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  1. #1
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    Default Rural Alaskans struggling to survive

    In rural Alaska villages, families struggle to survive - CNN.com

    This article came out on cnn recently describing some of the hardships that people who live in rural Alaska are facing these days. The problem has actually been escalating in recent years, with the rise in fuel costs and such. I had a bit of a lively debate with a friend on the matter who felt that these people should move to an area where they can survive with more ease.

    I think it's an interesting question actually. Many of the people affected are people indigenous to rural Alaska. Their people, for hundreds (or thousands?) of years were able to live off of the land. I'm sure there were years of famine and such, but they were still able to survive. But something in the way they live has changed. Now, rather than relying 100% on the food foraged, they must spend money to travel and spend exorbitant amounts of money for necessities such as milk and eggs. Of course, these were not necessities until recent history.

    What I'm wondering is this.. has a dependence on technology and adaptation to the ways of modern civilization been a detriment to their way of life? I'm sure that quality of life may have improved by having a more varied diet. And of course, fuel heated homes are much easier than working to gather wood from the land to keep a fire burning for heat. But implementing changes that cost money, being involved in the monetary trade for survival with a deviation from traditional methods of 100% working off the land might not have been an even trade off. I don't really think that it's fair to say that these people should be required to move if they can't make things work there in their ancestral lands, but reverting to a more traditional way of life may be impossible now.

    But what is the solution to their woes? Should the state subsidize funds to those citizens in order to help support a living link in history? Or should they say tough luck? If you live there, you need to support yourself more?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuffledINTP View Post
    In rural Alaska villages, families struggle to survive - CNN.com

    This article came out on cnn recently describing some of the hardships that people who live in rural Alaska are facing these days. The problem has actually been escalating in recent years, with the rise in fuel costs and such. I had a bit of a lively debate with a friend on the matter who felt that these people should move to an area where they can survive with more ease.

    I think it's an interesting question actually. Many of the people affected are people indigenous to rural Alaska. Their people, for hundreds (or thousands?) of years were able to live off of the land. I'm sure there were years of famine and such, but they were still able to survive. But something in the way they live has changed. Now, rather than relying 100% on the food foraged, they must spend money to travel and spend exorbitant amounts of money for necessities such as milk and eggs. Of course, these were not necessities until recent history.

    What I'm wondering is this.. has a dependence on technology and adaptation to the ways of modern civilization been a detriment to their way of life? I'm sure that quality of life may have improved by having a more varied diet. And of course, fuel heated homes are much easier than working to gather wood from the land to keep a fire burning for heat. But implementing changes that cost money, being involved in the monetary trade for survival with a deviation from traditional methods of 100% working off the land might not have been an even trade off. I don't really think that it's fair to say that these people should be required to move if they can't make things work there in their ancestral lands, but reverting to a more traditional way of life may be impossible now.

    But what is the solution to their woes? Should the state subsidize funds to those citizens in order to help support a living link in history? Or should they say tough luck? If you live there, you need to support yourself more?
    They need to either fully adopt to modern society, or fully leave it behind. Obviously their attempts to combine the two aren't working for them.

  3. #3
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Those that adapt and accept new tech and living styles, usually do better. Just ask the Neanderthals how not adapting worked out. Archaeology actually points to the Neanderthal as a more intelligent ancestor than Cro Magnon. However, they didn't adapt to changes as well, and died out.

    These people should adapt as well. There's no reason why you should lose your cultural identity by modernizing.



  4. #4
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    From The Yup'ik of Western Alaska:

    The Yup'ik Eskimos of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta area in Western Alaska lived in an environment that was very different from our stereotyped images of a barren, icy, harsh existence. They lived on a mostly flat, marshy plain crisscrossed by many waterways, which the Yup'ik used in place of roads. Because this region is below the Arctic Circle, temperatures are more moderate and hunting and fishing continued most of the year. Temperatures can range from -80F in winter to 80F in summer.
    They lived in this extreme environment for hundreds to thousands of years, and now all of the sudden their survival is threatened by not being able to afford to heat their houses?

