At 100 years of age, Fred Ewan has seen a lot, knows a lot and has more stories than can be told in any one history book.
Fred was born in a small cabin at Crosswind Lake about 30 miles from Gulkana on Aug. 15, 1916. Fred, who is still sharp as ever, even remembers his exact time of birth – 3 o’clock in the afternoon – although it’s not officially recorded. When asked how he knew this, Fred said that even as a baby he could see the sunlight, to which one can only laugh at his cheery attitude and infectious humor.
Gulkana Village Council hosted Fred’s 100th birthday celebration August 20 at the Gulkana Community Hall. Other sponsors included Ahtna and the Copper River Native Association.
When asked what he wanted for his 100th birthday, Fred said he wanted to see many cars, traditional foods and fiddle dancing. He got his wish. There were many cars as people from all up and down the highway came to honor Fred. A delicious moose-headsoup and other mouthwatering foods were served potlatch-style. Of course, there was cake.
Traditional Indian song and dance were enjoyed throughout the evening, followed by fiddle music and dancing. It was an evening filled with good cheer, good food, good company and quite a few Fred stories that brought tears of joy, love and laughter. The beautiful and thoughtful gifts showed how beloved Fred is to his family, community and all who have been touched by his wisdom and generous spirit.
Many people traveled a great distance to honor Chief Fred and celebrate his birthday.
Tsin’aen – thank you, to all who made this a memorable celebration and to all those that came to honor Chief Fred.
As Ahtna’s Traditional Chief, Fred was recently featured in the Ahtna Kanas Summer 2016 issue.
You can also enjoy the photo album of the birthday celebration as posted on Ahtna’s Facebook page.