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Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Dennis Schmitt, Part 2

This is a continuation of an interview with Dennis Schmitt on September 26, 1992 in Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska with Steve Ulvi. This is a continuation from tape number Oral History 93-15-08. In this part of the interview, Dennis talks about living with the Nunamiut in Anaktuvuk Pass in the mid to late 1960s, hunting of grizzly bears and dependence upon subsistence resources, the transportation used, and impact from establishment of Gates of the Arctic National Park.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 93-15-09

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Sep 26, 1992
Narrator(s): Dennis Schmitt
Interviewer(s): Steve Ulvi
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
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1) The roles of children during his stay in Anaktuvuk Pass in the late sixties

2) grizzly bears in the Brooks Range and their importance

3) moose, fish and waterfowl in Brooks Range and their importance

4) transportation during the late 60's and the transition to snowmachines

5) more on the use of snowmachines

6) concerns affecting the Nunamiut during the 1960's

7) the 1964 Cat train that came up the John River Valley on its way to the North Slope and the proposed road to the North Slope through Anaktuvuk Pass (Hickel Highway)

8) opinions on the Park's influence on Anaktuvuk Pass

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Section 1: children -- roles\ hunting -- children participation\ hunting -- wounded animals\ children -- caribou hunting\ snaring\ hunting -- throwing sticks\ ptarmigan\ squirrels\ subsistence -- children as part of matrix\ children -- "extra eyes"|

Section 2: grizzly -- Angatkuq (river) \ hunting -- bear\ Itkillik River -- 1977\ Eagle, John\ area close to village\ Eagle, Henry\ grizzly -- as a threat\ bear -- polar, as man killers\ grizzly -- aklaq\ hunting -- use of dogs\ hunting -- grizzly, when to hunt\ hunting -- grizzly means courage\ tunik hunters\ hunting -- grizzly, techniques\ grizzly -- impaling|

Section 3: moose -- 1960's availability\ willow tree -- resurgence in\ Wild Lake\ Upper Koyukuk River\ Wiseman\ Nolan\ Kobuk River\ fish\ caribou -- meat\ caribou -- sittings\ sheep -- delicacy, aura\ moose -- tuttuvuk\ caribou -- tuttu\ Nunamiut -- fishing\ Chandler Lake\ Nunamiut Divide\ fishing site\ John River\ fishing -- ice\ Hunts Fork -- alternate village site\ Cache Lake\ grayling\ Arctic Charlie\ trout -- lake\ fishing -- with stones\ Tulugak Lake -- translated "raven"\ Anaktuvuk River\ Shining Lake\ fish -- second important source of food\ masu roots\ blueberries -- east side of village\ salmon berries\ waterfowl -- not thought of as major food source\ ducks -- old squaw|

Section 4: transportation -- 1960's, dog team\ snowmachines -- transition to\ snowmachines -- 1960's, unreliable\ dog team -- affordability\ caribou -- quantity used as dog meat\ dogs -- justification, resource to hunt\ dogs -- care of\ wolves -- entering village\ wolves -- breeding with dogs\ transportation -- all terrain vehicles, 1960's|

Section 5: snowmachines -- ownership of\ snowmachines -- suspicious of\ snowmachine -- risks\ Barrow\ Wainwright\ Barter Island\ snowmachines -- acceptance, 1970's\ dog team -- restrictions\ Department of Fish and Game -- caribou to feed dogs became illegal|

Section 6: willows -- as fuel\ willow -- gathering takes a lot of human, dog energy\ Hunts Fork -- alternate village site\ stoves -- oil\ access -- to exposed petroleum sites\ caribou -- mini famine, 1960's\ oil -- development\ contact -- with outsiders, stress on identity\ change -- anticipated much later\ identity -- embracing technology\ change -- lack of in hunting\ change -- village\ North Village -- cultural ethos\ Cache Lake|

Section 7: cat -- train, 1964\ John River Valley\ Anaktuvuk River\ North Slope -- oil strike, 1968\ Hickel, Walter -- 1974 Governor\ Anaktuvuk Pass -- lawsuit against State of Alaska\ willows\ Nunamiut -- against road to North Slope\ Anaktuvuk Pass -- independence through isolation\ Nunamiut -- fear of being supplanted from land\ technology -- compromise\ Nunamiut -- cultural identity|

Section 8: National Park Service -- relations, Anaktuvuk Pass\ Nunamiut -- views of Park\ "paper construct"\ Nunamiut -- ties to land\ Nunamiut -- compromise\ National Park Service -- game control\ National Park Service -- conflicts\ "paper people"|