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I was born and raised in Tanana, Alaska, a remote village of under 300 people. My parents lived off the land (also known as subsistence living or survivalist living), and I grew up eating meat that was hunted for (the animal was blessed & every part of the animal was used), berries that grew wild, and vegetables from our summer garden. We didn’t have running water, electricity, or heat other than a wood-burning stove.
I grew up learning how to survive temperatures as cold as -70 below zero, and about respecting animals and people. We made hats, mittens, mukluks and more out of hides and furs, and learned many different ways to survive and thrive without the modern conveniences I now take for granted.
Like most people in Tanana, Alaska, we had many dogs that we would mush. (The dogs were trained to pull humans in a sled behind them).
Even though I no longer live in Tanana, I still use the training, lessons and skills that I learned growing up there. I return to Alaska every summer with my children because I love it. Alaska will always be home to me. As my friends like to remind me: You can take the girl out of Alaska but you can’t take the Alaska out of the girl. 🙂
I grew up learning how to live off the land; how to survive temperatures of -70 below zero with wind chill, and about respecting animals and people.