Creative Writing

We are the ‘real’ Alaskan Bush People

The Real, Alaska Bush People

Tales from the Bush – the invisible unseen side of rural Alaska



We eat, s***, and breathe the bush. Our home is the bush, our families have lived here since the days of the land-bridge. We live here because we have always lived here.

I use the term ‘real’ Alaskan Bush People for several reasons. First, the name for my people, the Yup’ik, comes from the two words, ‘genuine’ and ‘person’. Second,

Lastly, it came to be that during the 2010’s that a popular reality tv series (in the sense of mainstream America) portrayed a strange version of Alaskan life following the Brown family near Hoonah. The family was supposedly kicked off of land they were squatting on, and went out to build a new settlement, ‘Brown Town‘ in the wilderness. Except they didn’t. The Browns were frequent guests of the hotels in town after shooting their scenes, and although the show claims they have been living in Alaska for the last thirty years, they had recently pleaded guilty to de-frauding the Alaska Permenant Fund. The Browns weren’t even Alaska citizens.

I hope I speak for most, if not all Alaskans, when I say we hope the Browns never set foot in our state again. I take this blatant distortion of the truth personally. I was homeless living in the woods in Alaska, I actually know what being a ‘bush person’ is like. It was the skin of your feet peeling after being exposed overnight; the rustling of the winds and patter of rain on your make-shift tarp tent and the officers who pushed you out of wherever you made camp.

The phony Brown family appropriated my life, and they did a shit job at it.


It’s because of this that I feel compelled to share the often ignored stories of our lives in the bush, for better, or for worse. I will be telling our stories from many perspectives, and through different eras in our history. The people used in this series are fictional, however, are based on personalities and character traits common in the bush.

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