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Bertha Moses, Interview 1, Part 1
Bertha Moses 1993

This interview with Bertha Moses took place on May 12, 1993 while sitting around Bertha's dining room table in the manager's apartment of the Tanana Chief's Patient Hostel in Fairbanks, Alaska. Bertha is from Allakaket, and is the manager of the Tanana Chief's Patient Hostel in Fairbanks. This facility provides housing and other services for rural residents who need to be near the hospital, either for treatment themselves or because a family member is undergoing treatment. Bertha has devoted a significant portion of her life to health care needs of her people. In this interview, Bertha talks about her personal background, her childhood, getting an education, the mission at Allakaket, and her experiences as a nurse and health aide.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 93-15-12

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: May 12, 1993
Narrator(s): Bertha Moses
Interviewer(s): Wendy Arundale
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Bertha Moses discusses her personal background

2) Growing up in Alatna and going to school in Allakaket

3) School and what Bertha liked about it

4) More on school and after school chores

5) Christmas

6) Leaving the village for camp

7) How the Mission got started

8) Religion and how she learned the Western Bible

9) Other missionaries she remembers people talking about

10) Death of relatives

11) Mission after 1953 when Miss Kay and Miss Hill left

12) Joe Williams

13) Medical care

14) Beginning of her nursing career

15) Demanding experiences as a Health Aide

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: Tobuk, Cora -- mother\ Nictune, Oscar -- father\ Kobuk\ Alatna River\ Bettles\ Alatna\ Wiseman\ Alatna River -- upper part\ Arctic City\ born -- May 2, 1930, Alatna\ Hill, Amelia -- missionary, nurse\ missionaries|

Section 2: Alatna\ Allakaket\ Nictune, Kitty\ Nictune, Clara -- died at 11 yrs old\ school -- wanting to go\ missionaries -- Christmas activities\ school -- 1st day\ Kay, Bessie -- missionary, only teacher|

Section 3: schoolhouse\ church\ mission -- well built\ Hill, Amelia\ Kay, Bessie\ missionaries -- left 1953\ missionaries -- discipline of children\ punishment -- talking of what's wrong and right\ school -- learning chart of basic words\ school -- learning to write\ school -- learning to read\ reading -- fables\ Hanzel and Gretel\ pledge of allegience\ morning prayer|

Section 4: English -- speaking a little\ math\ reading\ spelling\ geography\ wood -- cutting\ wood -- carrying\ mission -- trading clothes for wood\ clothes\ cleaning\ recreation\ chores -- saw wood, pack water\ food -- fish|

Section 5: sewing\ moccasins -- mooseskin and beads\ socks -- rabbit skin\ Kay, Bessie -- missionary\ celebrations -- Christmas\ gifts\ gift wrapping -- techniques|

Section 6: moose\ caribou\ fish\ rabbit\ white owl\ hunting\ ptarmigan\ white owl\ caribou -- bones used in broth; source of fat|

Section 7: Stickinstuck, Art\ Arctic City\ Allakaket\ Old Maggie -- family trapping camp\ Allakaket\ Moses, Johnson\ Williams, Levine\ Williams, Shirley\ Bergman, Billy\ Wright, Tommy\ Simon, Ned\ Williams, Effie\ Tobuk, James -- learned English, became interpreter\ Tobuk, James -- translating Bible\ Oolah -- James Tobuk|

Section 8: religion -- traditional beliefs\ religion -- conversion\ Bible -- translation\ Stuck, Hudson|

Section 9: Hines, Clara -- missionary\ Carter, Clara -- missionary\ Miss Boyce\ Miss Creese -- Ft. Yukon Hospital, nurse\ pneumonia -- viral\ health -- use of sulpher\ "honey bucket"\ cod liver oil\ Edwards, Bessie\ Edwards, Hazel\ Edwards, Helen|

Section 10: Edwards, Bessie -- death in fire\ Nordale Hotel -- fire\ tuberculosis\ Edward, Hazel -- death\ pneumonia -- lost one brother and one sister\ campsite -- during tuberculosis outbreak\ Bertha's mom -- death\ relatives -- 10 total children\ mother -- died giving birth to twins|

Section 11: Hill, Amelia -- missionary\ Kay, Bessie -- missionary\ priest\ co-op store\ Hill, Amelia -- extracting teeth\ nurse -- married priest\ Miller, Richard\ Miller, Anita\ Mendelsohn, Dorothy\ Mendelsohn, Randy\ Kinney, Robert\ Kinney, Emily\ Bills, Jim\ Openheim, Mr. and Mrs.\ Vista volunteers|

Section 12: Williams, Joe -- died three years prior to interview\ Williams, Joe -- priest for 16 years\ born -- 1938, Allakaket\ Williams, Joe Sr. -- father\ Simon, Agnes -- mother|

Section 13: health -- public health nurses\ nurses -- public health\ immunizations\ first aid -- training in community\ penicillin\ polio\ diptheria\ smallpox\ Miller, Mrs.\ Sam, Ron\ Bergman, Elizabeth|

Section 14: nursing -- started as nurse's aide, 1958\ Bergman, Caroline\ penicillin\ triple sulphur\ Health Aide volunteer -- only one, 1958-69\ Anchorage -- medical training, 1969\ family -- practiced delivering babies\ suturing\ medication -- oral|

Section 15: children -- accidents\ seizures\ suturing\ delivering babies\ knee -- fracture, Kitty|