"We won’t be seeing stories like this anymore.”
"Holloway's memoir is an invigorating tale of high-adventure and sturdy self-reliance. It provides an intimate glimpse into life in the Alaskan wilderness and the lives of the remote Gwich'in people. Moreover, it preserves a collection of the stories, memories, and mythology from a Gwich'in elder that might otherwise have been lost with his passing."
Dreaming Bears was nominated as one of the best books in Southern literature and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award.
Dreaming Bears is the true story of the rare friendship that develops between a young medical student with deep roots in the South and an elderly Indian couple in the wilds of northeast Alaska. In 1961, Mike Holloway, his brother Ted, and a college friend set out from South Carolina to spend the summer hiking in Arctic Alaska, intending to live off the land. They end up in the homeland of the Gwich’in – the northernmost Indians in North America.
The young men charter a small plane into the isolated village of Venetie, where the tribal chief directs them to the remote cabins of Johnny and Sarah Frank. The elderly Gwich’in couple lived a thirty-five-mile walk from the village and more than a hundred air miles from the closest road. Johnny was a well-known storyteller and former medicine man. Sarah made their home welcoming with warm, calm kindness – her well-worn hands seldom idle.
His rich encounters in Gwich'in country deepen Mike’s love of wild land and his respect for those who depend upon it for their survival. The experience alters his life. He becomes the adopted grandson of Johnny and Sarah, returning to Alaska as a doctor and an advocate for the land and its people.
Watch the trailer
This trailer for Dreaming Bears is narrated by Allan Hayton, with music by the Di' Haii Gwich'in Dancers, lead by Johnny and Sarah's grandson Kenneth Frank. It was produced for Epicenter Press by Mary Albanese, another Epicenter author. Mahsii' choo to them! The author would also like to thank Ted Holloway, Richard Volkwein, and Margie Ann Gibson for their photos.
Please ask for a copy at your favorite bookstore today. Published by Epicenter Press. Also available online:
All author profits will be donated to Gwich'in non-profit groups such as those in the link Gwich'in at the top of this page.