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Alaska's Rich Lode of Occupational Folklife

Metaphors of gold and the mine come easily when speaking of the occupational folklife of Alaskans. So rich and densely symbolic are both gold and the occupational lives of the men and women who turn the Alaskan land to profit, so integral to the dramatic sweep of the Alaskan frontier are both, and so dependent for their economic value on the giant boom and bust fluctuations of international trade, that sometimes for those in "the lower forty-eight" both gold and the lives of Alaskan loggers, fishermen, bush pilots and gold miners are surrounded by an aura that places them at once into the realm of the symbolic, the epic and the heroic.


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