Poughkeepsie Journal from Poughkeepsie, New York on July 6, 1980 · Page 6A
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Poughkeepsie Journal from Poughkeepsie, New York · Page 6A

Poughkeepsie, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 6, 1980
Page 6A
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6A Poughkeepsle Journal Sunday, July 6, 1980 Natives feel way of life being threatened Eskimos hot over attempts to ice whale hunting EDITOR'S NOTE It's corlser - vationlsts on one side, Eskimos on the other and the bowhead whale in the middle. Some fear the whale may be hunted to extinction; others are afraid that a way of life may become extinct without it.' By Mary Lent AP writer BARROW, Alaska (AP) Try to. prohibit grocery stores, hamburgers and high school football in any small town in America and there would be an' uproar. That's how Eskimos in this Arctic Ocean community feel about attempts to ban whale hunting. Whales are a major source of protein, for. families along Alaska's northern coast. Whaling also, represents a treasured way of life and a cultural identity to Eskimos. But some conservationists', who fear the bowhead whale may be on its way to extinction, are fighting to stop whaling. They say Eskimo hunting is wasteful, and at least, One whale dies unnecessarily for every animal the Eskimos succeed in recovering for, food. "The big problem is that conservationists and environmentalists don't : see the importance of protecting the - . Eskimos as people," says the Rev.. ; James Armstrong, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Barrow. . "Whaling and subsistence are cru - . cial to the villages." - The battle between Eskimos and environmentalists is, laced with potential tragedy for both sides. Scientists believe the bowhead population once numbered 18,000'but has since dropped to about 2,200.' Some groups, including Friends of Earth, accept subsistence whaling on a limited basis. But others want it "stopped. entirely until the whale, population in - ; creases.' Jim Brooks of the National Marine Fisheries Service says recprds from 1912 to the present show Eskimos in half a dozen Arctic Ocean villages used to take an average of 10 whales, per year. In the 1970s, the Eskimo whale take doubled and tripled. "In 1976, about 18 whales were taken and - we don't know how' many struck and lost," Brooks say's'. "If It was typical, twice that many or more." Spokesmen for the 88,000 - square mile North Slope Borough, the municipal government for Barrow and the villages, maintain the government really has no idea what whale populations were in the past. They admit whaling increased vn.the 1970s, but say cither due to changes in migration, paths or population increases, the Eskimos saw a lot more whales available. Eskimq history and legend are full of stories from the days when famine stalked the land if hunters failed to return with game. r "The grandparents of most people alive now were 100 percent dependent on subsistence hunting for food and (Slothing," says Armstrong, whose 500 - member congregation is. the largest on the North Slope. "Two generations isn't very far removed. "I'm sure no one would starve, to death at this point if they could not go whaling," he, says. "But they, are just not comfortable without native food, and they need their tradition. I'm not sure about two generations, down the line, but now it is physically important to. them." , ' J4ost(A!a8kansdepend on groceries. shipped 1,450 miles from Seattle. Prices double when that food is flown t on to Barrow. U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that when T drsttKrKBSSTWSWWB I I of. four toeiitJOTHKSfiOTitA? """ ..J&ArJWSV i.iMjivtjf t: ' v - - " rh?wAffi .'family spent JTS.W5 j. ' v ' , V HV5'iVV, w iU4 - 4Jv tt7.k I.e ZJZZ& ltamsm ti sr 8 j.jjk ... j $ C'l''i71 v ,.' ! ' " v.. i. '',, ' ""'I ,.i,WS ; 4A2dmiiijmF!'hM e gVaaVaBBBBBBBBBl . AaBBBBBBBBBaBff ' e'aBBBBBBBBBBBV1 ' Byyyyyyym " iVBV '' aBBBB S BBBBL , BaT; - B ': IH ' 'IBBY - - .fM - . ,. JM' - ' - BJW3.: " II II Mill K w AP'nwsteaturei Illustration Barrow Eskimo ...way of life threatened? i. iimi r. ) ' U - the average family $63.70 per week on groceries. Lower 48, ,a' Barrow, 1154.62. Lloyd Ahvakana, acting borough mayor, explains that people accustomed to. caribou and whale meat don't find it easy to switch to chicken or beef. Eskimos say citizens from the Lower 48 might be angry too if they were told for the rest of their lives they would be allowed to eat only fermented walrus or dried fish dipped in seal oil. The change from an economy totally dependent On hunting and fishing has not been easy. In some Alaskan school districts, children have to be taught what money profits arc for. Some North Slope natives are working successfully as top officers in the Arctic Slope Regional Corp., setup to manage the 4.6 million acres . " 6f land won in the 1971 Alaska Native J .", Claims Settlement Act. . 4'i , . But the dark side of drastic Cultural change can be seen in a high level of alcohol abuse' and. a rate of attempted suicide 'among natives 10; times as high as the ISO per 100,000 rate recorded for the city of Los Angeles, according to a report to the Alaska Federation of Natives. For young men, whaling has taken on an added dimension as a form of Lonely boat awaits the coming ol the whales L ... Eskimo whaleboat at Barrow Alaska awaits the coming of whaling season. AP rwwslealures Illustration - Eskimo identity. They are openly bit - ' . ter about whaling quotas set by the International Whaling Commission and enforced by the National Marine . Fisheries Service since 1977. "I'd say 9J percent of the people on the International Whaling Commission have never been to the Arc tic," says Eugene Brower, at 32 one of Barrow's youngest whaling captains. "I can't sec - us telling them what to do in the Lower 48. Why should they tell us how to live?" Young Eskimos find it ironic (hat if they accept, such white "luxuries" as gasoline - powered engines, electricity and TV, they are criticized. WE WANT TO MAKE YOU HAPPY!! SALE GOOD THIS WEEK ONLY MON. - FRI. 1Q.AM - 8 PM SAT. 9:30 AM,5 PM mgwimr t m mm w a a w ammmtnm mwp'ii r at s m w m A: wMLimnm BB9BBB ITTO'ivWililALm Cr) PIONEER 0 Belt Drive TURNTABLE Includes basa and dust cover Save 40 Pl - SU SXWT 59" MPIOMGGIT &my - 4 Turntable Quartz locked Direct DffvT Semi - Aufomatic Pl - 300 99 95 Cd pioneer: - 1 ILPdT - JfeiTl Ls2!Si ' Dolby Cassette Frontloqd 5QQ95 CTF - SOO CrDPioMeerr Receiver 45 watts RMS .per channel .05 totaL distortion J&TT S1XQ95 5X780 tHlJ - j AudioVideo CABINETS 3 shelves AAS 1455 Open iivr "" ISiU Glass ZTQS pm1m BggTgggiEa id CEP AMFM CASSETTE STEREO Auto Sound - In Dash . 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