Ernestine Hayes That Old Woman Standing

This history belongs to the Chookaneidi. The writer belongs to the Kaagwaantaan, who were also there.

That old woman

A young woman once uttered words that offended a glacier. Her uttered words caused the glacier to rush toward the main village, the main village at the upper shores of what is now called Glacier Bay.

What is now called Glacier Bay.

All the people fled the oncoming glacier. All the people fled, except the young woman’s grandmother. The young woman’s grandmother, she remained to face the glacier. She remained to stand against the glacier.

That old woman. In her sweetest last years, she insisted she would stay. She gave herself to the glacier. She offered herself to the glacier. That old woman, she faced the oncoming glacier.

That old woman who met that unwelcome power, that old woman, the one whose habit was always to resolve, that old woman stood against the glacier.

She stood alone against the glacier.

For the sake of her generations, for the sake of the hoped-for day when her relatives would return, she faced the glacier.

Because of her we stand together. We stand with that old woman. That old woman, we stand with her.