Evelyn Alexander
by Marcus Titus

Evelyn is a well known woman in the state of Alaska. She has received many awards, among them: Doyon’s 1998 Elder of the Year and AFN’s 1999 Elder of the Year.

Evelyn was born to Little Charlie and Agnes Charlie of Minto on December 25, 1916, at Old Minto. Her father was raised in Rampart until he was ten or eleven years old. Her siblings are: Amelia, Gloria, Rosie, Bessie, Detoria, Linda, and Miney. Evelyn and her sisters grew up in Old Minto with their parents. They were taught many Native traditions such as their Athabascan language, how to hunt and provide for one another, how to respect Elders, animals, and mother nature. They were also taught many superstitions, "When I was young we weren’t allowed to eat fresh blueberries or moose meat." Evelyn married Jim Alexander of Nenana in 1935. They were married by Bishop Bentley in Old Minto. Together they had two children, James Jr., who died at eleven months, and Floyd. They adopted six children; Glenn, Florine, Esau (Paul Esau’s brother), Vernon, Dolores (Melvin Charlie’s sister), andAnna Marie (Fred Alexander’s sister). They raised their children in Old Minto.

Evelyn attended school at Old Minto up to grade two. Arthur Wright was her teacher and she remembers doing mostly arithmetic. During the winter time they had to move out to hunt and trap. The family would go to Tatalina, Washington, and to where Minto is now located. Evelyn says that there were no jobs in those days so she trapped and helped her dad provide for the family. She would help him build fishwheels and sleds. "Linda and I stayed at fishcamp while everybody else went to a meeting. I was about 18 years old. Linda cried, you know how the fishwheel turns, I run across, she thought I might fall in. We moved the wheel by ourselves." She also helped her mother make baskets, which they sent to Juneau. "I was really active. I was a dog musher, health aide, midwife, and Sunday school teacher. I can only remember delivering 67 babies. I delivered Lefty Jimmie in camp."
Evelyn’s hobbies include making birch bark baskets, going out camping and hunting, doing bead work, making vests, slippers, gloves, and she also enjoys crocheting and knitting.

"I’m always for young people to have an education because I never had one."


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