Fishing for Connection

Dip nets Encourage Subsistence Fishing Among CITC Families

Family Wellness Group Facilitator and Cultural Mentor Tony Seeganna shows a CITC program participant how to ready his dip net for catching fish.

On Monday, June 17, staff from Family Wellness took advantage of our spectacular summer weather to hold a dip net build outside on the lawn of Nat’uh. Thanks to a grant that funded the purchase of dip nets and waders the Family Wellness team was able to distribute these items to families participating in their programs–many of whom had never been dip netting before.

Left: CITC Prevention Coordinator Naomi Price holds a dip net while a participant secures the netting. Right: A young CITC participant enjoys Monday’s summer weather during the dip net build.

“It’s an honor to give those [dip nets] to the families,” said Family Navigator Gail Fitka. “There’s one mom that mentioned she doesn’t have a dip net. She doesn’t have anything to fish with, and she grew up eating smoked fish. She said she can’t wait to go to our events, even if it’s just a few fish. She’s excited to make her own fish house where she lives.”

Family Wellness gave out about 75 dip nets to their participating families. During the dip net build last Monday, Tony showed attendees how to ziptie the netting to each dip net frame, then fit a piece of rubber over the frame to secure the netting.

A Family Wellness participant fits a piece of rubber over the dip net frame to protect the netting.

Distributing nets and waders is just one part of connecting families to subsistence fishing. Family Wellness also hosted a fish-snagging trip on June 11 to Seward’s Spring Creek camp ground. On June 25, families will journey to Kasilof to get their nets wet and hopefully catch lots of salmon.

Trips like the one to Kasilof aren’t just about harvesting salmon, though, said Gail. “You can see how the families get their social connection and connecting with their culture,” she described. “We get to eat together. That’s how families and our staff build that relationship–is when we’re out in the field like that.”

Tony Seeganna helps a participant secure her new net to the top of her car for transport.
Left: An Elder prepares rubber tubing to be fitted on a dip net. Right: In addition to giving out dip nets, Family Wellness distributed waders to participants.
The weather on Monday, June 17, was perfect for an outdoor activity like preparing dip nets for fishing.

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