Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Reflections from Vina Bilow

Vina Bilow. Courtesy photo

My aunt, Vina Bilow (Koyukon Athabascan), recently shared her reflections on moving to Fairbanks from Huslia. She shared some stories and gave some really great advice about living a sustainable lifestyle. She graciously allowed me to share some of it. She’s a fellow writer, and I love reading her stories and reflections.

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It has been three years since I left Huslia and moved into Town (aka Fairbanks). That was the longest—26 years—that I have lived in my home village. I left at age 14 to attend Mt Edgecumbe High School in Sitka or as it was known as way back in 1961 Mt. Edgecumbe Alaska. I was home just for the summers, graduated in May 1965 and joined the Women’s Army Corp the following September for my three-year enlistment tour, so 14 + 26 = 40 years in the village and 33 years elsewhere.

I made quite a few changes in the last three years, plus made changes in my life before that, for several reasons; some for my health, some in lifestyle, others for financial reasons, and whatever else. Continue reading “Reflections from Vina Bilow”

Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Odin Peter-Raboff – Gwich’in & Koyukon Business Owner

Odin Peter-Raboff. Courtesy photo

I recently ran into a friend, Odin Peter-Raboff (Gwich’in/Koyukon Athabascan). He is the owner of Nomadic Stars, and they do screen printing and create promotional items in Fairbanks. You may occasionally see them at a booth at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention and other events. He expanded his business to Anchorage recently and I asked him if he’d would share about it.

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My name is Odin Peter-Raboff. My grandfather was the late Steven Peter of Arctic Village and the late Katherine Peter of Steven’s Village, Fort Yukon and Arctic Village. My mother is Adeline Raboff of Arctic Village and Fort Yukon and my father was the late Ernest Raboff of California and New Jersey. Continue reading “Odin Peter-Raboff – Gwich’in & Koyukon Business Owner”

Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Stories by Rhoda Stertzer

Angeline Derendoff by Brenda Ernst

My relative, Rhoda Stertzer (Koyukon Athabascan), shared a story about her late mom, Angeline Derendoff of Huslia. Rhoda graciously agreed to share it with Athabascan Woman blog readers. She started with story right before Christmas time, then she followed up with information about her mom’s early life.

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A story to chew part off the winter…When our Momma was a child, they would go to winter camp to stay until spring. They were just to bring necessities. Nothing extra, well, she had a doll made of wooden thread spools. Grandma found out and told her she had to leave it. So it was on the way when she had to leave it behind, so she hid in a safe place. On the way back, she picked it up.

When she told the story, I can hear the hurt in her voice she felt at the time. She said “It was just a little doll!” They were traveling with dog team, with Grandpa walking in front sometimes when the traveling got tough. Sometimes they had an extra sled load with a pole sticking forward and they had to hang on to, also. They called that a “G” pole. Tough times they had back then. Merry Christmas. <3 I love you. Continue reading “Stories by Rhoda Stertzer”

Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Amber Hopkins – Koyukon Athabascan Nurse

My relative, Amber Hopkins, is from upriver from where I grew up in Huslia. I love highlighting Athabascan people doing great things.

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Amber Hopkins. Courtesy photo.

Amber Hopkins grew up in Hughes, Alaska, a small Koyukon Athabascan village on the Koyukuk river. Her parents are Wilmer Beetus and Margaret Williams. Her grandparents are the late Joe and Celia Beetus and late Lavine and Susie Williams. After graduating from Lathrop High School, she went to the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a year. Then, she joined the U.S. Navy and was able to travel to parts of the world. She was honorably discharged at the end of her five-year contract and started school to become a nurse. She used her Montgomery GI Bill and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Amber is now a pediatric/pediatric ICU nurse at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

Continue reading “Amber Hopkins – Koyukon Athabascan Nurse”

Alaska Native/Indigenous People, Athabascan in the Spotlight

Athabascan Medical Laboratory Scientist

Starr Zottola

My cousin, Starr Zottola (Koyukon Athabascan), is a medical laboratory scientist who  analyzes blood and other bodily fluids to aid in the diagnosis of medical conditions. I asked her to share about her profession and what it took to get there. Starr’s parents are Gary Attla and Maureen Mayo. Enaa baasee’, Starr, for sharing on the Athabascan Woman Blog! Continue reading “Athabascan Medical Laboratory Scientist”