Anchorage / Hooper Bay | Philosopher, writer
“One of the reasons protecting salmon is such a popular issue in Alaska is because it is connected to so many aspects of our lives in Alaska: personal, economic, spiritual, and environmental. We are not the only living things that depend on salmon. Salmon are part of what defines us as a state.”
Warren Jones has been a commercial fisherman, a pitch salesman, a fishmonger at Pike Place in Seattle, and Infantry Scout in the United States Marine Corps. His Yupik name is Maaruk and his family comes from Hooper Bay. Jones grew up gillnetting off the coast of Nome before moving to Palmer in the sixth grade. Now he sport fishes and dipnets the Copper every year for salmon to feed his family.
Jones went to school in Seattle then finished his Political Science degree at the University of Alaska Anchorage, with a focus on Political Philosophy. He interned with First Alaskans Institute, partnering with the Inuit Circumpolar Council to compare and contrast hunting and fishing rights between Russia, the United States, and Canada. He also participated in the First Nations Futures Program in collaboration with First Nations and Stanford University and, as a result, traveled to New Zealand to talk about subsistence in Alaska. While there, he participated in some traditional fisheries, diving for mussels and abalone and catching eels in fish traps with Maori friends from Tuahiwi.
Jones is currently a philosopher and writer. He is working on a project to return the men's house as an institution to Yupik communities. The men’s house was a central social, political, spiritual and economic institution that could be considered the defining aspect of a Yupik community. Healthy Native communities mean a healthy Alaska; a healthy Alaska means healthy fisheries.
“I see salmon (and other seafood) as the natural resource that will sustain our state into the future,” explains Jones. “Our economy needs diversity, and salmon already provides much of it with both commercial and sport fishing. If we could find a way to keep the whole process ‘in-house’, the state would benefit from the jobs, but also from the taxes the fishery and related industries would provide if the bulk of the fisheries industry was headquartered in and owned by Alaskans.”