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Old 09-16-2007, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
26 posts, read 107,976 times
Reputation: 21
Default Alaskans and outsiders, friendly, rude, or.....???

Hello!

I've just signed up here and have some questions, and this is the one I'll start with. First, I don't really know how to ask this....and I hope no one takes offense to this question, as I don't mean it to be offensive, I'm just asking an honest question.

How do Alaskans view so called "outsiders"? By that I mean both tourists and people who move to Alaska. (and by "Alaskans" I mean non-Natives).

8 years ago I moved from my home state cross country to another state.....and while that state will remain nameless for now, the hype I heard about the people of that state being friendly, hard working with a live and let live attitude....well it turned out to not be true. The "locals" have a feeling of entitlement, as if they, and they alone own the land, forests, wildlife....they hate tourists, (even though many of them make a living from tourism) and would rather see the entire state burned in a forest fire than to share the land with "treehuggers". I don't want to bash the people there though, because my best friends are also from there, born and raised, and they know how some of their neighbors can be. But I've been reading about Alaskans on other websites and it seems some people have had similar experiences as I did in this other state....(yes it was a northern state, but not the one I live in now)

So some questions:

Do Alaskans feel like they alone have rights to the land?

Do they resent tourists and outsiders for coming there?

Do they view newcomers as "prey" of sorts....people they can "rip off" because they aren't from Alaska, and so its all ok?

How do Alaskans view the land? Do they care for it, or do they see it as simply a "resource" and a way to make money?

Do Alaskans ignore laws just because they can? Even if its at the expense of other people?

Are Alaskans friendly or rude? Do they feel "superior" because they're from Alaska and a newcomer isn't?

I could probably think of tons of other questions along these lines, but I'm sure every will get what I'm trying to find out. And I know Alaska is a big place, and every region is different...(as it was in this other state too)....I'm mainly think of the Interior, Fairbanks etc...however would be interested in thoughts about all regions.

And I also know that you have people like that in every state, and every town....however, where I experienced it, it literally was almost everybody, not just the town crook....or one sleazy lawyer, but the whole community.


I really hope no one is offended by this question, as I don't mean it to be an attack on anyone, just an honest question....it's just that so many people have one impression of a state and its people, even if they've visited it dozens of times, but once you live there, its totally different.

For the record I've never been to Alaska yet, but am planning a trip, and maybe even stay a summer, perhaps a summer semester at one of the colleges...(maybe University of Fairbanks)..... and I will probably never move there, but it's something I'd like to at least consider, or just learn about for my own knowledge.

Thanks.....
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Old 09-16-2007, 06:52 PM
 
15,940 posts, read 15,500,663 times
Reputation: 6955
First of all, you can't pigeonhole Alaskans. Second of all, how a newcomer is treated depends very highly on that newcomer. You will find all sorts of people here, just like anywhere else. As far as tourism, for the most part, the people making the most money from it are not residents of this state. If all tourists were like karla with a k, I would like them but the sad reality is that many of them are not.
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Old 09-16-2007, 09:59 PM
 
Location: fern forest, glenwood, hawai'i
850 posts, read 3,043,419 times
Reputation: 172
i agree with metlakatla. i think now matter what state you visit, it's a matter of attitude. learn the culture. if you are friendly, i'm sure it will be reciprocated.

i was born and raised in honolulu, hawai'i and have lived here all my life. tourism, as you know, is essential to our economy no matter what way you look at it. it's a fact. it needs to be accepted. bad attitudes are unacceptable.

come visit if you haven't already. check out some of the posts in the hawaii forum. some of them are quite interesting. and, yes, racism does exist in paradise. everyone needs to stop hating!
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:56 PM
 
3,774 posts, read 7,475,790 times
Reputation: 1740
Tourism is a fact of life, and for the most part, the only resentment I see towards tourists is the traffic jams they cause throught the summer months. Otherwise, they are welcomed and treated well for the most part.

Newcomers are welcomed as well, but be forewarned that locals don't want or need corrections or advice on their lifestyle. Live and let live is the watchword. And that goes both ways. If you are a vegetarian, no one will comment as long as you don't make an issue of the meat they hunt. Folks are glad to share the benefit of their experience, but will only shrug it off if you ignore them.

The land has some excellent caretakers, and popular approval or disapproval will close down a project.

Laws are there for everyones' protection. Ignore them at your own risk. That goes for your neighbors as well. The state (and most people in Alaska) take a dim view of lawbreakers.

Most Alaskans I know are originally from somewhere else, unless they are Native. Not all. Most are tolerant and willing to lend a hand when someone they know is in trouble. But they don't tolerate freeloaders and ingrates either. One of the traits most commonly seen here is a willingness to stand in the midst of adversity and take the worst the world has to throw at you, and then, shrug it off. Just another day.

