Moose Calling along the Dietrich River, an oil painting by Rose Albert. Courtesy image
Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Rose Albert – Athabascan Painter and Artist

Rose Albert. Courtesy photo
Rose Albert. Courtesy photo

I have admired Rose Albert’s painting for years. Rose is Koyukon Athabascan originally from Ruby, Alaska. She is a talented artist and also a former Iditarod sled dog musher. She is owner of Nowitna River Studios and resides in Anchorage.

Rose always wanted to become an artist since she was two years old. She remembers playing under the blankets with my siblings and being fascinated by static electricity. The streaks of light looked like little angels to her and her siblings. At the age of five, Rose’s first three drawings were of angels with wings.

Another vivid memory is when Rose was mesmerized by midnight blue glass beads shining at an old dump site. The color blue spoke to her and in second grade, she drew rivers, streams and mountains and colored them blue. Rose says, “After school as dusk fell upon us, I would stand one place outside and watch as the atmosphere turned blue.” She remembers getting cold outside but couldn’t resist watching how the blue faded into darkness. Rose realized later, she was a winter person.

“I went through grade sixth to eighth drawing women in the latest fashions. I gave them away and my classmates seemed to like them. My first oil painting was of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Later in eighth grade I did an oil painting of Zeus who was the sky and thunder God in ancient Greek religion as a class project. The next one and many afterwards were of wild life. One of a bull moose and cow and one with wolves running. Throughout high school, I painted outdoor winter scenes and wildlife and best of all dogs racing down the trail, all along trying to capture that blue atmosphere that cold weather seems to bring on. During high school I took art classes by Don Decker. Though I may have been good at composition, he instructed me on how to work with light and the direction it was coming from and when to use shadows and colors.” – Rose Albert, Koyukon Athabascan

Rose worked on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System after high school. She painted on her free time on commission from pipeline workers from the Lower 48 who were missing loved ones. Using small snapshots of their wives, she painted 16×20 oil paintings. After that job ended, she was lost afterwards until a school teacher from Ruby told her I should go down to the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1981, Rose earned an associate’s degree in two-dimensional art specializing in painting from IAIA. She says, “I still obsessed about blue and brought to life Alaska themes with rich northern colors in cold but romantic settings on the Iditarod race or trapline.”

Rose Albert attending a 2015 Fur Rondy event honoring late George Attle Jr. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Rose Albert attending a 2015 Fur Rondy event honoring late George Attle Jr. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

After Rose returned to Alaska, she got in the Iditarod race and finished in 32nd place. She was the first Alaska Native woman to get into the Iditarod. She says, “It was cold and blue out there and I loved it.” Rose continues to refine her painting techniques depicting wildlife and beautiful Alaska scenes, and loves painting Iditarod scenes. She also specializes in painting portraits.

In 1998, Rose began building Alaska Yellow Cedar boxes and carving wildlife, totemic art and Iditarod images of people and their dogs in the Iditarod. One of her favorite things to do is to design boxes to the appropriate shape or size. Then she pays a woodworker to build finger joint boxes so they will never lose their shape. At one point, Rose had to hire someone to build them because it took too much of her time to build them.

Rose has always loved beads. Ten years ago, she began making costume jewelry, especially with glass beads. The jewelry was a hit, and Rose began adding Swarovski crystals, stone, ceramic, bone and silver beads. Later, she worked with moose antlers by inlaying beautiful natural stones in the antler after slicing them into oval or round buttons. She searched for the best bone or stone beads to go with her pendants. Rose loves all Alaskan stones, like jasper, Malachite, quartz and garnets, but she also likes Labradorite.

Like many Alaska Native artists, Rose is multi-talented and is not afraid to experiment with new art forms. She is also an inspiration for women who want to run in the Iditarod. Follow Rose Albert on the Nowitna River Studios Facebook page or email her at lbrt_rs@yahoo.com. Rose shared a photo of her most recent painting, entitled “Moose Calling along the Dietrich River” on her Facebook page. It took four about four months to paint in five phases. This oil painting depicts a bull moose calling as it walks along the Dietrich river on a brisk autumn day during the rut.

