Colin Chisholm and Adoption

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American writer

Chisholm's adoptive mother was a half-Yup'ik [Inuit], half-Finnish woman named Inaqaq, born in a remote village on the Alaskan coast of the Bering Sea. Inaqaq's mother died aged 25 and she was fostered by an aunt for a short while, before her father took her and her brother to Washington state. He died soon afterwards, and Inaqaq was adopted by family friends, brought up near Seattle, unaware of her origins, renamed Doris Agren.

She married and had two children born to her, and then she and her husband adopted three more, including Colin (of Yugoslavian, Irish and English background), as a baby. He lives in Montana and writes for natural history and mountaineering magazines. In 1988 he visited his mother's village in Alaska. (See also his interpretation of the Bear Woman tale).


Chisholm, Colin. "Mama Bear: An Adopted Son Explores the Hidden Landscape of His Family," Hope (November/December 1996), repr. in UTNE Reader (March/April 1997), pp. 74-77, 101-03 Chisholm, Colin. Through Yup'ik Eyes: An Adopted Son Explores the Landscape of Family. (Portland: Alaska Northwest Books, 2000)