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Artistically Inclined

Yukon Questionnaire ~ Fall 2012 (V6I3)

Artist Ken Anderson reveals his love for the environment, from wilderness to wildlife


Name: Ken Ingemund Anderson
Place of Residence: Whitehorse
Occupation: Artist (painter, carver, sculptor)


How long have you lived in the Yukon?

I was born here. I am of Teslin Tlingit ancestry on my mother’s side. I’ve been here for 41-plus years.


What brought you here? My dad came to visit family and never left. My mother’s people have been here a very long time, perhaps partly originating from what is now southeast Alaska.


What keeps you here? This is the best place in the world for pristine wilderness, wildlife, and a low density of people.


Settle the debate for us: What makes someone a “real” Yukoner? If you live here and know there is no place you would rather live.


What’s the biggest tall tale you’ve told friends or family in the South about life in the North? That there are places you can catch a fish with every cast.


How do you get your friends or family in the South to come visit? I think you keep reminding them about what an awesome visit they had last time they were up here.


Who is your favourite Yukon character of all time? My Tlingit grandmother, Mabel Johnson. She was my link and root to the past. She is a person who knew where she came from and was proud of her roots. She was a hard worker who did her very best at whatever she chose to do. She lived through tremendous change and personal challenges and persevered.


I wouldn’t change ____ for all the gold in the Klondike. The natural state of the land and water.


What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in the territory? Fresh moose ribs roasted on a fire alongside the river. It was good because of the company and the history of the place we were at.


What’s one thing about the Yukon that more of us should take advantage of? Go for a walk in the woods.


What’s your favourite piece of little-known Yukon trivia? There are such things as galloping glaciers. (Editor’s note: A galloping glacier is an intriguing phenomenon where a glacier moves as much as several metres per hour.)
What do you wish more Canadians knew about life here? That there is value in natural places that cannot be quantified in terms of resources or money.


Where is your favourite place in the territory? On the top of a mountain.


What’s the best up-close-and-personal encounter you’ve had with the local wildlife? Meeting a grizzly bear on Nisutlin River. I snuck up on him in the canoe. He charged twice, but didn’t come into the water.


You’re on the phone to a friend from the Outside. No one from the government is listening. Do you say “Yukon” or “The Yukon”? The Yukon.


When the cold and dark gets to you, where do you go to recharge? Somewhere with a super-deep blower pow. (Editor’s note: Blower pow is deep snow powder on a hill for skiing and snowboarding.)


Dog mushing or snowmobiling? Apples and oranges--they both have their advantages. I would have to say that a pair of skis would trump both, though.


How cold is too cold? When the snow is too cold to get a good glide when skiing, or when the temperature hits below minus 45 degrees Celsius.


What author, musician, band, or artist from the territory do you think should be more famous? Meshell Melvin and John Steins. They are both real-deal visual artists in persona and talent, and even better people.


You’ve just won a huge jackpot at Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino, and you have 24 hours to spend it in the Yukon. Where are you headed? I suppose I would fly around the entire border of the Yukon and to Hershel Island via smaller plane or helicopter. I’d stop at some of the geographic highlights, like Mount Logan, the Peel Watershed, the Logan Mountains, and the headwaters of the Nahanni River, among other spots.


Finally, what does “The Spell of the Yukon” mean to you personally? You know what it means to be part of the land and part of the water. Y


 
 
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