A pair of Inupiaq brothers from Nome, Alaska, Oliver and Wilson Hoogendorn, have won a grand prize of $500,000 in the first season of a national reality TV show series competition called “Race to Survive: Alaska."  

The episode aired on USA Network on Monday, June 5.  The show kicked off in April showcasing eight different two-person teams and six races that took place across uncharted terrain in Ketchikan, Kodiak, and Cordova, Alaska. The brothers competed over the summer across the 50-day survival course, traversing more than 100 miles and ultimately became the first winners of the show. 

The brothers faced tremendous challenges, including terrain and wilderness, but preserved and brought the win home to Nome, where they were born and raised. Teams were only allowed to use what they could carry on their back and used their wilderness skills to make it through the race. 

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

Oliver works as a commercial fisherman and Wilson works as a gold diver. The two were the first Native Alaskan team to summit Denali in 13 days and skied down the highest peak in North America in one day. They have honed their wilderness skills their whole lives hunting moose, seals, and whales using traditional indigenous methods. 

In an interview with TV Insider, the brothers said they plan to use their winnings to give back to the Nome community —  providing lumber, uniforms for the cross-country team, as well as building houses and donating to a food bank.

More Stories Like This

Eighth Generation Blanket Featured on Cover of British Vogue in October
Here’s What's Going On in Indian Country, September 21 —September 28
The Land That Carries Our Ancestors: Contemporary Art by Native Americans Exhibition Begins Sept. 22 at National Gallery of Art
Gifted Native American Flutist Robert Tree Cody Walks On
The Future is Now at Newly Opened Center for Native Futures in Chicago

Native News is free to read.

We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps.  Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Kaili Berg
Author: Kaili BergEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Reporter
Kaili Berg (Aleut) is a member of the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Nation, and a shareholder of Koniag, Inc. She is a staff reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. Berg, who is based in Wisconsin, previously reported for the Ho-Chunk Nation newspaper, Hocak Worak. She went to school originally for nursing, but changed her major after finding her passion in communications at Western Technical College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.