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Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival Hardcover – March 1, 2004
"The Waiting Room" by Emily Bleeker
From the bestselling author of When I’m Gone and Working Fire comes a gripping novel about a mother, her missing daughter, and the dark secrets that engulf them. | Learn more
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"This story speaks straight to the heart with clarity, sweetness, and wisdom." -- -- Ursula K. Le Guin
"Velma Wallis has given us a gift to cherish." -- --Alaska magazine
From the Inside Flap
- ASIN : 0972494499
- Publisher : Epicenter Press; 10th Anniversary ed. edition (March 1, 2004)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780972494496
- ISBN-13 : 978-0972494496
- Lexile measure : 1030L
- Item Weight : 8.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.32 x 0.68 x 7.38 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #439,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This story is one that has great meaning and influence at a relevant time in my life.
I truly recommend it!
I was appreciative of the description surrounding their daily survival routines and emotions of betrayal, but as I don’t read legends often, I felt like a third party the entire time...which is okay because I am a third party.
Living above the arctic circle, I recognized some of the struggles the women were facing and could imagine the people of the region where I live facing similar hardships!
Their persistence and dedication, as well as their ability to grow past their hurt and forgive, is inspiring. It is everything I would hope to be at that age.
If you have any interest in learning a little bit more about Alaskan Native customs, cultures, history, or legends, I highly recommend this read! It is about the Gwich’in people (part of the Athabaskan). There are informative details seamlessly woven throughout the story, but also bookends introducing the area and oral tradition as well as talking more about the tribe and their lifestyle pre-westernization!
Velma Wallis, an Alaskan writer from the Athabascan people, has been writing the legends handed by her ancestors and has received wide attention. I was honored to learn of her heritage...and, as an older woman, not yet as old as the Two Old Women, I gained a new perspective--perhaps, even hope, as I read their stories.
Is the legend totally true? To me it is irrelevant. It is clear that whoever the first woman or women who shared their story, wanted to make sure that change in custom needed to be made... just as some authors now write to bring about change in today's world.
The Athabasca people were nomadic, moving as the weather changed, trying to keep alive by going where basic needs could be met. But some winters became so bad that death came on the winds, pushing the group to pick up and move again.
The two old women were old, but they still provided for The People by tanning animal skins in trade for support by others. But the arrangements for the two women slowed the others down. Even the daughter of one of them had voted to leave them. Custom had been established, still the daughter and grandson were devastated they had to choose and the mother was heartbroken at their betrayal. Of course, both women felt they were providing support and should have been allowed to continue...
This is the story of those two elders, as they watched The People walk away, leaving them with minimal support, assuming they would die soon...
The book has small drawings to complement the story, while the writing is lyrically presented as gifted natural storytellers present. This is a book of despair, but courage that can only be found when a human is forced to deal with the reality that exists at any given time.
Most of us will never know or comprehend this type of suffering and hunger, and fear as death walks behind, waiting. Yet, the stark reality of many of our ancestors shows us what we can really do if it is demanded. Even today, as we no longer fear the dangers historically faced, many of our elders, our older generation fear of hunger, fear of lack of medical support, homelessness...still exists!
Two Old Women is recognition of the strength of women, in particular. We are able to recognize and learn from the legends of former women, and men, who have worked to learn from the past and establish what will be our present and future. It is important to remember the past, see what happened, and move on from there..."if we are going to die anyway, let us die trying!"
Don't pass up this opportunity to read about Two Old Women... Highly recommended...
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