Velma Wallis

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Velma Wallis
Near Fort Yukon, Alaska
Known forAuthor of bestseller Two Old Women
ChildrenThree daughters and a son
RelativesTwelve siblings

Velma May Wallis (born 1963) is a Native American writer of Gwich'in Athabascan Indian descent. Her books have been translated into 17 languages.[1]

Early life[edit]

She was born and raised in a remote Alaskan village near Fort Yukon, approximately 200 km (120 mi) northeast of Fairbanks. This location could be accessed only by riverboat, airplane, snowmobile or dogsled.[2] Velma grew up among 12 siblings. Her father died when she was 13 years old, and she stayed out of school to help her mother with the household. She later went on to receive her GED.


About 12 miles away from the village, her father had built a small cabin in the wilderness. He had been a hunter and trapper. Some time after his death around 1973, Velma surprised her family and friends by leaving home and living in the cabin for some years. She perfected her trapping, fishing and hunting skills and lived on what she could provide for herself. At one point her mother joined her during the summer to teach her more traditional skills. In this area, where the Porcupine River flows into the Yukon River, Velma Wallis lived an independent lifestyle. These experiences led to write her first book, Two Old Women, which astonished her publisher by selling 1.5 million copies worldwide.

Personal life[edit]

Velma Wallis, who has three daughters and a son, now divides her time between Fairbanks and Fort Yukon.[3]


Velma Wallis bibliography[edit]

  • Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend Of Betrayal, Courage And Survival. Epicenter Press. 1993. ISBN 978-0-7043-4424-2.
  • Bird Girl and the Man Who Followed the Sun. Epicenter Press. 1996. ISBN 978-0-945397-34-2.
  • Raising Ourselves: A Gwich'in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River. Epicenter Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0-9724944-7-2.


External links[edit]