Friday, November 20, 2009

Fishing in Alaska

Fishing has long been a huge part of Alaska, it is what we as a state have fed on both literally as well as economically. As I was writing this blog I dug into some economic research on the state of Alaska both in the present, as well as the past. What I uncovered was some fairly interesting numbers that do not lie. In the 1920's while Alaska was on its own and very fragile there was a small tax put on every can of Salmon packed and shipped from Alaska. From the profit on that along it equated to nearly seventy percent of Alaska's economic income. That in itself shows just how much we as a state have leaned on fishing at times. Even to this day commercial fishing along is five percent of Alaska's base economic status. That number is of course dwarfed due to the significant amount of money that the oil industry brings into our state. Through thick and thin the Salmon have always been there for us.

AK, History (2009) Modern Alaska, Received on 11/20/2009
This reference is strictly informational yet if you read it fully it is pretty interesting with the economics and the correlation between it and Salmon.

The Potential End of Salmon

The Wild Salmon run in Alaskas waters has fed and provided for us Alaskans both native and not for hundreds upon hundreds of years. It is a vital part of our culture and our lifestyle as people. I thought that in doing this blog it would be a great chance to spread the word to more of the world on the Pebble Mine project and the severe impact it may have on the Salmon runs of Bristol Bay (the worlds largest Salmon run). What the Pebble Mine is, is potentially the worlds largest open pit mine right at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay salmon run. It has become a huge issue in the state of Alaska because by going in and trying to get the gold that is at the potential mine spot it risks destroying the Salmon runs that have fed our great state for so long. There is an estimated three hundred billion dollars worth of gold in the mine but the thing is, once its gone, its gone. The Salmon run will always be back, year after year, as it has for thousands of years. Now is it really worth risking such a lush and rich history of Salmon for just some gold? I sure don't think so!

Roosevelt, M (2007) Alaskan Economy Faces Fork in River, Retrieved on 11/20/09
This reference is solid because it attacks the Pebble Mine from a fairly biased point of view on the outside looking in. Because that is where most people are on this issue, simply the outside looking in.,0,2069216.story

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Nutrition of SALMON!

Writing this blog really got me thinking about the health qualities of salmon. Because thinking about just the net in general got me thinking about all qualities of Salmon. As you look at the net you can really tell that a ton of time and extreme effort got put into making each and every single line of webbing, every knot tied, and every bone fastened to the line. So I started to think that well of course the Salmon provided an abundance of food to the Alaska Native people but there had to have been a pretty significant nutritional importance that the salmon provided. As I dug a little bit I discovered that Salmon has a significant amount of Omega3 which is very important t helping with memory, why is probably why elders have so many great stories!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

'The Nets' Impact on our WORLD

The fish net design from the Alaska Natives has had a riveting impact on not only Alaska's culture, history and economy, but it has also impacted the WORLDS. Due to the advancements of the net and how it now operates are a nearly flawless rate. It sustained an entire region of people for hundreds of years and it does now even to this day! The more amazing thing is that it truly makes it much easier to catch fish than I ever could have imagined. You would think that with technology these days they would have came up with a more effective idea for catching salmon, yet they haven't due to the fact that the method being used right now is as effective as it gets! It is amazing to think that the design has never been altered and is just as effective today as it was a hundred years ago!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

So my object has got me thinking lately, if the fishing net design was able to withstand the test of time is there anything else that has withstood the test of time? I thought hard but I was able to think of one thing as I began to type my blog today. That object was the parka, its design truly withstood the test of time because even that design today is used in all aspects of fashion from survival to just looking good its the same design of a coat that Native Alaskans used for hundreds of years to stay warm and to survive!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So Whats the Big Deal??????

If you have been following along with my blog your probably asking yourself; common Grant, whats the big deal with these nets? Well i'm going to tell you right now what is the big deal with those two nets. The big idea is that with those two nets from two different time periods what they are in a way doing is adjoining two generations and two ways of life together through this similarity that they have with each other. Just grasping the fact that what worked so well hundreds of years ago and yet even today it still has that same effectiveness that impacts thousands of people state wide is amazing!

Monday, November 9, 2009

What is the other net??????

It is amazing how similar, wait, no. Not Similar, how about how identical the designs of the old school net to the design of the modern era net that my family and I use every summer to reel in as much Alaska Salmon as possible! The similarities are painstakingly obvious! For example, in my earlier blog I mentioned that the Alaska Native net used pieces of wood strung across a line to keep the top of the net afloat. Well, for the modern day net they use corks instead of wood that are strung across a line to keep the net afloat. Another example, the Native Alaska net used willow root pieces weaved together in diamond shapes for webbing to catch the fish. Well as you can see in the picture with this blog entry the webbing is the exact same design, granted the material is a bit more advanced with them using tough fibered string now days compared to the willow roots. And my last example is the weighting that is use to keep the bottom of the net submerged. With the Alaska Native net they used pieces of animal bone to weigh it down, now for the modern day nets they actually have weigh built into the rope that is strung beneath the webbed net.
As you can see the nets are really all the same with just technological and material advancements in each of the three fazes of the net. They all work together to make a very effective net that has been around for so long, but does one thing very well, catches tons of Alaska Salmon!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

THE net of ALL nets

There has been one design for all nets for hundreds of years. Thats not saying that it is the exact same material, because it is far from the same. The design however has never wavered and the truly fascinating thing is neither has its effectiveness! The exact net that I have been studying is shown in the picture to the left. That is the Willow Root Fish Net that I discovered in the Alaska Museum. Its design is simple to explain as well as to understand. At the top of the net there is a long line that is strung with pieces of wood that are used as flotation for the net while it is in the water. Below that is the all important net which is how the fish are actually caught. It is made up of Willow Roots which are tightly woven together in diamond shapes which make it very easy to catch the salmon. At the bottom of the net is what holds the whole net down is a line much like the top of the net but at the bottom it is strung along with animal bones, specifically Caribou bones which helped weigh down the net and keep the bottom if is submerged. All of these aspects of the net work together inline to catch as much wild Alaska salmon as possible!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The intro.. To the net

So as I get into my blog for the next month i'm first going to give you a run down on what it all is going to be about. For my Intro to College Writing class as well as my Contemporary Native Life class we were assigned to pick an object from the Alaska Museum to write on and study throughout the semester. The object that I selected was the Willow Root Fish Net. I selected the object because it has some significant personal importance to me. My family commercial fishes every single summer in the waters of Bristol Bay. So it was a no brainer for me to select this object because it has so much personal importance to me. But as I began to dig deeper and deeper into the object I uncovered so much more that I ever imagined could be with just a simple fish net. As this month gets going follow along with my blog to discover the abundance of historical and cultural significance the Willow Root Fish net withholds!