Danny Roehl was interviewed on November 1, 1999 by Don Callaway and Bill Schneider in Kokhanok, Alaska. In this interview, Danny talks about operating a lodge, hunting and trapping, and changes he has seen in the wildlife populations, in the types of transportation used, and the impacts from increased guiding and sport hunting activity. He also discusses the arrival of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV's) to the area, how that has impacted subsistence, and changes he has seen in the caribou population over time. Finally, Danny talks about changes in the community and the lifestyles of village residents.
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Changes he has seen in wildlife populations and behavior
More changes he has seen in wildlife populations and behavior
Trapping and hunting as a young man
Types of boats on the lake, packing water, and cutting wood
Hunting and trapping with his father
Traveling and the area of his father's trapline
Trapping and changes in forms of transportation
Changes in the forms and speed of transportation
Traveling and packing supplies from one area to another
Bounties paid for fish tails and fishing for trout as a child
His mother's talent for splitting fish, and the issues concerning all terrain vehicles
The importance of sharing meat and avoiding waste
The arrival of vehicles and all-terrain vehicles in the Kokhanok area
The arrival of guides and the impact of sport hunting in the Kokhanok area
Hunting bears along the Iliamna and Pile rivers
How he got into the lodge business
The scarcity of steady jobs in the village and the need to make a living
Selling candy and soda, and subsistence use zones
Subsistence use zones and the distribution and movement of caribou
Changes in the migration patterns and distribution of caribou
More about caribou migration patterns and distribution
Caribou distribution and changes he has seen in trapping
Changes he has seen in the way people work and play
Children and the changes in the way people fish
The growing difficulty for young people to stay in the village
People in the area who would photographs that could be added to the jukebox program
Other families and people from the area
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BS: OK, today is November 1, 1999, I'm Bill Schneider, Don Callaway is here too and ah, we have the pleasure of talking again to Danny Roehl in his home here on Lake Iliamna and Kokhanok. Danny was telling us before we started here about some of the changes that you seen over the years in game and if I could ask you to repeat that again, I'd appreciate that. DR: Yeah, ok well. Back in the 20s and 30s there wasn't much game around, in fact there was no game around because the Mt. Katmai chased it all, chased them all out and killed them off what it was and all there was was just fish and that's all they lived on was fish and stuff and of course my Grandpa had a store up in Iliamna River up there so they'd get groceries in through Iliamna Bay, that way, you know, the mail and everything came in that way. But my Grandpa, he walked up Pile River a long ways, must of been, oh, gone maybe over a week or whatever walking looking for some game to bring back to the village, but there was no game. So Mother said when they came back out they were almost starving because they went in so far you know.
DR: and then first they came in to the lake area here up in Iliamna River there were the snow birds, they came in and Dad use to hunt them for fresh meat with a shotgun and then later on, well I guess after that, then the beaver and the bears came back in and that was all up the head of the lake up in Iliamna River, up in that area where the bears came back so I guess they must of came over for salt water or something. But over there and, like around Iliamna and Goose Bay and places and, over on this side there was no bear not like it is now. Right now it is lousy with bear, there is too many bear right now and they break into smokehouses and running in the village and everything like that, that's no good. But anyway, the moose, I can remember they were hunting in the 30s there and just see the track and they keep following but they never get the moose until about maybe 38 or 39 when they first kill the first moose and then after that they start coming back in more, all the time. DC: That was 28 or 29? DR: Ah, 38. DC: 38. DR: Yeah. And another thing about this lake oh people hollering about, there use to be a bounty on everything in the state of Alaska. There was a bounty on the eagles, the wolves, coyotes, fish, and everything there was, seals, and everything there was was a bounty on them. We use to get a nickel a tail for the fish tail. We were able to them, block rivers off with fish traps and everything else to catch those trout because they figured that they were eating the where the salmon, they figured that was doing it but now they don't think that had much to do with the spawn and stuff.
