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  • Don't wear camo in Kotz!

    I just got back from a hunt out of Kotzebue. The hunt itself was great, no problems there. We had about the best weather hunters could ask for. Cold, a bit windy, lots of sunshine. Hardly saw a dozen caribou, but were still able to get some meat out of the whole trip and had an excellent time out there.

    I believe our group was one of the first in to Kotz this season (my buddy and I missed our first week of classes to take a trip up there with our fathers). All four of us are long time Alaska residents (20+ years each) and have extensive hunting experience throughout Alaska.

    This is the third time I have hunted out of Kotzebue, and am truly pissed at what I saw and experienced within Kotzebue itself.

    Due to weather delays in Kotzebue we weren't able to get in until later in the evening and this forced us to stay a night in Kotzebue. That night as we walked through town I saw a local native riding down the street with a caribou on the back of his ATV that had had the head cut off a few inches from the shoulders (with the rest of the neck and head nowhere to be seen), thus destroying a vast majority of the neck meat. We were dressed in carhartts and camo and stood out as obvious hunters, and as we walked through town the villagers would glare at us, mumble obscene things at us under their breath, we would ask for directions, they'd completely ignore us, and when we tried to get a hotel room, it took a try by each of us, until finally (the most native looking person in our group) tried, and succeeded in getting a hotel room. We kept getting the excuse that it was full. I tried and about 5 minutes later the last of us tried and succeeded. We were told by another local that we weren't dressed "appropriately" to get in to those hotels. The Asian restaurant owners on the other hand were very nice and helpful. Other than them though, it seemed as if we were complete outcasts because of the fact that we were coming to "their" town and hunting "their" caribou.

    The state allows these people to take all the caribou they want (I consider 5 per day, all you could possibly handle) and then I see wasted meat by the local natives. This is very sad to see.

    I 100% agree that natives should be allowed to keep their traditions and be allowed to subsist off of the land. However, I believe they should do it "traditionally", the way they always have. With stone tipped spears, not high powered semi-automatic rifles, snowmachines, power boats, airplanes, fish finders, and every other bit of technology that white man has brought. I always hear them say that we are taking away their culture, their heritage. I believe that the natives of Alaska should be allowed to hunt all the game they want and take all the fish they want, IF they did it in their "traditional" ways. Thus completely restoring their culture.

    There is absolutely no way the land can support these people with their new methods of hunting. In the long run, it must fail. In the past, before white people came, if the villagers could not obtain the food they needed to survive the winters, they would die. Bringing in to balance man with his environment. That will never be the case again.

    Some of the people we talked to in Kotzebue, I will not give specific names here, told us that they are trying to push for a registration hunt in which you would have to purchase caribou tags in one of the villages in June or July so that you could hunt in August and September. This, which is present in MANY areas of the state is bogus. Who (especially those of us in Anchorage, Eagle River, Mat-Su, etc..) can afford to be in Kotzebue or Kivalina from July 1 to July 15 to purchase caribou tags and then come back again in August or September? It is obviously a B.S. move by the government to limit those hunts to the locals and exclude the rest of us. Even though the rest of us are still Alaska residents, same as them...

    If these people TRULY needed the animals to survive, I would not have a problem with this. However, the government continues to dump money into the villages to support them, thus severely decreasing (and in many ways eliminating) the necessity for them to subsist off of the land.

    I believe it will be quite interesting once Ted Stevens leaves the Senate. Who will be able to pull the money to support these places?

    For those of you headed to Kotzebue, take a look around, try talking to some of these locals and see what kind of response you get. I can honestly say I hope I never spend another minute in that town.

  • #2
    Not sure if this thread belongs in the hunting section or not. Anyhow, heres my 2 cents.

    I've lived in the state a scant 9 1/2 years. I haven't had a chance to visit many bush locations. I do know many Alaska natives, from most of the tribes and villages, and various walks of life. Some of them are the hardest working, kindess people you will ever know, if you get to know them. Others are no good drunks, but they are the minority in my experience.

