In Memory Of
Enna Nora Albert
I hope by reading these powerful stories of great Grandmothers, that we inspire you to become strong women and leaders for our children. It simply amazes me to read these and think of what tough women we have in our culture. We have good people, who struggled and persevered, through really hard times!!! We need to be exactly that!!!! When times get tough, we shouldn’t sit and complain and wait for someone to give us more, to hold our hands out, to come in and fix us. Our Grandmothers would never let any harm come to their Grandchildren. We need to bring back their love and strength. Our children are suffering, we need to stand up and speak, no more neglect, no more abuse, no more!!! We need to take them away from the toxic environment and bring them back to our land. The family has to do this, to fish camp, trapping, spring camps. Things aren’t going to change and no money will make a child feel loved. It’s doing what these Grandmothers did, worked together and did what you had to do for your family! Today’s a day, to start bringing this back, be there for your family. Make these women proud.
My mother, Enna Nora Albert, was born to Chief Walter and Lilly Northway on the banks of Tetlin Creek in Tetlin during a funeral potlatch on July 10, 1925. She grew up when people from Northway moved every spring to Chief Walter Northway’s Ten-Mile Camp on the Chisana (headwaters to the Tanana) River to shoot their muskrat catch and to trap fish in their weirs.
When she was older, Enna first married Abraham Albert. After he passed away, she married his brother Kenneth Albert.
Because it is so amazing the love and respect that our ancestors had for each other I want to share the following story.
Enna’s firstborn son, Richard, passed away at the age of two at Ten-Mile Camp in 1948. After this tragic loss, word was sent to other villages. Chief Andrew Isaac came all the way up to Ten-Mile camp from Mansfield Lake to honor the Northways by packing their grandson Richard back to Northway for burial.
Enna had seven more children who, today, are still living: MaryAnn, Abraham, Lorraine, William, Keith, Terry and Gerald. In her lifetime, my mom battled alcohol but, through the grace of God, she overcame the addiction. All of her children also had alcohol problems. Partly because of her prayers and that of my grandmother Lilly’s prayers, we are sober today.
My mom inspired many in Northway with her traditional knowledge and with the importance of learning our songs and dances, but most of all, she was a light to her children and grandchildren with her walk with the Lord. Most of us all know the importance of keeping our spiritual walk.
Once when Enna was walking and holding the hand of her oldest granddaughter, Adena, she was singing the Gospel song, “I’ll Fly Away”. Suddenly, Adena looked up at her grandmother and asked, “If you start flying, Grandmother, can I hang on to your leg?”
Mom loved to sing. In 1996 Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. She was told that she had only six months to a year. Mom never once said, “I have cancer.” She continued her faith and, praise God, she never suffered. She went peacefully to be with the Lord on August 8th, 2000.
Mom was a peacemaker for many. If there were family problems, she never got involved, but she tried to reason with both sides. This gift of hers came from my grandmother Lilly and I try to practice it.
I spent a lot of time with my mom visiting the elders. I realize now that she wanted to make sure I learned and that I would continue teaching our culture.
My community has helped me greatly to be who I am today. In turn, I try to protect our young and to pass on the importance of our traditions. A people who knows their home, their way, is a contented people. Our children have become adept at singing and dancing and are taught, winter and summer. Each July we have our culture camp at my grandfather’s Native allotment at Ten-Mile Camp on the Nabesna.
Our children are looking forward to greeting Cynthia Erickson and the children with mygrandmashouseak caravan June 10th at 4 PM and at the community hall at 5.
by Lorraine Titus
Anyone is welcome to donate to the Enna Albert basket to be in My Grandma’s House silent auction at the tribal center June 7. Contact Cynthia Erickson or Deanna Houlton please.