Kichx̱áan, Taantʼa Ḵwáan ḵa Sanyaa Ḵwáan aaní, Lingít Aaní, Anáaski
Ketchikan, the land of the Tongass and Cape Fox peoples, Tlingit Country, Alaska
I’ve spent most of my life in the town of Ketchikan, on an island in southern Southeast Alaska. The city is built on the side of the island, with buildings, roads and neighborhoods climbing up the hillsides some, but mainly just stretching along the coast. The water is our livelihood: Fishing is our most constant industry; we’re known as the salmon capital of the world; and every year, over a million tourists come to town, mainly by cruise ship.
For me, though, the water has never been my favorite place to be. I grew up in house far up a mountainside, at the upper edge of a peaceful neighborhood. The backyard stretched steeply uphill, back into the forest until you reach a beautiful mountain lake. My feeling of belonging in this environment comes to me most when I am in those woods, surrounded by hemlock, cedar, and spruce, the evergreen sentinels of the northwest rainforest. Where I’m from is a place that’s truly alive, beautiful, and at peace.
For blogposts involving my hometown, turn here.