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Catherine Attla

Catherine Attla

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, and they went right out to spring camp. They settled at Cutoff, the old village site at the mouth of the Huslia River. In 1949, they moved to the New Huslia village site, another 10 miles down the Koyukuk River. By the time she was 30 years old, Catherine had taught herself how to speak English, and learned how to read and write at the village school. While raising nine children and teaching them to live off the land according to a traditional subsistence lifestyle, 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.

Date of Birth:
Mar 20, 1927
Date of Death:
Mar 12, 2012
Catherine Attla appears in the following new Jukebox projects: