Frontiers Preview: Making peace with the past in Tanacross
All the kids in Tanacross have known is life on the road system. It’s a predominately Alaska Native community -- off the state highway about 12 miles Northwest of Tok, where it sits on the south bank of the Tanana River.
Once, though, Tanacross was on the opposite side, completely isolated – which helped the people keep their language and culture intact, longer than other Athabascan communities in the region who were on the road system.
But after floods in the 1970s, the people had to move – and as their culture eroded, drugs and alcohol moved in to fill the vacuum.
But despite all that, Tanacross remains the keeper of songs and tradition for the Upper Tanana region, culture now being used to help heal old wounds.
In this week’s Frontiers preview, KTVA’s Rhonda McBride and photojournalist Will Mader take a boat ride across the river to see the old village with Jerry Isaac, a longtime Alaska Native leader, who grew up in Tanacross. It’s a short trip, but a place that seems so far away – across the water, and across time.
This Sunday’s show, Haunting Legacies, is part two of a series on the Rural Providers’ Conference, held in Tanacross this August. It airs on KTVA-Channel 11 at 4:30 and 10:30 p.m.