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A 1915 meeting between Athabascan leaders and Alaska's congressional delegate to Congress, James Wickersham, marked the first time that Native peoples of Interior Alaska voiced their concerns to a representative of the Unites States government. The transcript shows how people still adjusting to their newfound status as subjects of a country they had little prior knowledge of were able to understand the system they found themselves confronted by, and seek ways to thrive under it while maintaining their distinct identity. A recent book tells the story of this meeting, and explores how the issues raised continue to define relations between the government and Alaska Natives to this day.

The Tanana Chiefs: Native Rights and Western Law is one of those priceless history books that asks readers to not simply learn about an event, but to reconsider their understanding of both the past and present as a result."

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


The Literacy Council of Alaska helps immigrants in Fairbanks find their way to work, success, and citizenship.
“In the borough there are over 10 thousand people who don’t speak English as their first language. That’s over 10 percent of our population,” explained Mike Kolasa, the council’s executive director, adding, “Last year we had 175 English language learners students.”
A winding path brought Chidozie Menakaya from Lagos, Nigeria, to Fairbanks, Alaska. The latest installment in "Becoming Alaskan."
When I landed back in Fairbanks and walked through those airport doors, I was relieved,” recalled Chidozie Menakaya after returning to Alaska from Lagos, Nigeria. “I thought, ‘What does that mean if Fairbanks gives me relief?’” Then he broke out laughing.