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CONVERSATIONS: Alaska

A growing archive of contemporary
stories of cross-cultural encounter. 


As Ping Chong + Company toured the theater work
ALAXSXA | ALASKA throughout the state of Alaska, artists invited community members into ongoing conversation to share their experiences and reflections.

 

CARRIE LONGPRE | Bethel

"I remember as a little kid some of the people would tell scary stories to watch out for the kass'aqs. 'Be careful! The kass'aqs are coming!' And like, I was one of the kass'aqs. ...Wait a minute, I'm not scary!"


Alyssa Overby | Sutton

"I get really excited when people come up to visit. Or I meet somebody who's not from here, and I'm like, 'Oh! I get to share and experience this beautiful place.' That's my first instinct when I'm meeting somebody that's from out of Alaska." 

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                   Photo: Lonny Cruff

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                   Photo: Lonny Cruff

AMY GORN | WASILLA

"You didn't realize there weren't going to be trees in this town you were moving to. The people were incredibly kind. They folded you into a community right off the bat. You don't get to sleep much, because it's summer adventure season, and you need to get out. It was intoxicating. It really was."


   KEVIN LEE | ANCHORAGE

"I always get amazed at how many people think that I hunt. I was in the military for awhile, and people are like, "So what's hunting like?' I've never been hunting! I don't particularly want to. I've been fishing more times than I care to do, and I'm not sure if I ever want to again. Everyone has a perception or an idea of what people from here should be like. At least in Anchorage, it's almost like being from anywhere else."                

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

TY HEWITT | ketchikan

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

"If you're hanging around and you're still in Ketchikan come October when it can blow 80 miles an hour and will rain for three weeks at a time... like the moment the cruise ships leave, people will be like, 'You're here! Welcome!' And then it's the most friendly place in the world."


ALLISON AKOOTCHOOK WARDEN | KAKTOVIK & anchorage

"When I was 14 and I went away for my mom to get her masters degree and I traveled with her to Iowa, I was constantly thought of being Korean. Which helped as a stereotype in school, I guess, because I was like, this is really surreal. But people, when they found out that I was Iñupiaq, the igloo question would come up all the time. So I really related to that in the show. I would also say I had a two-story igloo, and they would believe me also."

MARY ANN NAGEAK | BARROW

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

CHRISTINA POWERS | KASIGLUK

“[There have been maybe] a hundred times in the last fifteen years where I've felt like, yeah this is really good, I made this great connection, I'm really here. I'm going out and celebrating fish camp and I'm going to feasts and I'm doing all these things that make me feel like I'm part of the community. I've made these connections and they're real life connections. And then something will happen that's just like, no actually... I will always be a visitor.”

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

Akula Elitnaurvik School | Kasigluk                Photo: Lonny Cruff

JASON OVERBY | SUTTON


ROY ASHENFELTER | NOME

"My life is somewhat like [what was depicted in the play about] Kasigluk-- born and raised in White Mountain, small village, subsistence lifestyle, enjoy it. Being here in Nome-- believe it or not, I never thought I'd live in Nome. The images for us-- [of life in Nome from the village perspective]-- is quite scary. I've been here since '82. Having said all that, all the things I ended up doing in White Mountain, I do in Nome. My children are born and raised here. So it's been a real community, when I thought it wasn't going to be."