Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Back in the Early Days in Huslia

Marc Brown and the Blues Crew performing in 2011 in Anchorage. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Marc Brown and the Blues Crew performing in 2011 in Anchorage. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Marc Brown of Huslia and Fairbanks shared a great story about what it was like growing up in Huslia. He was reminiscing with this son, Sammy. He agreed to share it with Athabascan Woman Blog readers.

Back in the Early Days in Huslia
By Marc Brown


Marc Brown and his first guitar. Courtesy photo
Marc Brown and his first guitar. Courtesy photo
 My oldest son Sammy and I are just chillin’ in our room and I started telling him stories about what it was like when I was growing up in Huslia.

I’m so old that I when I was a kid we didn’t have running water, TV or a phone. I told him that I remember when there were 3 phones in town – the city office, the school and the clinic. It was big news when you got a phone call, because they had to post it on the bulletin board at the city office. Or, if it was really important, someone would hand deliver the note to your house.

Once, when I was like nine, I got out of the boat coming back from fish camp and everyone I ran into told me Donovan called from Galena. That was big news back then! Lol! So I had to run back to my house and ask my mom if I could go to the city office and use the phone to call Galena. You had to have them dial for you and after the call the city clerk would get a call back from the operator and tell you the charges on the call.

There was one TV in town back then and it was at the school. They had a Beta machine with it and three video tapes to play. The video tapes looked like VCR tapes, but were huge and the beta machine weighed about 60 lbs. Couple years later everyone had TVs, but we only had two channels.

We had to pack water from my grandparents’ house every day and sometimes twice a day if you wanted to take a bath. He gets a kick out of my stories. I used to enjoy my summers in camp where we didn’t even have electricity. We were never bored.

When I was 14 years old, my uncles Kenny and Glen gave me a 14′ boat with a 25 horse outboard motor. It was supposed to be for taking my grandma to check the fish net, but I took it everywhere. 🙂

I used to listen to the hum of the motor and daydream songs. Some of my best songs came to me in that little boat on the Koyukuk River.


Thank you Marc for sharing your story! I remember and miss those days without the constant barrage of technology.

Marc is owner of the Marc Brown and the Blues Crew. Learn more about the group on their Facebook page. He will be on Native America Calling on Wednesday, August 12 to talk about the release of his 12th album. Marc is NAC’s August Music Maker Of The Month. Congratulations Marc Brown and the Blues Crew!

Alaska Native/Indigenous People

All-Star Native Entertainers in Alaska

Aaron Letendre singing at the Ida’ina Powwow in March 2011. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

Unless you are going to the Native American Music Awards, it is unlikely that you will see a group of all-star Alaska Native and Native American performers under one roof. In March, the Tebughna Foundation held a three-day PowWow, the Ida’ina Gathering. They also hosted the Ida’ina Benefit Concert. Visit the Tebunghna Foundation website for a complete list of performers and more details.

There were many drums, singers and dancers of all ages at the PowWow. The dance groups empowered their youth by allowing them to present songs. Some youth even composed songs. The Jabila’ina Dancers of Kenai sang Athabascan words to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance song. Making it fun and up-to-date is one way of ensuring Alaska Native singing and dancing will be around for a long time.

The Ida’ina Benefit Concert featured Pamyua, Medicine Dream, Litefoot, Marc Brown and the Blues Crew, AKU-MATU (Allison Warden), River Flowz and Aaron Letendre. Allison Warden was the emcee and rapped between performances. It was a wide array of music, including tribal funk, rap, blues, drumming, singing and contemporary rock. I’ve seen most of them perform over the years, mostly as the sole entertainment. However, seeing them in one place was an extraordinary experience!

Pamyua performing at the Ida’ina Powwow in March 2011. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

The 2011 Iditarod Champ, John Baker, was a special guest at the concert. Everyone cheered when he spoke briefly at the concert. Being at the Gathering and Concert was a wonderful way to connect to Alaska Native and Native American culture. I enjoyed visiting old friends and making new ones!

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About the Tebughna Foundation (from their website):
The Tebughna Foundation was founded in September 2007 to Preserve, Enhance, Educate, & Serve the community of Tyonek and the shareholders of Tyonek Native Corporation. The Foundation received its 501c3 status from the Internal Revenue Service in June 2009, and is a registered Non-Profit Corporation in the State of Alaska.

Enaa baasee’ to the Tebughna Foundation, sponsors and the volunteers who made this possible! Thank you to the singers, dancers and performers who brought people together.