Current Clan Grandmother, Larraine Wade, telling Ya Ne Dah Ah stories to the children at Chickaloon Native Village Culture Camp, 2018, Photo courtesy of the CVTC Permanent Collections, CVTC Cultural Resources Program Collection.

Interpreting histories can be challenging and painful and requires an honest vulnerability, however, we must acknowledge and tell these stories to heal from past traumas and increase awareness so that past traumas are not repeated on future generations. Through knowing and sharing our stories we work to end historic and intergenerational trauma cycles and improve community understanding to create a healthier community together. 

The First Peoples and first languages of Alaska were profoundly affected by Russian and European-American incursions beginning in the mid-17th century. For many Tribal citizens of Nay’dini’aa Na’ Kayax (Chickaloon Native Village), colonization policies and practices have intentionally and inadvertently separated them from parts of their Ahtna ancestral knowledge, stories, and language. For some, years of forced acculturation have created distance from traditional lands and cultural lifeways that take place on those lands.

To make way for a healthier future, the people of Nay’dini’aa Na’ Kayax are intentionally exploring their history and continue to live, learn, document, and share their Ahtna language and cultural lifeways; relying on traditional Ahtna values and teachings to help present and future generations to thrive.