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katherine peter from ‘‘Gwichyaa Zheh Gwats’à’ Tr’ahàajil’’ We Go to Fort Yukon That fall we were living at Old John Lakeshore House.1 They hunted in all directions from this point, and when they killed many caribou we moved camp there. While it was warm we dried it; on the other side of the big lake are three places where they used to dry a lot of meat. And all that dried meat they brought to the house I mentioned and placed it in the cache that was there. Then in late August when it started getting cold we moved down [to the east] to Van[Va]ts’an Hahdlaii.2 We went there to hunt bull caribou, which they called khaiints’an.3 Joseph Peter and David4 went with Steven. We lived there close together. Meanwhile, it became obvious that Joseph was sick. [We didn’t know it at the time but] he was [terminally] ill with tb. Even so, he worked very hard. Then it was so cold they built a very high open cache and tossed up the quartered caribou [rumps and shoulders].5 All the while Joseph was very sick and even as he yelled out [in pain] he continued to work. Finally it was David who took him to the hospital. He took him down to Fort Yukon in a skin boat and took him to the hospital. Meanwhile, we went back to Old John Lakeshore House. Soozun6 lived in that house. Since Tabitha’s husband was in the hospital, she set up her tent beside ours. This we did in the fall of . At the time Joseph’s children were Jermi,7 John, Abraham, and Joel. [Joel] was born that spring and I delivered him! He was born a little ways from Arctic Village. We set a fishnet across the lake from our Old John Lakeshore House. Myra8 set out the net and I helped her, and we also put out set lines with hooks. There was no snow on the ice yet and it looked very far to the bottom. We went to it with dogs. I tell you truly that Myra was an expert and thrifty worker. When David took his older brother down [to Fort Yukon] I don’t remember how he returned. But that fall he and Steven trapped around Gwa-  Gwich’in k’an Choo.9 When they had taken enough animals there and Christmas was near, they went to Fort Yukon with dogs. ‘‘We’re going to spend New Year’s Day on the shores of Old John Lake,’’ they said. Meanwhile, we were living there alone and so Myra and I said, ‘‘Let’s cut wood.’’ The reason was that we didn’t want to do this while it was cold.10 We really had plenty of food. There was fish, dry meat, and frozen meat. The cache was just full of it. Whatever they ate, I ate with them.11 Soozun boiled frozen whitefish with all its guts. As for the firewood I mentioned, we cut a lot of it. Meanwhile, it was near Christmas. We piled the wood in front of our dwellings. We brought it home two toboggan loads at a time. At that time we made cigarettes with Velvet tobacco in a can. Myra was twenty-one years old but she still wouldn’t smoke in people’s presence. We only smoked in Tabitha’s house and also outside when we were working. I guess we were bashful about smoking. Harry Frank came there to visit us and he brought us tobacco. Even what they called ‘‘Apple Sam.’’12 He was coming from just this side of Arctic Village. It was almost Christmas when Steven and David came back. After they arrived in Fort Yukon, Joseph asked to leave with them, it seems. They told him no, but even so he clung to them. So at last they made arrangements for him to come by airplane. At that time, whoever got into a hospital bed could not get down and walk around. The Dinjii Zhuu13 knew that men became weak there and so people did not like to stay in the hospital. They made a mark on the big lake for the plane and Jim Dodson landed with him. He also brought the stuff they had bought [while in Fort Yukon]. There in the log house we spent Christmas and New Year’s. New Year’s passed and then we...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780803202368
MARC Record
OCLC
607194129
Pages
394
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-10
Language
English
Open Access
No
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