A glimpse of the Alaskan Frontier


Alaska isn’t the typical Samford response to, “Where are you from?”

Photo courtesy of Hailey FanningSophomore exercise science major Hailey Fanning has lived in Alaska her whole life and said that there are five stereotypes that people associate with her Alaskan background.

  1. Your ancestors are

Although Fanning was born in Anchorage and has lived there her entire life, she is not an Alaskan native.

Her parents moved to Alaska because of her dad’s position in the military.

“All the Alaskan natives aren’t Eskimos. Only the northernmost natives are Eskimos,” Fanning said.

  1. You know Sarah Palin.

Although Fanning does not know Palin, she has met her.

While Fanning was in middle school, Palin presented her with an academic award. Palin was serving as Alaska’s governor at that time.

3. You love snow.

“I do love snow, but a lot of Alaskans get tired of it,” Fanning said.

Snow comes from October to December, and daily snowfall generally ranges from nothing to a foot.

“When I was a junior in high school, we had the most snowfall ever, and that was like a little over 10 feet of snow.”

Fanning said the worst part of snow is shoveling, a chore she leaves for her dad and brother, and the best part is snowboarding and skiing.

  1. You have a pet moose.

“I have a Pillow Pet moose if that counts,” Fanning said.

In the winter, she sees a moose about every other week.

“Alaskans have a close connection with wildlife. I’m from Anchorage, so that’s kind of like the city in Alaska. I don’t come across wildlife as much,” Fanning said.

Fanning’s closest encounter with a moose took place while walking to school.

The moose crossed the road and walked toward Fanning. However, another car moved between Fanning and the moose, and she was able to walk away.

5. You can survive in the wild.

Fanning has never been hunting, but she has fished since she was a child.

“Anchorage has good spots, but the best place to go out for fishing is Homer. That’s right on the inlet in the ocean,” said.

Fanning explained that people fish differently depending on what they want to catch. The most common fish are halibut and salmon. Moose and caribou meat are also Alaskan favorites.

Fanning said she hopes to move back to Alaska, although she’s not sure if that will become a reality.

“Alaska is all I’ve ever known,” Fanning said. “I love it down here, but I think Alaska will always be my home.”

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