Some of my best memories are from Bristol Bay, fishing with my family and putting away salmon for the winter. I remember waiting for Grandma, filleting the fresh salmon next to her smokehouse and asking for the first batch of roe.
Tell us about yourself
I’m Kenneth H. Gross, born and raised in Alaska, and I’m Alaskan Native on both sides of my family. I’m Tlingit, Athabaskan, and Aleut.
My Mom, Grandma and Grandpa and all five of their children are from Bristol Bay and are lifelong fisherman in Naknek, AK. My Father was an Alaska Native from Angoon raised in Wrangell, AK. He was a fisherman as well, King Crab, it’s how he passed, In February of 1991 off St Paul island, along with his entire Crew onboard the Barbarossa, they were all lost and never found. All of my Aunts and Uncle had permits, I have a big Native family full of fishermen who have a storied history in Bristol Bay.
I spend my summers in Naknek, AK fishing with my family; Aunts and Uncles, Grandma and Grandpa. At the age of 11, I was called by my Mom to work on her boat full time until I graduated High School in Anchorage, AK. I attended the University of Utah for three years and studied Business and Biology. I came home to Alaska and enrolled in the school of Biology at UAA. I also studied Coastal Ecology abroad in Central America, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama, with the most work in Costa Rica.
I worked overseas in many different countries as a government contractor for the Department of Defense and the Department of State, in Iraq, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean. I’m home now, with my wife and two daughters in Eagle River, AK where I bought my family business, and am now looking forward to carrying on our line of fishermen. I started my own company, Alaska Native Fisheries LLC, to perpetuate a positive image of Alaska Natives and the beauty in our people and our culture. I have a vision of helping Alaskan Natives and Veterans with employment and education opportunities. Along with my time with the US Air Force, I spent about 4.5 years in a war zone in Iraq.
Some of my best memories are from Bristol Bay, fishing with my family and putting away salmon for the winter. I remember waiting for Grandma, filleting the fresh salmon next to her smokehouse and asking for the first batch of roe. Then, I’d run inside and boil water with salt, and it would be filled with joyful memories. I remember my Grandmother’s hands smelling like smoked fish, a smell that still floods my mind and heart with happiness. I remember helping my Grandfather chop wood for the steam bath for the family to enjoy. It’s safe to say I am a Native and a Fisherman.