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Title:Midnight sun and wildfire haze on Denali
Author(s):Leitschuh, Benjamin
Subject(s):Denali National Park and Preserve
Abstract:When I first visited Denali National Park & Preserve (Denali) in the fall of 2018, I was humbled by what I viewed as the rugged beauty of a 6 million acre landscape unspoiled by the excesses of humanity. After long hours spent listening to residents in the communities around the park, I now see a landscape full of competing meanings that challenge the very idea about what Denali is, was, and will be. Many of the indigenous Athabaskan peoples that I spoke with see Denali as part of a larger landscape that has sustained a modern way of life, rooted in the subsistence use of natural resources since time immemorial. This indigenous understanding of place often conflicts with the meanings enforced by the National Park Service that view Denali as a virgin landscape, best protected by appreciating it at arm’s length. Complicating the issues, some community groups see Denali as an underdeveloped economic resource while others want to maintain the settler-colonial fantasy that views Alaska as “the last frontier”. This research seeks to shine a light on how competing meanings of place resist and complicate the hegemonic understanding of a landscape.
Issue Date:2021
Description:I would like to thank Dr. Carena van Riper and Dr. Bill Stewart for making this research possible.
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Benjamin Leitschuh
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-04-12

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