Fairbanks is about three hundred miles away from the next actual city, (Anchorage). After listening to everybody talk about how living in the city of Fairbanks is, and what it means to be an Alaskan, I realized how different it is from other parts of the state. It’s almost as if this single big state is separated.
Coming from south central Alaska, I have a very different view point on what it is to be an Alaskan, yet we all still live in the same state. I thought it would be a good idea to turn certain events about the history of different parts of Alaska into some sort of story, but I was unsure how to do that.
That is, until I thought of my grandfather. When he was sixteen years old he ran away from home and hitchhiked to Alaska on the AlCan, and lived in Homer until he passed away in 2006. It would be a good story to tell to the people of Fairbanks because it would educate them on important events that happened in different parts of the state. He was living on the Homer spit during the 1964 earthquake, helped clean up the oil spill, and started one of the last homesteads in the state.
His life would be the story that strings together these events and places that are important to the state of Alaska, but may not seem relevant to the people here since it happened nearly six hundred miles away. I am arguing that these events are relevant to everyone that lives in the state of Alaska because they shape our identity and the way people outside of Alaska view us. Alaska is Alaska.
As for sources, the Alaska film archives and the Alaska digital archives have thousands of hours of video footage on the Alaska-Canada highway, the 1964 earthquake, the Exon Valdez oil spill, and Homesteading in Alaska. Here are a few websites that I have found on the earthquake and oil spill that have a lot of good information, and a link to a powerpoint that has some pictures of my own and some videos that I liked:
It is important to have pride in being an Alaskan, and understanding what its like to live in other parts of the state.