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Chatter Marks Podcast Reveals the Real Alaska, One Voice at a Time

March 21, 2022

What is Northern identity? What does it mean to be from Alaska? For Meda DeWitt, it means being a traditional healer in a world dominated by Western medicine. For Chloe Ivanoff, it means learning to farm kelp in waters around Kodiak Island. For Julie Varee, it means gathering and sharing the untold stories of Alaska’s Black communities.

Understanding the land Alaskans call home through its people – past and present – is what inspires the Anchorage Museum podcast Chatter Marks. Chatter Marks is hosted by journalist and podcaster Cody Liska, best known for his publications Crude Magazine and the subsequent podcast, Crude Conversations, both focused on taking a contemporary look at what it means to be Alaskan. As the host of Chatter Marks, Liska continues these conversations, encouraging guests to explore the past, present, and future of the North.

Podcasting is an increasingly powerful medium for storytelling at the hyperlocal level, especially for museums, which are at the forefront of documenting the varied experiences of people from all walks of life. Chatter Marks furthers this mission by diving into rich and relevant topics about contemporary life in urban Alaska.“Anywhere you live, you can make your world small (by clinging to your own perspective) or you can make it huge by getting to know the people around you,” says Julie Varee, Anchorage Museum community outreach archivist and Chatter Marks episode 33 guest.

With Chatter Marks podcast, the museum hopes to expand its audience throughout Alaska and beyond while also broadening listeners’ perspectives by sharing the experiences of everyday Alaskans, like food writer Julia O’Malley (episode 24), who thinks where we live affects the foods we love; or Anchorage teen Sofie Chisholm (episode 28), who thinks about how climate change might affect her future; or podcaster Ralph Sara (episode 31), who started an addiction and recovery podcast to keep himself accountable during his journey to sobriety. 

“No longer are museums reservoirs of antiquity, they're spaces that are living and breathing,” says host Cody Liska. “In the best cases, they're places that explore, nurture and promote what is currently happening in their community. I think this puts the Anchorage Museum in a perfect position to help tell the story of Alaska.”

In addition to the Chatter Marks podcast, the Anchorage Museum has published a series of essays and journals further examining Northern perspectives. These written works, published since August 2020 and viewable on the museum’s website, further uplift Northern voices and help people connect to each other and to the natural world through stories that define Alaska and the North as places of ideas, transformation and resilience.

Listen to Chatter Marks episodes at or subscribe to it  wheverer you get your podcasts.

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