Judy Ferguson's sprawling collection of oral history interviews with Alaska Natives, concludes more than two decades of work by the Delta Junction story-collector. Through interviews with elders, leaders, athletes, activists and many others, Ferguson gives voice to dozens of people, weaving together a tapestry of stories exploring Native life and history through firsthand accounts and shared family lore. Every region of the state and all of the major Native groups are represented.
These books are notable for many things, including inside accounts of the efforts that led to passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, tales of subsistence practices prior to the development of cash economies, family memories of ancestors' first encounters with white people, the traumas of abusively run boarding schools, reclaiming lost culture and much more. There are stories of struggles, tragedies and redemption. Many of those she interviewed are no longer alive, making Ferguson's work all the more precious. Quite simply, nothing like this has been done before in Alaska.