“We have been hiking in the mountains all day. We wear dresses and jewelry with everything we do. It is part of our Russian traditions and you get used to it. Our ancestors fought hard to get here and held onto their traditions while coming from Russia to America. There is a sense of duty for us to carry these on. My great grandparents were born in Russia. Our parents were born on the road while they were migrating from China to South America, and then Alaska. They were seeking freedom of religion and to escape communism. Russia was killing all of the Christians. We speak Russian and it is our primary language. My great grandfather stood in line for three days to get bread. He would get to the end and five people down and they ran out. No bread. They killed both of the parents of my great grandmother. Her father was killed for wearing a cross. Her mother was shot on the way across the lake as they were escaping. She was an orphan by the time they arrived in China and another family raised her. We are so grateful for our religious freedom.”
This is the final story from Alaska and Our Alaskan Souls. Thank you to each person who spoke with me to help me understand the state and their life in it.