    The problems the natives face are vast, and complex. Please try to ignore the issue of race when considering these issues, because they have been played out the world over with every imaginable race.

    50 years ago, the majority of natives knew nothing of elecricity, indoor plumbing, television, candy bars. There life may have looked simple, but it was a life of very hard work to survive, and survival was a day in, day out job, it wasn't a job, it was their life.

    Then the Pipeline came, and all the modern ills. Suddenly their previously nomadic lifestyle, of traveling to follow fish and game was stopped. They saw how the lower 48 Indians had been treated by the goverment, and weren't about not to get everything they could. Their formal camps became permanent setllements, as that was the only way they could lay claim to the land. Native corporations were started, to provide jobs and income.

    Some of these now permanent settlements were in locations where an economic modern reason to exist, ie commercial fishing, logging, mining allowed the local residents to prosper in the modern economy. Other locations have no reason to exist in that context, but massive amounts of money, and government programs have encouraged people to stay. In their past traditions, if the hunting grounds weren't so happy, you moved on, but now you are encouraged to sit on your but.

    You can't say they need to return to their traditional way of life, when you require the kids to go to school, and everyone there expects modern comforts.

    The only way to truly fix the problems is to eliminate all government funding for programs that allow places to exist when the jobs are all government, teachers, cops, doctors, rehab. Let em sink or swim. Some will suffer, some will prosper, but that is the only way to fix things. It will also never happen, because our political climate sadly and sickly wants such areas to exist.

    But please don't disparage the people. The Inupiat have my utmost respect as an amazing people. Where else has a culture not merely survived but prospered under the hashest of conditions. They have no forests for fuel and shelter. Very short growing seasons and limited edible plants. Animals provide food, shelter and fuel. Their boats and bows are amazing engineering feats, produced with the very limited resources available to them.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Let's pick this argument aparet piece by piece

      #1 Hasty Generalization..."We were dressed in carhartts and camo and stood out as obvious hunters, and as we walked through town the villagers would glare at us, mumble obscene things at us under their breath, we would ask for directions, they'd completely ignore us..."
      #2 Post Hoc Ergo promptor hoc..."I believe they should do it "traditionally", the way they always have. With stone tipped spears, not high powered semi-automatic rifles, snowmachines, power boats, airplanes, fish finders, and every other bit of technology that white man has brought."
      #3 "if the villagers could not obtain the food they needed to survive the winters, they would die" No they would move & follow game & fish runs...or merge with friendly neighbors & try to get by, by sharing their resources & giving back in time of plenty, this is called general resorpricity...
      #4 "There is absolutely no way the land can support these people with their new methods of hunting" Prove it...
      #5 I could go on & on, but I am sorry you seemed to have a poor time in Kotz, but I can guarntee you that it's not always like that, & I am sure you've only met a small percentage of the population of Kotz & shouldn't paint the whole town as poor...as far as telling no one to go there, good, cuz then I would have a better chance of getting a 'bou, cuz you done scared off everyong there...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by HunterTom
        .......All four of us are long time Alaska residents (20+ years each) and have extensive hunting experience throughout Alaska............
        And this is the first time you've experienced that?

        Wait until the authorities come down on you as well in those locations, then (when you ask what you did wrong) they'll tell you, "Look, I have to live here. My kids go to school here. I've got to live with these folks."

        And I don't think it's "racial." It's a mixture of cultural differences, class warfare, and plain-old human nature.

        When government endorses one side over the other, though, that's corruption.

        Comment


        • #5
          can you imagine the uproar

          if there was a shortage of something at costco, and anchorage residents demanded a " priority".??? ....so they could have whatever it was? sound stupid and ridiculous? after all, we're " closer" to costco, so we have more rights. the whole idea of rural priority makes one puke.