Moose Calling along the Dietrich River, an oil painting by Rose Albert. Courtesy image
“Moose Calling along the Dietrich River”, an oil painting by Rose Albert. Courtesy image
Kelley Baggerly at work. Courtesy photo
Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Kelley Baggerly – Athabascan Barber and Hairdresser

Kelley Baggerly. Courtesy photo
Kelley Baggerly. Courtesy photo

I love connecting with people in person and online. I started following an Athabascan barber and hairdresser, Kelley Baggerly, on Instagram (@kelleycuts). I enjoy seeing her adventures in Alaska, the work she does and times spent with family and friends. I reached out to learn more about her and she graciously agreed to an interview for the Athabascan Woman Blog.

Kelley is Koyukon Athabascan and was born and raised for most of her childhood in Fairbanks, Alaska. Her late mother, Thelma Cline, was from Nulato, Alaska. Her father, Tim Cline, came up to Alaska from Novato, California to teach music. Her maternal grandparents were Janet and Robert Stanley of Nulato. Kelley is a single mother of two children ages five and seven. She loves spending time with my family in Anchorage. Kelley enjoys being outside hiking, snowboarding and photography.

Kelley Baggerly and children. Courtesy photo
Kelley Baggerly and children. Courtesy photo

Kelley is constantly pushing to keep some of her Athabascan traditions alive by eating Alaska Native foods. She reads stories to her children, encourages them to get involved in Native events in Anchorage. Her son, Kaiyuh Nokinba, has a Koyukon Athabascan name. It was important to her to give her first child an Athabascan name so he always knew how proud we are of his Alaska Native heritage.

Kelley shares her love of music with her father. She feels her father’s love for music really brought the community of Nulato together. Kelley says, “I really think he impacted a lot of Native youth through his teaching and love for music.” At 18 years old, she got two small tattoos on her wrist in honor of her love of music; they were a small treble and bass clef.

Kelley Baggerly. Courtesy photo
Kelley Baggerly. Courtesy photo

Kelley continued to get other tattoos to signify different parts of her life, like her struggles and accomplishments, and to remember ones she has lost. Her love of tattoos continues and her most recent ones are some roses on her elbow she got Valentine’s Day. Kelley says, “They really are just a map of my life.”

At 17 years old, Kelley faced the devastating loss of her mother. Her family has helped her through that loss and in her current life as a single mother. She appreciates her supportive family and network in Anchorage. Kelley says, “Being able to count on them has helped me overcome the struggles of parenting alone.”

Kelley cut her brother's hair on a barber's chair from the 1890's originally from the SS Nenana (a steamboat now in Pioneer Park in Fairbanks). Courtesy photo
Kelley cut her brother’s hair on a barber’s chair from the 1890’s originally from the SS Nenana (a steamboat now in Pioneer Park in Fairbanks). Courtesy photo

Kelley earned her hairdresser’s license in 2008 from the Academy of Hair Design. She worked as a hairdresser for about four years. Then, she became more interested in men’s haircutting and styling. She got a job at a barbershop on Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson (JBER) in 2012 to gain more experience on barbering skills. At that point, she was hooked and decided to switch her career from hairdressing to barbering. Nowadays, you can book appointments with her at the Razor Barbershop in Anchorage (907-349-2889).

In 2015, Kelley took the plunge and completed the hours to retake her state boards to become a licensed barber. She explained that being able to do straight razor shaves and use the straight razor on haircuts and designs is what sets a barber apart from a hairdresser. Kelley says, “The amount of skill that goes into barbering really drew me in, and the huge amount of talent in this industry really excited me.”

Kelley Baggerly at work. Courtesy photo
Kelley loves helping her clients look extra fresh. Courtesy photo

Being a successful business owner and being able to support her family is important to Kelley. It was not easy to accomplish and there were times when she made almost nothing cutting hair, but she persevered. Kelley is glad she stuck with it and continued to build relationships with clients. She has a chair rental at the current shop she works in and has an established clientele. Kelley says, “My clients are amazing. I would literally be nothing if none of them believed in me and trusted me to be consistent with their services behind the chair.”

