Billy Brown, Alaskan Bush People

Billy Brown is the patriarch of the Brown family of “Alaskan Bush People” – a reality TV show about a family of 10 (including their dog, Mr. Cupcake) who live off the land in the wilderness of Alaska. The Brown family has no contact with any modern technology or even the internet. They survive simply on what they can catch or find. Now that’s a way of life!

Birth and Early Life, Billy Brown’s Wives

Billy was born on the 3rd of December 1952 in Fort Worth, Texas. He grew up in Texas and when he was young, his family owned a limousine company. However, Billy’s family died in an airplane accident in 1969. On the 23rd of October, 1969, when Billy was just 16 years old he married a 17-year-old. Billy and his young bride had two children, these children are still alive and currently live in Texas. Billy’s first two children have no relationship with him whatsoever. He met his soon to be wife Amora Brown (Ami) and just after this, Billy married Ami in in 1979 when he was 26. Their marriage was quite scandalous as Ami was only 15, meaning there was an 11-year age gap. Before moving to the wilderness, Billy was a commercial fisherman. Using a boat that he and Ami called home. Shortly after this he and his family moved to the Alaskan bush.

Are Alaskan Bush People Fake?

If you watch Alaskan Bush People you have probably realized that the family isn’t quite what they say they are. They claim to be self-sustaining and to be living a subsistence lifestyle. The following suggests that this may not be quite right. In season one Billy asks a man for wood to build his cabin, the man then says that the wood will cost “ten grand or so” Billy then says that this is “about twice as much as we can afford”. He then proceeds to say: “I can’t take no for an answer. Winter is coming, I have to have this wood, my whole family is depending on this”. He then offers his sons’ labor without their consent: “I’ve got five strong boys. You know they could work for you.” So much for living off the land and being self-sustaining!

The family is also seen picking up odd jobs for money to buy supplies. This is a sharp contrast to Billy’s past. Billy himself claims that he was born into “a world of privilege”. He states that: “I was given new boats and cars for my birthdays. I was truly the luckiest kid in town—I had it all—money, clothes, big-ticket toys and a loving family, too.” This obviously contradicts what he says in the series. On top of this, the Browns are part of a reality TV show, meaning that they are heavily compensated for their time on camera. Billy Brown is also an author; he wrote: “One Wave at a Time” which was the inspiration for the TV show and over 70 more books. This probably earned him some money (probably quite a lot really). This is impressive for someone who doesn’t have any access to a computer or the internet. Overall Billy Brown must have a higher net worth than he’s letting on.

Living in Alaskan Wilderness

Billy currently lives with his family in the Alaskan bush. Their home and most of their possessions were destroyed in a fire. Billy Brown claimed the fire was lit by the government because they were living there illegally. The claim was later changed to a simple statement about not being home when the fire occurred. After this, they moved to Chichagof Island in the Tongass national forest. Chichagof island or Shee Kaax is 120km (75 miles) long and 80km (50 miles) wide and situated in the Alexander Archipelago. Chichagof island relies on commercial fishing and guided hunting and fishing trips for its economy. The census from 2000 revealed that Chichagof has a population of 1,342 people. With just one person in every 4 square km. It also has the largest population of bears per square km in the world. It’s named after Admiral Vasili Chichagof, who never visited the island.

Billy Brown’s Children

Billy Brown and his wife have 7 children. The Browns say that all seven children were born in the Alaskan wilderness, without running water or electricity. However, whether this is true or not is uncertain as it is evident that they have lied before. The Brown children were raised in the bush and have grown up living the way of life depicted in the TV show. The Browns grew up without any access to modern technology and they seem oblivious to even things like microwaves. However, being near the film crew means that the children were exposed to technology. The children regularly operate firearms and other weapons used for hunting and protection in the wilderness. They are adept at shooting, fishing, and general outdoor survival.

His children are:
– Matt Brown, the eldest child, he is the most experienced and is 34 years old,
– Noah Brown, who prides himself in being able to fix or make anything,
– Joshua Brown, who calls himself the taskmaster and keeps his family ‘in check’,
– Gabe Brown, ‘the workhorse and comedian of the family’,
– Bear Brown, Bear is the “wild child” of the family, he doesn’t walk anywhere; he runs,
– Snowbird Brown, Snowbird is the second youngest child and even though she is one of the youngest “can still keep up with the boys” and likes to help with the heavy lifting,
– Rain Brown, the youngest, she is looked after by all the family but is “still a bush girl through and through”.

Overall, Alaskan Bush People is an entertaining series, both on and off camera and I hope to see more great things in the up and coming 8th series. On a more serious note, what new controversies will it bring?