Restoring Alaskan Traditional Food Systems
Meet UNITY Youth Andrew Weaver, from Azachorok Alaska. “To me, being an Earth Ambassador is the responsibility to take care of your land, educate others of its importance. I am proud to be of of the Central Yup’ik people of the Lower Yukon River” said Andrew. His Mountain Village is located in Western Alaska, approximately 450 miles northwest of Anchorage. Andrew has applied to his the Tribal council, and if elected will be youngest in office. He is passionate about the ecological issue of the landfill in Mountain Village. Andrew is a strong leader and when he wants something done, he gets it done! “I believe Andrew will do great in restoring the Mountain Village landfill and making Mountain a clean safe place for all” said Tatiana Ticknor, former Alaskan UNITY Earth Ambassador.
Community Service: Leadership In Action
Andrew and his Mountain Village youth group participate in Community-wide clean-up days, retreats, community basketball tournaments, and delivering food to elders. Andrew continues doing these things on his own time, by volunteering and helping his grandparents. With his efforts in helping the community from picking up litter from the land to helping elders, he was hired for his dream job with the Alaska Native Heritage Center: helping the community and other youth.
Teaching Food Sovereignty
Andrew teaches youth how to provide for their family and how to prepare our traditional foods. For example he just made salt fish to prepare a pickled fish class for the community to learn. This is one of the many ways Alaska Native people prepared fish for eating. He will also get a seal to teach the community the importance of butchering a seal correctly as well as using the whole seal without anything going to waste. He has a lot more planned like berry picking, traditional plant gathering and fishing as well. He not only helps urban Alaska youth but also rural youth by partnering with various school programs that have youth from rural areas of Alaska to stay connected culturally to their land and people by offering to take them on subsistence trips and not only learning from him but learning from the youth. Andrew’s connection to the land is powerful and obvious. He has connections with the land and the water and this is reflected in songs he composes and the work he does for the community.
“Know who you are, you are a reflection on your family”
Andrew has grown since I first met him in many different ways. He has grown mentally and spiritually within the past few years. He composes songs about his hometown about nature and about his personal growth. He has the mindset of helping his community and the lands around us and the lands of his hometown. He expressed his concerns about the landfill to his family in Mountain Village. His family agreed and came up with various ideas to resolve the problems and will and want to present them to his tribal council. I am very excited to see what Andrew does! – Tatiana Ticknor, former UNITY Earth Ambassador.
This is a call to action! The preservation of Mother Earth has been identified by Native youth as a top priority. Earth day is April 22nd, but you have all May to make a difference! How will you help preserve our environment and precious resources? All it takes is a little planning for your Earth Service project and you’re on your way to earning some spending money and cool UNITY swag!