A Fresh Start in Alaska | Letters | Chicago Reader

A Fresh Start in Alaska 

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To the editors:

Tom Riccio, former artistic director of the Organic Theater, moved to Fairbanks, Alaska a month ago to take over the theater department of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He told Reader columnist, Michael Miner [September 9], Fairbanks is made up of two kinds of people: "Fundamentalist Christians and liberal granola crunchers, which is what they're called here."

Wrong. It's made up of four kinds of people. In addition to the fundamentalists and the granola crunchers, there are the Natives--the Inupiat, Yupik, Athabaskans, Aleuts, Haida, Tlingit and Tshimshian whose "abstract and nonlinear culture" is so conveniently right up Mr. Riccio's alley, and who have been waiting all century for someone like him to tell the world the story of their culture's "precariousness"--and last but not least the instant experts. The Natives--even the fundamentalists and granola crunchers, after they've lived here a few years--can spot them a mile off.

Roland Wulbert

[Former Associate Professor Department of Cross-Cultural Studies

University of Alaska, Fairbanks]

W. 101st Street

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