To assist us in our this project, we involved undergraduate students from UAA who have lived in our partner communities. They helped us to learn about local culture and customs, and gave us an additional glimpse into rural life and subsistence practices. The works posted on this page are from the writing of one such undergraduate research assistant.

In 2008 Mae Mute, a student at UAA who grew up in Kalskag, spent her summer there and wrote about the culture, people, geography, way of life, and some of the issues residents face. You can download her piece here or read a few excerpts on this page.

"In our community we do not rely solely on groceries from the stores, but get food from the land as well. We depend on subsistence hunting and gathering almost year-round."

"More and more people began to move to Kalskag because of the abundance of fish and other wildlife. Kalskag is a village that grew because of the plentiful hunting and fishing."

"When the boys do have a catch, if they have enough rabbits or ptarmigan, they give them to the elders. This is a tradition that has been passed down for many generations. Another tradition we live by is when a boy has his first catch. Whatever the catch is, it is given to the elders of the village."

"Before boats and motors and fishnets, every family operated a fish wheel with fish bins. My uncle Steven Gregory, who is sixty-three years old, began fishing with my uppa (grandpa) when he was five years old. Steven rowed the boat for my uppa while he set the net and pulled it in. When finished fishing, they went back to shore with a five-horse motor. In 1966, when my uncle was a young man, he went fishing with my aunt. In one drift with a short net, they often caught approximately 100-150 fish."