Subsistence, Life, and Culture

More than just food: family, fitness, identity, community, memory, spirit

seasonal cycle graphic

This figure summarizes past and present environmental conditions that people in Interior Alaska have experienced, and how changes in environmental conditions may limit access to hunting, fishing, trapping, or gathering. This figure is illustrative only, and may not fully capture all of the variation experienced across Interior Alaska. Source: Community Partnerships for Self-Reliance program

Subsistence is the core of life of rural Alaska. Living a true subsistence lifestyle is not easy, and is not done out of desperation. It involves dedicated time and skill, as well as financial investment in equipment and fuel. Also required is a lot of dedicated time for harvesting, processing, distributing, and preserving food. Subsistence provides pride in what one does, why, and for whom.

What's a walrus worth?

The value of walrus and other subsistence foods is almost impossible to quantify, because these foods are so critical to sustaining culture and community.

In purely economic terms, though, a walrus provides about 500 pounds of high quality protein—the equivalent of approximately 800 beefsteak meals, which are less nutritious than walrus.

This amount of meat would cost $6,000-$7,000 in rural Alaska—or about $12-$14 per pound.

Poster: Sustaining Subsistence, Life, and Culture

Full size printed posters are available. Poster dimensions are approximately 2' x 3'. Please contact us to find out more.