Photographs taken during the interview with Steven and Catherine Attla and historic images related to their lives
Steven Attla, Sr. is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Huslia, Alaska. He was born in 1924 near Hughes, Alaska but his parents moved down to the Cutoff area when he was about three. He grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle living off the land; hunting, trapping, and fishing following the seasons to different camp locations. He worked as a commercial river boat pilot, for the Public Health Service, and at the Huslia school. Steven and Catherine Attla were married in 1944. Steven is a skilled craftsman, especially known for his traditionally built sleds. He believes strongly in preserving his culture and language, and passing it on to the younger people in the community. Interviews with Steven appear in the Gates of the Arctic Project Jukebox and the Raven's Story Project Jukebox. Steven Attla, Sr. died on October 9, 2014. For more about Steven Attla, Sr. see his obituary in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner newspaper.
Catherine Attla was a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Huslia, Alaska. She was born at Cutoff in 1927, and grew up speaking her Native language and learning subsistence skills and cultural knowledge from her grandparents in their trapping cabins and fish camps. She married Steven Attla, Sr. in 1944. While raising nine children, Catherine devoted herself to the preservation of her Koyukon language and culture. She worked with anthropologist Richard Nelson and linguist Eliza Jones. She wrote a book of Athabascan stories entitled As My Grandfather Told It. And she spent a lot of time teaching the old ways to village children, visitors and scientists. Catherine was skilled as a traditional skin and fur sewer, beadworker, moose hide tanner, birch bark basketmaker, song maker, and storyteller. She worked as a volunteer health aide, and served for sixteen years on the local Fish and Game Advisory Board. Interviews with Catherine appear in the Gates of the Arctic National Park Project Jukebox and the Raven's Story Project Jukebox. Catherine Attla died on March 12, 2012. For more about Catherine Attla, see her obituary in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner newspaper.