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History and Culture

Home  >  History and Culture  >  Life in Alaska
Get a closer look at the people of Alaska. This section focuses on the memory of what life was like - or how it has changed - in the Last Frontier.
An Alaskan Heirloom Sourdough Starter
Read the story of an Alaskan tradition: sharing sourdough starter.

Homesteaders in the Headlights
George Harbeson grew up in a homesteading family in Wasilla. Find out about his family memoir and read an excerpt.

Alaska Native Carving
Alaska Native writer Joan Kane explores the importance to Native people of art in general and carving in particular.

Alaska Native Food
Alaska Native writer Joan Kane describes the deep relationship between Native people and the foods they hunt, gather, and share.

Alaska Native Travel
Travel among traditional Alaska Natives required not only special technology adapted to their environment, but also a way of thinking different from Western ways.

Getting an Education Took a Lot of Grit
When Sophie Prosser was a 14-year-old girl in Ninilchik, she wanted an education so badly she went on a hunger strike to prove to her parents just how serious she was. Today, at 76, Prosser looks back on the many successes of her life.

Native Rights Started in a Freezer
Native leader Roy Huhndorf tells of growing up in Nulato and Anchorage and of becoming involved in Native organizations through a conversation with a fellow worker in a Grocers Wholesale freezer.

My Father's Legacy: The Lion on the Mountain
Margie (Twitchell) Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer of CIRI, grew up in the tiny village of Takotna. She said that one of the most important lessons she learned from her father, Benjamin F. Twitchell, was about the enduring nature of the land and its natural features.

Koyukon Language, Past and Present
Eliza Jones, a 63-year-old elder and Athabaskan scholar, is co-author with Jules Jette - a man who died long before she was born - of the recently published Koyukon Athabaskan Dictionary.

Our House Was Different
Mom was busy making Dad a waterproof hunting bag. She used three types of seal hide and beluga whale sinew to sew. I loved to hear the sound of the sinew as she pulled the needle through the thick hide. I can still hear the rhythm. "What are you thinking so hard about, Ahvooruk?" Mom inquired. "Our house," I replied.

She's a Native, Isn't She?
Ebba Hamm describes an incident of prejudice she experienced after she moved to Anchorage with her husband, Nolan Hamm.

Writing for Her People (2 pages)
For Patricia Wade the written word has a particular power. It has the power to inform, the power to persuade, and even, sometimes, the power to change people. She used its power after a small plot of land where her tribe?s dead were buried came into private hands.

I Usually Flew Straight
Retired airline executive Ray I. Petersen recalls the difficulties early pilots faced with virtually no communications and points out how some of his key decisions in those days were based on luck.

The Father of Military Construction in Alaska: Colonel B. B. Talley (4 pages)
Brigadier General B.B. Talley came to Alaska in September 1940 to build an airfield near Yakutat. For three years, General Talley worked reconnaissance on the mainland and in the Aleutians and supervised construction on more than 60 projects.

51 Hours and 19 Minutes (3 pages)
Lisa Frederic describes her adventures along the trail as she and her 12 dogs ran - and won - the 2001 Denali sled dog race.

The Heroine of Wrangel Island
Ada Blackjack Johnson was just 23 years old when she was hired as a seamstress to accompany four other members of an ill-fated expedition charged with colonizing Russia's Wrangel Island in 1921.

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