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't Get Me Wrong...

            Any people who can survive in the Arctic for many thousands of years command my utmost respect. I believe them to be some of the toughest people on the Earth. Do not play the racist card here, I told you what I saw, what I experienced, and my opinion on the matter. Take it for whatever you wish. I encourage everyone to go to Kotz and see for themselves and to form their own opinion, the first two times I went there I was treated great. No problems whatsoever. However, I hope everyone has a better experience than I did this last year. Also, for those of you believing I was generalizing, for clarification; I did meet some nice people, as well as some rude people.

            The State of Alaska's constitution says that every resident has equal rights to Alaska's natural resources. This is not the case. The fact alone that someone has to be in a village only accessible by plane or boat for a short window of time to purchase a tag to hunt an animal that they would have to return to the village to hunt at a later date is absurd. Anyone who believes that this is NOT an act of seperating the rest of Alaska's population from the village's hunting opportunities is naive. What average Alaska resident can afford to do this? If there is not enough game in the area to allow for all residents to have access. Decrease the bag limit, don't seclude the rest of Alaska's residents.

            GoGoalie, I am not sure if you went to primary school in Alaska, but we were taught many things about the way it was before white people came. Not all of it is true, I am sure. But to believe that starvation was NOT a limiting factor of population in those times is ridiculous. Most of those natives were semi-nomadic and it might be quite difficult in locating a tribe when you are running short of food. The other problem arises in getting there. It is quite awesome to fly over that area of the state, the shear scale of it is stunning. Walking through it, is exhausting. Have you tried walking a mile through muskeg tundra when the wind is blowing 40 mph and the temperature is hovering around 30 degrees?

            Now, to pick apart your 5 arguments...
            #1: I stated that some of the villagers I encountered would do these things. That is what I saw, that is what I experienced. You were not there and can choose to believe me if you want.
            #2: The underlying issue that many natives appear to have is that they have lost their culture in many ways. Was this not their culture, their heritage? Their civilization made many great innovations to survive in their conditions, which I believe they should cherish and continue to use. But if people in these places are allowed to use any technology they wish, the animal populations will crash if they are not very careful. In modern days, these people will not perish if the game numbers dwindle. Providing no balance to the situation.
            #3: See the previous paragraph.
            #4: It takes a little bit of common sense here. When human populations increase, technology advances, and hunting restraints are minimal, animal populations will crash. Look at the Buffalo for example. Until white people came with rifles and unrestrained hunting, the Indians and the Buffalo coexisted for thousands of years. I may be able to provide a chart for you if you wish...
            #5: Correct you are, I only did meet a small percentage of the population in Kotzebue and I do know great people there. I did not say that no one should go there. I stated my opinion and encourage everyone to go and see for themselves.

            Mark: This is not the first time I've experienced this in Alaska's villages, but it was the most severe, and thought I might bring it to attention.

            Paul H: Alaska IS a completely different place concerning all the permanent settlements from what it was before, and I believe things should be done better to adjust to these new conditions. I completely agree with you about your statement (embedded below). When you earn something yourself you gain respect from your peers and confidence. I believe these two things can never truly be given to anyone.

            The only way to truly fix the problems is to eliminate all government funding for programs that allow places to exist when the jobs are all government, teachers, cops, doctors, rehab. Let em sink or swim. Some will suffer, some will prosper, but that is the only way to fix things. It will also never happen, because our political climate sadly and sickly wants such areas to exist.

            Comment


            • #7
              Excellent Point

              Sh, thank you for clarifying my argument!

              Comment


              • #8
                If you think hunting is like going to the super market, I could see you not understanding the issue.

