Judy Ferguson, a former free-lance columnist for the Anchorage Daily News (A.D.N.), as well as an 18-year freelance columnist for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is a well-known writer to interior Alaskans. Ferguson has been described by David James, the book critic for the News-Miner and the A.D.N., as Alaska’s foremost oral historian. Ferguson’s work has included her wilderness family and Alaska’s indigenous people. She is the author of ten books including three children’s books. Ferguson was selected as one of thirty authors to be included in a 21st Century anthology presenting some of Alaska’s most memorable Alaskan writers in Writing on the Edge, edited by David James.

Ferguson’s Alaska background, starting in 1968, sparked her writing. For twenty-four years, Judy lived a remote Alaska life-style on a homesite accessible only by boat and dog sled. There on the Tanana River, as well as on their trapline, she and her husband, Reb, raised three children.  She and Reb still make their home in the Big Delta near their homesite.

An eclectic mixture of literary output characterizes what Alaskans and others outside the state know of this prolific word artist. Ferguson is able to communicate effectively with Alaskans and elicit trust from them as they share the stories of their lives that built the northern frontier. Ferguson's books provide a level of detail and empathy rarely seen, and provide a startlingly clear insight into the lives of our indigenous cultures and of the men and women that call the Great Land home.

Author Judy Ferguson


Judy's Books

NEW! Heart of Windows to the Land, Vols. I and II

Alaska Native Land Claims and Iditarod Trails

Alaska's First People

Available Hardcopy and eBook

Alaska's Little Chief

Available Hardcopy and eBook

Alaska's Secret Door

Available Hardcopy and eBook

Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof

Available Hardcopy and eBook

Out of Print - eBook Available
Windows to the Land, An Alaska Native Story, Vol. I: Alaska Native Land Claims Trailblazers

Out of Print
Windows to the Land, An Alaska Native Story, Vol. Two: Iditarod and Alaska River Trails

Out of Print - eBook Available
Bridges to Statehood

Out of Print - eBook Available
Blue Hills

Out of Print - eBook Available
Parallel Destinies

Ten of Judy's books are now available as eBooks!


Art notecards presenting all of Alaska's
Indigenous cultures
from Alaska's First People,
$4.00 each,

Look for in 2026-2027: Alaska, Land of Fire and the Men and Women Who Fight It, 1939-2024


Iditarod history and heritage as told in the voices of Alaskans
Anchorage Daily News and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Condensed book review by David James, freelance writer in Fairbanks, Updated Aug 28, 2022

A word on Judy Ferguson. I’ve long admired her work and have been particularly vocal about her efforts on behalf of Alaska Natives, now spread across four books: Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof, Alaska Natives Blazing the Iditarod Trail as well as Windows to the Land, Vols. I and II, now consolidated into the new Heart of Windows to the Land, Vols. I and II.

Other than a brief introduction and whatever background information is crucial to understanding the context of each story, Ferguson acts as editor rather than author. The accounts are told in the voices of those who shared their stories.

For example in Bulletproof, long before the international media took interest in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and before big money started flooding in, it was a uniquely Alaskan event with a small town feel, and this was in no small part due to the Native heritage that it incorporated. This heritage is what Ferguson zeroes in on [In Bulletproof and Windows, Vols. I and II and Heart of Windows]. While the adventures that each of the contributors had on the trail are the hook that will draw readers in, how they open up about their own lives and the lives of their parents and grandparents is where the real value of this book lies.

Hers is an approach that leads to highly readable narratives that feel like the personal conversations they began as, rather than the composed summaries of a reporter working from notes. Readers come away feeling like they have met the individuals whose stories she brings us.

Ferguson has collected and transcribed hundreds of people’s stories, earning the trust of her subjects by including them in every step of the process from her initial interviews to the final editing, ensuring that their stories are told in their words, as they wish them to be heard. Then Ferguson has brought those stories to the printed page, often at her own expense. She will never come close to financially recouping all that she has invested in her numerous books, wherein Alaskans from all walks of life are able to share their stories with the world. Long after all of us are gone, however, historians will be consulting her collected works to better understand how Alaska’s history was experienced by those who lived through consequential times.

This is a priceless gift. I cannot think of another person in Alaska who has devoted so much time and energy to such an effort. We are tremendously fortunate to have her.


See the original book review: https://www.newsminer.com/features/sundays/book_reviews/iditarod-history-and-heritage-as-told-in-the-voices-of-alaskans/article_2b693f78-25ae-11ed-9e96-0391ba6e7cf8.html


Full Story Avaliable at: newsminer.com

Alaska's indigenous people:
Emil Notti -- Koyukuk and ANCSA
Tod Kozevnikoff -- Tanana
Jerry Isaac -- Tanacross
Laura Sanford -- Tok
Albert Carroll -- Circle
Alice Petrivelli -- Aleutians
Cecelia Balch -- Salcha
First Traditional Chief David Salmon -- Chalkyitsik
Clarence Alexander -- Fort Yukon
Ada Hasken -- Skagway
Claude Demientieff -- Fairbanks
Fred Ewan -- Gulkana
Arnold Marks -- Fairbanks
Gary Simple -- Venetie
Thomas Maillelle -- Grayling
Lincoln Tritt -- Arctic Village
Fred Thomas -- Fort Yukon
Guy Peters -- Fairbanks
Priscilla Mahle -- Chitina
Henry Deacon -- Grayling
Lance Twitchell -- Skagway
Marian Twitchell -- Skagway
Woodie Salmon -- Beaver
Nettie Peratrovich -- Anchorage/Klawock
Frank Peratrovich -- Anchorage/Klawock
Anna Mellick Vanderpool -- Anchorage/Sleetmute
Denise Taylor Hardesty -- Fairbanks
Fred Ferrell-Delta/Anchorage
Judy Ferguson-Delta
David Joe-Delta/Healy Lake
Melody and Sandy Jamieson-Mat-Su/Fairbanks
Katie John-Mentasta
Oscar Albert-Northway
Pete Stepovich-Fairbanks
Herbie Nayokpuk-Shishmaref
David Ainley-North Pole
Alice Bayless-Copper Center/Anchorage
Betty Barr--Haycock/Fairbanks, Anchorage

Other Alaskan-born or seniors:
Delois Purvis Ketzler Burggraf -- Fairbanks
Emily Keaster -- Delta
Kathy Zachgo -- Delta
Bob Gilcrease -- Fairbanks Intertribal Pow-Wow
Candy Sunderland -- Homer/Palmer
Governor Mike Stepovich -- Fairbanks
Christopher Stepovich -- Fairbanks
John Dapcevich -- Juneau/Sitka
Gin Nelson -- North Pole
Charlie Barr -- Anchorage
June Rogers -- Fairbanks
Barb Dedman -- Skagway
Angie Geraghty -- Fairbanks
Dean Wilson -- Kenny Lake
Yvonne Kelly Echo-Hawk -- Delta
Julenne Fowler Walker -- Delta/Fairbanks
Bill Stroecker -- Fairbanks
George O'Leary -- Central/Fairbanks
Hank Dube -- Delta
Helen Miller Vacura -- Juneau/Fairbanks
Paul Kirsteatter -- Healy Lake
Margaret Brewster -- Soldotna/Seldovia
John Schandelmeir -- Paxson
Mary Warren -- North Pole/Circle/Central
Niilo Kopanan -- Fairbanks

For more stories see: http://www.deltawindonline.com/features/ferguson/