Athabascan elder Katie John dead at age 98

May 31, 2013 -- 10:45am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Athabascan elder Katie John of Mentasta Lake has died. The Anchorage Daily News reports that John died early Friday at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. She is believed to have been 98 years old. John was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that strengthened Native subsistence fishing rights in Alaska. The case was decided in John's favor in 1994 after the Alaska Board of Fisheries refused to allow her and another elder, Doris Charles, access to a fish camp in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve that had been abandoned in the 1960s.  John prevailed in the case, which became one of the most important chapters in the history of subsistence rights in Alaska.

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