Pretty sappy, huh? Itâ€™s Unitarian. Comes from those tree-hugging, ozone-worrying softies who canâ€™t appreciate a good steak and donâ€™t know how to chug a beer. And steak is our American god-given manna from heaven right? I mean, steak happens. Why wonder where it comes from? Thatâ€™s for wimps. And those who hate us for our freedom. Yeah. Hooah.
Millennia ago a group of humans developed a technology that enabled them to live in the most inhospitable corner of our planetâ€“ up in the Arctic Circle in the dark and the cold. There the wandering tribe who had evolved in the equatorial regions of Africa found themselves at the end of their Northward trek. Without fur or fangs they had to live with the bears and the wolves. These people survived and thrived. They were smart.
They found an equilibrium with their adopted home. Those who could live in that harsh environment did, and their children carried on. Cold and beasts could not defeat them. But there were other natural predators. Their own kind were moving North, from the opposite hemisphere.
The Canadians and Americans had technology evolved from the temperate regions of Europe and the New World. Their religion came from the deserts of the Middle East. They had the hubris of young nations in the sway of Manifest Destiny, or Civilization. The native people were way outgunned. Their ability to survive from the land was up against bigotry, alcohol, and the seduction of the newcomerâ€™s technology.
So today, the Americans who are Native Alaskans are both the inheritors of this ancient technology, and really up against it. Should we feel sorry for them? Or are they pioneers of the future?
Here is a diary from a woman who lives on the edge of the Arctic wilderness in the 21st century, being a 21st century Alaskan girl, Ann Strongheart blogs…
January 24, 2009
Today my husband and I decided to travel the 25 miles to Emmonak to get groceries. Here is what getting groceries entails in Nunam Iqua.
We got up and had to build a fire as the house was getting chilly and we had run out of stove oil a couple of days ago. Then we made coffee, using water that we had packed the night before from the watering point across the village. We took a 30 gallon Rubbermaid trash can (our water bucket) that we use STRICTLY for water storage across to the other side of the village and with two tokens (tokens are one dollar each) we got 20 gallons of water. We went across by snow machine towing our sled with the water bucket in it. Once we filled it we carefully brought it back across to our house and then lifted it out of the sled and up the steps into our porch and then into the house.
Read the rest, if you dare, because the preceding was the easy part. Wait’ll you see their grocery bill. Never mind their heating bill.
We are on the cusp of a minor Celtic holiday, Imbolc, or Candlemas, celebrated on February 2nd. This is when we achieve a 10 hour day, which is a relief to all who have been getting depressed in the early dark and relentless chill. But we donâ€™t have to chip ice to melt water for coffee, so we might count our blessings. Thatâ€™s the Catholic in me speaking.
While Iâ€™m at it, let me acknowledge the Central American farmers who grow the coffee that I buy from a fair trade company, Rhode Islandâ€™s own New Harvest, right outta Pawtucket. Rhode Island can roast â€˜em, but we canâ€™t grow â€˜em. For that we need to import.
Still, we are a fertile and temperate land, on a planet that has vast wildernesses hot and cold. Yes, it drizzles, but we can deal with it. February is the worst, I think, but by June it will start to get nice. Hang in there.
And this summer when you see the farmerâ€™s markets, be glad that your local farmer doesnâ€™t have to ship those apples 5,000 miles across a frozen wasteland at a cost of $10.00 an apple. And support your local farmer. You might need her some day.