Tuesday March 19, 2024

Alaska Beacon

The midsummer air is hot after a long day of sun and stillness in the middle river village of Grayling, and the cutbanks seem to slouch closer toward the Yukon River below. Rachel Freireich says her mother moved here permanently from the Athabaskan village of Holikachuk, up a nearby tributary, in the 1960s to be closer to schools and salmon eddies. 

“They came over with steamboats every summer to fish the salmon,” said Freireich, a resident of Grayling her entire 43 years.

In summers while she was growing up, Freireich says the village was a ghost town.

“The whole community would become kind of abandoned, because everybody would bring their whole families out and they went to the fish camp. Everybody was busy,” she said. 

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