I thoroughly enjoyed reading the interview with Jacob Ahwinona. I made me smile to think of all the gold that the greedy newcomers missed. I’ve noticed that even the best of people can be overcome by greed when an opportunity presents itself. This is not a human characteristic that serves society well; nor does it bode well for our resources. Ahwinona says “But my teachings are, if a person is greedy, he won’t get nowhere. It’s the greed that spoil’s his living conditions.’ Those that have, seem to always want more. Those that have little, seem to be able to appreciate the true values in life: family, friendship, and health.
In W. Dublas Burden’s “The Battle of the Giants’, two men bet on killing a moose of a specific size, big enough to make a new record. “But I was so proud of my animal I decided to portage the horns myself, no matter what they weighed or how bad the flies, and this I did with packboard and trumpline all the way to camp and then another ten miles to Skilak Lake.’ The focus of these men was not on sustenance but on taking a resource that would give them recognition and fame.
In his story “Tornarssuk (Ursus maritimus)’, Barry Lopez talks of three marine scientists who stand in awe of the resources of the arctic. In this barren ice filled landscape, looking for seals, they chance upon a three year old polar bear out looking for food. These scientists are hunting the resources themselves but the purpose is not greed or fame but knowledge understanding. They pause in their work, in admiration and respect, at the confidence of this young bear in securing the food it needs to thrive.