Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Mary Nelson, Part 2

This is a continuation of an interview with Mary Nelson on August 10, 1997 by Judith Morris in the kitchen of Mary's home in Kokhanok, Alaska. In this second part of a two part interview, Mary talks about traveling around the Lake Iliamna area and living in different places, and seasonal subsistence activities that meant moving around to different locations, including back and forth between fish camp and Kokhanok.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 1998-21-09

Project: Katmai National Park
Date of Interview: Aug 10, 1997
Narrator(s): Mary Nelson
Interviewer(s): Judith Morris
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
Slideshow
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Sections

Different places she lived and traveled to around the Lake Iliamna area

Moving back and forth between seasonal camps and Kokhanok

Seasonal subsistence activities and movement to different locations

Continues talking about moving around and living in different places

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Transcript

MS. JUDITH MORRIS: This is Sunday, August 10th. I'm with Mary Nelson in her kitchen in Kokhanok on the lakeshores of Lake Iliamna. We're going to talk about where all Mary has lived in her life and why she's moved around to these different places, and we're going to refer to the map. Mary, you were born in -- and you talked about where you were born. MS. MARY NELSON: I born in Kokhanok. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Number 8 on the map? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And you lived there for just a short time? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. I lived there in the wintertime. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. And then you moved? MS. MARY NELSON: Then I moved to Newhalen. Then live there that year, I don't know what year it was, it was when I was about four or five years old. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: So you lived in -- you moved to number 13 on the map, Newhalen? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And were there very many families living there? MS. MARY NELSON: No. Just only my -- my mamma's family, that's all. And my dad. That's all. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. And is that where they had the reindeer? MS. MARY NELSON: No. I don't think I never see a reindeer there anyway. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. Well, then, after Newhalen, you moved back to Kokhanok. MS. MARY NELSON: Then move back to Kokhanok again. We just move around. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And -- MS. MARY NELSON: Then stayed. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And how old were you when you moved back? MS. MARY NELSON: Oh, about -- probably about six. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. And while you were living in Kokhanok as a young girl, you used to go out with your dad -- MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: -- to different camps? MS. MARY NELSON: To different camps, yes. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And one of the camps you would go to for trapping was -- MS. MARY NELSON: Dennis Creek. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: On Dennis Creek. What was the other thing they used to call Dennis Creek? MS. MARY NELSON: Dennis Creek, (indiscernible - speaking native language.) MS. JUDITH MORRIS: They used to call it -- MS. MARY NELSON: Newyaka. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Newyaka's? MS. MARY NELSON: Newyaka's Creek. Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. That's number 12. MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: On the map. And you would go springtime or fall time there? MS. MARY NELSON: Springtime. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And that was your spring camp? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: How long would you spend there? MS. MARY NELSON: Oh, about -- probably about two weeks, probably about three weeks. Three. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Go there in the springtime? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then from Dennis Creek you would go back to Kokhanok? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And from Kokhanok you would go to -- MS. MARY NELSON: In the fall time we would go up to Gibraltar. Put up fish -- put up fish and -- MS. JUDITH MORRIS: But before you would do that, you would go down to fish camp? MS. MARY NELSON: Oh, yeah. Yeah, fish camp. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: For putting up salmon? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah.

MS. JUDITH MORRIS: That's number 11 on the map. And then you would go stay at fish camp. For how long would you stay there? MS. MARY NELSON: Oh, until August. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Maybe a couple months? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Couple months? MS. MARY NELSON: About. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then you would go back to fish camp, number -- I mean to Kokhanok? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. In the fall time. Early fall. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And -- MS. MARY NELSON: August. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: August month? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then in fall month, you would go up to -- MS. MARY NELSON: In the fall, early fall -- I mean, late fall go up to -- move up to camp to Gibraltar, my dad would. With my dad -- I'd move around with my dad and my mom. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. This is number 10 on the map, Gibraltar. MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And how would you guys get there? MS. MARY NELSON: Oh, we -- we walk. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: You walked? MS. MARY NELSON: We walk. Packed stuff. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. MS. MARY NELSON: My dad used to let the dogs make -- make -- you know, make pack sack and make all the dogs. We had seven dogs between. All the dogs packed, let them pack all the things. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: All the things up there? MS. MARY NELSON: All the things. Yeah, all the things. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then how would you get your dried fish back from there? MS. MARY NELSON: Oh, we get them in a net, and -- other side of -- other side of Gibraltar, the creeks over there. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. MS. MARY NELSON: We would -- sometimes is kayak, sometimes is drag it -- drag it down. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. MS. MARY NELSON: Go across and drag it. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Sometimes you would bring it down in a kayak, going down the creek? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Oh. Uh-hum. And come all the way out to the bay? MS. MARY NELSON: No. From -- yeah. In the creeks over here. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Oh, across from -- MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. Across from -- MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Gibraltar? MS. MARY NELSON: Gibraltar, yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: You would go up into the creeks with your kayak? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. Get -- get fish. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Get fish. MS. MARY NELSON: Yes. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then bring it back down to your camp? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. Camp right here, yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. Did you have one kayak up there or more than one? MS. MARY NELSON: I guess I got -- some other people got kayaks up. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Is that -- MS. MARY NELSON: I don't know who -- I don't know who was them, though. I didn't quite -- too much remember. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Yeah. Okay. MS. MARY NELSON: Other -- other people got kayaks, too. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uhm, and then do you remember camping anywhere else with your family when you were a young girl? MS. MARY NELSON: Oh, yeah, but I forgot to tell you. We used to go to Copper River there, Copper River lake -- Pike Lake. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. MS. MARY NELSON: (Indiscernible.) MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. So you're saying that you used to also in the springtime go up to what you would call Pike Lake? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Up by Copper River, in that area? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah.

MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Number 13 on the map? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And you would fish for -- MS. MARY NELSON: That's where we'd get pike, get pikes from here, that pike meat. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. Uh-hum. And you would dry those? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. They dried, my mom split it and dried. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And you were living in a tent there, too? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah, they got tents, too. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Would you go up when you could still travel with the dogs up there? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. We would go up with the dog team. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: With the dog team. You were still going up in snow, then? MS. MARY NELSON: Snow. They had snow -- wintertime. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. MS. MARY NELSON: Winter to spring. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Early spring? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. About April month probably about. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: April month. So then you would come back down. And you would do that before Dennis Creek or after Dennis Creek? MS. MARY NELSON: Some -- after Dennis Creek. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: After Dennis Creek. So you would go from Dennis Creek or Newyaka's Creek -- MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: -- up to Pike's Lake? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then back down to Kokhanok. MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Then to fish camp. MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Then to Gibraltar. MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Back to Kokhanok. MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: So that was kind of your yearly cycle? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. And then when you get married, you move down to the Branch River. MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And on the Branch River, do you know how many miles in from the Kvichak you used to spend? Did you stay by where the Tallekpaleks and everybody stayed? MS. MARY NELSON: Not too far, -- one -- maybe one mile even. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. MS. MARY NELSON: Not too far -- far apart, the house, the Tallekpalek's house. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. MS. MARY NELSON: A little ways from, almost a mile. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Almost a mile from Tallekpalek's cabin? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: So that's number 14 on the map. MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then you said from there sometimes you would camp away from your cabin? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. In fall time, early fall time, sometimes. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: You would go further up the Kvichak? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah, go up with a motor -- motor boat. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Did you have another cabin there or was it a tent? MS. MARY NELSON: Oh, they put up two -- two nets sometimes to go back down to where -- where we -- where we stayed. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: So you would stay in a tent for those couple nights? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah, a tent. Spend the night about twice. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Were you getting fall fish then? MS. MARY NELSON: Oh, probably could hunt moose, I think. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Oh, hunt moose? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. And then one time you moved into Levelock, which is number 4 on the map? MS. MARY NELSON: Well -- MS. JUDITH MORRIS: From Branch River when you were still with John Dee? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. That year we moved to town to -- one -- one winter we stayed down in Levelock. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: You stayed down in Levelock one winter? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum.

MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And you just stayed right in the village? MS. MARY NELSON: Right in the village, yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. MS. MARY NELSON: With the houses. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then is that the same time you went down and spent one year in Naknek, one winter -- or one summer in Naknek? MS. MARY NELSON: Summertime, yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Because John Dee was commercial fishing? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. Did you work? MS. MARY NELSON: No. No, I didn't work, I just come along with John Dee. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Did you stay on his boat, or -- MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah, I stay on the boat. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: On his boat? MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. And then after that, you moved back to Kokhanok? MS. MARY NELSON: After we get separated, then I move back to here. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: To Kokhanok? MS. MARY NELSON: To Kokhanok. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then you stayed here the rest of your life? MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: And then you still go to fish camps. MS. MARY NELSON: Yeah. Uh-hum. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Number 11. Do you go camping to stay like you used to when you were growing up? Do you go to any other camps now? MS. MARY NELSON: Not no more, no. Only move on from here, from now on, down back and forth, fish camp to here. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. Okay. Well, we were just kind of tracing the different places you've camped and lived. MS. MARY NELSON: Uh-hum. Yeah. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Basically, why were you moving around do you think? Why do you think your parents were moving around? MS. MARY NELSON: I don't know. Probably getting tired of staying in one place. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. MS. MARY NELSON: My dad used to hunt all the time. MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Uh-hum. MS. MARY NELSON: Can -- can (indiscernible.) MS. JUDITH MORRIS: Okay. Thanks, Mary. MS. MARY NELSON: Okay. (End of recorded interview.)