Near Fort Yukon, Alaska
|Known for||Author of bestseller Two Old Women|
|Children||Three daughters and a son|
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. 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 once built a small cabin in the wilderness. He had been an active hunter and trapper. Some time after his death 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 of the traditional skills needed to survive. In this area, where the Porcupine River flows into the Yukon River, Velma Wallis lived an independent lifestyle. These experiences led directly to her first book, Two Old Women, which astonished her publisher by selling 1.5 million copies worldwide.
Velma Wallis, who has three daughters and a son, now divides her time between Fairbanks and Fort Yukon.
- 2003 American Book Award, for Raising Ourselves: A Gwich'in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River
- 1993 Western States Book Award
Velma Wallis bibliography
- Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend Of Betrayal, Courage And Survival. HarperCollins. 2004. ISBN 978-0-06-072352-1.
- Bird Girl and the Man Who Followed the Sun. Alaska Book Adventures. 1996. ISBN 978-0-945397-34-2.
- Raising Ourselves: A Gwich'in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River. Alaska Book Adventures. 2003. ISBN 978-0-9724944-7-2.
- Velma Wallis on Native American Authors. Ipl.org. Retrieved on 2012-02-20.
- "Velma Wallis: Voices From the Gaps: University of Minnesota" (PDF).
- Velma Wallis : Voices From the Gaps : University of Minnesota. Voices.cla.umn.edu. Retrieved on 2012-02-20.