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Alaska Native Historian Holly Guise on the Value of Oral Histories Alaska Native historian Holly Miowak Guise (Iñupiaq) reflects on how recorded oral accounts connect Alaskans and incorporate Indigenous voices into today’s historical narratives. “Oral history is a powerful way to reach students, academics, and the public, enabling listeners to connect with a speaker, hear about their life, and perhaps more readily empathize with them. It’s also important for integrating Indigenous perspectives missing from Western archives. Oral histories are meant to be listened to. Even when a transcript is available, it’s best to listen to the audio, which offers human voice, character, intonation, and the interactions between the interviewer and interviewee. Today, websites or YouTube channels allow people to hear oral histories from their homes or classrooms. I created a website, ww2alaska.com, during a postdoctoral year at the University of California Irvine that hosts testimonies from Unangax̂ survivors of relocation…

Alaska’s Other Gold A decade ago in late July, my wife, MC, was picking salmonberries at the edge of the forest on Admiralty Island when she startled a brown bear. I spoke to the bear gently as MC backed away. As we left, we walked past the end of the berry patch, where we had stashed our kayak, to the edge of a meadow where the sea met a stream. Pink salmon leapt continuously into the air. Hundreds, maybe thousands, were schooled up at the mouth of the stream. That evening, we went to retrieve our kayak. Next to its hull lay a bright, silver-colored pink salmon with one large bite taken out of it. Nearly all the salmon we’d watched jumping had begun to mottle with their spawning colors. I knelt over the salmon, pondering why the bear had dropped it there until I sensed the bear was bedded…

Two Alaska Native artists bring new color to the Anchorage streetscape This summer, Anchorage visitors can seek out two new public murals created by forerunners in Alaska Native art. The first is located on G Street on the east side of the RIM Architecture building and was painted by Crystal Worl, a Tlingit, Athabaskan, Yup’ik, and Filipino artist based in Juneau. Worl has emerged as a prominent Alaskan artist whose work is featured in public spaces in Juneau and has appeared as a Doodle on Google’s homepage. Her new mural, completed in August 2022, honors several Alaska Native groups and highlights Anchorage as a cultural gathering place. The second mural graces the The Kobuk building on the corner of 5th Avenue and E Street. Painted by Yup’ik and Inupiaq artist Drew Michael, its vivid colors recreate a mask he carved in 2019 and celebrate the rich cultural traditions of the…

Congratulations to our 2022 photo contest winners. Each image tells a story or captures a slice of Alaska’s unique beauty, adventure, or way of life. This year, we’ve included photographers’ Instagram names so you can follow them online to see even more of their explorations around Alaska and beyond. We hope you enjoy these colorful images from around the Great Land. Grand Prize Winner JENNIFER SMITH @jfogle02 Look for this image on the cover of our February Issue of Alaska Magazine. Categories Alaska Life: Representing Alaskans and/or their way of life, traditions, culture, or authentic “only in Alaska” moments. CLOSE-UPS: Showing the close-up details of anything Alaskan, from nature to people to urban constructs. Scenic: Emphasizing the landscape and scenery of Alaska with or without the human element. Wildlife: Animals native to Alaska (not in captivity). Alaska Life 1st Place JILLIAN BLUM @jillian.blum 2nd Place DAVID NEEL @akwildphoto 3rd Place…

Taku Harbor’s Legendary Man and Myth I stepped into the low light of a derelict cabin and studied moldering walls, broken glass, and filth. My three-year-old son clung to me, scanning the shadows. “Daddy, there could be ghosts! We need to get out of here!” he said. The cabin once belonged to Henry “Tiger” Olson—a hermit, philosopher, and mystic who lived most of his life in Taku Harbor, 20-some miles south of Juneau. By the time we got there, it had been more than 40 years since he had occupied the cabin. To be honest, the place creeped me out a little as well. It wasn’t just Tiger’s cabin that felt haunted, though—Taku Harbor is filled with ruins and stories. The harbor is part of the Tlingit T’aaku Kwáan’s territory. The Hudson’s Bay Company established their Fort Durham Trading Post there in 1840, only to abandon it three years later.…

Right place, wrong attitude I stood on the walkway over Steep Creek, in the shadow of the Mendenhall Glacier. A popular spot for Juneau locals and visitors alike. This late summer afternoon, sockeye salmon finned in the clear shallows, flashing their deep red spawning colors; a bald eagle perched in a spruce, framed by the autumn-tinged slopes of Mount McGinnis: the whole scene a giant, living postcard. I gazed out, feeling my pulse and breathing slow to match my surroundings. An incoming clump-clump of footsteps signaled an end to my moment alone. No big shock. After all, the bus-packed parking lot for the Glacier Visitor Center lay just a hundred yards away. Amazing, I told myself, that this little chunk of country could absorb so much traffic, day in and out, and stay this good. “Where are the bears?” A New Jersey voice in the crowd demanded. “They said…

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. 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 offering a unique and distinctly Alaskan dining experience. What’s more, they are…