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Episode 7: Conversations with an Inuit Philosopher

To explore his Northern Philosophy, Coffee & Quaq interviews Warren Maaruk Jones.

TRIGGER WARNING: This episode contains some content associated with death and suicide. If you are feeling particularly sensitive to those topics, we recommend listening when you feel comfortable, safe, and ready.

“There’s all these little parts of our culture that speak to how different we are and how different we view the world. I think it’s really important for us to to articulate what those are, for two reasons — one for us, even though I think that we already know it and and the other part of it is so that we can articulate it to other people. You’ve got a whole nation full of people that think they don’t have a culture.”

"I don’t want to just talk about men’s houses, I want to build men’s houses. I don’t want to just talk about sovereignty, I want to assert it, and not assert it through the Western system. No, true Yupik governance doesn’t look anything like Western governance. True Yupik governance is yuuyaraq. True Yupik governance is you knowing and understanding your own cultural values and holding yourself accountable to them."

Maaruk (Warren Jones) was born in Bethel, Alaska in 1977. He is of Gwichin and Yupik descent and grew up in the Nome area with his biological mom and stepfamily. He was raised along the sea ice and on the tundra before the family moved to Palmer in 1989 where he spent the rest of his childhood with the forests, glacial rivers, and mountains of the Matanuska Valley. Warren has traveled the United States and the world as a commercial fisherman, pitch salesman, and Marine Corps infantryman. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and after leaving the military studied political science and philosophy. He did his internship with the Inuit Circumpolar Council studying hunting and fishing law, he is an Alaska Salmon Fellow with the Humanities Forum and the former Governance Fellow at First Alaskans Institute. Warren is a steward of Northern Philosophy, the idea that the north has its own unique epistemology, ethics, etc. and he studies culture, physics, and complex systems. He is an award-winning journalist and published poet. Warren is happily married to his wife Sacha and they have three sons, they currently reside in the Anchorage area where Warren practices philosophy, hunts, gathers, and fishes all over the state.

To read a synopsis Warren's Northern Philosophy in Jacqui Igluguq Lambert's Summer 2017 Qargizine, click here.

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