Living in a rural town in Alaska, there are obviously going to be families who live a subsistence lifestyle. This type of lifestyle is when people use natural resources in the area in which they live. For example, when most Alaskans go hunting, fishing, berry picking, and gathering they will use these resources up until the following year.
Representative Mike Cronk, like many other people in the area, grew up in this lifestyle. He says, “I believe living a subsistence lifestyle in rural Alaska is very important. There are usually high costs in every aspect of living in rural Alaska and being able to subsist helps offset some of the high costs by providing berries, meats, and fish.” Although Tok is rural, we are lucky to be on the road and river system, allowing us to travel easily for our needs. Communities and villages not on the road system suffer from overpriced necessities in stores, so canning and drying food helps families who live in low-income areas.
In the Alaska Gateway School District every year students are provided two Moose Days. These two days allow students to partake in hunting season without missing school days Most schools in Alaska do not provide Moose Days, Students do not have to hunt during these days they can also catch up on some homework, shows, really anything they would like to do. Cronk believes all schools should allow excusals for students who participate in subsistence activities. He then says, “ I fought hard to get the students of Alaska Gateway two moose days off. One of the most important life lessons we can teach our kids is to subsist and be independent.” he adds, “A subsistence life is a hard life, but rewarding. You get to spend time in nature and absorb the beauty that surrounds us while doing what you love. Nothing brings you closer to nature than subsisting. There is no purer life than living a life of subsistence.”
I personally went hunting these days with my family and my sister’s boyfriend. Austin Beatty was successful. So we spent our Moose Days cutting the moose and utilizing all usable parts like the head, stomach, and organs. I also interviewed Kaitlyn Wilson who says, “ I think moose days give students, teachers, and families who count on subsistence living. Also gives a chance to hunt without missing out on their education as well as attendance.” When asked what she did on moose days she replied,” I went up the Taylor, we saw a couple of cows but were yet to see a bull. We were out every day of the hunting season late at night and were unlucky.”
Living subsistence is beneficial for Alaskans who live in rural areas, it has been this way for many years with more to come. Although new lifestyles have come about, living in a furnished house with materialistic things does not give you any less of a right to hunt, etc. As Mike Cronk says, “The subsistence way of life has left me with so many memories of so many places. Now those memories are made with my daughters and soon grandkids! There is no better way of living in my opinion than living a subsistence lifestyle!”