March 25th, 2022

// Self-Professed City Girl Shares Unforgettable True Story of Life Above the Arctic Circle

Self-Professed City Girl Shares Unforgettable True Story of Life Above the Arctic Circle

Harrisburg, PA, March 24, 2022 — It was frigid that night — 35 below — and Ernest “Tiger” Burch made an honest mistake. He brought the Coleman lantern inside their primitive house before lighting it. In spite of the flames that threatened to engulf Tiger and his young bride, Deanne, the couple made it out safely. Then Tiger ran back inside to save his thesis.

“When you’re young, you don’t think that tragedy is going to strike you at all,” Deanne recalled in a recent interview. 

At the tender age of 23, a naïve but very much in love Deanne Burch did what all good wives were expected to do in the 1960s: she put the needs of her husband first. She accompanied Tiger to a remote, Inuit (Inupiaq) village in Kivalina, Alaska, where Tiger was conducting research for his Ph.D. To say that the environment and living conditions were harsh would be a considerable understatement. 

In Journey Through Fire and Ice: Shattered Dreams Above the Arctic Circle, Deanne pours her memories onto paper, immortalizing in vivid detail their experiences on the barrier island 83 miles above the Arctic Circle, including the ways in which the Inupiaq people supported the Burches throughout both exhilarating triumphs and agonizing tragedies.

In Kivalina, Deanne lived on the edge of two worlds — the one she left behind in the lower 48 and the one where she reluctantly participated in all aspects of the women’s lives. Skinning seals, cleaning and drying fish, and cutting beluga and caribou to store became her way of life. Plumbing, running water and electricity were not available. Loneliness was a constant companion until a few women befriended her.

During a span of six days, Deanne and Tiger narrowly escaped death during a camping trip, and Tiger suffered severe burns from the fire in their house. He spent three months in the hospital receiving treatment for seared lungs and horrific burns on his face and hands. His lungs never recovered from this ordeal.

When he was finally released from the hospital, he returned to the village with Deanne to complete the study. The life-threatening and harrowing experiences in Alaska transformed Deanne into a woman of strength who learned how to embrace challenge. 

Over 50 years later, she remembers that young girl who left on an unknown journey that will live in her heart forever.

Author Deanne Burch was born and raised in Canada and attended the University of Toronto, obtaining B.A. degrees in liberal arts and social work. After the Alaska journey, she and her husband eventually settled in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, where they lived until his death.

Deanne spent 30 years as a professional international photographer who taught and lectured in the U.S. and Canada. She published several articles in photography magazines and journals. Since retiring in 2014, she devoted herself to writing short stories and children’s stories. Journey Through Fire and Ice: Shattered Dreams Above the Arctic Circle was published in March 2021.

For more information, please visit

Journey Through Fire and Ice: Shattered Dreams Above the Arctic Circle

Publisher: Authority Publishing

ISBN-10: ‏1949642593

ISBN-13: ‎978-1949642599

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