Face to Face with Alaska’s “Original” Asian Americans (Asia Today, November 7, 2013)

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Into the Wild: Face to Face with Alaska’s “Original” Asian Americans (Asia Today, November 7, 2013) By Tamara Treichel

While most are quick to associate Alaska with the North Pole, grizzly bears, or its controversial former governor, Sarah Palin, it actually harbors so much more as I discovered on a trip to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula this October.

I originally wanted to go hiking and pretend a bit that I was Chris McCandless from Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild while maintaining my creature comforts, but the locals discouraged me from doing so due to the bears. Don’t dare to go hiking alone and without pepper spray and/or a gun, I was warned.

So instead, I decided to explore the Kenai Peninsula in a rental car and try to learn as much as I could within a week about the state’s history and people, especially its native populations – Alaska’s “original Asian Americans” as one could call them. Alaska’s original inhabitants, it is commonly believed, had crossed the Bering land bridge to the North American continent from Asia thousands of years ago. Continue reading