    From: Yuungnaqpiallerput - The Way We Genuinely Live - Masterworks of Yup'ik Science and Survival:

    We cannot think that rules for right living are irrelevant today. They are still real. Don't think we are now kass'at [white people] because people are starting to speak English. Evidently, the ocean and land will always remain and never change and become like white people.
    --John Phillip, Sr., Kongiginak
    Nowadays things have changed. In those days we evidently weren't pitiful. Though we thought we were deprived, sometimes without tea, they'd ask their families for things they needed. Now it seems that though things are plentiful, we are so pitiful.
    --Cecelia Foxie, Stebbins
    Our language had no word for science, yet our tools were so well designed that they allowed us to live in a land no one else would inhabit, a land we still call home.
    --Elsie Mather, Bethel, November 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by RuffledINTP View Post
    What I'm wondering is this.. has a dependence on technology and adaptation to the ways of modern civilization been a detriment to their way of life?
    Nature is neutral, and so is technology ("modern civilization"). How one adapts to it or uses it determines the outcome. This is the essence of the problem. They have adopted technology which simply isn't practical in their environment. It works in Juneau and Anchorage, but has increased challenges in more remote locations. Each person needs to make a choice between technology and environment.

    I've put significant research, thought, and experience into selecting outdoor clothing and gear. If I were going to live in the Alaskan wilderness and had a choice between being equipped with free modern clothing and gear and traditional native clothing and gear costing $5,000, I'd gladly pay the money. New and modern isn't necessarily superior.

    Yes, overdependence on technology and unselective adaptation to the ways of modern civilization has been a detriment to the way of life, but not only for the Yup'ik.

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    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    I think dependence on technology has created a loss of some important truths about living well which has damaged us all. Certainly the struggles of the indigenous peoples should be read as a warning with more than physical implications.

    This is not mere glamorization of the Savage. It is a loss of focus on what sorts of non-tangibles people need in their lives.

    I don't see the solution coming from the sponsors of the the people who supported the culture which destroyed the other's.

    The very struggle of a simple people who thrived on simplicity indicates the flaws in the "new way." And we're throwing the baby out with the bath water by not paying attention to the lesson to be learned.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

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    Senior Member kuranes's Avatar
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    Someone told me, as a young man, that the disadvantages of going beyond the simple transportation infrastructure of a bicycle-oriented society outweighed the advantages. I doubt if this statement was derived from a "scientific study" ( that would be some experiment though ! ) but it did cause me to ask more about what the person meant, at the time.

    "Well, if you've got cars, Kuranes, the advantage is you can go faster and carry others along with you, etc. but....the disadvantage is that you now require gasoline, a complex industry to assemble the metal and parts supply chain, roads of a higher quality, etc. and when you have accidents..... it's much worse. Is it really worth it*?"

    Of course, if you have to keep up with other societies/countries that are using these advanced things then it does make sense, of course.
    "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
    Reichsfuhrer Herman Goering at the Nuremburg trials.

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    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Competition v. cooperation?
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

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    Senior Member miked277's Avatar
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    these people want some of the benefits of technology without paying the price. imo, either they can revert back to their prior way of living or join the rest of us in the 21st century.

    not all cultures should be afforded the same value. some, indeed, are meant to be left by the wayside of history. just because they existed doesn't mean they were good, useful or worked well. also, just because they might have worked well 1000 years ago doesn't give them the right to stop improving and then ask for a free pass from the rest of the world that has been improving.

    i suppose some similarities could be drawn between native americans and american settlers. tragic as though their situation was, how much of a waste would it have been to leave america to the natives.

    not that i'm espousing a might-makes-right policy, more of a useful-makes-right.
    I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life.

  9. #9
    I'm a star. Kangirl's Avatar
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    All people want the same thing, at a basic level - to survive, thrive, be fulfilled and happy. Every culture will have somewhat different ways to go about this. If a certain group wants to maintain the 'old ways' (and I do understand there are serious reasons to want this), and if they find themselves unable to do so, I don't know why anyone else should be responsible for subsidizing that activity. The Alaskan wilderness is still what it was - it would still be possible to live in the old style, the question is is it worth it or not, and that can only be answered by the people considering it.

    I've never bought that more primitive societies are somehow better/superior to modern societies. They had conflict and war and all that bad stuff, too. They're human, all of us are.
    "Only an irrational dumbass, would burn Jews." - Jaguar

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  10. #10
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuranes View Post
    Someone told me, as a young man, that the disadvantages of going beyond the simple transportation infrastructure of a bicycle-oriented society outweighed the advantages. I doubt if this statement was derived from a "scientific study" ( that would be some experiment though ! ) but it did cause me to ask more about what the person meant, at the time.

    "Well, if you've got cars, Kuranes, the advantage is you can go faster and carry others along with you, etc. but....the disadvantage is that you now require gasoline, a complex industry to assemble the metal and parts supply chain, roads of a higher quality, etc. and when you have accidents..... it's much worse. Is it really worth it*?"

    Of course, if you have to keep up with other societies/countries that are using these advanced things then it does make sense, of course.
    Advanced things?

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