Elizabeth was born on December 29, 1928 in the Yukon, precisely where is not known. Elizabeth was one of twelve children born to Jarvis and Nellie Mitchell. Elizabeth’s grandparents on her mother’s side were the late Louisa and Simon Choo. Elizabeth spent most of her childhood, before attending school, on the land with her parents and grandparents.
Elizabeth was born in the mountains in the Yukon Territory on February 10, 1920 at a place called Truh tshi’ (Otter Rock). Elizabeth was the eldest child in her family. When Elizabeth was two, her grandmother’s daughter died in Hay River, so her father gave her to her mourning grandmother.
When asked the whereabouts of her birthplace, “I think it’s Caribou River,” says Elizabeth Blake, “Up that side!” Her parents were Caroline and Esau George. Elizabeth and her siblings were raised up the river, not far from Dawson during the initial years of the Second World War.
Eileen was born above Rotten Eye and had one younger brother, one sister and three older brothers. Her mother, Elizabeth Edward, passed away when Eileen was only three years old. With the help of her grandmother Jijuu Mary, her father Edward Snowshoe raised Eileen and her siblings.
Born in Fort McPherson and raised in Three Cabin Creek, Dorothy Alexie remembers her childhood being: full of strenuous work, great accomplishments and joy. Her parents William and Mary Vittrekwa were her greatest teachers. Living out on the land, was something that Dorothy loved. “In the summer,” she recalls, “we would fish with nets and travel all across the mountains.”
Doris spent most of her early life in Fort McPherson and out on the land with her parents, James and Sarah Simon, her adopted parents. When she was still a child, her parents were asked to attend the Hay River School where Doris and her sister Susie attended as well.
Dale was born and raised around Travaillant River up the Mackenzie River along with his six siblings. Most of Dale’s life was spent with his parents as his mom was disabled and unable to do most of the work of bringing the children up. Education was not in his future and what he learned as a youngster until his was older was taught to him out on the land.
“We used to live in Old Crow with my grandparents, Peter and Mary Snowshoe!,” says Clara as she recounts her memories of when she was a child. There was a need for an Anglican minister in Fort McPherson and so they moved over and lived here ever since. The traditional life of hauling wood and water in the summer and snow in the winter was no different here than anywhere else.
Charlie Stewart came from a family of twelve. Charlie was born in Aklavik, NWT, on March 12, 1931 to Andrew and Martha Stewart. Charlie remembers hearing that his mother Martha was adopted into the Alexie family as a young girl, and his father, Andrew, worked for the RCMP for over twenty years.
Catherine is the younger half-sister of Sarah Simon. She spent most of her childhood in the Aklavik area where her father, Charlie Stewart, worked for the RCMP as a translator and guide. She remembers her father travelled extensively and used to tell her many stories about the Lost Patrol and stories from long ago.