Historical Events

Dr Romig states that Alaskan natives on this [carnivore] diet the people were strong, and did not get scurvy ... the did not have gastric ulcer, cancer, diabetes, malaria, or typhoid fever, or the common diseases of childhood known so well among the whites.

J.H. Romig, M.D. Letterhead

It is written on a letterhead: “J. H. Romig, M.D., 115 East Columbia, Colorado Springs, Colo. ... 1948 ...” and signed, in ink, “J. H. Romig, M.D.” In the first part of this paper he speaks of himself in the third person:

“When Dr, J. H. Romig went to the Bering Sea region of Alaska, in the year 1896, he found the Eskimos living according to tradition, ideology, and diet, the same as they had lived for hundreds of years before.” He gives the general impression of average good health and considerable longevity. He describes their houses and housekeeping and tells that during winter most of the men spend much of their time at what whites have called club houses or bath houses, the native karrigi or kadjigi.

“The women brought the largest meal of the day to their husbands, fathers, and sons. The food was in a wooden dish ... mostly game and fish ... Dried smoked salmon was much used, and other dried fish. Seal and fish oil was much in demand and was a necessity; no one could be well without fats. Their food was cooked mostly by boiling, and was rather rare; they ate as well, especially in winter, raw frozen fish and raw meat. They kept some wild cranberries for the favored dish of akutok — made [of lean meat and] of seal or fish oil mixed with warm tallow, sprinkled with cranberries, stirred, and hardened with a little snow.

“On this diet the people were strong, and did not get scurvy ... the did not have gastric ulcer, cancer, diabetes, malaria, or typhoid fever, or the common diseases of childhood known so well among the whites. For the most part they were a happy, carefree people ...

“With the advent of gold discovery, government schools and missions, and the high price of furs, came a new era ... They were able to buy white men's food and clothing, neither of which fitted their real need. The children were sent to school and learned white man's ways ...

“These people have changed from the old way, to eating pancakes with syrup and canned goods from the store. The children have poor teeth now, as well as the older ones. They have white man's epidemics, and neither the home nor the food that once was good for them ...

“The Government is now doing much to cover up and ease these changes in native life ... It is with regret that we can see the slow passing of these once hardy people ...”

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