however the cultural institution of yuuyaraq, roughly translated to “the way of the real human being,”  44  provides the formal guidance and normative ideals that encourage the regularity of these limited income goals amongst Kiatagmiut Yup’ik fishers. The potential for Yup’ik self-management is strongly demonstrated through both the commercial and subsistence fishing occurring on the Nushagak River.                    45  Yuuyaraq and State Management  The Alaska Department of Fish & Game is divided into divisions with specific directives and limited scope. Most subsistence related issues are dealt with by the Division of Subsistence, although the Board of Fisheries and Board of Game make all regulatory and allocative decisions. Subsistence uses only account for 4% of fish and wildlife harvests in Alaska, with 95% of all harvests taken for commercial purposes and 1% sport. Anthropologist and former Division of Subsistence researcher Tom Thornton says of this breakdown, “Looking at these figures, one might wonder why there is such a fuss over such a tiny slice of the resource pie. What these statistics don’t reveal, however, is the constellation of cultural, economic, and trust issues that underlie subsistence and often complicate the issue in polarizing ways” (Thornton 1998:30-31). Subsistence is a severely controversial topic in Alaska, with considerable media attention and heated debate. The research and management duties for subsistence issues, however, fall on a relatively small unit of state employees.  Northwest Coast archaeologist Madonna Moss cautions, “the governmentality literature shows how expertise—in this case, anthropological knowledge—can be employed by governments to control and constrain, i.e., to “manage” the social problem of “subsistence users.” Targeting the Division of Subsistence specifically, Moss charges all researchers as “unreflective practicioners who don’t fully realize the role they play in ‘managing’ the ‘social problem’ of descendent communities’ claims to heritage” (Moss 2010). While I and my past colleagues are acutely aware of our contentious roles (we even reviewed and discussed the very article in which Moss charged us as unreflexive,) my continued efforts and reflection have revealed that the institutional arrangement affording me an anthropological position within the Alaska natural resource management regime is diagnostic of a systemic governance problem.  46  The indigenous communities of the state are denied the autonomy to make decisions about the appropriate uses and methods of harvest of the resources upon which they depend. One anthropologist with the Division of Subsistence envisioned the researchers working themselves out of their jobs shortly after the creation of the division in 1979 by building a program that would ultimately be run by local figures who have a greater familiarity with the ecology, economy, and socio-political structure of the region, thereby increasing the responsiveness of the institution and distributing power more equitably among de-centralized decision-making bodies. This has not happened. Instead the “specialists” remain, the Boards of Fisheries and Game retain authority, and local bodies are left with advisory positions that have no ultimate decision-making capacity.    The state reframes resource conflict in Alaska in order to absorb debate into the technical domain of the scientific management regime without undercutting the authority of the Board of Fisheries over allocation and regulatory decisions. Demands for indigenous self-determination, autonomy, and the accompanying arguments founded upon cultural values are diverted away from the realm of sovereignty. Facets of cultural difference go unrecognized or misunderstood. The holism of Yup’ik understandings of environment, economy, and culture is disassembled and contorted in the collision with the compartmentalized bureaucracy of the State of Alaska. Conflict is remade into technical problems with scientific solutions (a need for more and better data), which are then absorbed into a research realm, not the decision-making domain, of natural resource management. Political economic and political ecological conflict is thus transformed, or as Tania Li phrases it, “rendered technical,” and strategically reseated in a position far removed from the upper tiers of decision-making, structuring how residents of the state can argue, what they can argue about, who they can argue with, and limiting what courses of action can be taken.  47  The thoughts, values, and practices of people sustaining life and culture on the land and water are mediated or “brokered” through constructions of “expertise” and pre-determined fields of power. A reconfiguration of the power allotted to the Board of Fisheries is necessary to address this tribal disempowerment.  