This year, Brian Leblanc (Pictured above with his wife and daughter) received a grant through Spruce Root and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership funded by the Native American Agriculture Fund Rapid Response Funds. This grant is giving funds to Alaskans who are able to harvest wild meats like fish and deer and have them distribute some of their harvests to elders in their communities.
So far, Brian has given to seven households in Sitka and plans to share with two more.
Brian lives in a native household with his wife and her family. He has always loved fishing and hunting so much that they have an excess so he enjoys giving to others and sharing with his family. “I jumped right on it when I heard about this grant program.”
Brian has a 19 ft aluminum boat and likes to get out as much as possible. With the weather this summer it’s been hard, but this project has been helpful and creates an incentive for him to get out, even in marginal weather. The funds allowed Brian to purchase a new rifle at the beginning of the season and pays for other costs like gas, bait, and lures.
Brian’s favorite moment so far was when his wife’s family from Colorado was able to come up for a week in August. Avid hunters and fishermen themselves, they spent the whole week either up in the forest hunting or out on the boat fishing with Brian.
“We had some good luck and took photos and had lots of fun with them and their kids. It was a very cool week to have the family learn about this grant program and help me gather meat for my community.”
With a full freezer, Brian looks forward to sharing more with his community and family. “Being able to give to others, especially during this time, it feels really good.”