“I am the oldest of 14 children, 9 boys and 5 girls. My mother is full Koyukon Athabascan from Huslia and my father is Welsh/Flemish from San Francisco. I was raised on the Yukon River between Ruby and Galena until the age nine. We then moved to the North Fork of the Huslia River, about 45 air miles from Huslia. We lived a subsistence life of hunting, fishing, trapping and gardening.
“I was seven when my mother started me sewing and knitting doll clothes and my father started me trapping squirrels and weasels. At age 11 my father started me running a dog team. By age 13 my mother taught me how to make slippers and boots, more knitting and crocheting.
“My father taught me how to shoot a gun, trap for mink, fox, otter and snare beaver. Mother taught me how to snare rabbits and ptarmigan, and how to fish with nets and poles. We also did a lot of drawing and crafts. Over the years I’ve learned more about beadwork from my grandmother, reading books, going to museums and workshops, and listening to my elders. My Indian grandmother and mother are excellent bead-workers and skin sewers.”