Heather Kendall-Miller: On the passing of elder Katie John

Heather Kendall-Miller on the late Katie John, who died on May 31 at the age of 97:
On May 31, 2013, the Ahtna elder, matriarch and icon, passed away at the age of 97. Katie John was a long-time client of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) who represented her in federal court litigation for nearly 30 years. The Katie John litigation, more than any other subsistence case exemplifies the contentious battle waged between federal, tribal and state interests over jurisdiction of Alaska Native subsistence fishing rights.

Katie John was an Ahtna Athabaskan Indian and the daughter of the last chief of Batzulnetas. She was born in 1915 near the present day community of Slana and lived with her family at the Native Village of Batzulnetas from the time of her birth until 1937. Batzulnetas, which means “Roasted Salmon Place,” is a historic upper Ahtna village and fish camp and is located at the confluence of Tanada Creek and Copper River within what is now the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Get the Story:
Heather Kendall-Miller: On the Passing of Ahtna Elder, Katie John (Indian Country Today 6/13)

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