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Teaching us to be better humans and Alaskans, one immigrant at a time

After five years, the Becoming Alaskan series about immigrants in Fairbanks has drawn to a close. I'll be archiving all the articles on my website this fall and exploring book possibilities. Meanwhile here's the farewell column.

"Becoming Alaskan has easily been the most rewarding writing project I’ve ever undertaken. To have so many people share their life stories and entrust me to bring them to print has been one of the highest honors of my life. Whittling each of those stories down to the 1,000 words I was allotted has been one of my hardest writing challenges. Behind every story there have been details, quotes and contextual information that I simply couldn’t squeeze in. No person’s life can be told in a newspaper article, but hopefully my summaries have captured part of the essence of each person I’ve profiled."

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About

David James is an Alaskan author and literary critic whose work has been published by the Anchorage Daily News, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Anchorage Press, Alaska Dispatch News, and Ester Republic. He is editing a forthcoming anthology of Alaska writing.


Kendell Macomber discusses aerial dancing,which she practices and teaches in Fairbanks, and her pathway into the Fairbanks professional dancing world, where she is a prominent contributor.

One day I saw aerialists, and I said, that’s the next level; I have to do that. So I got up in the air and haven’t looked back.”

Read more here.
Jenifer Cameron, a professional artist and retired art teacher, took the time to discuss her life's work as she prepared to leave Fairbanks with her husband for their new home in Seldovia.

“Everybody is an artist. When you’re creating and you’re expressing yourself and making marks on a paper and engaged in the process, that’s what artists do. I believe everybody’s creative. Our brains are built to be creative and curious. It’s hard to not be.”

Read more here.