Tribal autonomy and self-determination in Alaskan natural resource management face considerable legal barriers—in addition to cultural and ideological barriers—however, because the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1972 effectively disenfranchised tribes from large scale land-ownership13 in addition to extinguishing aboriginal hunting and fishing rights. The current dual management system relies heavily on geographical boundaries of state and federal lands that most tribal hunting and fishing transects. To incorporate tribal autonomy necessitates reconceptualising management domains beyond physical territory. To a small degree, management beyond territory has been achieved through international treaties that restrict migratory bird and marine mammal harvests to indigenous peoples across the world, including Alaska. Both the state and federal governments provide no priorities based on indigeneity (despite public misperception) beyond the fulfillments of these international treaties. The treaties are nevertheless fulfilled and demonstrate empirically that resource management in Alaska can indeed transcend territorial boundaries while concurrently retaining them, providing further support for the potential of viable tribal autonomy in resource management that does not depend solely on land claims. The dual management system currently in place in Alaska also demonstrates that a plural system can function effectively. The federal government and state                                                  13 “ANCSA created 13 regional and more than 200 village corporations,, gave these for-profit entities title to 10% of the state’s lands, and compensated them $3 an acre for other lands taken “nearly a billion dollars total” (Thornton 1998:29).    48  government have fundamental disagreements, they recognize that they do, and they still work together. This cooperative relationship should be extended to the tribes of Alaska.                                                                                                              Not just those at Lewis Point, Yup’ik residents living throughout Southwest Alaska regularly shared what I first envisioned as defensive statements: “we take what we need; we do not waste; we use everything we take.”  I posed questions about fishing and hunting practices, traveling through numerous communities for research projects ranging from ethnographic inquiry to quantitative harvest assessments.  Regardless of the project or the Yup’ik community, the sayings persisted with vigour, and I quickly recognized the elevated significance of these adages not as common phrases, but as axiomatic lessons or defenses of cultural protocols (depending on the audience.)  It was not until I was exposed to the concept of yuuyaraq that I began to understand how these token comments are situated within a formal cultural complex, a complex that provides ethical guidelines for proper behaviour and, accordingly, retribution for transgressions from those normative ideals.  These Yup’ik adages, both powerful and impassioned in their delivery, “we take what we need; we do not waste; we use everything we take,” all harbour a depth of well-defined social sanctions that have persisted for generations through an oral tradition of similar expressions and stories informed by the direction of yuuyaraq, and though yuuyaraq is an enduring cultural institution informed by a sustained relationship with the land, the state and federal governments have yet to recognize the significance of this overarching ideology.  Yuuyaraq is a legitimate source of management principles and mechanisms that are capable of moving Alaskan natural resource management away from centralized decision-making to a more equitable and responsive system.   Increased involvement in state management processes, particularly alongside the Board of Fisheries, would allow the tribes of Alaska to restore and reform their  49  self-management systems based on their own ways of knowing, their own understandings of the relationship between humans and animals, and their own unique intellectual traditions that have maintained sustainable harvest levels through time.  Yuuyaraq would once again take its rightful place in Southwest Alaska, captured best by the words of Harold Napoleon, as “the law by which Yup’ik live” (Napoleon 1996).                    50  Conclusion Decisions made by the State of Alaska intimately shape the ways in which the Yup’ik fishers of Lewis Point can adapt to environmental, technological, economic, and social changes.  The fishers put food on their tables through subsistence fishing efforts, but the practices of the “subsistence way of life” go further in sustaining a culturally significant relationship with the land, water, and fish upon which they depend.  The fishing practices at Lewis Point demonstrate that the cultural ethos of yuuyaraq, “the way of the real human being” or “the real way of life,” provides ethical guidelines for a need-based, conservative level of exploitation of salmon in both the commercial and subsistence sectors.  The self-management conventions of yuuyaraq however, are not recognized and are superseded by the state management regime.  This generates a unique form of subjugation.  The state reframes opposition made by the indigenous fishers of Lewis Point on political ecological or political economic grounds as technical problems with scientific solutions.   In the words of anthropologist Tania Murray Li, conflict is “rendered technical” (Li 2007).  The state’s authority is thus superficially legitimized by offering a process of reconciliation, however the process is housed within an institutional arrangement that absorbs opposition into a research domain, deflecting conflict away from the decision-making domain of management.  It is through this institutional arrangement of natural resource management in Alaska that the fields of power are subversively structured by the state in an effort to retain centralized control over natural resources, without undercutting the tenets of the democratic state at face value.  Moreover, the mechanisms employed by the state that are currently subjugating indigenous communities are difficult to grasp when particular agencies and divisions, such as the Division of Subsistence, ADF&G, work in many ways for the betterment of indigenous  51  communities and in collaboration with tribal entities. The divergent motives and practices of the state demonstrate that the state itself promotes culturally defined interests and objectives.   The current management system centralizes decision-making authority with the Board of Fisheries, while tribes are granted greater involvement in co-management arrangements related to the research used to inform Board decisions.  I argue that a shift that incorporates tribes in the decision-making process alongside the Board of Fisheries and beyond advisory and research roles has the potential to create a more equitable arrangement of authority and culturally-sensitive, responsive decision-making.  A re-arrangement of power that includes the tribes of Alaska alongside the Board of Fisheries has the potential to create a system that better manages the harvest and use of fish and wildlife throughout the state. The Lewis Point fishers desire to drift gillnet for subsistence, in addition to set gillnet, elucidates the multi-faceted and highly complex conditions fishers must adapt to, with considerations made for environmental change at global and local scales, in addition to shifting economic opportunities and social change.  The Board’s refusal to allow subsistence fishers to drift for subsistence (but can drift for commercial purposes on a significantly larger scale on the same river, targeting the same salmon runs) is an example of policy failure and the limitations of centralized decision-making where power is concentrated among only a few individuals with their own interests and objectives.  My critical analysis of ADF&G and the State of Alaska in this thesis does not stop short by simply offering a critique of management processes.  The state and tribes both can benefit from a system of management that accommodates “equality in difference,” and as Escobar contends, diversity can “enable functioning pluralistic systems and a measure of justice and equality,” rather than simply produce conflict and inequality (Escobar 2006:7).  Reconceptualizing tribal involvement in Alaskan natural resource management brings  52  to light the Yup’ik institutions that already guide hunting and fishing efforts in Southwest Alaska.  Recognizing that Yup’ik formalities exist is one productive step towards a system that encourages a more equitable arrangement for collaborative decision-making. As I was told by a Yup’ik Elder when asking what yuuyaraq meant to him, yuuyaraq provides a way forward for all peoples of Alaska, not just Yup’ik.                  53  References Apassingok, Merle and Savoonga Native Corporation. 1998. Subsistence Statement from Gambell, AK, Alaskan Federation of Natives Convention, October 21, 1997. Cultural Survival Quarterly 22(3):81. Apgar-Kurtz, Breena. 2012. Factors Affecting Local Permit Ownership in Bristol Bay and an Evaluation of the BBEDC Permit Loan Program: An Analysis Based on Interviews with Local Residents. M.Sc. Thesis. Department of Fisheries, University of Washington.  Boxberger, Daniel L. 1989. To fish in common: the ethnohistory of Lummi Indian salmon fishing. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.  Case, David S. and Voluck, David A. 2012. Alaska Natives and American Laws. 3rd ed. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press.     Dewalt, Kathleen M, and Dewalt, Billib R. 2000. Participant Observation. In Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology. 2nd ed. Russell Bernard, ed. Pp. 259-299. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.  Escobar, Arturo. 2006. Difference and Conflict in the Struggle Over Natural Resources: A political ecology framework. Development 49(3):6-13. Fall, James A., Davin Holen, Lisa Hutchinson-Scarbrough, Bronwyn Jones, and Robbin LaVine. 