Katie John

Katie John

Subsistence Fishing Advocate

Katie John (1915-2013) was born in 1915 on Ahtna land near the confluence of Tanada Creek and Copper River within what is now the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Katie was the daughter of the last chief of the Village of Batzulnetas, which means “Roasted Salmon Place.” Katie and her family fished at Batzulnetas for years until the State of Alaska closed this area and many others to all subsistence fishing in 1964. Twenty years later, Katie and Ahtna elder Doris Charles wrote to the Alaska State Board of Fisheries to re-instate subsistence fishing in their village, prompting the “Katie John Cases" which set into motion a long battle for the subsistence rights of Alaska Native peoples. She shared many of her subsistence traditions with her family and others until she passed away at the age of 97 on May 31, 2013. In 2019, the State of Alaska officially designated May 31 as “Katie John Day.”

Did you know Katie John and have a story you’d like to share about her? We’d love to know more about her and about the powerful women in your life. Share your images and stories with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging us and #ExtraToughWomenAK and we’ll add them to our ongoing digital curation project. Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming exhibition and be sure to check back for new #ExtraToughWomenAK posts.

Copyright: Chris Arend for Ahtna Inc.

Scroll to top