Today's Alaska author is our very own neighbor currently living in Sutton, Alaska Ms. Ingrid D. Shaginoff. Ms. Shaginoff's new book Chickaloon Wild is a memoir of an Athabascan family from the Chickaloon Village. The memoirs are from her husband's parents, Johnny and Mary Shaginoff. They were a very dynamic couple and some of the few elders in the 1990's remaining who spoke the original Athna language fluently, having grown up before the "white man" traveled the Talkkeetna Mountains. The Athna language is used in the book with a Athabascan-English translation list located in an index at the back, based on Dr. James A. Kari's work. Johnny Shaginoff was one of the elders Dr. Kari worked with to create the first Athna written language dictionary for the University of Alaska, Fairbanks' Alaska Native Language Center in 1990. Mrs. Shaginoff's use of Athna language in her book brings authentication to the conversations. The Shaginoff family's adventures in life are very interesting and will captivate readers who desire to know Alaska from an original history point of view. The Shaginoffs were some of the first guides assisting the US Army and US Geological Survey employees exploring the new frontier of Alaska from Anchorage to Copper Center along the Chickaloon-Knik-Nelchina Trail System. They lived wild before land claims, then in accordance with homesteading rules homesteaded at mile 89 of the Glenn Highway along the Purinton Creek Trail, part of the Chickaloon-Knik-Nelchina trail system. Later they lived in old Chickaloon, and eventually the family settled in Sutton, where Mrs. Shaginoff currently resides.
Book Synoposis: Chickaloon Wild
Imagine living deep in the Alaska wilderness where survival depends on your ability to hunt, fish, and gather. A place where as far as you can see is dense forest, rivers and sparkling lakes, set against a backdrop of majestic, snow covered mountains where the only sounds are those of nature; the caw of a raven, the lonesome howl of a wolf, or the sharp cry of the loon. In this place education means pulling the brush up around your snare to prevent the rabbit from going around it, or knowing to remove the scent glands from the beaver before you roast it. It means recognizing and following a track through thick brush. This is the ways of their Athabascan ancestors and the only way the Shaginoff family knew. With the Colonists moving into the Matanuska Valley as part of the New Deal their world is about to change forever.