This is what fully-smoked salmon looks like. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Alaska Native culture

Half-Dried Fish

K’eyoge’ is half-dried fish in Denaakk’e (Koyukon Athabascan). Photo by Angela Gonzalez
K’eyoge’ is half-dried fish in Denaakk’e (Koyukon Athabascan). Photo by Angela Gonzalez

I challenged readers of the Athabascan Woman Blog to help me come up with some one-word writing prompts. The prompts will help inspire me throughout the year. My goal is to do one blog post a week. Worpdress’ daily one-word prompts is originally what inspired me. I thought it would be great to make the words more related to Alaska or Alaska Native people, culture and more. I hosted a giveaway for you all to help me. Thank you to all who participated!

The first word is k’eyoge’. Thank you to Margaret David for suggesting the word. K’eyoge’ means half-dried fish in Denaakk’e (Koyukon Athabascan). I spent my summers in fish camp along the Koyukuk River near Huslia, and we were fortunate to catch, cut and smoke a lot of fish. We would smoke the eating fish in a smoke-house. Half-dried fish is exactly has it sounds. We smoke it until it is half-way dried, and bake it or put it in the freezer.

This is what fully-smoked salmon looks like. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
This is what fully-smoked salmon looks like. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

K’eyoge’ is a little softer in consistency than fully-dried white fish or salmon. It also is half-smoked, so you get that delicious smoked flavor. We used dead cottonwood to smoke fish. It’s making me hungry thinking about it. 🙂

Have you eaten k’eyoge’? I am very grateful when I get to eat some. Sometimes potlatches are the only place to get it. Check out Susan Paskvan’s Athabascan word of the week article on cutting fish on the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer.

One-word prompts suggestion jar. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
One-word prompts suggestion jar. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

Do you have a word you would like to me to add to my suggestion jar? Comment below or send me a message on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages. Be sure to like the Athabascan Woman Blog on Facebook for future giveaways.

Alaska Native culture

Making Beaded Slippers

Beaded slippers by Angela Gonzalez

I’ve been at it again. I have been beading and sewing like a madwoman for the past month! I don’t sell my slippers, but do make them as gifts for family and friends. I have enjoyed designing them, picking out colors.

I buy the slippers and sew the beadwork and fur trim. I went shopping on Black Friday specifically for slippers. It takes me approximately 2-7 days to finish a pair. I work full-time, so I  bead and sew in the evenings and weekends.

Beaded slippers by Angela Gonzalez

I donated a pair for an Alaska Native art auction, but have mostly been sewing for my nieces and friends. It is my new hobby and maybe an obsession. 🙂 I will likely slow down and after the holidays. It feels great to be making handmade gifts.

Beaded slippers by Angela Gonzalez

I usually ask what are people’s favorite colors to make it specifically for that person. My niece is a basketball player, so I made a basketball themed pair of slippers. Another person loves picking blueberries, so I made him a pair with that theme. Check out the latest slippers I have been beading in this Facebook album:  beaded slippers.

Over the years, my family has gifted me with moose skin hide, beaver fur, beads, thread and wax. I shop at local craft stores in Anchorage to get the supplies I need.

I have learned a lot about beading, sewing and working with hides and furs. I have made mistakes along the way, but learned how to fix them. I have learned fixing your mistakes and problem solving is a part of the process.

I shared some instructions and a video a couple years ago. How to Bead Moose Skin Slipper Tops:  http://athabascanwoman.com/?p=2348.

Overall, I’ve learned a lot and it has been fun! I may make glove tops to sew onto gloves for my nephews. That will be my next project. Happy Holidays!

Alaska Native culture

Giving Thanks Dance Festival & Potluck

The Giving Thanks Dance Festival & Potluck was held at UAA on November 18.
The Giving Thanks Dance Festival & Potluck was held at UAA on November 18.

November is Native American/Alaska Native Heritage Month, and a number of events are held in Alaska. I have gone to a few events and spoke at a local school to share stories about growing up in fish camp and about Athabascan life. On November 18, the University of Alaska-Anchorage (UAA) Native Student Council held their 3rd annual Giving Thanks Dance Festival & Potluck.

UAA Native Student Council member, Kyle Worl, says, “Three years ago we were trying to think of an event to celebrate Alaska Native Heritage Month on campus and also provide a Thanksgiving gathering/feast for students that couldn’t go home for the holiday.”

They started out the event with a potluck. People from the community attended. Dance groups performed, including Yurapik, Tlingit & Haide Dancers of Anchorage, Anchorage Unangax Dancers, Anchorage Inupiaq Northern Lights Dancers, Piiyuuk Shields and Byron Nicholai and Yukon Knik Athabaskan Fiddlers. Ariel “Bisco” Taylor painted during the event. I caught the last half of the event.

The event was crowded with an estimated 550 people who attended throughout the event. Organizers say it looks like they have outgrown the UAA Cuddy Hall, and will likely have to find a larger venue next year.

I love hearing the drum beat and people enjoying and celebrating Alaska Native culture. I also enjoy seeing friends and relatives. The Native Student Council awarded Sheila Randazzo with the Student Advocacy & Support Award. Kudos to the motivated students, faculty and sponsors who helped to make the event a success!

Native Student Council and awardee, Sheila Randazzo. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Native Student Council and awardee, Sheila Randazzo. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Alaska Native culture

Alaska Native Heritage Center

Thank you for all who have been watching my videos on the Athabascan Woman Blog Facebook Page and the YouTube channel! Here is my latest video with a shout out to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Check it out!

This month, I’m participating in the SSSVEDA video blog challenge this month, and I make a call for events. #SSSVEDA stands for Savvy Sexy Social Vlog Every Day in August. It is a challenge to make a video every day for a month. It’s been a fun challenge to learn about making videos. So far, I have learned about deadlines, scripting, letting go of being ‘perfect’, being myself, how to promote a video, lighting, sound and talking in front of an audience (my family mostly). I also realized that higher quality and longer videos need extra storage, data and internet speed.

It has also been great to connect with people through the comments and shares! Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Thank you for your feedback!

Alaska Native culture

2016 WEIO Youth Report

My youngest daughter and I made the drive up the Parks Highway from Anchorage to Fairbanks to visit family, friends and to check out the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (WEIO). My daughter, Ermelina Gonzalez, and niece, River Wiseman, interviewed people at WEIO. They asked people what they enjoy about WEIO. This was the last day of WEIO.

As you can see from everyone’s response, they really enjoy the games, culture, traditions, visiting new and old friends and participating in such a positive event. Thank you to Ermelina and River for their report from the WEIO!