If you were a person, both young and middle-aged, wearing a white scarf, a white ribbon, or a white bandana at Katie John’s celebration of life, you were one of her grandchildren, great grandchildren, or great-great grandchildren.
Born in Slana, Alaska in 1915 (died 5/31/13) Katie had 14 natural children, and adopted six more throughout her lifetime; a life described by teaching her children the traditional ways of living off the land, respecting elders, and knowing and honoring the ways of your ancestors. Remarkably, Katie and her husband John, never accepted welfare for the care of their family.
for the subsistence hunting and fishing rights for all Alaska Natives. Finally in 2001, the Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of protectiing these rights. Her legal battle was a long, drawn-out fight inspiring indigenous native peoples from all over the world.
A proud woman of the Athabascan tribe Katie saw many “firsts” during her time on earth. She grew up in a time when people used dog teams to pack their supplies, walked to where they wanted to go, and harvested game for food. Katie witnessed the future: the progression of dog sleds to planes and cars. The introduction of electric power in the villages, satellite TV into people’s homes and, of course, the Internet. Imagine all the changes that have occurred over nearly 100 short years.
ties to the land, and their traditional ways deserve our respect. Katie’s children said this about her: she taught a strong work ethic; she was honest, trusting, forgiving, and showed great love for everyone she met.