DR: But anyway, when we use to go like up toward the head of the lake, Iliamna River, Pedro Bay, and all the places up there, Goose Bay and even Kokhanok, this side over here, that they trapped all the beaver out. There was no more beaver around so we had to take off and start heading for the to go trapping, it was further away from home and the thing was that they didn't have to worry about school or nothing because we didn't go to school. We just took off and went down trapping or hunting or whatever they were doing and what we use to do a lot of times in fall time. I can remember when you could take off and go up to Knutson Bay and we'd spend a week or two weeks up there just having spruce ends to eat because there was no beef or nothing around back in those days, I mean shoot. I never had beef until I went down the Bay, that's the first beef I ever tasted and they never brought none back or whatever neither because you know you couldn't keep it, you had to come on a boat so it took a long time to get up and it would be spoiled by the time you got home. So, all the meat, fresh meat, that whatever we had was always, well before the moose started coming in too much was ducks, geese, rabbits, spruce and ptarmigan when I was able to go out and get them. A lot of times there weren't that many around, you know all that game started coming back in oh, in the 40s I guess when they finally start really start multiplying but and ah how we traveled all the time was dogteam there was no other way to go but dog. If you didn't have a dogteam you walked but other than that you, all there was going to the dog team all the time when you did that way, hunted with dogteam, we trapped, hauled our wood, did with dogteam, and the mail came by dogteam and everthing was done with dogs in the winter time and in the summer time it was done by boat but in the early days there back in the, I'll say in the 30s again and stuff and in the 20s, there was hardly any kickers around, you had to row where ever you went so...
DR: you didn't go too far at all. I guess a lot of people rowing you know. Some of them rowed across the lake, stuff like that and some of them had sails on a boat and it sail and it had a if the wind is blowing in through sailing but. And another thing that it never blew that much like it does now. Now like it seems like it's blowing all the time but back then it seems like over on Goose Bay over there where it called Goose Bay, I could remember day after day in the summer time be just like a out there you know, it will be just calm and this lake here, used to freeze anywheres from four feet to six feet thick, that's how thick this lake would get and we had to go down and chop water holes you know that, that was pretty hard sometimes to get water. We kept the top opened big enough to get a bucket in but the bottom of the hole was just big enough to let the water come up. That's how we packed all our water and cut wood you know, all the time cutting wood and packing water and stuff, feeding the dogs, putting fish up for them. Mother use to put ah, I don't know, depending on how many dogs we had, then you start in, oh, probably August, would probably be the latest we'd start cooking for them and cook up until August sometime and after that then we'd start feeding them fish, dry fish and from then until June before the salmon came back so you know how many fish you had to put up and you gave them a fish a day and if you worked them hard, you gave them a fish and a half a day, so, and if got eleven dogs you know that takes a lot of fish to go through the winter. But the way she smoked them too, she smoked them and that fish was cured so good that you could eat the next May or June or whatever when you were still feeding the dogs you could just take and chew a chunk off because it was smoke hard and stuff, it didn't spoiled like a lot of them do now, I mean, they don't smoke them, they spoil right away...
DR: but . The net, when we went to pick the net in the summer time that's what we did, we always had to row out and pick the net and row back in again but I don't know, it was in the 40s, by middle 40s when they finally had kickers enough to run around with you know but that was just Dad and them whenever they wanted go or use the kicker or whatever. But that's how we did a lot of our hunting and stuff boat. After the moose and stuff came back in we went up to and that was always a good place to go hunting because it has got a lot of bays and you can drive right through that island you know, it's split in half when the water is high enough, spring time it's kind of hard cause you can't get through cause there's a little shallow but the rest of it you can do ok. But we did a lot of trapping. Dad, he trapped, until we got old enough to run the trapline and he let us do it. We were only about oh, I'd say 12, I was about 12 when I started. Me and my brother, he was two years older than I was, we took the trapline over and trapped fox, mink, otter, whatever we could catch all except for beaver, we didn't trap beaver because we always took off for that in the spring of the year and of that there wasn't trapping either, we were shooting them, cause you were allowed to shoot the beaver instead of trapping beaver. Had traps too of course but you know, you went out in the evening and when a beaver came out to feed well you sat by the lake or whatever and beaver come out you shot him. Then ah, nightime, most of the time thats when the traps worked for the beaver was nightime because they weren't sitting out all the time and you stayed out so late and get beaver and come back and start skinning them but I don't know it's, everything is changing, now it's no dogs and all snowmachine or four-wheelers and fast boats.
DR: use to go from Goose Bay to Iliamna, what you call Iliamna now that was never Iliamna, that used to be the Roadhouse, that's why that Roadhouse Mountain over there you see but why they call it Iliamna when they took the Post Office from Old Iliamna up there river and moved it down there then they started calling that Iliamna which is not Iliamna, that's the Roadhouse over there but everybody knows it as Iliamna and oh I don't know what else to talk about right now but unless you ask me questions. BS: Yeah, tell me about where your trapline went in the old days, you said that you took it over for your Dad? DR: Yeah, it was over on Goose Bay side over there. BS: uh, huh. DR: We went from Goose Bay up to back up ah, upper ah, , Creek, and up over the Youngs Creek and down as far as Stonehouse we trapped. We run one day, we'd go up towards and around them back up down and then the next day we'd take off and go down Youngs Creek and up over the Stonehouse then back up again, that's where we trapped but there were other traplines too cause my aunts , he also had a trapline running in there. So there are traplines running you know so far apart and that that, like the lines you talk about now you know, survey lines, where you got boundary lines here boundary lines there, well there was no boundary lines. Like I was just a trapline or a fishline, the only lines we knew back then.
