Subsistence

A drawing of the relationships between people and food in the Arctic.
People, culture, and the environment are inextricably linked through food.

This image was taken from the Inuit Circumpolar Council Alaska publication, Alaska Inuit Food Security Framework: How to Assess the Arctic from the Inuit Perspective.

Today, as in the past, many Alaskans live off the land, relying on fish, wildlife, and other wild resources. Alaska's natural abundance forms the backbone of life and economy for many people in the state, and indigenous people in Alaska have used these subsistence resources for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, handicrafts and trade for thousands of years. Subsistence, and all it entails, is critical to sustaining the physical and spiritual culture of Alaska Native peoples and to making life on the land possible for many of Alaska's rural residents.

Subsistence in more than tradition – it’s the cultural identity of the people who live there. It requires an intimate knowledge of the land, rivers, animals, and weather that can’t be fully captured in words. Knowledge of the land and its bounty has been passed down for generations and continues to live on in the modern descendents.

Two people on a snowmachine travel across the ice with a trailer of provision.
Sea ice is critical to the Arctic. The loss of sea ice creates dangerous conditions for hunting and limits hunting success for the natural foods Indigenous people rely on.

NOAA


After the Ice is a new mini-documentary series sharing stories of Indigenous communities challenged by sea ice loss in Alaska’s Bering Sea. It is a three-part series created through a partnership between the Bering Sea Elders Group and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change.

After the Ice, Part 1: Our Food
After the Ice, Part 2: Our Land
After the Ice, Part 3: Our Story

Last updated: October 7, 2020