Alaska Native/Indigenous People, Athabascan in the Spotlight

Amaya Mishka – Athabascan Author

I met Amaya Mishka (Athabascan) on Facebook recently. Amaya is Athabascan is from McGrath, and grew up in Haines and Anchorage. She now lives in California. She shared the release of her debut science fiction/fantasy novel, Ascension Warriors Mission 626. It is always exciting to hear about new Alaska Native authors. 

Amaya’s family is from McGrath. Her grandmother is Avis Dunkin, and her mother was Sophie Vanderpool. Amaya has been writing passionately since the age of 15, but has stayed covertly in the shadows writing marketing content, short stories, blogs and poetry. 

Amaya says, “I have written a book with an Athabascan character. The book is best described as a call to raise consciousness and return to traditional values of treating all living creatures including Mother Earth with respect through literary art told through science fiction/fantasy.” 

The model featured on the cover is actress from Canada, Olivia Kate Iatridis (Inuit). Amaya’s goal is to write 10 books in the series, and she plans to feature a new Indigenous role model on each cover. 

“Always make sure that if your heart desires something that you make time to do it.” – Amaya Mishka (Athabascan)

I got a chance to talk with Amaya recently. Find out more about what inspired her, advice to aspiring authors, how she has tied in Athabascan values in her book, and plans for a potential script. 

Find out more about Amaya Mishka at: http://amayamishka.com. Find her book on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P3JTPVR. Amaya is also a licensed hypnotherapist and owner of Amanda Kay Hypnotherapy.

Congratulations, Amaya, on your new book!

Family of Amaya Mishka
Alaska Native/Indigenous People, Athabascan in the Spotlight

Walter Harper Day

Photo of Walter Harper courtesy of the Walter Harper Project

It’s official – June 7 is Walter Harper Day! Senator Click Bishop sponsored Senate Bill 144 to establish June 7 in recognition of Walter Harper (Koyukon Athabascan) who became the first person to stand on top of Denali on June 7, 1913.

I checked in with Walter Harper’s grandnephew, Mike Harper (Koyukon Athabascan), to learn about the significance of the Day. Mike’s family comes from Tanana and Rampart and his family moved to Fairbanks area after the 1918 pandemic. Mike was raised in Fairbanks by his grandmother, Louise Harper, widow of Sam Harper who passed in 1931. Sam was the brother of Walter’s brother. Continue reading “Walter Harper Day”

Alaska Native/Indigenous People, Athabascan in the Spotlight

Flora B. Johnson – Mother and Educator

Flora Johnson enjoys picking berries. Photo by Shannon Johnson

My aunt, Flora B. Johnson (Koyukon Athabascan), is from Allakaket along the Koyukuk River. Her parents were the late Edward and Elizabeth Bergman. I’ve admired her for her storytelling and the love she has for her family and communities. She agreed to share her story on the Athabascan Woman Blog.

Flora moved to Iliamna with her husband in 1980. They enrolled their oldest daughter, Shannon, to Newhalen School. Her husband began working at the electric co-op. Life was tough back then and the only job she could find was babysitting. She said, “It turned out that I like kids and my house was always full of happy kids.” Continue reading “Flora B. Johnson – Mother and Educator”

Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Ricko DeWilde on Life Below Zero

Ricko DeWilde on the river. Photo by Life Below Zero

My cousin, Ricko DeWilde, joined the Life Below Zero show on National Geographic. If you recall, I featured him on my blog in 2014 (Ricko DeWilde – Making It In Two Worlds). I thought it would be a great time to get an update from him.

I appreciate the way Ricko shares our way of life as Koyukon Athabascan people and rural Alaskan life. He shares our way of survival. A few years ago, he shared some of his moose hunting and cultural videos. It caught the attention of National Geographic talent scouts. And his story began with Life Below Zero. Continue reading “Ricko DeWilde on Life Below Zero”

Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Poem by Crystal Dzehgak Frank

Crystal Dzehgak Frank and her late Shitsuu Naomi. Courtesy photo

Crystal Dzehgak Frank’s mom, Caroline Tritt-Frank, was recently featured on the Athabascan Woman Blog. Dzehgak shared her poetry with me and graciously agreed to share one of them. It is a beautiful tribute to her late grandmother or shitsuu, Naomi Tritt (Gwich’in) ~ 1926-2017. Continue reading “Poem by Crystal Dzehgak Frank”