DR: But then when we went beaver trap and that went clean down into uh, like I say, down to trapping and shooting beaver but people that trapped around here they trapped all over. I mean some, a lot of them, from Pedro Bay went up into the Kokhanok Lake and back down here to ah, Lake and Lake and those places you know went to wherever you had to go to get beaver and they stayed, I mean, it just wasn't a week or two, they stayed for months sometime trapping. That's why I was talking about this park that people been in there for many time. What got these parents here, , I think his name is, their family lived up in up in there, and they trapped from on there when up in the areas you know and. That's just like says you know, how come you come to my back door and make a park out of it and there's a lot of ground they can make parks out of where people are not in their hunting or whatever you know but, where people live closer they shouldn't have parks or if they do have the parks or reserves they should let them go in and do like they always did, use the subsistence way of living. BS: Well, let me ask you a question about that, one of the things they've been concerned about is changes in transportation, modes of getting into the country, and you mentioned dogteams and boats in the early days. When did you see some changes in that and whether the differences between going with dogs and these other modes. DR: Well, going with the dogteams you know, you didn't really leave a trail of all the time because you never went over the same place twice you know. Like these four-wheelers and stuff now you got to go over the same trail all the time to travel in there. You just can't take off and run all over the place because lots of time you can't go because there's niggerheads and too many holes, swamps and all that. With a dogteam you can travel over any of it, swamps, anything you know. But ah, now with this here four-wheelers and snowmachines and most of the time it's just a day trip.
BS: Yeah, tell us some more. DR: Yeah, it's like I say, nowadays it's only day trips and stuff because you go so far on a machine like the snowmachine. You could travel a 100 miles one way and back in one day. You know with a dogteam it took you all day to get 50 miles a lot of times. Sometimes it took longer too because what the snow with a dogteam, you had snow was deep, you had to ahead of your dogteams and make trail and that, there, I mean when your walking and stuff you don't travel as far as like today like a snowmachine today you just can get up and stay on top of the snow if you go fast enough and but only trouble is is right now the four-wheelers you know we used a lot of that in the fall time when there is no snow till we get back in to where the game because you get all these hunters around here that's hunting all these sportsmen you know and they're running all the game off running way back where we can't get them with a boat anymore. Years ago we just use to hunt along the lake because that way that where the moose was near, there was nobody to scare them off but nowadays you try go along the lake you have a heck of a time to hunt. Another thing too is you travel so fast with a boat you know it use to be all day to go to Iliamna from here and back again. A lot of times you went to Iliamna and stayed over because it took you too long to get over there, by the time you got your shopping in the store it was too late to head back home but now you can run over there and shoot it takes me about 35 minutes to get over there to Iliamna but ah pretty fast from back when I was growing up. Shoot, we only made about oh 6 or 8 mph is about the fast we went you know how long it would take you to get over there, 20 some miles take you 2, 3 hours to get over and 2, 3 hours to get back and by the time you got to the store and doing your visiting and stuff during that day well it was too late to come back home again so we always stayed over night and now the same thing with dogteam when you traveled like go from Goose Bay to Iliamna, we stayed over night all the time because the dogs would, you get down there and by the time like you do your shopping and stuff well it's too late to go back, if you did go back make a round trip well you always came back around midnight that was pretty late you know especially if the moon, if the moon was shining it wasn't bad but if it was dark, it was kind of hard traveling...
DR: but and just like those roads and trails over there now in Iliamna you know, what I seen before the roads and stuff come in, the Nondalton people use to come down there, Iliamna down there and take a case of gas, I don't know if you know what a case of gas is, it's 10 gallons and 100 pounds of flour or sugar and put that on their back and they take off walking over that portage. Lot of them do it, and all they had was a rope around them. They pilots rope put the rope here and they'd pull it back down again that's how they packed it over with rope on their back. You could see, not just one, but a whole bunch, be a line of people going, cause they had to row down with their boat coming down the river then go back up with that boat you know so they always had a bunch of people to do it so they wouldn't be by themselves. I've seen that happen lot of times. When then in the spring of the year when we come back from beaver trapping, the game warden would come to Iliamna you know by that point that use to be a trail along there and be in the spring of the year it was all grass, was nice clean grass you know dry so the people use to take all their beavers and put down their blanket beaver and, shoot, and a lot of them was 80, 80 someting inch beavers, blanket beaver, that's was they call a blanket beaver. That's how big those beavers were and then the game warden would come and tag all the beavers and I think I was, shoot, maybe 6 or 7 when I got my first limit but you had to sit and shoot it, and they didn't stand it up where it was either was there, oh, must of been about maybe 100, 150 feet in from you and you had to hit that can within three shots and if you didn't hit that can within three shots it wasn't your beaver, always tell if its your beaver or not so Dad use to make us shoot all the time so it make sure we hit that can (laughs).
