Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

The Alaska Communities of Memory Project was a statewide effort from 1994-1996 funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum to provide an opportunity for people in communities around Alaska to share memories of their community and to reflect on what made their community special. These gatherings were held in BethelFairbanksHomerJuneau, Kenai-Soldotna, KotzebueNomeUnalaska, and Wasilla.

This Jukebox, also funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum, highlights the gathering in Bethel on January 25, 26 & 27, 1996, where people told stories about their life in Bethel, flying in bush Alaska, and what made them want to stay in their remote city.

Click on a picture below to access a person's interview. Additional photos related to Bethel can be found in the Alaska Digital Archives.

People

Matthew Beans Matthew Beans Matthew Beans is a Yupik Eskimo elder from Bethel, Alaska.
Buck Bukowski Buck Bukowski Buck Bukowski is a long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska. He has done a variety of jobs around Bethel, including maintenance and carpentry work. He has worked for the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC). He is also involved with the Bethel chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
Maureen & Bob Carlson Maureen & Bob Carlson Maureen and Bob Carlson moved to Bethel, Alaska in 1995. They both were teachers having taught in other places in Alaska. Maureen became a teacher at Kilbuck Elementary School in Bethel. She was born in New York City and lived in New England from 1965-1990, when she moved to Alaska. Bob works for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in Bethel.
Diane Carpenter Diane Carpenter Diane Carpenter is a long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska. She was the local coordinator for the Bethel Communities of Memory project held in Bethel, Alaska in January 1996.
Chris Cooke Chris Cooke Chris Cooke was born in Springfield, Ohio in 1943. He came to Alaska in the early 1970s, where he has worked for Alaska Legal Services, practiced law, and was the superior court judge in Bethel from 1976-1986. As a private attorney, Chris represented many Alaskans in a lawsuit in the mid-2000's against Jesuit priests who sexually abused children under their care in rural Alaska. He also served on the Board of Regents for University of Alaska from 1975-1977.
George Hohman George Hohman George Hohman was a long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1932. He first came to Alaska in 1954 with the Army. He was stationed at Fort Richardson, where he was a Russian translator, and then sent to the Pribilof Islands to study the influence of the Russian language on the Native language of the area. In 1962, George returned to Alaska to teach for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Yukon-Kuskokwim area. He taught in the villages of Emmonak and... Read More
Gladys Jung Gladys Jung

Gladys Jung was born in 1917 to Oscar and Annie Hall in St. Michael, Alaska. Her mother was from St. Michael and her father was from West Virginia.  Her father worked for the Northern Commercial Company running the village's store, and the family moved to Bethel, Alaska in 1926 when Gladys was eleven years old.  She graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks with a teaching degree and returned with her husband to teach in the villages of the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, beginning with the... Read More

Bea Kristovich Bea Kristovich Bea Kristovich was born in1941 and is a lifelong resident of Bethel, Alaska.
Joli Morgan Joli Morgan Joli Morgan came to Bethel in 1967 as a Volunteers in Service to America ("VISTA") Volunteer. He worked as a professor for the University of Alaska, and as interim director of the Kuskokwim Campus branch of the University of Alaska. After retirement, Joli remained in Bethel, and is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Susan Murphy Susan Murphy Susan Murphy is a long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska. She is the daughter of the late Judge Nora Guinn, who became the first judge of the new District Court in Bethel in 1968, and was the first woman and first Alaska Native to hold such a position. Susan is involved with the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and the Orutsararmiut Native Council Tribal Court in Bethel, and currently sits on the School Board of the Lower Kuskokwim School District.
Joe Sallison Joe Sallison Joe Sallison is a pilot and long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska.
Jimmix Samuelson Jimmix Samuelson John R. "Jimmix" Samuelson, Jr. grew up in Bethel, Alaska, was a pilot, and for many years operated Jimmix Flying Service out of Bethel.
Martha Scott Stey Martha Scott Stey

Martha Scott Stey came to Bethel, Alaska in the late 1980s. She played the mandolin in a band called "The Beat Around the Bush Band" that she joined when she moved to Bethel. Since 2000, Martha has been living in Juneau, Alaska. As musicians and avid fans of acoustic music, she and her husband, Jim Stey, help host the Mudlark Sampler folk and acoustic music program on Juneau's KTOO public radio station.

Paul Sugar Paul Sugar Paul Sugar came to Alaska in 1980. He first lived in Fairbanks and then moved to Bethel in 1987 to teach school for the Lower Kuskokwim School District. As of 2013, Paul is the Early Learning Program Manager for the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, Head Start and Collaboration Office in Juneau.
Elias Venes Elias Venes Elias Venes was born in Akiak, Alaska in 1928 to Joe and Anna Venes. His father was a prospector looking for gold who ended up in the Kuskokwim area after the Iditarod strike on the Innoko River. His mother was from the local area. Elias grew up living a subsistence lifestyle, and later worked for the NYAK mine as a wood cutter and hauler. He moved to Bethel, Alaska when he was about sixteen years old. Elias is a talented carpenter, sled maker, boat builder, and mechanic and always has a... Read More

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