Ptarmigan Tracks

The Newsletter of Camp Denali

Online Version 2023

A Sense of Place, Reexamined

Spend much time in Alaska, and you are likely to notice a cheeky form of one-upmanship based upon “how long have you lived here?” Indeed, spending one’s first winter, or one’s 50th, can feel like an earned badge of honor. On the positive side, perhaps that contributes to the respect
that Alaskans widely accord to our Elders. On the other hand, it’s perilously easy as a three- generation, pre-statehood, original wilderness lodge in Denali, to think that Camp Denali has some clout in this regard.

In reality, neither our 70 years, nor for that matter the National Park Service's 100 years in Denali, hold a candle to more than 10,000 years of Indigenous Alaskans’ care for the land, water and wildlife of Alaska. We recognize that we inhabit the homelands of the Koyukon and Upper Kuskokwim DeneĢ of Interior Alaska. It is their stewardship that is to thank for the bounty that we enjoy daily, and which we are able to share through Camp Denali. We take inspiration from the example of our region’s original and enduring stewards. We further commit to uplifting Indigenous Alaskans’ voices through our Special Emphasis Series of guest speakers and to promoting understanding and respect for Indigenous knowledge, wisdom and values.

Back to Online Version 2023

© Murray Cohen