Language Lessons

Excerpts from Tapes # H95-47 vol 1& 2
Marian Edwin speaks about Abbie Joseph:
"And you know Lee and I used to travel all the time up for trapping and everything we have to stop at Fish Creek and you know, when we're gettin there and then we pass Cos Jacket maybe 4 or 5 teams would be followin us, Pauline used to be one of them- we'd get there and there's Abbie- already got big pot of soup, all the rabbits, bread and everything already out....regular little potlatch, I tell her 'how you know we're comin down' Then I take out, 'don't put stuff out' she say, 'don't do that' I tell her, ya but we always do that take out something to eat. She say, no, she say, keep it she say. Way after that like about 5, 6 years after that I say why did you tell me do that? She say, because I want you to learn that when you come into our house, she say, everything we got is yours.

Abbie & Edgar JosephPatty Bowen speaks about Abbie Joseph:
"Abbie Evan Joseph left more significant information behind than any -- all in Koyukon -- thanks to extensive interviews by Eliza Jones and Diane Gudgel-Holmes. This is an invaluable contribution to language work; the full content, still not realized. I can still picture Edgar and Abbie in front of their old house on Back Street behind Tanana's Post Office. Others will picture them still up at Fish Creek, welcomin' travelers always. She was the most powerful and young-looking old woman still so strong and charismatic. I only heard her speak in Koyukon, so nice to hear the language even when I understood none of it -- melodic. My crystal clear memory of Abbie is my first year as Kindergarten teacher, taking the kids out for a walk, and here comes Abbie in her wheel chair (one leg amputated) "running away" from the Elders' Residence. Imagine that, wheelin' yourself up Back Street over dirt-gravel road! And it was beautiful to see those Elders lined-up, sitting across the front of the Hall. Abbie-Edgar, side by side. Even in her wheelchair, with only one foot danglin' in her canvas boot, she was a memorable dancer! Her light kerchief "dancin' in air", her arms held high, eyes sparking. Dancing and singing -leading.

Mae Edwin (Abbie Joseph's daughter):
"The only time my parents used to take us to town was the 4th of July, just so we could see kids playing I guess I don't know but to me too, I don't know,...that picture we saw of that hotel that is where mom and them used to take us to...Then after the 4th of July is over there we go back up to Fish Camp stay there all the time, we don't (know what to think about town?)And you know momma she used to work hard.
She had a garden, right there in front of the house..."

Abbie with  Tanana ChildrenEffie Kokrine speaks of Abbie Joseph:
"She was always working and she was tough. And my father was raised by Peter Henry's mother she had a flesher made out of a file when the Whiteman first brought in flesher (file?) and those is really precious because a metal was not something that everbody had so she had this metal flesher and when she died this old lady she gave it to Abbie as a souvenir and it was to be handed down to most deserving person so after Abbie before she died, she gave me that flesher she said you're the only one that I know that's gonna make use of this and I'm still using it today and I'm goin to be usin it in a little while. I got a caribou skin right now and I gotta moose skin..."

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