No Chat Today; Hanging Out With the Eskimos

So I’ve got a really good excuse for missing this week’s What’s Cooking chat. I’m on the road again, but this time, I’m so far away even I can’t believe it.

An early evening in Emmonak. (Kim O'Donnel)

I’m typing to you from Emmonak, Alaska (say E-MONIC), a
Yup'ik Eskimo fishing village roughly 500 miles northwest of Anchorage. Over the weekend, a rare opportunity to experience the final days of Yukon River salmon season fell into my lap -- a chance of a lifetime, even if it meant dropping everything and hopping on three planes to the Alaskan tundra almost immediately.

Since Sunday, I’ve been holed up with the hardy folks who operate Kwikpak Fisheries. Fall is here in western Alaska, which means that the tundra is rapidly changing colors (from green to marigold yellows mixed in with orange), moose are fair game, wild berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) are ready for picking and the rain is coming.

A few of Emmonak's younger residents. (Kim O'Donnel)

I’m here just until Thursday; please pardon the abbreviated dispatch so I can get back to Yukon River life. I hope to have a fuller report on Friday.

Coming up Wednesday: Wedding registry lessons learned from a bunch of savvy brides, as part of “Wedding Week” coverage. Then on Thursday, a fab new zucchini discovery that y’all need to try before the zukes fade into the produce sunset.

By Kim ODonnel |  September 9, 2008; 6:00 AM ET Seafood , Travel
Previous: Finger-Licking-Good Chicken Tikka | Next: Cooking Up a Wedding Registry


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A national candidate is married to an Inuit husband, and the Post is still using the word "Eskimo"?

Posted by: Tom T. | September 9, 2008 10:51 AM

Tom T., here in the lower Yukon, the Yup'iks do refer to themselves as "Eskimos," "Yup'iks" or "Yup'ik Eskimos."
I can't speak for the Inuits.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | September 9, 2008 1:08 PM

For more photos from the Yukon River Delta, go here:

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | September 9, 2008 2:39 PM

From Wikipedia:

In Canada and Greenland[3][4][5][6] the term Eskimo is widely held to be pejorative[3][7] and has fallen out of favor, largely supplanted by the term Inuit. However, while Inuit describes all of the Eskimo peoples in Canada and Greenland, that is not true in Alaska and Siberia. In Alaska the term Eskimo is commonly used, because it includes both Yupik and Inupiat, while Inuit is not accepted as a collective term or even specifically used for Inupiat (which technically is Inuit). No universal replacement term for Eskimo, inclusive of all Inuit and Yupik people, is accepted across the geographical area inhabited by the Inuit and Yupik peoples.[4]

The primary reason that Eskimo is considered derogatory is the false[8][9][10][11] perception that it means "eaters of raw meat".[12][7] There are two different etymologies in scientific literature for the term Eskimo. The most well-known comes from Ives Goddard at the Smithsonian Institution , who says it means "Snowshoe netters".[8] Quebec linguist Jose Mailhot, who speaks Innu-aimun (Montagnais) (which Mailhot and Goddard agree is the language from which the word originated), published a definitive study in 1978 stating that it means "people who speak a different language".[10][11]

Nevertheless, while the word is not inherently pejorative, since the 1970s in Canada and Greenland Eskimo has widely been considered offensive, owing to folklore and derogatory usage. In government usage the term has been replaced with Inuit. The preferred term in Canada's Central Arctic is Inuinnaq,[13] and in the eastern Canadian Arctic Inuit. The language is often called Inuktitut, though other local designations are also used.

The Inuit of Greenland refer to themselves as Greenlanders or, in their own language, Kalaallit, and to their language as Greenlandic or Kalaallisut.[4]

Because of the linguistic, ethnic, and cultural differences between Yupik and Inuit peoples there is uncertainty as to the acceptance of any term encompassing all Yupik and Inuit people. There has been some movement to use Inuit, and the Inuit Circumpolar Council, representing a circumpolar population of 150,000 Inuit and Yupik people of Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, in its charter defines Inuit for use within the ICC as including "the Inupiat, Yupik (Alaska), Inuit, Inuvialuit (Canada), Kalaallit (Greenland) and Yupik (Russia)."[14] However, even the Inuit people in Alaska refer themselves as Inupiat (the language is Inupiaq) and do not typically use the term Inuit. Thus, in Alaska, Eskimo is in common usage, and is the preferred term when speaking collectively of all Inupiat and Yupik people, or of all Inuit and Yupik people of the world.[4]

Alaskans also use the term Alaska Native, which is inclusive of all Eskimo, Aleut and Indian people of Alaska, and is of course exclusive of Inuit or Yupik people originating outside the state. The term Alaska Native has important legal usage in Alaska and the rest of the United States as a result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

The term "Eskimo" is also used world wide in linguistic or ethnographic works to denote the larger branch of Eskimo-Aleut languages, the smaller branch being Aleut.

Posted by: Dave | September 9, 2008 2:51 PM

Getting lazier since you moved to the wrong coast.

Time for the WP axe Kim and get someone local who will also host a meateaters chat!

Woof, woof!

Posted by: Woof | September 10, 2008 6:20 AM

In case you can't tell, I'm a real jerk.

Posted by: Woof | September 10, 2008 9:26 PM

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