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Yes. There are many Alaska Natives, which is not the same thing as a native Alaskan…

Like the American Indians of the lower 48, the Alaska Natives belong to several different groups (they don’t use the term ‘tribe’). Groups are defined by language (and in some ways, location. but not always, anymore). Tlinget and Haida are the groups/languages nearest the ocean (Southeast); Aleut of the Aleutian Islands; Athabascan live in the interior, Inupiat/Yupik are Eskimo distinctions and the people stretch from the west/southwest/southcentral Alaska to Russia (Siberia).

Alaska has many, many rural (off the road system) villages. Some can be reached by dogsled and snow machine. Some by boat or barge. Some only by air. Depending on where they are located, some have to have water barged in, some collect rainwater. Most have no running water, though presently many are equipped with a washeteria, one place in town to do laundry and shower.

Then you have Anchorage; Wasilla, Fairbanks, Juneau…the urban/populated cities, and all of their offshoots. They’re just your normal mid-sized city. Lots of Hilton hotels, tons of bars and restaurants and movie theatres and malls and stuff. Oh and car dealerships, yegads! Ugh. And don’t forget the coffee stands. We outnumber Seattle per capita. It’s crazy.

I live in Anchorage now; I have also lived in Fairbanks, and in two villages-McGrath and Takotna. McGrath has about 400 residents. Takotna about 40.

I have a lot of stories but one has to be very careful about telling them. The locals are very private people. They don’t like their business all over, and if someone has shared with me something I feel worthy of writing about, it’s probably something they don’t want me to write about. I’ll think about it…see if I can come up with something interesting.

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