Project #2 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Kevin Erickson Project #2

Two Old Women An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival By Velma Wallis

This is a moving book about about an Alaskan Indian group that roamed the Yukon in search of food. Hunting and fishing were their two main means of survival. The Athabaskan, (an Alaskan Eskimo tribe) sometimes faced starvation, so they roamed about, establishing camps at locations which usually yielded good hunting or fishing catches depending on the season. When the elderly people became to old to move on with the tribe, they would be left behind. This story is about two old woman who were left alone to die but found the will survive.

The two old woman after being left behind by the tribe decided that they were not going to die, but would survive even if it meant dying . The woman were left with no food, a hatchet for a weapon and some moosehide in the middle of the winter season . The women had earned the right to live and were angered by the tribes decision to leave them behind. The woman believed that their time to leave this world would not come for a long time. They were determinded to prove the tribe wrong by proving they were neither helpless nor hopeless! They viewed the tribes people as neighbors who would support them in their old age. The two old women had spent so many years telling the younger people that they were helpless, that the young ones began to believe they were no longer of any use in this world. After talking about their lives, the old woman began to recall the skills and knowledge they had been taught from early childhood. The women managed to make snowshoes even though they didnt have the correct tools. Successfully completing the snowshoes gave them the and motivation they needed to move on. One of the women thought of a place where she used to fish by a river and they decided to make this their destination. They started on a journey. The food was scarce but they managed to snare a couple of rabbits which helped them survive. They surprised themselves by how fast they could travel. The journey was not easy but they managed. The women finally made it to the old camp and good memories came rushing back to them about the place where they shared much happiness with friends and family. The woman made it through the harsh winter and during the summer found a place were the fish were plentiful. They worked very hard that summer collecting buries, fishing and preparing for winter. The body needs food, the mind needs people. Although the women were surviving they were lonely for company. They missed their friends and family. The book ends with the tribe returning to find the two old women alive and well with more than enough food for the winter. The tribe was in dire straights for food and the old women helped them out, sharing what they had. This was an excellent book about a different culture. I found the book to be a great story about betrayal, friendship and forgiveness. This is a story that is inspiring in the way one should think about surviving to live a long life. If we try to keep active hopefully we will add a few years to our lives. It made me ask a few more questions about my parents about my grandparents. I think that we live in a world surrounded by so many distractions that parents and kids probably dont tell their kids as much about their families as was done in the past. Our elders are the people with all the experiences and the resources. We need to listen to their wisdom and advice. They have lived longer and probably know more than we do. They are rich in memories we should try and appreciate our elders. They give us treasured memories that are carried on from generation to generation. There is much to be learned from our elders. This book could be used in the classroom for many different lessons in a variety of different grades. This could be used to explain how the Athabaskan Indians lived in the past compared to how they live now. Friendship, family, survival, forgiveness and betrayal could all be wonderful topics to be discussed from this book. I could use this book in my second grade classroom. Alaska could also be covered from animals to the different types seasons.

-- Anonymous, May 09, 2000

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