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Friendly Alaskans 6/29/2012

Alaskans are independent, yet friendly people. Even in the big city of Anchorage, people tend to nod or say hello when they walk by. And that friendliness extends to lending a helping hand.There are letters to the editor every week thanking good Samaritans who help strangers with car trouble, medical emergencies, troublesome moose on the bike trail, etc. I think it stems from our frontier history. It used to be that a friendly neighbor or passerby would be the difference between life and death. We got used to helping each other out, knowing in the back of our minds that we might need help next time we had an accident or illness.

I’ve been researching the Kantishna Mining District around 1905-1920. Kantishna miners were independent folks who liked living by themselves. They often didn’t see any people for weeks or months. But if a traveling hunter or explorer came by a cabin, he’d usually get invited in for a meal. And they’d help each other in time of need.  Fannie Quigley often treated sick prospectors with medicine she made or bought with donations, since there was no doctor or clinic in the area. When distemper broke out in 1914, the residents brought their surviving dogs together and created teams to haul freight for themselves and their Athabascan neighbors. People pulled together when they needed to.

I’ve heard the same kind of things happen in the Western states. Is this unique to Alaskans, or do others have the same experience?

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I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

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