Chief Stephen’s Parky: One Year in the Life of an Athapascan Girl

, Ann Fox Chandonnet.“Chief Stephen’s Parky: One Year in the Life of an Athapascan Girl.” 1993: n. pag. Print.

This book tells the fictional story of Olga, the wife of Chief Stephen, leader of a Tanaina Athapascan village on Cook Inlet, northwest of Anchorage, Alaska. Olga works for one full year with great courage and independence trapping ground squirrels and gathering materials needed to tan, dye, and sew furs to make a parka for her husband. She uses alder bark for dye, whale sinew for thread, sealskin for trim, a tough piece of hide for a thimble, a sharpened ground-squirrel leg bone for a needle, and an awl made from moose antler with a handle of moose bone. With these materials, she makes her husband, Chief Stephen, the most beautiful, functional, and creative squirrel skin parka the village has ever seen. The warm clothing Olga provides for the chief makes possible his success as a hunter, trapper, and village leader. Like other Athapascans, the Tanaina were hunter-gatherers and led a nomadic life style. The book describes the migratory seasonal cycle typical of the Tanaina in their year-round quest for food and natural resources. They developed an extensive system of trails over which they traveled, making use of various fish, fowl, and animals in different habitats at appropriate seasons. The book also depicts the tribe at a point in their history when modern technology and European ways were beginning to change their traditional way of life forever. This book contains photographs, illustrations, and a map.

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