                I see some legitimate game priorities, however it is much too complex of an issue that sadly will never get resolved due to politics and folks on all sides being unwilling to work together.
                Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

                If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Native Issues

                  When I read these I cannot help but commenting. You can't address the problem without talking about the race/culture. That is what identifies it as a problem. We have the same scenario with different issues (walleye netting) here in Minnesota. The crux of the problem is that we have kept them a separate race far too long! The Government via the corrupt Bureau of Indiam Affairs "administers" to them and becomes THE problem. By providing them all they might need via free hand-outs and services, they perpetuate their plight from one generation to another. I believe President Reagan had it right back in the early 80's when he wanted to disband the reservations and stop the money handouts.
                  I'm sorry but explorers were instrumental in opening up North America to the "old world" races. Some cultures vanish while others prosper for a time. These too may disappear to be replaced by someone else. Its the way of mankind since the beginning and will continue until the end. Harsh but reality!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HunterTom

                    told us that they are trying to push for a registration hunt in which you would have to purchase caribou tags Who (especially those of us in Anchorage, Eagle River, Mat-Su, etc..) can afford to be in Kotzebue or Kivalina from July 1 to July 15 to purchase caribou tags and then come back again in August or September?

                    As a resident, why are you paying for Caribou tags? Only harvest tags that need to be purchased are Musk Ox and Brown/Grizzly(and not in all Units for those) unless things have changed in the 20 years since I've lived in Bethel and away from the more crowded areas like SE Alaska. So please tell me which store is charging you for Caribou Tags as a Resident and I will personally report them.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Racism pure and simple!

                      Tom I am sorry that you had such a poor experience up in our part of the state. You have just kicked the racism buck over and almost all of your statements make the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up!


                      Lets seeÖ. The last time I was in Anchorage or Eagle River I was walking down the street in my fur parka and it was clear that I was from the bush, I saw this local guy driving his SUV (to the mall no doubt because thatís all those people do down there) and the nasty look that he gave me for being in his town using his grocery stores was pure evil! Boy if Ted Stevens ever dies and stops dumping money into worthless boondoggles like that Knik Arm Bridge or Dairy Farm projects in the Mat-Su I just donít know what those people will do! They all act like it is their state!


                      Ok now that I am finished sounding stupid lets all remember that your painting with a broad paint brush and you have painted the people of Kotz to be the worst of the batch. If Ted ever dies we are all up sh*#s Creek because we all swim in federal money, all of us!

                      Stop and look in the mirror next time and ask why that guy on the Honda looked funny at you. Racism is wrong pure and simple!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A Very Complex and Difficult Issue

                        Wow - I'm not sure where to begin, this is an issue that has many sides and layers.

                        First let me say to Hunter Tom - I'm sorry you had a bad experience in Kotz. I'm sorry if it tainted your hunting experience this Fall.

                        And perhaps I should mention also - that I'm half Inuit; my mother was born in Unalakleet, my father met her when he was in the Air Force. So I'm not sure if my thoughts here will be totally objective, but please take them with that perspective in mind. AND, I now live in Maryland, so maybe I have two strikes against me - I'm potentially part of the native problem, and I'm also part of the non-resident hunter problem.

                        I can hear your frustration at the state of things in village Alaska; how it seems everything is tilted toward the natives, and how it's hard for an outsider to get a fair shake. Allow me to give me a little of the native perspective, at least from my eyes.

                        First of all - none of the natives back then really ASKED the government to step in and "help" them - before "civilization" was brought to the frozen north, the Inuit people were perhaps the most creative and adaptable people the world has known. They could feed, clothe, and shelter themselves using only what they could fashion from the land, and a harsh and unforgiving land it was. The young people in the villages showed great respect for the elders, for those were the people who taught them to hunt, fish, and provide for their families; the ones who taught them to survive, in a place where few white men could have done so at the time.

                        Fast forward to the situation today - after the "help" provided by the government, you see many more lazy natives than you did 40 years ago; many more people who are willing to live in a somewhat subsidized manner, and who are NOT the creative, adaptive, self-sufficient natives of 1-2 generations past. Many of the young natives don't show the respect to the village elders that they used to - the elders' role in the village is much different now than it was 40 years ago. I think if you ask many of the eldest natives what they think of this progress, you'd get a pretty interesting perspective. All my way of saying, remember that they didn't ask for all of this, no more than the Indians did.

