Tudùwaat / Polly Fraser

Tudùwaat / Polly Fraser

September 12, 1931- July 4, 2011

Tudùwaat (Polly Fraser) was born into the wolf clan on September 12, 1931 to Alice Johnson and Chief Johnny Fraser. Her father was brought up with strong Tlingit teachings thereby giving her the Tlingit name, “Tudùwaat“. Tudùwat was born in a small trapping cabin, at “Pentax Post” just south of Squirell creek on the Dezadeash River. Tudùwaat was the youngest of five children. Her elderly brothers, Dick and William would tend to her every need. Tudùwaat had two other sisters, both named Marie whom died at infancy. Tudùwaatʼs first school was her fatherʼs school. Chief Johnny Fraser was a leader of the, Crow Clan and carried the name, Tiìnah Tsʼatìi which means ʼCopper holderʼ.  Tudùwaat was a fluent speaker of Dákwanjè. In 1989 Tudùwaat received her teaching certificate from the Yukon Native Language Centre and taught at the Whitehorse Elementary School from 1986-1998. Words cannot express her contribution to the preservation and revitalization of Dákwanjè. Tudùwat never gave up using Dákwanjè. Language and culture were driving forces for Tudùwaat, it was not just a practice to her, it was a part of everyday life.

Listen to  Tudùwaat share a story


Kusi Kwandür

*transcript of story below 🙂

Kusi Kwandür

6th draft

*3 line transcription: 1st line in Dákwanje, 2nd line is direct translation, 3rd line is common english paraphrase*


Kwadą̂y du hach’u hazhan. Dak’àan dats’ān ye lhu ka hakêyi tambäy yū ayet haye.

long-ago                      did-it       man     his-own-wife  with  fish  for both-sit-there close-to-shore there that time

A long time ago a man and his wife would sit by the shore fishing

Mats’ān nech’u ga dedan ńtl’e neya däw lhu ka dech’ar ak’ą tl’e,

his-wife      sleeps       he-himself  night he-sits-there for    fish  for    hook    now     night

dedan nech’u mats’ān ayetäw ádäw lhaka hech’u lhàch’i nech’u ule ch’i

he-himself   sleeps     his-wife   there    he-sits  that’s when then        one    sleeps  one-at-a-time sleeps

The man’s wife sleeps at night while he sits and fishes, when he sleeps his wife fishes, one at a time they sleep

lhàch’i k’e lhu ka ádäw ayū.

one     then   fish  for  she-sits  there

Ayet hazhe dak’àan adäw ahäw ńtl’e dak’àan dats’an kenye shana!

that     then        man      he-sits   while  night    man      to-him come-to-him young-person

hak’e hanäw “dan ch’en ńch’en ’you know’”

That’s when he said person ‘what-you-doing ‘

While the man sits at night catching one fish at a time, a young person comes to him, and that’s when the young man says, ‘what are you doing?’

Hak’e hanäw ayet dak’àan k’e ayet gali k’e ye nch’enäw?

That’s when he said      that     man         then   that  husband then what-you-doing

That’s when the young man said, ‘what are you doing?’

Galį or dak’àan ayetäw ade lhu ka, “lhu ka ich’į dazhąw ídäw! Lhu ích’ar k’e.”

old-man    man  there      he-sit fish  for     fish for   i-have     here      I-sit fish   I-hook            then

Hak’e, “Ayet t’äw ich’e kwayinji’u.”  Hak’e ’I know how, you know’

that    by-that I-have   we-two-live                    then

The old man says, “I sit here to fish so that we two can live.”


“Ttth’e ńch’įą? tth’e ńch’įą? Nenāl ūsi ni, you know.”

sinew    do-you-have sinew do-you-have? I will show you I will make it

Then he says “I know how, you know, do you have sinew, do you have sinew? I will show you how to make it.”

“Aghāy tth’e ích’į.”

yes sinew I-have

“Yes I have sinew.”

“Nda da męl ulhe ni ayet lhu ye daghäy.”

well-come-w/-me snare will-do it  that   fish with catch/kill

“Come with me, I’ll show you how to make a snare to catch fish.”

’You know’ Ntäy ye chų man kų ts’àn ayetäw ayet,

taking-him-to         brush-camp       to     there      that

chemęl daghą asi lhu úye gha katl’u k’e ayi tthe hu ha shäwthan chemęl yeghą asu.

fishnet for-him he-made fish with-that him he-tie-it-on then down-the-bottom rock then-finally very-good fishnet for-him  he-made


He took him to the brush camp and there the man made a net for him, he made floaters and tied rocks for the bottom, he made a good net for him. 

Hak’e yaläw “Juk dazhan chedítl’u nghą

then    he-did   go    this       I-will-set     for-you

Then, go I will set it for you.

 ayetäw utlʼäy lhu k’edínlel aju aju ntl’e nedíndal ahu ak’ą,

there       lots    fish going-to-net no    not    night    you-sit-up   finally  now

akų natsi da chemęl chemęl úye ch’e, you know.”

now-you-make-like-this ok?   fishnet     fishnet  they-call-it it-is

There you will net lots of fish, no more sitting up at night, now you know how to make it, it’s called a fishnet.

Hak’e yeghą chintl’u ayet jųts’e’i  ch’ets’etl’u  jų het’ą k’e ntl’e ch’u

That’s-when  for-him   he-set-net   that  which-way-you-do-it how-you-set-net   when-it’s-tomorrow early-morning

That’s when he showed him which way to set the net 

maghą nan zha ultäy lhu maku dadal ultäy lhu k’edínyel̨ nenu k’e aghāy dakuchʼe

he-go-to    you check-it lots    fish   in-it going-to-be-there many fish your-going-to-net he-told-him   yes   it-is

Early tomorrow morning when you check the net there will be lots of fish. Yes it’s a fishnet, he told him, ‘youʼre going to net many fish’, 

hak’e hanäw “Meyenjia mą įch’enäw?” Hak’e hanäw, dak’àan k’e “Aju mą ńch’en?”

That’s-when he-said do-you-know   who    I-am             That’s-when he-said        man      no   who  you-are

That’s when he said, “do you know who I am?” That’s when the man said, ‘no, who are you?’

“I am, kusi ích’e anu kusi íchʼe kwaka, ích’e a’an

spider  I-am    ? spider I am  thatʼs-why  I-am    out-there

jąw kʼanída achemęl niʼenäw ayet tsʼu gada atl’u yenitthʼäy

where I-walk-around my-net    you-see      that    tree   up-on    he-tied-it

“Awww nan ch’i na yenu gunischiss!”

he-told-him     holy!     you  it-is-you   was he-told-him thank-you

Yeʼen nachʼetlʼäw ayet.

w/-out-him went-back

“I am spider, I saw you from my spider web on that tree.” He said. Holy so it is you! Thank you! Then he went back. 

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