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yukon river

View of the Yukon River near Carmacks, Yukon, Canada. Photo Credit: Diego Delso

October 13, 2022

How Salmon Collapse in Alaska's Yukon River Is Drastically Changing Native Ways of Life

Ask Students: What has happened to the salmon population in the Yukon? Who are some of the people affected by the dwindling salmon population?

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Salmon Collapse and Indigenous Lifestyles

For the second year in a row, a severe and sudden salmon collapse is impacting Indigenous residents on Alaska’s Yukon River and causing food insecurity. The traditional villages whose ways of life have revolved around the fish for thousands of years are now also facing a devastating loss of culture. For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Where does this story take place?
  • What has happened to the salmon population in the Yukon?
  • Who are some of the people affected by the dwindling salmon population?
  • Why have salmon populations collapsed, according to scientists?
  • How are some of the people living on the Yukon trying to address the salmon shortage?

Focus Questions

Why do you think a particular kind of fish is so important to the culture of the people interviewed in this story?

Media Literacy: Where would you go to better understand why salmon are disappearing from the Yukon River?

Additional Exercise

Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas have been adapting to changing climate for thousands of years, and many native tribes lead projects to adapt to climate change today. Read the following article and write down examples of projects designed to help adapt to climate change. Which might be helpful for villages on the Yukon River?

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Swinomish tribal members from Washington state participate in a clam garden restoration in British Columbia. PHOTO COURTESY OF SWINOMISH INDIAN TRIBAL COMMUNITY

Swinomish tribal members from Washington state participate in a clam garden restoration in British Columbia. Photo Credit:Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

More Resources: Indigenous Peoples and Native Americans

Share My Lesson is your go-to resource for indigenous peoples and Native American lesson plans with this free PreK-12 collection of resources.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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