Book Review: Two Old Women, by Velma Wallis


The story Velma Wallis’s mother told her about two of their Athabascan ancestors had been passed down orally for generations, but Wallis decided it was important enough to record on paper. Now it has been translated into seventeen languages. The story/legend (it seems like it could have really happened, although there’s no way to know for sure) is simply told but powerful and applicable in any culture or context.

Two Old Women is a tale of, as the title suggests, two elderly Native Alaskan women who were abandoned by their nomadic, hunter-gatherer community, because they were considered to be burdens who were unable to contribute and slowed everybody down. The two old women were unwilling to accept the cruel fate which their community tried to impose on them, so they determined, “[I]f we are going to die…let us die trying, not sitting.” As you can guess, the two women were more successful at surviving in the wilderness than anyone could have imagined.

I recommend this short, but inspiring and thought-provoking, book.

I am marking Two Old Women off as “A book written by someone of a different ethnicity than you” for the #VTReadingChallenge.




One response to “Book Review: Two Old Women, by Velma Wallis

  1. I’m really intrigued by this! Thanks for reviewing!

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