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Alaska, The Last Frontier

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Alaska; the wilderness state, the last frontier: Where majestic mountains, Deliver streams into flowing rivers: Down slopes covered in forests Of Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock, That dominates the landscape. The name Alaska originates From the Aleut word ‘Aleyska,’ Meaning the ‘mainland’ or literally: ‘The object toward which the action of the sea is directed.’ Home to barren-ground caribou, lemmings, and polar bears, Willow ptarmigan, and moose, And the stately Chinook King salmon. And home to the nation’s only herd of wood bison; Thought not to exist but reintroduced And brought back from extinction. Hence, ages ago when glaciers grew and melted, A land bridge was formed between Siberia and Alaska; Where the ancestors lived and eventually walked over, To settle the great land and coastal waters. The indigenous peoples of Inuit and First Nations (Aleuts and Yuit; Athabascans, Tlingit, and Haida) Believe all places, objects, and creatures, Possess a divine presence, and Shaman Are spiritual healers who can meditate with them. Under the aurora borealis, From the North Pacific to the Arctic Ocean, They conduct their way of life. Engaging in hunting, trapping, trading, and fishing: At peace with the world. March 30, 1867, marks the day history changed; When the Alaskan territory was sold, By the Empire of Russia to the United States of America. An area twice the size of Texas, For seven point two million US dollars. And for the next three decades, was given little attention; Until gold was discovered, near Nome in 1899. Then a stampede of sourdoughs left the Yukon’s Klondike gold fields for richer claims, Of placer and bench gold, In the streams and soils and rocks of Alaska, Via the American only route and Canadian trails. Today, gold is the State’s national mineral. And when war came to the Aleutian Islands; (After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor) Alaska proved its worth and came of age. Due to its strategic importance in the war effort; Growth took place at a rapid pace. Roads and towns, naval bases and airports appeared overnight. Alaskan pride in the fight for freedom prevailed. Every March, since nineteen seventy-three, The 'Iditarod' (the last great race on earth) is run, From Anchorage to Nome, On a trail just over a thousand miles, By mushers and their Alaskan Malamute and Siberian dogs. North America’s highest peak And the world’s largest rise Is Denali (formerly called Mount McKinley), Located in the Alaskan Range; And a lake (Ilamna Lake), the size of Connecticut. The state flag bears the North Star and Big Dipper; On a background of blue that waves in the wind. ‘North to the Future’ As its citizens sing ‘Alaska’s Flag Song.’ And pays homage to the early prospectors In their quest for gold, And in honor of achieving the forty-ninth statehood, On January the third, nineteen fifty-nine; As the ‘Forget-me-not’ flower blooms in Spring, When the season of love begins. Today, trawlers leave the ports to catch The prized Alaskan King Crab. And the Iñupiat spear, the Bowhead whale In managed traditional fishing waters, And net Coho and Sockeye salmon Swimming upstream to ancient spawning grounds. While a bustling oil industry thrives, With offshore drilling and land exploration. Alaska, jade of the North, in the twenty-first century.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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