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katie john and fred john sr. Lazeni ’Iinn Nataełde Ghadghaande When Russians Were Killed at ‘‘Roasted Salmon Place’’ (Batzulnetas) The ones called Russians first were coming from down the Copper River.1 As they came up the Copper River they came [looking] for Ahtna people. At the place they call ‘‘King Salmon Creek’’ [site where creek joins Copper River south of Drop Creek], some Ahtnas were staying where long ago there had been a site. They had a home there. They [the Russians] arrived there and they asked for their [Ahtna] chief. They brought him out to them. They [the Russians] grabbed him and they whipped him. He was sobbing. From upriver at ‘‘Roasted Salmon Place’’ [Batzulnetas] a young man who was raised by his grandmother had traps set. As he went back among the deadfall traps he heard him [sobbing]. He listened carefully and it sounded like a person. He returned to his grandmother and he brought the news to her. ‘‘It didn’t sound like an animal. I heard a person. I heard a person sobbing,’’ he told his grandmother. His grandmother went over to the people staying nearby there. ‘‘My grandchild was checking traps downriver where people are staying and he says that you should be on guard. Someone let him know that the Russians would be coming here. And this is how the situation seems to be,’’ and so she told the people. Sure enough, in the morning Russians were approaching them. They approached them and then they reached them. C’uket Ta’, ‘‘Father of Buys Something,’’2 asked, ‘‘Who are your chiefs?’’ they [Russians] said to them. ‘‘He, he is our chief,’’ they [Ahtnas] said to him. katie john and fred john sr.: when russians were killed  ‘‘Bring the chief out to us,’’ they said. They brought him out to them. They [Russians] lashed him to a stump that stood there. They whipped him. He was sobbing to them, that man. ‘‘You are doing this to Yałniił Ta’ ‘Father of He is Carrying It.’3 Do you know you are doing this to someone who is vicious?’’ he said to them. They [the Russians] couldn’t understand him. They asked C’uket Ta’, ‘‘What is he saying?’’ And he said, ‘‘He is sobbing. ‘Ouch, Ouch,’ he is saying.’’ C’uket Ta’ did not tell them what he had [actually] heard.4 They entered his [the chief’s] house. ‘‘You [men] leave right away.’’ They took from them [the Ahtna men] all the bows and spears that they had. They took their spears. They drove them out so that they might freeze, those men. Only the women, they took just the women. They took the old women, too, as slaves. They chased out only the men. And then they [the Ahtna men] started upland from ‘‘Roasted Salmon Creek’’ [Tanada Creek]. They had been forced to go without [adequate] clothing so that they would freeze. The Russians took those old women as slaves. They [the Russians] killed some dogs and skinned them. They gave them the skins, those dog skins. They told them to tan them. Then they [the women] chewed on them. They chewed on them and tanned them, those dog skins.5 They [the Russians] didn’t know that there were more people staying at ‘‘Small Salmon’’ [Suslota]. When they chased them out, they [the Ahtna men] went up above to ‘‘Small Salmon.’’ There clothing and food to eat were given to them. Those who had come from down at ‘‘Roasted Salmon Creek’’ [Tanada Creek] were training [for war] among them. They made medicine, and the old men made medicine.  Ahtna They combined their medicine [powers]. The people trained with medicine. The medicine men said, ‘‘You try to break the biggest spruce out there. If blood and hair come out of it, then you will get your revenge,’’ so the shamans told them. So they did that. Out there they charged against the largest spruce and they broke it and blood, hair with blood, came out [of the spruce]. ‘‘There you have made revenge. You will do like this. You will kill them,’’ they told them. The shamans told them. Then they were trained. It was said that they [the Russians] had appeared downriver, down the Copper River.6 They were fierce. They were coming among them from downriver, those Russians. They arrived down there at ‘‘Roasted Salmon Place’’ [Batzulnetas] and the weather was beginning to get cold [in the late fall]. That...


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