Take a chance. Come on up, and grow with us. We're the future and proud to be here.
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:59 AM
 
Location: Palmer
2,489 posts, read 3,852,939 times
Reputation: 1226
Most Alaskans are very tolerant of visitors. Except when the visitors become obnoxious. Then they ask Fish and Game for the methods of means of taking tourists during tourist season. There is moose season, caribou season and tourist season.

LOL.

Like somone else said, most Alaskans are new to the state so it's not like they feel as if they are entitled.

Alaskan Native people are the ones who have the right to wonder about all of us newcomers...I have been here 54 years.

Really, you will likely find that Alaskan people are some of the most friendly and tolerant anywhere.
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Old 09-17-2007, 02:23 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,550 posts, read 11,179,227 times
Reputation: 6195
I agree with JavaPhil, the only resentment I've seen towards tourists is the result of the extra traffic they cause. When you only have 653,000 residents and more than 850,000 tourists every summer, its hard not to notice the impact. While I understand tourism is necessary for our economy, around this time every year I begin to look forward towards winter when the tourists go home. It's kind of funny really, I never liked the winters when I was living in Minnesota going to school, but I love winters in Alaska. In my opinion it is the second prettiest season of the year.

Every Alaskan I've met doesn't want the lower-48 attitude to prevail in Alaska. For example, when we have a problem with our wildlife, we don't relocate the wildlife like they do in the lower-48. We relocate the tourist causing the problem with our wildlife.

Generally speaking, most Alaskans are here to get away from what the lower-48 has become or is becoming. We help each other out when necessary, respect each other's privacy, and we don't like an intrusive government. Alaskans can be very friendly and tolerant, or distant and isolationist, it all depends on the attitude you bring with you.

Like the majority of Alaskans, I am also a transplant. I moved up here in 1991 from California, where I was born. Alaska is my adopted home state. I love this place so much that I would change professions before even considering moving somewhere else, and a lot of that is because of the kind of people I have met here. I even told my relatives that if they expect me to attend their funerals, they had better die in Alaska.

We live in a land of extremes, and that binds everyone together. If there is a heavy snow and you don't have a plow, but your neighbor does, odds are they will clean out your driveway, not expecting anything in return. If you get stuck in the snow on the way to work or on your way home, you can be certain that someone will stop to help you out. Alaskans are the most generous people I know, and we love showing off our wonderful state to those who have never been here before.
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Old 09-17-2007, 06:10 AM
 
197 posts, read 314,055 times
Reputation: 205
When I lived in Alaska years ago, one of the most popular bumper stickers was "We don't give a damn how they do it in the lower 48!". It was during the pipeline building era and lots of folks moved up to Alaska to help build the pipeline. Many brought with them "suggestions" on how we could "improve" life in the last frontier by making it more like their own home town. It was a source of irritation for the folks that had lived there, happily, for a long while - hence the bumper sticker! I suspect some of the folks that have met resistance lately may have had a bit of "baggage" to begin with.

Go in with an open, accepting, mind of the unique lifestyle, culture, and opportunities. Most people will like you if you like, and value, them - and the place they call home. Alaska is not for everyone - for that matter, neither is California, New Jersey, or Michigan - but it has so much to be proud of and it will serve any visitor well to acknowledge and celebrate it just as it is.

All that being said, you can surely find folks in Alaska that are "rude", "rip off newcomers", "feel superior", "ignore rules", etc. - you can also find them in California, New Jersey, and Michigan! I'm afraid bad behavior knows no boundaries.
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
26 posts, read 107,976 times
Reputation: 21
Thanks for all the replies! I'm a bit relieved to hear the replies I did. I know bad behavior happens everywhere, but as I said, the places I was thinking about it really was the whole community (in a remote part of the lower 48)...anyways, thanks for the replies, and I'm sure I'll have more questions to come.
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Old 09-19-2007, 09:28 PM
 
3,774 posts, read 7,475,790 times
Reputation: 1740
Just lay 'em on us and we'll answer as best as we can (or is that asbestos?)
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:25 AM
 
Location: NE Florida
17,799 posts, read 21,152,771 times
Reputation: 43092
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
First of all, you can't pigeonhole Alaskans. Second of all, how a newcomer is treated depends very highly on that newcomer. You will find all sorts of people here, just like anywhere else. As far as tourism, for the most part, the people making the most money from it are not residents of this state. If all tourists were like karla with a k, I would like them but the sad reality is that many of them are not.
ahhh thanks metlakatla

I have to say all of the locals we interacted with on our recent trip were some of the nicest people I have ever met.
We made a point of making sure to use local owned businesses, be it for our shopping or site seeing trips. It was so much fun finding all about living in the area.
I wouldn't hesitate moving up there.
Maybe some day
karla
p.s. this one one of my favorite signs I saw
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