DR: I don't know if I told you about the fish tails or not? BS: Cut the fish tails off. DR: Yeah, cut the fish tails off and string up a 100 to a string and dry them. You dry them on paper and stuff then you take and take a string and you'de put a 100 tails to the line. You know, we got a nickel a tail for that and a dime for the rainbows and we used to do a lot of fishing. One time, no, I think it was, had to be the 40s or either 40 or 41 because they were still buying those tails yet and we wanted to go to Youngs Creek fishing, it wasn't very far from Goose Bay there just a little ways and we 're fishing these brook trout and Uncle Fred, he went over there early, he took and cut the barb off the hook and he took a piece of red yarn and wrapped it around the hook then he had this here fish eggs with that make that juice like and he'd stick it in there and when the fish would bite and then he'd stick it back in there again but he pulled 1500 out there one day, fish. And a lot of us kids got 400, 500, we were just kid and playing you know fishing that creek in the spring of the year use to be just blocked with brook trout. That's all you'd catch is brook trout in there, like once in a while you catch one about that big but most of them were like pan size. BS: About 10 inches. DR: Yeah, maybe smaller about 8, some 6 inches you know, some little ones, good pan size one, that's the ones we use to eat, the smallers ones all the time. The Mom would fry them up real crispy and eat bone and all and you didn't have to worry about the head, he cooked the head too and ate the head and all because it was crispy enough to, when you chewed it up there was no bones to ...
DR: and down trapping we always had to have beaver meat of course, beaver and porcupine, that was some of their fresh meat and summer time we always had to put up fish, had to row for that, mothers use to split well, Uncle Fred had a and we had a kicker at that time, I think it was 40, yeah 1940. So he took that and he, there was a lot of salmon what we call Otters Bay so we took and blocked that Bay off cause they were waiting to go up so we set that seine and we pulled it in while we could get the fish out you know and so many like, they would say how many fish you want and like Mom say what she said I'll take 500 so I brought her 500 and rest of them want it but we bring home and Mother she split 500 by herself in one day. BS: You don't get fish like that now, huh? DR: Well, nobody can split fish that fast (laughs). BS: Let me back you up a little bit to ah, we were talking about using those vehicles, all terrain vehicles back there. You said that they had to follow a certain route, they couldn't just go anywhere because of and DR: Yeah, well, they got these here nigger heads and stuff you know, these big holes and stuff BS: yeah DR: start falling in those holes and stuff and you can't go there with a 4 by because you get stuck all the time so, wherever you see these trails you know I mean, there are some holes and stuff in there but that's why the people stay in these trails all the time because you know, there somebody travel it, it's a good trail to travel. Sometime, you might see two trails you know going kind of side by side that other trail was found afterwards you know it, a snowmachine or whatever and find out there's a better way to go with the four-wheelers but that like I say with all these here sport hunters and stuff coming in and driving all our game away way back in the hills and stuff you know, we got to get back there somehow to get them cause we don't have any airplanes to fly in there and bring them out...
DR: and that's the only way you can get them out is if you go to four-wheeler you got some way to bring your meat out but if you walk in there, you'll never get it out before it spoil you know and that's one thing you got to do I mean like, this subsistence way like we did before like before we had these here freezers, and electric and telephone and TVs and everything like that and telephone you just had to keep the meat you could eat before it spoil. So whenever we got, use to get a moose we give it to the village people you know and we still do that. The people that can't get out and go hunting, got no four-wheeler or no snowmachine, we still can get meat and give it to them, we don't keep it all for ourselves. We give it out, like a lot of the hunters back in Anchorage and stuff like that, I lived in there for 20 some years and shoot, they go out and kill a caribou or moose and they throw it in the dump because it would spoil or whatever never liked it you know. They just wasted meat but for a subsistence hunter and stuff like living out here, we don't never waste anything but some of these younger kids now there, getting like, going out shooting stuff they shouldn't be shooting because their parent are not training them, telling them, like, we were brought up. We were told a lot of time whatever you kill it you eat it you know. So you didn't kill things that wasn't edible and if you killed too much you still had to cook it up and eat it. Anyway, you know, instead of wasting, there was no waste back then and when you ate but nowadays I mean there is so much waste and stuff, that it's pitiful. BS: Let me ask you about those early vehicles, what's the earliest, motorized vehicles you saw people using? DR: The earliest vehicle came in within the 60s. I think it was, the first snowmachine I seen was 1965. No, wait a minute, I might take that back, it might of been 63 when I first seen the first snowmachine. And then the first ah, three-wheelers I seen in 1967, I think when I, the first three-wheeler come into the, that's the first time I seen them.
