Bertha Moses

Bertha Moses,
Transcript Section 15

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MARLA:  So we're back on. 

BERTHA:  Yes. 

MARLA:  And we were just talking about health and diet and perhaps how that had some effect on your families being able to have very long -- long lives. 

BERTHA:  Oh, yeah.  I had -- there was 10 of us in our family.  When the oldest was 18, the baby was newborn, our mother died. 

And then that same year, our young -- our little baby brother died with pneumonia and then another girl died of pneumonia.  Then after that, that was in '43, and then my older brother died in 1996.  And my older sister in 1999.  So but there's six of us. 

And the first missionaries, the priest and his wife, knew all 8 of us.  And they want -- they were thinking -- they were wondering how 8 of us survived the TB era.  People were dying -- our neighbors and our cousins were dying with TB and our uncle, and we lived around those people.  They -- they don't know how we survived.  He thought maybe we had good resistance, but I -- I don't know. 

After I become a health aide and start studying nutrition, too, then I figured it was our diet.  Ever since I could remember, our mother used to have a garden.  She would grow potatoes, cabbage, carrots, turnips, beets, and lettuce.  Then she canned in early June, late May or early June. 

We started eating lettuce first and radishes.  She even grew Swiss chard and spinach, too.  We eat those, too.  We eat a lot of turnip tops.  I like that. 

And she would thin the turnips out and she would have a whole bunch and wash them off and boil them, and then she would fry bacon and put bacon on there and salt and that tastes really good. 

We have some fish and then something from the garden every day all summer.  Then -- then we leave our garden and go up Alatna River and we start fishing for -- fishing for little fish.  Not much moose them days or caribou. 

So we grow -- mostly grow up on fish.  And she would catch all kinds of fish from springtime to fall, to a part of the winter even.  And we eat a lot of fish.  The liver, eggs, the whitefish gizzard, we called it.  We eat a lot of that.  The whitefish, they are fat, and good. 

And berries.  And we eat berries and fish at the fish camp, and we have some -- we have some dog -- dog food, too, and we make it last a long time. 

And then when falltime, when the frost -- when it frost a couple times now and the ground freeze a little, then we start picking roots.  If we start picking them before it frost, this kind of tastes tough.  But they are good after it frosts a couple times and we pick these roots, certain kinds.  Just only one kind root.