The ties that connect one generation to another were severed violently in many Alaska Native communities. First, the TB epidemic killed off many and imprisoned many others in long-term hospital care. Then, government boarding schools took Native children away from their homes at an early age. Many, as adults, returning to their villages reconnect with their culture and the responsibilities of making a home and raising children without guidance. Della Chaney told her daughter, Elizabeth, about her mother’s, Elizabeth’s grandmother’s, struggle, trying to learn how to be a mother with no real experience of what it was like being mothered.
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