Alaska Native mother holds baby daughters hands in hers.

Native Elders

A Poem by Janet Curtiss

They keep clean what they have
They clean their home with limited mobility
They sleep on the couch while grown boys take their bed,
still asleep in the late morn
Mother to all, loved by the lost and broken
who stop by to drink tea, and chop their wood
Broken down cupboards that hold an array of delicate dishes
They sit cleaning berries
With yesterdays fish still on the stove
Sitting there in the morning sun
Tending to their beadwork to make ends meet
Bead by colorful bead they sew onto the smoked moose hide
Happy and content
Years of community service plaques line the wall
A photo with their loving husband who passed long before
Yet they remain steadfast in prayer
Gentle but strong
Refusing to live in the city
God Bless their weathered brown hands,
their stories, their twinkling joyful eyes
whose edges are turning blue with age
their history, their sweet scent………
God Bless Native Elders

ANHC is temporarily closed to the public from February 2024 – May 2024 for renovations to ANHC’s facility.