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Across the upper half of the Northern Hemisphere, humans have lived in an uneasy cohabitation with bears for millions of years. A recent book explores the way mythology and legend have helped people on three continents find their place among bears, and how these early forms of literature placed bears in the midst of human societies.

"In most regions above the tropics, the bear is king. Bears are one of the few animals capable of killing and eating people, although curiously, despite this clear advantage, they rarely do so. Among wild animals, bears are more like humans than most: intelligent, omnivorous, skillful. And when skinned, their bodies resemble ours so closely that in some cultures killing bears was taboo. And as Strol demonstrates, wherever bears historically wandered, the humans who lived alongside them incorporated the animals into their mythologies."

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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, Anchorage Press, 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.