July 9, 2024 

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Begich and Dahlstrom Disregard Alaska Native Tradition of Subsistence Fishing 

U.S House Candidates Nick Begich and Nancy Dahlstrom take issue with an Alaska Native tradition that has been passed down for generations in Alaska — providing for one’s family through subsistence activities. 

Earlier this week, U.S Representative Mary Sattler Peltola announced that she would be absent from the House Floor for a week in order to put up fish with her family. This is a duty that she performs every summer. Her late husband’s family relies, in part, on subsistence to eat during the winter. However, her decision to do so was met with disapproval by Begich, a businessman, and Dahlstrom, Alaska’s current Lt. Governor who claims to have “more to learn on key issues, including on topics related to fishery policies.” 

In a press release, Dahlstrom said that by going fishing for a week to provide for family, Representative Peltola is “embarrassing” and “hurting our state.” 

Rural Alaska Native communities rely significantly on subsistence harvests, which constitute between 50% to 90% of their dietary intake. 

“It seems that Begich and Dahlstrom are out of touch with the values and realities of many Alaskans,” said Alaska Democratic Party Vice-Chair Jessica Cook. “It is unfortunate that they would seek to shame Representative Peltola for fulfilling her responsibilities and taking care of family especially after the death of her husband last September, Gene Peltola Jr. Gene’s family relies in part on Representative Peltola for subsistence duties.”

Her official office noted in their press release that Representative Peltola’s absence would not interfere with her legislative responsibilities as she will submit statements reflecting how she would have voted if present. 

“It is clear that Representative Peltola takes her role as the Congresswoman for all of Alaska seriously and that she is committed to serving her constituents,” said Chuck Degnan of Unalakleet, a former Alaska State Legislator. “Her actions are in line with the values of many Alaskans who prioritize taking care of family and community, and Alaskans reject any attempt to shame or belittle her for doing so. Fresh fish is food security in our villages and food security for many other people in our state. ” 

Representative Peltola remains fully committed to serving the people of Alaska and providing for her family. 


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