Picture of Lloyd and Amelia

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Lloyd and Amelia Dewilde

Mike Spindler interviewed Lloyd and Amelia DeWilde on Billy Hawk Creek, 40 miles NW of Huslia, on April 15 1999. The interview was edited and produced by Mike Spindler.

LLOYD DEWILDE was born in Oakland, California in 1927. His parents were Thelma and Victor Dewilde. For much of his youth, Lloyd dreamed of coming to Alaska. After he finished school, Lloyd worked odd jobs on farms and ranches, and at a gas station. As a 20 year-old, Lloyd's dream came true when he got off a ship in Seward in 1947. He didn't waste any time getting a job, and spent his first summer working as a farm hand for Art Thompson in Anchorage. Lloyd spent his first winter in Fairbanks, then in 1948 he went to the Ruby area, where he prospected in summer and trapped in the winter.

AMELIA DEWILDE was born in 1937 to parents Edwin Simon and Lydia Olin who lived along the Koyukuk River near the village of Allakaket. For the first decade of her life, her family lived a nomadic lifestyle, mostly in tent camps, between Allakaket and Tanana. The family later moved to Whitefish Lake, about 12 miles south of Huslia. During that time, Amelia attended school off and on, but she preferred to live out in camp. She had her own dog team and trap line, and taught herself to read and write. At the age of 17, Amelia was traveling from Tanana to Huslia, by way of Ruby, when she met her husband-to-be, Lloyd, who took great interest in her outdoor skills. In May 1955, Lloyd went to Whitefish Lake near Huslia to find Amelia, and they were married the following month.

In 1960, Lloyd and Amelia left the Ruby area and homesteaded at Dutchman's Creek, about 15 miles below Ruby on the Yukon River. But Amelia missed the lakes, meadows, and sloughs of the Koyukuk, and in 1965 the family moved to an area northwest of the village of Huslia. Since then, Lloyd and Amelia have lived along the North Fork of the Huslia River, relying on what they could hunt, fish, trap, and grow in a garden to raise their 14 children. Lloyd and Amelia continue to live at their remote homestead, which is a six hour boat ride or a three and a half hour snowmobile ride away from Huslia. Besides the usual subsistence tasks, Amelia spends much of her time knitting and beading.

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.
H2001-06-02/03 Part 1 (CD 1)
1) Biography (3:13)
2) Subsistence seasons (3:37)
3) Geese (3:36)
4) Ducks (4:06)
5) Moose (3:42)
6) Moose and grayling (3:54)
7) Caribou (4:57)
8) Kids hunting caribou (2:52)
9) Bear abundance (3:21)
10) Had to kill eight bears (3:45)
11) Bears and cabins (4:31)
12) Hunting bears in their dens (4:16)
13) Beaver as food (3:37)
14) Trapping beaver (5:25)
15) Muskrat (3:27)
16) Wolf abundance (5:42)
17) Wolves came too close (3:07)
18) Trapping (3:49)

H2001-06-02/03 Part 2 (CD 2)
1) Snowshoe hares (3:16)
2) Pike and whitefish (4:46)
3) Salmon (3:02)
4) Nearly ran out of food (4:06)
5) Weather (4:42)
6) Wildland fire and revegetation (4:34)
7) Wildland fire affects wildlife (3:30)
8) Berries (3:49)
9) Floods (2:36)
10) Gardens (3:22)
11) Freighting supplies (4:40)
12) Health while living out at camp (4:23)
13) Parasite illness (3:33)
14) Lifestyle, from poor to rich (3:33)
15) Nomadic lifestyle, life at camp (5:07)

H2001-06-02/03 Part 3 (CD 3)
1) Weathered-in at Ruby (4:27)
2) Met Lloyd "Blondie" in Ruby (6:22)
3) Lloyd and Amelia lost a month (5:08)
4) Babies in a tent in winter (4:08)
5) Home births in the bush (5:45)
6) A lucky rescue (4:51)
7) Gangrene illness (Part 1) (7:12)
8) Gangrene illness (Part 2, went into coma) (6:01)
9) Recovery from coma (5:56)
10) Relearning life skills after coma (6:30)
11) Spirituality (4:50)

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