“My advice for anyone getting into the industry is to stick it out, have self-discipline, and remember that hard work goes a long way!” – Kelley Baggerly, Koyukon Athabascan

Kelley encourages people to follow their dreams and says, “Education is key, never stop learning or pushing yourself.” She always knew she would work with people, but she did not realize how much she would love barbering. Barbering brought her a sense of community in Anchorage and beyond. She has begun to establish relationships with other barbers and hairdressers in other states.

Kelley, Willy (owner of Razor Barbershop) and co-worker Ryan at Hairpalooza. Courtesy photo
Kelley, Willy (owner of Razor Barbershop) and co-worker Ryan at Hairpalooza. Courtesy photo

Kelley recently attended Hairpalooza at the Razor Barbershop in San Antonio, Texas. Hairpalooza was a combination of a hair show and a competition. Kelley says, “While I didn’t compete, I was able to go behind the scenes and meet all the judges and teachers of the class we took the next day.”

Kelley says, “My love for this trade has opened many doors for me and has also given me to the opportunity to give back.” She has done haircuts for many local events with other local businesses. She volunteers to give free cuts to people in need when she can.

Kudos to Kelley for overcoming challenges and following her dreams with hard work and perseverance. I know it is not easy raising two children on her own and she is doing a great job raising and supporting them. Thank you Kelley for sharing your story and being an inspiration to others!

Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Native Vloggers, Gamers and Organizations

Susie Lee Edwardson curated a great list of Alaska Native and Native American vloggers (video bloggers), gamers and others. She graciously allowed me to share it on the Athabascan Woman Blog.

“If you like YouTube and want to watch more Native vloggers, gamers and so on! I tried to split them up in similar categories. Feel free to share if you’d like this post is on public.” – Susie Lee Edwardson, Haida

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Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Amber Steinhilpert – Athabascan Hockey Player

Amber Steinhilpert holds medals for first place in the Pacific District Championships in March and second place at Nationals in the Tier II U16 Girls Hockey Championships in April. Photo by Ada Chapman
Amber Steinhilpert holds medals for first place in the Pacific District Championships in March and second place at Nationals in the Tier II U16 Girls Hockey Championships in April. Photo by Ada Chapman

Amber Steinhilpert is Athabascan and a freshman in high school. She has been playing hockey for the past five seasons. She is the daughter of Charles Steinhilpert, Jr. and Ada Chapman. Currently, Amber plays for a comp team, the Tier II U16 Alaska Allstars. Her usual position is left-wing but she can also play center or defense positions. Earlier in the season, I watched her play and spoke with her.

Amber and her team took second place at Nationals in the Tier II U16 Girls Hockey Championships in April 2016. They lost 2-1 after a goal was waived off, but it was a hard-fought battle. Still, second place in the nation is quite an accomplishment. Before a team can continue to Nationals, the hockey players had to win Districts. Amber and her team won first place as they dominated the Pacific District Championships in Anchorage in March 2016.

Attending Nationals (aka Natty’s) provided an opportunity for college scouts to watch the best talent in the Nation. Amber enjoyed this experience, playing with and against advanced and top notch hockey players. Another parent shared with Ada, “It’s rare for a hockey player to attend Nationals her fifth season!” Go Amber!
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Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Yatibeay Evans – Education Advocate

Yatibaey Evans. Courtesy photo
Yatibaey Evans. Courtesy photo

Yatibaey Evans is Ahtna (Athabascan) from Mentasta, Alaska. I met her a few years ago when we served on a committee together. Yatibaey struck me as a friendly, outgoing and capable person. I recently learned she served on the board for the National Indian Education Association (NIEA). I caught up with her this month to find out more about her and her work with NIEA.

From the Head Waters People, Yatibaey is the daughter of Donna Galbreath from Mentasta and Jeff Mann from Massachusetts. She is the granddaughter of Molly Galbreath from Mentasta and Don Galbreath from Michigan. Yatibaey and Lewis Evans are celebrating their 16th year of marriage, and together they have four wonderful boys. Her research while at University of Washington explored the preconceived ideas held by students in Tacoma, Washington. The research prompted Yatibaey to pursue her Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University in order to assist in the field of education.

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