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Ruth Sandvik

Ruth Sandvik: Interview Outline: Section 11

Louis Giddings and the archaeology in the area

Tape Reference Number: H2002-09-11
Ruth Blankenship-Sandvik talks with Bill Schneider and Eileen Devinney in Kiana, Alaska on February 28, 2002.

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Bill Schneider: I think you're one of the few people probably that can -- can give us a personal introduction to Louis Giddings and the archeology in this area. You had mentioned the other day you remember Louis Giddings.

Ruth Sandvik: Yeah, he was a friend of my parents because, you know, there are very few places to stay and he became a friend. He stayed with us until -- and they helped him out a lot when he would stop here. I was still in grade school when I first saw him. And then later, at the university I got to know his wife and his children.

But he -- I think I've stressed, he'd -- grants were not like they are now. He operated on a shoestring. And -- but he was a very quiet, sincere person. No ego. And he worked very hard. And he seemed to assimilate with the Eskimos.

And then I recall his doing work at -- at Ekseavik which is on the Squirrel -- the Squirrel River (map), and then he spent several seasons up at Onion Portage.

And then after his death, actually, they gave that chunk of land, which I think the Park Service has since bought, they gave -- gave Bets and her children a chunk of land and they built a log house up there.

Eileen Devinney: Yeah. That was recently turned over to the Park Service. It was either purchased or donated to the Park Service. (Indiscernible.)

Ruth Sandvik: Yeah, I think I read that it was donated or something, I don't know. But it was vandalized as much, which was really too bad because it was kind of unique. A unique cabin. It was a hike getting up -- have you been there?

Eileen Devinney: No. But I do know that it is in the process of being restored.

Ruth Sandvik: Oh, well, good. Good.

Eileen Devinney: I haven't been able to get out there, unfortunately. I'd love to see it.

Ruth Sandvik: Yeah, that was good there. His deal -- up -- up at Onion Portage (map) was very -- he did everything very scientifically. The whole family was there and... And he had Percy Jackson's sister, Ruth, Ruth and Almond Downey. He had Almond working for him and Ruth did the cooking.

Eileen Devinney: And they were two interviewed last year. Someone interviewed those two about their experience with him, yes.

Bill Schneider: Well, that's good.

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