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Bringing Native Values to Work Sophie Minich and Sheri Buretta were both little girls in Alaska when, 51 years ago, on December 18, 1971, President Richard Nixon signed the landmark Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The act was the first of its kind in the United States’ long history of settlements with Native Americans. ANCSA created 12 Native regional economic development corporations in which the stockholders are the Native people who traditionally lived in these regions. The corporations were formed to provide economic, educational, social service, and cultural benefits to their shareholders. Today, Minich and Buretta lead two of these Native corporations. Buretta is the chairman of the board for Chugach Alaska Corporation. Minich is the president and CEO of Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI). Sheri Buretta Growing up between Tatitlek and Anchorage, Sheri Buretta and her family drove from Anchorage, where she lived, to Valdez, where an uncle…

Welcome to the future Alaska is hot, welcome to the future. It might be time for snowbirds to rethink their second home or retirement condo in Florida. The world is hot and getting hotter, and while Alaska is leading the way, I’d like to illuminate the bright side of global warming. Consider home gardening. In the 1970s, Anchorage was a terrible place to grow tomatoes. Now, you can harvest your own tomatoes and even okra—unthinkable even in the 1990s—in Alaska. Robins once migrated south to warmer climes in the fall (just like many Alaskans), but now they overwinter in Homer. Fireweed blooms no longer reliably predict the first freeze. Red fox have been moving north and taking over the territory of arctic fox. Heck, even the bears in Kodiak didn’t hibernate until late December last year, before announcing it was spring by emerging in early March. If the reactions of…

Get a cup to go at this unique coffee house Tolkien fans, take note. You don’t need an eagle from Mordor to visit the Heart o’ the Shire. Just catch a flight to Naknek. Heart o’ the Shire, a hobbit-themed coffee shop, sits at milepost 2 of the Alaska Peninsula Highway, a strip of pavement that connects Naknek to King Salmon and nowhere else. The two towns share 850 residents and only one taxi, but the region buzzes each summer with Bristol Bay cannery workers and tourists visiting Katmai National Park and Preserve. That means out-of-town travelers stumble upon the Shire each summer. “It’s kind of fun when people discover you and they’re surprised,” said co-owner Eseta Sherman. Eseta has run the coffeeshop since 2008 alongside her husband, Richard, and their four kids, Maica, Aniva, Bethany, and Jesse. That first season, they operated from a double-wide trailer and a tent.…

Seven long-time faves on the culinary scene Alaska has gained quite the reputation among foodies—and deservedly so. Using the best of what Alaska has to offer, the state’s chefs, bakers, and restaurateurs have added a distinctly northern twist to their food service. Fresh Alaskan seafood is always a featured ingredient; game may be on the menu, too, as available. Locally grown produce, such as berries and vegetables that do well in Alaska’s northern climate, are used whenever possible. And a tempting assortment of homemade treats for dessert is meant to warm the heart as well as fill the stomach. Fat Olives’ private label wine. Courtesy Jacques du Preez, Juneau’s Waterfront Restaurants The results are, well, delicious. From rural roadhouses to urban steakhouses, Alaska’s culinary scene has something for every palate and budget. Among the many choices, certain local landmarks stand out. They have earned a loyal following over time for…