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Laura Sanford

Laura Sanford

Nora Laura Sanford was an Upper Tanana River Athabascan Dene Elder from Tok, Alaska. She was born in 1928 to Annie and Titus Isaac in Mansfield, Alaska, located seven miles upstream from the village of Tanacross, Alaska. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle of moving seasonally to hunt, fish, trap and gather, and learned the traditions of the Mansfield-Ketchumstuck bands. She was a teenager when the Alaska Highway was built and experienced many changes that brought to the communities. In the 1940's, her husband worked as an equipment operator on the Taylor Highway in the summer, so she and her children moved up there every spring and lived in tents until the fall when they returned to Tanacross for school. Laura and her family moved to Tok in the 1950's, where they continued to lead a traditional subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering. After her husband died in an airplane crash in 1970, Laura raised their eight children alone. As a speaker of her Native Athabascan Tanacross language, Laura was a major contributor to language documentation, including publications such as the Tanacross Learners' Dictionary and the Tanacross Phrase and Conversation Lessons. She participated in numerous language workshops and classes at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Yukon Native Language Centre, and the Gateway School District. She was also well known as a gifted storyteller, and for her generosity in sharing her knowledge and cultural traditions. Laura Sanford passed away in 2010. For more about Nora Laura Sanford, see her obituary in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper.

Date of Death:
Jun 8, 2010
Laura Sanford appears in the following new Jukebox projects: