Alutiiq Museum Publishing Australian Author’s ‘Aswituu’uq’s Dream’

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Book cover illustration by Sara Squartsoff

Jacob Resneck/KMXT

The Alutiiq Museum is publishing a children’s book that tells the story of two Native boys who embark on a kayak journey during the time of Russian colonization. April Laktonen Counceller, the museum’s Alutiiq language manager, has been working with Australian author Pattie Leighton for several years.

— book 1 :44 "Pattie was very interested … really enjoy it."

Reached by telephone on her farm in Western Australia, Leighton says she feels a strong affinity to Kodiak and can relate to its remoteness.

— book 2 :44 "We’re about 100 km … Kodiak beckoned me."

The book, titled Aswituu’uq’s (Ah-swee-doo-‘ooks) Dream, is an adventure story that touches on many themes including humane treatment of animals as well as rising to meet unexpected challenges. This is demonstrated when the older boy is injured and his younger companion rises to the occasion.

— book 3 :19 "The two boys, um, their … towards the end."

Leighton has a background teaching elementary school aged children. She’s also active in writing about local lore in her native country.

— book 4 :21 "It’s mainly my writing for … things later in life."

Divided by 17 time zones but united with a strong interest in Native cultures, Leighton and Counceller have worked over the past several years to see the project go from a draft manuscript to a nearly finished product.

— book 5 :24 "It’s just been great … always call the Alutiiq Museum."

Aswituu’uq’s (ah-swee-doo-‘ooks) Dream should be available in by May when 500 copies will be printed. A $4,000 grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum is helping finance the book and Leighton has donated the manuscript and copyright to the museum.

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