MAT-SU—Matanuska-Susitna Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss was visited by members of the Chickaloon Traditional Village Council Tues., Feb. 26 who presented him with a map of indigenous place names in Alaska in Athabaskan.
“I was grateful that they honored my request,” DeVilbiss said. The Council had the map made especially for the Mayor. “As a farmer linguist I find Athabaskan script fascinating, and the place names are highly indicative of trails and movement patterns,” he said.
Students from the village school Ya Ne Dah Ah sang and danced for the Mayor in a large, sunlit foyer of the Dorothy Swanda Jones building in Palmer. Chickaloon Village Council Chief Gary Harrison gave the Mayor a choker, picked especially for him due to the little beads that look like worlds.
“I told him we should work on things that we can agree upon, work on things together,” Chief Harrison said.
Jennifer Harrison, the Executive Director for the Chickaloon Village Council, said she wanted the meeting to improve the relationship between the Council and the Borough and to recognize who first populated the region of the Borough.
“I think it’s important to recognize in a public building that there were indigenous people here before, and these places had names before we put other names on them,” Harrison said.
Harrison said she learned at this meeting that the Mayor’s great grandmother was Sioux.
She is in the photograph at left with child on knee. Her name was Rosetta Horn. Next to her, Edson DeVilbiss.