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Murkowski: Whaling Defines Alaska Natives As a People

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today spoke at a Capitol Hill event hosted by the Ocean Caucus Foundation to educate embassy officials from many countries active in the International Whaling Commission on the importance and role of subsistence whaling in Alaska.  As the Senate considered over 70 amendments to the Farm Bill, Murkowski shared with the attendees that in Alaska, a harvest critical to northern coastal communities comes not from our land but our water, saying:

“The whale has sustained a people, a culture since time immemorial…

I think it is important to recognize that to the Inupiat, whaling is not just about the physical sustenance having something to eat, it defines who they are as a people. 

There is a spiritual aspect to whaling, it is all encompassing.  It is so important to recognize that in a place that is isolated geographically from the rest of the world, isolated within our state – our communities are not accessible by road – we face some of the highest cost of living that you will find in the country. 

That keeps the Alaska Native community strong, what binds them through all the challenges that they face, is an identity to the land, an identity to the ocean, an identity for so many to the whale.”       

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