Skip to Main Content

Ellen Savage's Stories

Biography

Ellen Hunter Savage was born in September of 1919 at 7-mile above Shageluk when her mother was berry picking. She and her sister Violet were raised in Shageluk by their parents, Jane and Nikolai Hunter who lived a traditional subsistence lifestyle. They always spoke the Deg Xinag language although Ellen did go to school in Shageluk and learned English because her mother said she would need to know it.

When Ellen was 16 she married Pius Savage and moved to his home village of Holy Cross. They had 15 children and raised them there and at fishcamp in the summers. In 1970 the family moved to Anchorage.

Ellen continued to use her own language after moving to the city. She told stories, taught traditional songs and created new ones. She also worked with several language programs to help preserve her Native language which was an important part of her culture and very precious to her. In addition to working on the Deg Xinag Learner’s Dictionary she recorded many hours of stories, both traditional and personal for the Anvik Historical Society.

Ellen passed away in Anchorage, AK, on October 11, 2004.

Ellen Savage Xidhoy — Ellen’s Stories

Deg Xigidhoy — Local traditional stories

Nasiyonh
Growing Up
Read transcription Growing Up
Singonh sinughił didighene’
Mother's teachings
Read transcription — Mother's teachings
Sito’ tr’eyh itltsenh
My Father made a canoe
Read transcription My Father made a canoe
Ngan’ Dit’anh
Earthquake
Read transcription Earthquake
Xintthe q’unt’ux xiy naghitl’an xiy
The first time I saw an airplane
Read transcription The first time I saw an airplane
Xintthe siyił genitht’uq
The first time I flew in an airplane
Read transcription The first time I flew in an airplane
Sughidonh ndadz xo’in viyił ntasiyo
How I went with my husband