2012. Statewide Subsistence and Personal Use Salmon Harvests, 194-2011. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence Technical Paper No. 387. Juneau, AK.   Fienup-Riordan, Ann. 1990. Eskimo Essays: Yup'ik Lives and How We See Them. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.  Greenberg, Paul. 2010. Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food. New York, NY: Penguin Press.  Hebert, Karen E. 2008. Wild Dreams: Refashioning Production in Bristol Bay. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Hensel, Chase and Morrow, Phyllis. 1998. Co-Management and Co-Optation: Alaska Native Participation in Regulatory Processes. Cultural Survival Quarterly 22(3):69-71. Hilborn, Ray. 2006. Fisheries Success and Failure: The Case of the Bristol Bay Salmon Fishery. Bulletin of Marine Science 78(3):487-498.  Hutchings Jeffrey A., Carl Walters, and Richard Haedrich. 1997. Is scientific inquiry incompatible with government information control? Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 54: 1198-1210.     54  Jones, Matt, Tim Sands, Travis Elison, Paul Salomon, Charles Brazil, Greg Buck, Fred West, Ted Krieg, and Terri Lemons. 2016. 2015 Bristol Bay Area Annual Management Report. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Divisions of Sport Fish and Commercial Fisheries. Fishery Management Report No. 16-13. Juneau, AK. Langdon, Stephen J. 2007. Sustaining a Relationship: Inquiry into the Emergence of a Logic of Engagement with Salmon among the Southern Tlingits. In Native Americans and the Environment: Perspectives on the Ecological Indian. Michael Harkin and David Lewis, eds. Pp 233-273. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.  Langdon, Stephen J. 2002. The Native People of Alaska. 4th ed. Anchorage, AK: Greatland Graphics.  Li, Tania Murray. 2007. The will to improve: Governmentality, development, and the practice of politics. Durham: Duke University Press.  Marx, Karl. 1867. Capital Volume One: The Process of Production of Capital. New York, NY: Penguin Press. Mathes, Martin T. 2009. Effect of water temperature, timing, physiological condition and lake thermal refugia on success of migrating adult Sockeye salmon. M.Sc. Thesis. Department of Forestry. University of British Columbia. Menzies, Charles R. and Butler, Caroline F. 2007. Returning to Selective Fishing through Indigenous Fisheries Knowledge: The Example of K’moda, Gitxaala Territory. American Indian Quarterly 31(3):441-464.  Moss, Madonna L. 2010. Rethinking Subsistence in Southeast Alaska: The Potential of Zooarchaeology. Alaska Journal of Anthropology 8(1): 121-135. Napoleon, Harold. 1996. Yuuyaraq: The Way of the Human Being. Eric Madsen, ed. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Knowledge Network. New Stuyahok Traditional Council. 2005. New Stuyahok Comprehensive Plan. Accessed August 14, 2016.  Niezen, Ronald. 2003. The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.  Owen, Tess. 2016. Driving While Black: Cops Target Minority Drivers in This Mostly White New Jersey Town. Vice News. Accessed August 18, 2016.  55  Schichnes, Janet and Chythlook, Molly. 1991. Contemporary Use of Fish and Wildlife in Ekwok, Koliganek, and New Stuyahok, Alaska. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence Technical Paper No. 185. Juneau, AK.  Thornton, Thomas F. 1998. Alaska Native Subsistence: A Matter of Cultural Survival. Cultural Survival Quarterly 22(3):29-34.  Thornton, Thomas F. 2015. The Ideology and Practice of Pacific Herring Cultivation among the Tlingit and Haida. Human Ecology 43(2): 187. Troll, Tim. 2011. Sailing for Salmon: The Early Years of Commercial Fishing in Alaska’s Bristol Bay 1884-1951. Dillingham, AK: Nushagak-Mulchatna/Wood Tikchik Land Trust. Tsing, Anna. 2003. Friction: an ethnography of global connection. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.  Tuhiwai Smith, Linda. 2012. Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Zed Books.   VanStone, James W. 1967. Eskimos of the Nushagak River: an ethnographic history. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.  VanStone, James W. 1971. Historic Settlement Patters in the Nushagak River Region, Alaska. Anchorage, AK: Biodiversity Heritage Library.  Worl, Rosita. 1998. Competition, Confrontation, and Compromise: The Politics of Fish and Game Allocations. Cultural Survival Quarterly 22(3):77-78. 56  Appendix 1   Appendix 1   Moxie Wonhola, Chief of New Stuyahok.  Photo by Nick Hall Photography ©2009            57  Appendix 2   Appendix 2   "Subsistence feeds our families... and our souls." Photo by Nick Hall Photography ©2009            58  Appendix 3   Appendix 3  The Lewis Point fish camp.  Photo by Nick Hall Photography ©2009       59  Appendix 4  Appendix 4 A Yup'ik fisher, Chad Kapotak, holds a Chinook salmon on the gravel banks of Lewis Point  60  Appendix 5   Appendix 5  A Yup'ik woman, Honeybun Wonhola, tends to her smokehouse.  Photo by Nick Hall Photography ©2009 


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