Alaska Native culture


Janessa, Angela and Ermelina in 2006 and 2020. Photos by Gonzalez family and Samantha Meza Photography

As the seasons change, I find myself reflecting, purging and thinking of the future. In 2012, I shared some things I’m grateful for. The list popped up on my memories. It’s amazing how things change over time yet stay the same. I’m still grateful for these things but have a new appreciation for ways I’m grateful for them.

Things that I am grateful for (written by Angela Łot’oydaatlno Gonzalez)

I’m grateful for family and friends who love me and to be able to laugh and cry with them.
I’m grateful for experiences that help me to be a better person.
I’m grateful for opportunities presented and being able to pursue dreams.
I’m grateful for life.
I’m grateful for the ability to provide for my kids and to make a home for them with my husband.
I’m grateful for my Ancestors.
I’m grateful to be able to help others.
I’m grateful to live in Alaska and to be able to enjoy the great outdoors.
I’m grateful for clean air, water, food and earth.
I’m grateful for the little shared moments with my kids that make me smile and surprises.
I’m grateful for challenges and mistakes I’ve made even though they can be overwhelming.
I’m grateful to know what pain feels like. I’m a better person for having lived through tough times, and maybe can help someone else in the future.
I’m grateful for the ability to smile and to make others smile.
I’m grateful to have listened to stories from Elders.
I’m grateful to be able to so easily connect with people from all over.
I’m grateful for my imperfections.
I’m grateful for thoughtful and honest people.
I’m grateful for you.
I’m grateful to be able to learn Athabascan cultures and ways of living that will help me and my family well into the future.
I’m grateful to capture moments in time in many different ways.

Over the past year, there’s a lot of things I’ve missed, like seeing family and sharing tradition foods with family and in community. There is so much more to be grateful for, including those who have shared their stories on the Athabascan Woman blog. Enaa baasee’!

I’ll leave you with this video on missing Native foods. I enjoy following #NativeTikTok, and how we use humor to share stories.


I sure miss foods from home. What foods do you miss the most from gatherings? #potlatch #nativefood #nativehumor

♬ original sound – Tati

Alaska Native culture

New Book: Button Up! Fall in Alaska by Angela Gonzalez

Angela Gonzalez wrote BUTTON UP! Fall in Alaska

I wrote a book! Earlier this year, Best Beginnings, Alaska’s Early Childhood Investment, released Seasons of Alaska, four board books highlighting Alaska Native talent. Best Beginnings and editor Tricia Brown collaborated with Alaska Native writers and photographers contributed to four books focused on the seasons for ages 0-3 years old.

Authors include Joni Spiess of Nome/Anchorage, Yaari Toolie-Walker of Savoonga/Anchorage, Angela Y. Gonzalez of Huslia/Anchorage, and Carla Snow of Bethel. Featured photographers include Esther Pederson of Nome, Ian Merculieff of St. Paul Island/Anchorage, Carol Maillelle of Togiak/Anchorage, Taylor Booth of Nome, Greg Lincoln of Bethel, Jacqueline Cleveland of Quinhagak, and Cheryl Kriska of Fairbanks. Congratulations to the photographers and fellow authors!

Best Beginnings Seasons of Alaska Board Book Series

Continue reading “New Book: Button Up! Fall in Alaska by Angela Gonzalez”

Alaska Native culture

Reflections in Time of Pandemic

How are you doing? I find myself asking and answering that question in a deeper way now. Some of my old friends have even called out of the blue to check how things are going. It’s been a month of working at and staying home for me. I’ve had ups and downs, but have enjoyed connecting with folks virtually.

I see people reaching out to our Elders to check in on them and asking them about hard times. Some share how hard times are here – what their Elders shared with them about hard times coming. Continue reading “Reflections in Time of Pandemic”

Alaska Native culture

Steps to Tanning a Moose Skin

During a recent event in my hometown of Huslia, I got a chance to chat with my relative Tom Daton Huntington. Daton was his maternal grandfather’s name. They only had Denaakk’e in that time. Like me, he is originally from the Koyukuk River country. Tom was born at camp below the mouth of the Hogatza river and grew up at Huslia and Galena. He lives in Fairbanks and works in the petroleum industry – instrumentation technician of all things automated and process control. His hobbies include cooking, small engine repair, wood working, and hide and fur tanning.

In our conversation, Tom talked about tanning moose skins and shared some photos and videos of the process. It was very interesting learning a little bit about his process and he graciously agreed to share it on the Athabascan Woman blog! He shared his written story below. Continue reading “Steps to Tanning a Moose Skin”

Alaska Native culture

Lessons from Beading 100 Pairs of Moccasins

I did it. Since late 2016, I beaded 100 pairs of hard bottom slippers/moccasins. It has been a great learning experience, healing, connection to culture, and more. I’ve written about it a few times, but wanted to mark this occasion with a few lessons I’ve learned along the way and some interesting places it has led me to.

Here are some slippers I’ve made:

It’s rewarding to work on beadwork, giving them to people and to teach people how to bead/sew. I love giving the slippers and teaching others. It almost feels better giving rather than receiving. I’m sharing a gift learned from my grandma, mom and aunties.

Continue reading “Lessons from Beading 100 Pairs of Moccasins”