• “Alaskan Bush People” is a docu-drama reality series about the Brown family living in the wilderness of Hoonah, Alaska.
• Two family members, Bill and Bam Bam Brown, were sentenced to jail for providing false residential information on their Permanent Fund Dividend application.
• Billy Brown was the long-standing head of the Brown family, who passed away in February 2021.
• The show has been a staple of the Discovery channel, but some viewers are not convinced that the family lives entirely off the grid.
• According to media outlets, the Brown family's combined wealth is in the range of $60 million.
If you watch the National Geographic channel, you must have come across the series “Alaskan Bush People,” which chronicles the daily activities of the Brown family. Two family members, Bill and Bam Bam Brown, landed in hot water for lying on Permanent Fund Dividend Applications, making the headlines.
- 1 What is “Alaskan Bush People”?
- 2 Who are the family members?
- 3 What were Billy and Bam Bam’s legal troubles?
- 4 Judge Ordered Jail Time
- 5 Why were only Billy and Bam Bam sentenced?
- 6 How did Billy Brown die?
- 7 Controversy on The Show
- 8 Bear Brown Faking his Death on Instagram.
- 9 Bear Brown and Raiven’s Controversial Relationship
- 10 What is the Brown Family’s Net Worth?
- 11 Will “Alaskan Bush People” be renewed for a 14th season?
What is “Alaskan Bush People”?
“Alaskan Bush People” is a docu-drama reality series that revolves around the Brown family, who live – some would say survive – in the wilderness of Hoonah, Alaska, wholly detached from the perks of modern life and technology. The show initially premiered in May 2014, and has run for 13 seasons. The last season aired in September 2021, scooping positive reviews, while news about a possible 14th season has remained unclear. The show’s format appeals to many people who wonder what it would be like to live off the grid, hunt for food, make housing objects from scratch, and bathe in a very cool river instead of a bathroom.
A lot of series focus is indeed placed on their abilities to live in harsh and extreme conditions, displaying their unique ways of living, which is quite unorthodox considering most viewers live in a “concrete jungle.”
Who are the family members?
The family currently counts nine members: Ami, Matthew, Joshua or Bam Bam, Solomon Isiah known as Bear Brown, Gabriel, Noah, Amora Snowbird or Birdy, and Rainy Brown.
Family matriarch Ami married the late Billy Bryan Brown at 15, and became estranged from her family. In 2017 she was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer with only 3% survival, but after several rounds of chemotherapy, she was declared cancer-free.
Matthew William, the oldest of the Brown kids, is best known as a skilled hunter who learned the craft at a very young age, but after eight seasons, he exited the show and entered an inpatient alcohol rehab after becoming addicted during his brief visits to the city.
Joshua/Bam Bam, is best recognized for his expertise when the family is on the water.
Solom or Bear Brown, the third son of Billy and Ami, is best known for his contentious relationship with Raiven Adams, who gave birth to River Anthony.
Gabe Brown, the second youngest son in the Brown household, is married to Raquell Pantalla, with whom he’s welcomed two children. the
Noah Brown is the youngest son in the family, but who is father to Elijah Connor, whom he welcomed with Rhain Alicia, who also stars on the show.
Birdy Brown, the first girl in the household, is best known for her calm and independent nature, and extraordinary love for all animals.
Youngest member of the family Rainy, became everyone’s favorite over the show’s tenure. Her specific traits are fondness of music (she plays ukulele) and distinctive fashion style.
What were Billy and Bam Bam’s legal troubles?
In 2014, Ami Billy and four of their children were charged with 60 counts of first-degree unsworn falsification and second-degree theft, connected to their dividend applications.
Two years later in January 2016, the family’s former patriarch Billy, and his son Bam Bam, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 30 days in jail for providing false residential information on their Permanent Fund Dividend application.
According to media outlets, the Brown family lied on their application with the goal of receiving the annual oil revenue checks, only granted to permanent Alaskan residents. From 2011 to 2013, the period they committed these frauds, they didn’t comply with the definition of ‘permanent’, which rendered them ineligible to collect these checks.
After pleading guilty to the misdemeanor, as part of their plea deal, they were instructed to pay back the dividends they had received, give up the right to claim the dividend checks ever again, and a follow-up 40 days of community service.
Judge Ordered Jail Time
Billy’s attorney James McGown argued against jail time given that Bill was 61 years old and suffering from several medical conditions, including seizures and renal issues.
However, the Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg thought their crimes should include jail time and would not budge. He also added that they should not be treated in any way more harshly than other people due to their celebrity status.
According to a media outlet, the judge quoted different examples to justify his sentencing: “If somebody who’s living in a trailer stole $2,000 in merchandise from Walmart, that person would get jail time. If somebody’s who’s struggling to get by stole someone’s purse and used their debit card to run up $1,000 (or) $2,000 worth of bills— they would get jail time”.
In addition to jail time, Billy was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine within 90 days of his release, and pay back over $7,000 in PFD money. On the other hand, Bam Bam was instructed to pay a $5,000 fine with $3,000 suspended. He later released the statement reflecting on this unpleasant experience, saying: ‘I regret the circumstances and I have learned a lot from the experience and thank you for all the trouble, and that’s it.
Why were only Billy and Bam Bam sentenced?
After Billy and Bam Bam pleaded guilty, the charges against the rest of the family were dropped.
