Column: Leaving the city behind for life in Alaska Native village

"When Eunice Schaefer moved back to the village after more than a decade of city living, relatives often appeared at her doorstep with food. They had caught extra fish or killed extra birds, they would say. Did she want some?

These members of her extended family, some of whom she barely knew, didn't really have food to spare, she understood.

"Moving from Anchorage to a village, or any city to a village, you're used to things not costing as much. It's harder to budget. And you know my pride kept me from asking for help when we first got here," said Schaefer, a 32-year-old mother of seven.

"I'd rather go without and a lot people knew that. They'd just bring things over," she said.

I met Schaefer in late September at the Kwethluk Native Store, where she works as a clerk. As her young family toughens to life on the Lower Kuskokwim River, they are among the hundreds of Alaskans who have moved from Anchorage to villages in the past two years, many trading city "luxuries" like indoor plumbing and big box stores for the backyard salmon streams and berry fields of Bush Alaska.

An exodus of villagers to Alaska cities -- an urban migration -- grabbed headlines over the past decade. But the river flows both ways as many rural residents return to hometowns across the state."

Get the Story:
Kyle Hopkins: Leaving the city behind for village life (The Anchorage Daily News 12/1)

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