                        In MY single opinion, civilization has probably caused much more harm than good to the native way of life, and very little thought was given back then to the fact that acclimation into civilization might be difficult, and take more time and effort than anyone could guess. Sure, the natives have sno-gos, and motors for their boats, and ATVs, and other things - they also have more cavities (from sugar brought by the white man), a real alcohol and substance abuse problem, and a general challenge in identifying with their culture - do they embrace the ways of their forefathers, or do they accpet progress and live more like a white man?

                        I'm rambling, so let's get back on topic - it's unfortunate how you were treated in Kotz; but you received the treatment of a recognized outsider, not unlike you would receive in many rural areas of America if you came into town as a group of strangers. Sure there are exceptions, but there are also many areas where the reception would have been equally chilly.

                        By your surprise and dismay I'm guessing you are Caucasian; if you were native (as I am), or black, or Asian, you'd have been less sensitive to the reception you received, because it would have been similar to the reception you had received many times, in many places, before. Does that make it right? No - but welcome to our world.

                        I happen to be one of the natives who realized that there was no turning back from "civilization" and the white man's intrusion and adjustment of our culture; so I did the best I could to acclimate, get educated, build a career, and prosper in an environment that I still have mixed feelings about. While I was able to adapt and thrive - to the point where I'm able to come to Alaska every fall to see my family, hunt, and enjoy the wilderness - most of my family did not thrive, and would have been better if left to the ways of our elders. If I could trade my own success for a return to the old ways for my family, I hope that's what I would do. But, that choice is not mine to make.

                        I could go on and on about how being the only native in a school on Elmendorf AFB can feel, but you get the gist. If you take nothing else from my post, please take this - if the natives back then had seen that this would result from welcoming the white man into their villages, they'd have been a lot more careful about doing so - they are no happier about a lot of this than you are. I'm not sure what to do about it at this point; I just wanted to offer another perspective, that maybe hadn't been given to you.

                        I hope that your future visits to native villages are more positive. We've been hearing a lot of ramblings about Kotz, so let's hope it's an exception and far from the norm. I hope the rest of your Fall hunting is less stressful but more action-packed.

                        Good hunting and thanks for listening,

                        Michael

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's just it...we're not disappearing...

                          Nor is our culture as long as our elders teach & pass it on, as many are trying to do, & suceeding in many cases. Now as far as numbers...just look at the population dynamics of a microcosim of my example...The Ingalik Athabaskan along the lower middle yukon, maybe 4 villages exist of the Ingalik, Anvik, Grayling, etc. are very small in number, now, the lower Yukon, you have Yupiks, many of them...The Yupiks were properous, & growing in population while the Ingalik shrunk? Why? It's not becuase the Yupiks were starving...no way...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The Price Paid...

                            "By providing them all they might need via free hand-outs and services"...The Price paid by the indigenous people across the US & Canada, far exceed the compensation package being provided by the US & Canadian government, so don't go saying that we're getting "Free hand-outs & sevices." Especially when all you have to do is go to Hudson Wisconsin & see the Ojibway burial mounds, near your MN, & see the desecration of the graves of Ojibway ancestors...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Kotz

                              Don't worry about the camo. You won't be fooling anyone. I have never experienced bad treatment in Kotzebue and go there on a fairly regular basis. The worst experience I've had was that the cable tv was out at the hotel last year.

                              The only people that ever bother me are some of the other hunters that go around thumping their chests and acting very important. But those guys bother whether I'm in Kotzebue or sitting at Humpies in downtown Anchorage. I'm certainly not saying that was you (wasn't there), but one's attitude can make all the difference in your day. Good luck wherever you decide to go.

                              Comment

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