10 Things Alaskans Say

by Lynn

First on our list of things Alaskans say is, “Cheechako”.

A street sign in Anchorage

This is what someone that is new to Alaska is sometimes referred to as. This term dates back to the Gold Rush days.

The nickname itself means, “newcomer”.

Image Credit: Dick Saunders

More often than not, the newcomers are seen heading out the following spring.

Image Credit: Dick Saunders


Back in the day, the tradition was protecting sourdough starter (used for making bread) during the coldest months by keeping it close to their body.

For those that stay after that first winter and beyond, especially in the harsh regions where extreme negative temperatures are normal, the nickname “Sourdough” is sometimes still used.

City folk need not apply.


“Hey! I just wanted to let you know that we will be going outside for a couple of weeks.”

If you say this, it will automatically be assumed that you are headed out of Alaska for a little bit, not going camping.

Outside = leaving the state.


This falls under the newbie category again. However, many times outsiders will come here long enough to try and change things, or to start a ruckus.

PS- trying to change things to be like the outside will in fact start a ruckus.


The woman’s knife!

The Ulu knife is a tool that has a rich history to it that I look forward to covering in another post. I will list that post here when I get that done.

The Ulu is a great tool that has been used by Alaskan Natives for hundreds of years.

You may hear it called a rocker knife in other cultures.

Damascus Steel Custom Inupiat Walnut or Antler Ulu Knife North Antler Inupiaq
Image Credit: EzinaDesigns out of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Termination Dust 

Termination Dust (light snow) on the high peaks surrounding you is an indicator that winter is now knocking on your door. Not much time is left at this point to finish preparing for the winter season.

Alaska Termination dust
Image Credit: Follow Alaska

The Bush

In this massive state, you are either on the road system or off the road system.

If you are off the road system, you are in the Bush.

Someone forgot to tell the producers of the Alaskan Bush People this little pesky fact…

Alaska map
The red lines indicate the land road system. The Blue lines indicate the marine highway. (Boats only, people) Image credit: Alaska Centers | Public Land Information

The Slope

When most people around the world mention the slope, they are talking about skiing. Here in Alaska, “The Slope” is a massive resource for our entire state and our economy.

The massive oil fields in the North Slope Borough of Alaska employs thousands of workers from around the state and beyond.

Deadhorse Alaska

The Fireweed is Blooming

It’s beautiful while it lasts, but once in full bloom, it is a visual reminder that summer is in full swing and will soon be coming to an end. The race to get whatever you have to do before winter sets in has now begun.

Fireweed reaches its peak bloom by late July and early August (depending on where you are in the state)

Alaska Fireweed
Alaska Fireweed


These are the ones that live in Alaska during the summer months but go somewhere warm and sunny during the wintertime.

These folks can include everyday people like you and me to business owners that only come here for the summer.

Once the Fireweed is on its last petals, you can watch the Snowbirds and the summer tourists alike take off before winter sets in.

As for the rest of us, we are here for the long haul. It won’t be long until the snow flies!

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