49 Voices: Grant Deussing of Anchorage

This week we’re hearing from Grant Deussing in Anchorage. Deussing is a graphic designer and student worker at UAA.

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Grant Deussing of Anchorage (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage)
Grant Deussing of Anchorage (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

DEUSSING: My father was a principal that moved around often. I’ve lived in Galena, Nanwalek, Anchor Point, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Anderson Juneau. I also lived up in the Bush like Noatak and Noorvik. I’ve gotten every region in Alaska just about under my belt.

The state nickname itself, the “Last Frontier”, I really like the fact that we haven’t become super populated with humans yet. It’s a very nice place. I really wanna keep it that way.

Anchorage is the hub right now so I’m kinda like living in the city, but if I had money and a place of my own, I’d probably live out in the middle of nowhere and just be a hippie living off the land, sustaining myself.

You know, people get their conceptions of Alaska based off movies like Snow Dogs and reading about like Antarctica, and they just correlate ‘snowy place’ and cold with Alaska. I’ll show them pictures of like Denali in the fall or summer and they’re like, “Oh my gosh! It’s green.” Or I’ll show them pictures of Anchorage, “Oh my gosh! Those aren’t pet polar bears that you ride around.” Yeah, it’s a Ford. Same thing. They’re synonymous.

There’s obviously a bunch of misconceptions, but I keep it. I want to keep it the Last Frontier. It’s a little selfish of me to try to deter people from coming here, but hey.

When I lived up in the Bush in Noatak, I decided to go on a week-long kayak trip with my father. Well above the Arctic Circle, in the middle of nowhere. We landed on a river bed. And right when we landed, there was a bear. And I was probably 10 or 11 at the time, and this bear bluff-charged me and my father and there was one other guy, my dad’s friend. So there’s three people in the middle of nowhere, and we’re getting bluff-charged by a bear the minute we land. So that was a reality check. Only in Alaska would you see this much wildlife and get charged by a bear. I mean, obviously, I would’ve taken the bear. But for the bear’s sake, it was only a bluff charge.

You know, no matter how flat you make a pancake, it’s always got two sides. There are benefits to having more people here and there’s benefits to not. I’ve lived in cities and I’ve been to big cities like New York City, Philadelphia, areas like that. It just gets so congested with people. It really takes away from the environment. I don’t want Alaska to become just a memory.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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