Desirae Morgan and her cousin Tamara Stern-Morgan spend summers with their grandparents in the nearly abandoned mining town of Red Devil, Alaska. They would like to stay in Red Devil year-round but the school closed in 2009 after enrollment fell below state requirements. Desirae is legally adopted by her grandparents and has to leave them every Fall to attend school in the upriver village of Sleetmute where she lives with her math teacher.
Video and Editing by Katie Basile/KYUK 1st Place in Solo Journalism, 2019 Alaska Press Club
Tamara Stern-Morgan and Desirae Morgan play outside their grandparent’s home in Red Devil, Alaska on August 16, 2019. The girls spend summers in Red Devil and Desirae Morgan would like to stay year-round with her grandparents and legal guardians but the school is closed, forcing her to relocate to Sleetmute every August.
Joe and Glen Morgan’s parents are buried across the river from Red Devil, Alaska on land still owned by the family. August 17, 2019.
Edward Leppala reminisces about growing up in a thriving mining town outside of his home in Red Devil, Alaska on August 15, 2019.
Joe Morgan stands at the now defunct Red Devil Mine near the very spot where his dad ran a hoist which lowered men in and out of the mine. August 17, 2019.
Corryn Nicoli stretches her arms, mimicking the full height of the vegetables in her family's garden on August 16, 2019 in Red Devil, Alaska.
Glen Morgan and Theresa Morgan bring their granddaughters, Tamara Stern-Morgan and Desirae Morgan upriver to Sleetmute August 17, 2019. Tamara Stern-Morgan will stay in Sleetmute for the school-year and Desirae Morgan will follow two days later.