Photos of David and Kitty David taken during their interview
David David is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. His family originally came from the South Fork of the Koyukuk River. The Allakaket community is basically made up of three groups. Two of these groups consist of Koyukon people, one from the Kanuti and Allakaket areas and another from the region around the South Fork of the Koyukuk. The Inupiaq community of Alatna comprises the third group. People from the South Fork area had a base camp at the mouth of the South Fork of the Koyukuk River, which became a log cabin community around the turn of the century. David's parents were South Fork David and Eva, but his father died when David was three, so he grew up learning to hunt, fish and trap from other male relatives, especially Grandpa Joe Williams. David is known for his skill in raising and training sled dogs. He grew up in traditional subsistence lifestyle where he used dogs for transportation, hauling wood, and doing other chores. He got into sled dog racing in 1955, but eventually stopped as he got older and as the cost of keeping sled dogs increased. In 1952, David married Kitty Nictune of Alatna, and they had eight children.
Kitty David is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. She was born in Alatna in 1933 to Oscar and Cora Tobuk Nictune. Ann Edwards, Elma Sam,and Bertha Moses are her sisters. She and her five sisters and two brothers grew up (another brother and sister died as young children) spending a lot of time camping away from the village. Her father and both sets of her grandparents had camps up the Alatna River. After her mother died in 1942, the family spent a lot more time in Alatna, and her father took a job with the Public Health Service, and traveled widely throughout the state, encouraging people in Native communities to adopt more sanitary ways of living. Kitty helped care for the family after her mother died, so she learned a lot about cooking, sewing, and other traditional women's skills. She also attended the missionary school in Allakaket up to the fifth grade. In 1952, Kitty married David David whose family was from the South Fork of the Koyukuk River, and they have eight children. In 1992, when Kitty was interviewed, she was a health aide in Allakaket, having started health aide work in 1978without much training. Her sister, Bertha Moses, also had been a health aide in Allakaket for many years. Health aides are specially trained members of rural Alaskan communities who provide much of the primary and emergency health care in their villages.