Global Bullying

 

My heart broke when I read about Chris Apassingok, the young Yupik whale hunter from Gambell, Alaska (“Death Threats,” HCN, 7/24/17). A couple of decades ago, I would have agreed with Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Society — although not as vehemently or with malice — on the principle that it’s not necessary to kill whales. Today I know better, having spent time in Alaska Native villages, listening to elders and trying to understand cultures other than my own. The challenges facing the villages to maintain their homelands, cultures and their youth are difficult enough, and for this young man to experience global vitriolic bullying for providing for his family and community only exacerbates those challenges. But this story is also indicative of willful ignorance, knee-jerk reactions, and a refusal to listen to others, all enabled by the non-personal nature of the internet. And it is also indicative of how disconnected so many of us are from our food and that which nourishes us. I would argue that Indigenous people like Chris have a deeper connection and reverence for the natural world than those who buy butchered meat wrapped in cellophane on a Styrofoam tray.

Amy Gulick
Clinton, Washington