Partnering with a local Alaskan native community, the U.S. Forest Service has for the first time published a dual language booklet in English and a native Alaskan language, Yup’ik, to help educate the greater community in Southwestern Alaska on invasive species.
Titled “Protecting Southwestern Alaska from Invasive Species – A Guide in the English and Yup’ik languages,” the Forest Service’s Alaska Region and the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies aim to explain invasive species concerns unique to Southwestern Alaska, which is home to a large community of the indigenous Yup’ik people. The title of the booklet translated into Yup’ik is, “Kellutellra Alaskam Ungalaqlirnera Eniaritulinun Itrallerkaaneng – Maaryartekaq Kassat Yup’iit-llu Qaneryaraigtun.”
Protecting Southwestern Alaska from invasive species has proven challenging, not only due to its vast and varied range of landscapes, but also due to difficulties in communication with native Alaskans. About 120 communities, including over 25,000 Yup’ik people, are scattered across this region, and its residents largely use their native languages as their primary means of communication and also continue to follow traditional cultures that are married to the natural environment.
As native Alaskan community members follow subsistence lifestyles and thus depend on natural resources, they are more susceptible to the impacts of the introduction of invasive species. The partnership between the Forest Service and the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies to publish the booklet seeks to increase education and awareness among local residents to ultimately prevent invasive species from being introduced to local Southwestern Alaskan ecosystems.