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Photo of Knut Kielland and Herb Karmun looking at a mapThis jukebox is a collaborative effort between the Reindeer Herders Association (RHA) in Nome, Alaska and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Department. This is part of a larger project titled "Reindeer in Transition" which was funded by The National Science Foundation, Human Dimensions of the Arctic Program. The purpose of that project is to study the human and biological results of increased caribou migrations onto the Seward Peninsula.

Reindeer were introduced to the Seward Peninsula in 1892 from Siberia by Sheldon Jackson, the Presbyterian churchman and General Agent for Education. Reindeer are essentially domesticated caribou with some differences in behavior and appearance and generations of Alaska Native herders have made a living from their herds. Unfortunately, some herders are losing their reindeer to the wild caribou herds that migrate further onto the Peninsula each year. A key component of this research is the oral history interviews with herders. The people interviewed in this program were asked to discuss herding practices, traditional knowledge passed from one generation to the next, and the changes they have observed both in herding and in the environment.

The interviewers include: Bill Schneider who is Curator of Oral History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Rose Fosdick who is Director of the Reindeer Herders Association and has a long standing interest in documenting herding; Knut Kielland who is a biologist with the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Principal Investigator on the NSF project to document reindeer herding and the health of the herd; Greg Finstad, who is the director of the Reindeer Research Project, in the School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; and Kumi Rattenbury, who is a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


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