Birthdays in Bethel & Good Food
Yesterday a co-worker, Eva, in the Human Resources office at Y-K Health invited me and my room mate, Kate, over to her mom’s 88th birthday party. Eva’s mom is on the left, here, my co-worker is in the center, and her Auntie is on the right. We had moose meat, salmon pie, Russian pirogues, Yukon berries from the tundra, and store bought cake. It was very nice. While we were there one of the grandsons brought a bunch of moose meat, because someone killed one and the elder members of the village are on a list to have deliveries of any meat that the tribal members get. Subsistence lifestyle in action.
This way folks who no longer can hunt or fish are kept fed by the other tribal members in this subsistence life. It’s a nice way to support the older members of this Yup’ik Alaska Native tribe. The family was raised on Nunivak Island off the coast, and if you were to map it you will see the island, and most of the lands around Bethel are part of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/yukon_delta/
Food in Bethel is all around us. Because it is a subsistence lifestyle, folks go out to “fish camp”, often for weeks at a time, and harvest fish (mostly salmon) out of the river. They also go moose hunting, trap beavers in the many streams and ponds, and pick berries. Although, if you know me you know I’ll be fishing for salmon here next year, for now I’m picking berries and going to the local farmer’s market at Meyers Farm. They have great produce; something about the tundra makes things grow big. Its a fun, and helpful Saturday morning event for my roommate, Kate and me to get out of the house for.