Ahtna: The People and Their History
netseh dae’ tkughit’e’
“before us it was like this”
Simeone, William E., Ph.D.
Published by Ahtna, Incorporated, 2018
1st Edition Paperback.
With remarkable openness, this book explains the Alaska Native Ahtna Athabascan history and culture as shared by elders. Their narratives reveal much about their lives and times and perspectives and values. Running through their accounts is their devout relationship to the land and to each other.
Taken as a whole, Ahtna oral history is a chorus of individual voices that speak of events, people, places, values and changes that provide a unique sense of Ahtna history from the inside. On one level, their stories are about everyday life and people, on another, it is the story of remarkable resilience, often in the face of very difficult circumstances. Intimate stories are told of the unique challenges that form the backdrop to recent Ahtna history: the fur trade, the dramatic influx of non-Native Americans, the struggle for the land and the right to continue a way of life based on the customary and traditional pursuits of hunting, fishing, and gathering. The cultural significance of potlatches, amulets and songs, and divination and curing as well as the connection between humans and animals is revealed. What emerges is a story of a people who have persevered through time, to exist in a place and maintain a way of life that defines them.
The paperback book is supplemented with eight maps, illustrations and 150 historic photos. 9×12 inches; 224 pages.
About the Author
Author William E. Simeone (Bill) has lived in Alaska for almost 50 years. During that time, he has worked as a VISTA Volunteer in the Yup’ik community of St. Michael, a lay worker for the Episcopal Church in the Athabascan community of Tanacross, a construction worker on the Trans Alaska Pipeline, and a paralegal for Alaska Legal Services.
After receiving his Ph.D. in anthropology from McMaster University, he worked as a consulting anthropologist and from 1995 to 2010 as subsistence resource specialist and regional supervisor for the Division of Subsistence, Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Bill has worked with Ahtna for more than 20 years on fish and game issues and documenting many facets of Ahtna culture and history. Most recently he co-authored an article on the Sub-Arctic for volume one of The Handbook of American Indians, published by the Smithsonian Institute.