• Autumn photo of Lake Clark and the Aleutian Range in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

    Lake Clark

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

I’ll Tell You a Story (Sukdu Neł Nuhtghelnek): Stories I Recall from Growing Up on Iliamna Lake

Children pose with toys in front of Old Iliamna School
Old Iliamna School, 1930.
Donated by Anne Seversen Monsen

"When I was a child, my mother taught me only speaking in the Dena'ina language. And she told me stories. And that then is how I learned to speak the Dena'ina language. And now while you are still young, if you learn this, then you can teach other people when you get old." - Walter Johnson, 2004

Front cover of Sukdu Nel Nuhtghelnek, featuring a photo of Iliamna Lake with an artist's depiction of a medicine man's fireball.
I’ll Tell You a Story (Sukdu Neł Nuhtghelnek): Stories I Recall from Growing Up on Iliamna Lake

By Walter Johnson

Order a paperback edition from the Alaska Native Language Center!

Chapter 1: Dena'inaq' Ch'qenashi (Talking Dena'ina)
Chapter 2: Annie Rickteroff Johnson, Shunkda Shin (My Mother, Annie Rickteroff Johnson)
Chapter 3: Vighutiztin Hkaytaghi'u Ts'dults'iht (When We Stayed At Lonesome Bay)
Chapter 4: Qunsha Uqu Ch'el'an (Ground Squirrel Hunting)
Chapter 5: Ełyin Uqu Ch'ul'an (We Went For Spruce Hen)
Chapter 6: Qutsaghił'iy Tlegha Uqu Nuqenk'ch'duttił (We Hunt For Seal Oil)
Chapter 7: Gangi Ch'eł'ani (How We Use Ice Skates)

Chapter 8: Chu Uqu Ch'el'an Łitl'enteh (Spring Beaver Hunting)
Chapter 9: K'ghuzhaghałen Qanłnik'a (The Giant's Rock)
Chapter 10: Slop Bucket Ti'inił (The Guy Dumping the Slop Bucket)
Chapter 11: El'ekna Daz'a (The Medicine Men's Fire -The Fireball or Comet)
Chapter 12: Tak'nelashen ch'u El'egen (The Priest and The Medicine Man)
Chapter 13: Dghili Dnayi ch'u Q'ich'idya (The Mountain People and The Rock Rabbit)
Chapter 14: Ch'ggagga Sukdu'a (Chickadee Story or The Woman Who Turned Into A Bear)

Did You Know?

A dog team in winter. Photo courtesy of Guy Groat.

As recently as the 1960s, dog team travel was still the best way to get around Lake Clark country in the winter. Snowmobiles are more common now, but many people still keep sled dogs.