Mary Beth (#95) 9-22 12

When leaving the Native American Heritage Center in Anchorage, I saw one employee sitting on a curb, talking to two visitors. I patiently (OK, not so patiently) waited my turn. And then, she readily spoke of her ancestry.

She is part Tlingit (the TL is pronounced CL), and part Aleut. Aleuts come from the Aleutian Islands, and is pronounced with three syllables – roughly, Ah-lay-oot. Aleuts are descendants of true Eskimos. But one ancestor is Irish, which her skin is lighter than most Tlingits and Aleuts.

     (click to enlarge)

Mary Beth is from a small Island near Sitka, in Southeast Alaska. Her mother is a schoolteacher, teaching 4th, 5th, and 6th grades in one room. Mary Beth looks forward to the day that she can find work and return to Southeast Alaska. In the Tlingit tongue her name is woo’one’dow’duti. Forget trying to pronounce it. It means, “put it behind you”, and she feels that it is apt.