Comparison of Subsistence Activities Among Natives and Non-Natives in Bristol Bay, Alaska

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Society and Natural Resources

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The current debate over subsistence rights is presently one of Alaska's most volatile unresolved public policy issues. Preference has been given to subsistence uses of wild resources, but debate has raged over how to define subsistence users. The special rights of Alaskan Native communities to harvest resources have been eroded through political and legal battles that have extended subsistence harvesting rights to all rural residents (federal law) and to all state residents (state law) and that seek to individualize the eligibility criteria. This study demonstrates that there are significant behavioral differences between the subsistence activities of Native, part‐Native, and non‐Native households in Bristol Bay, Alaska. These differences are cultural in nature and are rooted in different systems for organizing relationships between people and the natural world. These differences need to be taken into account in the legal and political debates over subsistence and in resource management decisions that affect subsistence users.


Published in the journal of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources (IASNR)

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