Photos of David and Kitty David taken during their interview
David David is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. He was born in 1932 on the Upper Koyukuk River near South Fork, upriver from the village of Allakaket. His parents were Southfork David and Eva Adams of Stevens Village. The Allakaket community is basically made up of three groups. Two of these groups consist of Koyukon people, one from the Kanuti River and Allakaket areas and another from the region around the South Fork of the Koyukuk River. The Iñupiaq 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 father died when David was three, so he grew up learning to hunt, fish and trap from other male relatives, especially from his uncle, William William, and Grandpa Joe Williams. In 1952, David married Kitty Nictune of Alatna, and they had eight children that they raised in Allakaket while living a mostly subsistence lifestyle of trapping, hunting, fishing, and building cabins. He also spent some time working at mining camps near Manley Hot Springs. David is known for his skill in raising and training sled dogs. He grew up in a traditional subsistence lifestyle where he used dogs for transportation, hauling wood, and doing other chores. He got into sled dog racing in 1955, and raced in several races in the Interior, including one fourth place finish at the Open North American in Fairbanks. He retired from dog racing in the 1990s as he got older and as the cost of keeping sled dogs increased, and passed his team onto his son.
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, when Kitty was just nine years old, 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 had eight children that they raised in Allakaket while living a mostly subsistence lifestyle of trapping, hunting, fishing, and building cabins. In 1992, when Kitty was interviewed, she was a health aide in Allakaket, having started health aide work in 1978 without 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.