Voices of the Tongass - Harvey Kitka

SCS had the opportunity to sit down with Harvey Kitka and talk about what living with the land means to him. Listening to him tell stories of his family, harvesting, and respect for the land and animals was absolutely mesmerizing.

"My family has been here for countless generations. My grandfather was Coho, and my grandmother was Kaagwaantaan, so I'm Kaagwaantaan. I carry stories from my grandfather and father.

Everything from the ground up we have respect for. A lot of native art has eyes on it and the reason they did that is because everything had something living in it. It showed our respect for the living. Everything has a purpose from what we are told. The trees when we cut those down there was a ceremony for that. We figured when we were hunting and had good fortune, the animals gave themselves to us and we thanked them for it. So we always thank the salmon and things.

We hope this hasn't changed. We try to teach our kids. We tell them everything is about respect. My grandfather always said you never make fun of your food. You don't play with your food. It's about respect. It is one of the things you pass onto your kids. Some of our earliest stories go back to this.

Food is our life. You take what's there, you take care of it, and it will take care of you. That's our whole philosophy."

Thank you for everything you do, Harvey!


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