Friday, April 17, 2009

The Legacy of a Taku River Tlingit Clan

Stories told by Elizabeth Nyman and translated from Tlingit by Jeff Leer

Mrs. Nyman was born in 1915
Stories recorded in mid- to late-1980s

In the tradition of oral history this book helped me to understand more about what it might have been like to grow up and live in the Taku river region in the early 1920s. Life was not easy. By reading the words instead of hearing and/or seeing them, you do miss some of the richness that comes from hand movements, face gestures or other body language. But then you also get to stop reading when you want to in order to refer to maps, a family tree, refer back to a previous passage, or just stop and think about the words printed before you. Like most written word, each of us will have a unique interpretation of the material, based on what our life experiences have been.

There is definitely a bond between the people and the land – something that many of us do not have or understand. Even though many do not continue to live a semi-nomadic lifestyle where you follow the food source, I think it is still possible to find this earth-human relationship in some parts of Alaska.

I didn't read the entire book but I instead choose to read the passages where the storyteller talks about her life growing up.

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