The old bowling alley, as it’s commonly known, held about fifty people attending the first day of the, “strength in unity” conference. O-N-C’s Chief Louie Andrew welcomed the participants, in Yup’ik, saying in part that everything is changing right before our eyes. He added that using the wisdom of the Yup’ik ancestor’s people might forge ahead with confidence, despite the rapid changes all around.
Two elders spoke, in Yup’ik, on Traditional Environmental Values following the welcome address. Mary Gregory of Bethel shared her experiences with her lifelong relationship with the environment and people. She articulated how the land, sea, and rivers provide for the Yup’ik, and how holistically connected the Yup’ik are to the environment. Gregory added that one must always be observant of everything.
Kongiganak elder, John Phillip Senior, followed by saying that the Yup’ik holistic way of living touches every aspect of life. That the cumulative sum of living by traditional Yup’ik values is to provide for one’s family and community from the environment that has been the Yup’ik dinner bowl since the Yup’ik came to be.
Both elders were allotted a half hour and ended by saying that there is more to be said about Traditional Environmental Values.
There are four different times during the conference where Yup’ik elders are features, they will talk about how our ancestors took care of the land, Fasting, the Qasgiq, and respecting the land.
There will be a scoping update on Donlin Gold’s proposed mining project’s Environmental Impact Statement that is open to the public Wednesday night at 6pm at the old bowling alley.