Later, talking to a media outlet, Billy claimed it was a massive misunderstanding, as the Browns were unaware that they had committed fraud. He disclosed: ‘Because of the way we live our lives and the way we often unconventionally travel, I didn’t keep good track of our movements,”
Billy then added: “I accept full responsibility for filing for benefits without confirming that we met the requirements. We are committed to living in Alaska for the long term, and we respect the state’s rules. I thought it best to settle to put this behind us.
How did Billy Brown die?
On 7 February 2021, the long-standing head of the Brown family, Billy Brown died at the age of 68 after suffering a seizure in the family’s home in Washington State.
Billy’s son, Bear Brown confirmed the new via social media, writing: ‘We are heartbroken to announce that our beloved patriarch Billy Brown passed away. He was our best friend- a wonderful and loving dad, granddad and husband, and he will be dearly missed. He lived his life on his terms, off the grid and off the land, and taught us to live like that as well.’
Interestingly, just a couple days before his death, Billy gave a chilly warning as if he knew what was going to happen, saying: ‘God has blessed me so much, but I won’t be around forever. To me, the most important thing is to make sure that the family core would go on. This is an important time. The ranch will go on forever as long as it’s set up right. The ranch must keep growing.’
Controversy on The Show
Since coming to life in 2014, the show has been a staple of the Discovery channel, amassing a considerable following over the years. However, while some viewers enjoy observing the everyday struggles in the wilderness, others are not inclined to believe that the family is living entirely off the grid.
This issue has been brought up several times during series seasons, questioning the authenticity of their lifestyle, as not all are convinced that the family lives utterly devoid of urban life. However, it appears that the cast is not as nearly isolated as they tend to portray it on the show. For example, some Hoonah locals disclosed that the family often visited the Icy Strait Lodge, adding, ‘All of the boys have their own room.’ Obviously, having a room in a lodge is not a crime, but given their portrayal of life on the show, it questions its genuineness.
Bear Brown Faking his Death on Instagram.
Whether it’s on the show or social media, there is no shortage of drama when it comes to the Brown family. It is not unusual for celebrities to go out on a limb to boost the show’s popularity and viewership, and it’s a well-known fact that some of them out here are willing to risk it all, let alone fake death on Instagram.
In 2018 Bear Brown used his Instagram account to post a message which read: ‘R.I.P. 1987+2018 Loved son and devoted brother’. He later deleted the post, but the damage was already done, as most of his followers saw the post and grew worried. Bear Brown offered an explanation: ‘‘Hey everybody! Sorry about the confusion death very serious. It’s definitely not a joke!! Those posts are from a project! I thought I made that clear! I’ve been working on a homemade movie since my time in L.A.! Thank you for the concern! And sorry for the misunderstanding!’
Despite his explanation, not all were convinced that it had been a project, and some fans commented, shared their confusion saying: ‘Sweetie people can’t read your mind.’
Bear Brown and Raiven’s Controversial Relationship
Ever since Raiven appeared on the show, her relationship with Bear Brown seemed to be a true rollercoaster of emotions, often making headlines.
Third time's the charm? 🤔 'Alaskan Bush People' star Bear Brown and ex-fiancée Raiven Adams are back together. —> https://bit.ly/2GhrWOS
They began publically dating in 2019, but shortly after announcing their engagement they broke it off just, with Bear Brown sharing on Instagram: ‘She is a wonderful person and I will always care for her. Sometimes people are better as friends and that’s perfectly ok. Even though we’re no longer together, we’re still friends and dedicated to raising a healthy and happy child.’
However, in February 2020, Raiven sought a restraining against Bear Brown, accusing him of erratic, abusive behavior. In her statement, she disclosed that Bear Brown would come around with his guns, flashing them in front of her in a very threatening manner. Saying: ‘He would use it as an intimidation / tell me gun laws don’t apply to him.
Raiven, who was at the time eight months pregnant with Bear Brown’s child, dropped the restraining order three days before she gave birth to their son.
Bear Brown asked for joint custody, but Raiven was against it, requesting that Bear have restricted visitation. However, the couple managed to look past their differences and ended up reconciling, but not for long – after Billy Brown died, they parted ways again. While most of us thought that would be the end of it, in January 2022, they walked down the aisle, a plot twist no one saw coming!
What is the Brown Family’s Net Worth?
According to the media outlet “Sun,” the family’s combined wealth is in the range of $60 million, while at the time of Billy’s death, his net worth was around $6 million.
Most fans who watch the show know that the family lives in their Washington State home, which wasn’t cheap. How much did Billy pay? In 2018 Billy paid $415,000 for it in cash for four parcels of land, totaling around 435 acres in Tonasket, Washington. Additionally, the family owns a humble $2.7 million mansion in Beverly Hills, which was featured on the show when Ami was battling lung cancer.
When it comes to the family’s paychecks for the show, it’s believed that they receive different amounts. One might also note that the show grew steadily in popularity since it premiered, which affected their pay. According to the latest reports, Billy earned around $100,000 per episode, while the other members received between $40,000 – $60,000 per episode.
Will “Alaskan Bush People” be renewed for a 14th season?
The previous season 13 was one of the most emotional, as the family’s head, Billy Brown, passed away; it mainly concentrated on the family’s grieving and healing process after such a huge loss. Despite the numerous scandals of the Brown family, the show still has a reasonable viewership rate, and 13 season knocked it out of the park.
However, now that the family lost Billy, many fans wonder about the next stop for the Brown family? Will they continue with the show? Judging from the last season, the show’s new focus might be placed on the family members and their relationships, while Rain displayed interest in gold mining on their land, honoring her late father’s wishes.
Even though the information is not set in stone, many believe that the show will continue airing, and that the 14th season might arrive in mid-2022.