Subsistance Food and Ways
Just think of all the foods that people used to eat about sixty years ago. Almost the same as the food that we eat now in our little town of Kalskag, except, it was more subsistent. I know that you are probably wondering if they had flour, sugar, salt and all the things that we have today. I was thinking the exact same thing; they did.
During the summer months, when I was a little girl, we would go to fishcamp, and we would be subsistence living. We lived off the food that my grandpa and father caught. Just like how they used to live long ago. We kuvyaqed, drift down the river for fish, and cut them up and dry them for some yummy dryfish. We also would go and pick berries for akutaq, Eskimo ice cream, which is the most delicious food in the world. My siblings and I always played after we did our chores around the house, and we’d find mouse food, and start munching on them, they tasted just like candy. Mouse food is like a berry on black vine that you have to peel, it is peach colored inside that tastes delicious.
Elena Sergie used to eat the same things everyday of her life. Which I think is pretty amazing, because I could never live off those things. They also used to trap for muskrats, beavers, and rabbits. Sometimes go manaqing, hooking for fish on the ice, and catch white fish, lush fish, and pike. They would also set traps for blackfish out on the ice. The men go and kuvyaq for salmon, dog, silver and gee fish during the summer. Sometimes when they had nothing to do they would go manaqing in the summer on their raft and catch rainbow trout and eels. A raft is used when you cut the fish that you catch when you go kuvyaq. Also during the summer they went smelting for smelts, they made nets out of string and wood, and use them as the smelts swim through the river, as they do once a year.     
Also during the summer, Elena and her family would go berry picking. The berries they picked were black, salmon, crow, blue, red berries, and tundra cranberries. In addition, they picked mouse food, raspberries, string berries, black root berries, thorn berries, high bush berries, and roots of pussy willows out in the woods right outside their house. All these berries were added in to make the most delicious thing in the world, akutaq. The oils that they used before they had vegetable oil and Wesson oil, were moose oil, seal oil, fish oil, and bear fat. When they didn’t have oil from the little store, they would use the oil from animals to make akutaq.
Also during the summer and winter months they would hunt for moose, caribou, black bear, and snow owl, ducks, and beaver. These I just named would sometimes keep you stocked up for a whole season, depends on your catch. All this information is what I gathered from my experience, or from Elena Sergie, a sixty year old woman who resides here in Alaska.
Subsistence Food & Ways
Author:  Nicolette Nicolai