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Delois Burggraf

Delois Burggraf

Delois Burggraf was born in 1938 to Dorothea and Charlie Purvis in Kansas City and spent her early years living on a farm in Missouri. The family moved to Nenana, Alaska in 1951 and she quickly took to the small community and rural subsistence lifestyle. She loved the woods, and learned to run a dog team, hunt and trap, and ran a snare line near the house to catch rabbits for dinner. Her father was a big supporter of equality for Natives and became close friends with many of the local Athabascan leaders, and passed along these values to his family. At age 16, Delois married Al Ketzler, Sr., who was 22, and together they had 7 children. Delois was an active participant in the early Native land claims efforts and leading up to passage of the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971. She was at Al’s side as he initiated early discussions about Native land rights in Nenana and Tanana in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and because of her typing skills was recruited to be secretary for the Nenana Native Council. She also was a representative at the Dena’ Nena’ Henash (Our Land Speaks) conference in Tanana in 1962. After passage of ANCSA, Delois stepped away from activism, spent time back in Kansas City so her children could experience life there, and worked a variety of jobs in Nenana and Fairbanks. She and Al Ketzler divorced in 1975, and she later married Roger Burggraf.

Delois Burggraf appears in the following new Jukebox projects: