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Catherine Attla

Mike Spindler interviewed Catherine Attla at the KIYU studio in Galena in April, 1995. The interview was edited and produced by Mike Spindler.

CATHERINE ATTLA was born near Huslia in 1927. She grew up speaking Athabascan and learned subsistence skills and folklore directly from her grandparents in their trapping cabins or fish camps. She married her husband, Steven, in 1944, and they went right to spring camp. They settled at Cutoff, the old village site at the mouth of the Huslia River. In 1949, they moved to the New Huslia village site, another 10 miles down the Koyukuk River. By the time she was 30 years old, Catherine had taught herself how to speak English, and learned how to read and write at the village school. She raised nine children and taught them much about subsistence. Since then, Catherine has taught more people about her way of life. She worked with anthropologist Richard Nelson and linguist Eliza Jones to document Koyukon language and culture. During this time she wrote a book of Athabascan stories entitled "As My Grandfather Told It." These days, she spends lots of time teaching the old ways to village children, visitors and scientists alike. If you visit her house, she just might have a moose hide on her floor and be teaching some kids or visitors how to tan it.

The goal of raven's Story is to record elders' stories, observations, and experiences relating to wildlife, fish, and subsistence in the Koyukuk and middle Yukon areas of interior Alaska. This Raven's Story was produced by Mike Spindler at public radio station KIYU-AM in Galena, Alaska, with the support of Louden Tribal Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Click on an audio link below to listen to a story.
H96-20 Part 1 (1995 CD 1)
1) Biography (1:15)
2) Koyukon beliefs (12:08)
3) Spring geese (9:25)
4) Geese in summer and fall (7:58)
5) Ducks, pollution, and floods (6:59)
6) Moose and small game (11:44)
7) Caribou (Catherine and Steven Attla) (7:20)
8) Beaver and muskrat (5:29) 

H96-20 Part 2 (1995 CD 2)
1) Pike and salmon (7:38)
2) Pike and whitefish (5:17)
3) Wolf and lynx (10:45)
4) Bear and wolverine (8:33)
5) Bear dens (5:40)
6) Trapping (8:55)
7) Life in the old village (8:44)
8) Weather (13:00)

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