Memories of the past

by Peter Twitchell

Congratulations to Dee Dee Jonrowe dog musher extraordinaire. She has come a long way against all odds. She lifted the institution of dog mushing and racing to heights above the expectations of women mushers.

Some refer to Dee Dee as the “Iron Woman”. She certainly has earned that title. She came to Bethel in the Seventies and felt right at home among all the folks and children in the YK Delta.

Her and her dogs have been a great role model for our kids, and especially girls who mush dogs today.

I remember as a toddler in the early 1950s my mom Sarah and Gussie – Elizabeth Johnson hooking up 5 dogs to their sled and disappearing into the blizzard on their journey across the tundra to fish and check their rabbit snares.

They laughed and laughed once they were settled back at our house across from Bethel. I’m sure Dee Dee has had many laughs over her ordeals on the trail. I remember when she was missing in action back in the early 80s when she became disoriented and lost the trail in one of her local races.

She came to Bethel to help with management of our naturel resources. You can’t be closer than that to the land and the people.

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