DR: No not in Kokhanok, that was in Anchorage. That's when the machine and stuff start coming into the state I should say. Here, we moved over here in 76, when they already had machines here, snowmachines. There wasn't any ah, they had three-wheelers back then but there was no three-wheelers, then there were just mostly snowmachines. But then in ah, 70, 77 one of the first three-wheelers come to Kokhanok. That was the year I built this move to Kokhanok, the village for the kids to finish school. And that's when the track vehicles start coming in and ah three-wheelers. BS: What about in the old days, did people have old trucks or jeeps or anything? DR: Well, they had ah, the village had trucks here. BS: Oh yeah. DR: Yeah, way back ah. One of my cousins ah, , Willie , he was ah, chief here in the village and they had a truck . There have been trucks here, Oh shoot, I could tell you that I seen ah a old Model A and ah a Model T on the lake here that when we still up in Goose Bay up there, that was I think in the 40s, early 40s there, they had a couple of vehicles on the lake here then. I don't know where they drove to in Iliamna but when they got the road there I mean you know, FAA, when the Army was, came in there then they had the road up to the airstrip and stuff, 1942, I think around there, got that strip and finished it, Iliamna strip. BS: What I was getting at was some of the early history of hunting back toward the Preserve with motorized vehicles. DR: That, that would be when we, when the snowmachines and stuff came in, yeah. When I couldn't really tell you when the first snowmachine come to Kokhanok because like I say I moved back here in 76, the spring of 76 when I moved back to Kokhanok area.
DC: When did you notice the first pressure from the sport hunters on the moose population? DR: Oh, man that, they were in here before I came back, they were already guides and hunters in here then. I would say, I would say they were in here the sportsmen start coming in the 50s, I'm pretty sure. Jack , he came here in the 50s and he was one of the first guides to settle in the area. But there was ah, people guiding out of here because the Kokhanok Lodge up there ah, oh, Dennis , he had the Kokhanok Lodge and that was back in the early 50s or that, that went in right after the war was over with World War II and how he got Kokhanok that um, President Eisenhower came up and ah went up to the Lodge up there and I guess he was in the Army with him. when he asked ah, but what he could do for him he said, well he said, they won't give me the piece of land I'm sitting on, he said my Lodge and stuff is here so. The president told him, told one of his guys he had with him, he said well, see what you can do for him, make sure he gets this piece of property. That was 5 acres that he got and that was back in the 50s so that's when they first started coming but now there are so many of them coming around that's it not funny you know. from all over come Anchorage, Fairbanks, stateside and everything come up and do guiding here and be good if they open up the bear season earlier to get rid of some of these bears because the bears are over populated, there are too many bears.
DR: You know back like I said earlier back when the game first started coming in that was one thing that people use to go after usually on the river and Pile River was the bear because there was none down in this area. They all took their boats and went up the Iliamna River and hunting and what they did some of them they'd sit and some of them drift the river. When I had a cousin, first cousin and second cousin, they was coming down the Iliamna River in a boat, drifting down and getting dark and a bunch of people form Newhalen seen them coming down and they kind of so they couldn't tell if was and thought it was a bear so they started at them and they killed the oldest one and the one you know him, from Pedro Bay, well the wounded him but to show you that you know there was no bear in this lower area, all the bear was up there then, they weren't down below . It happened 1946, when it happened. DC: When did you start noticing that game population in areas around the lake decreasing that forced you to go back into the Preserve? DR: I would say it started here oh in the probably in the 80s, they started moving up back further, yeah, because before we use to hunt and we use to get in around the lake area here but like now, like I say anymore, they are so far back you know you got to have a way to get back there, compete with the sportsman but we wouldn't care if that bear season opened up early, we wouldn't compete with the bears because we kill the bears if they get into our smokehouses and stuff. Now that, they always say oh you can't do that you know, like I tell them, you have somebody break into my smokehouse, I'll shoot him too if he's going to steal my food from me.
BS: I wanted to ask you about the lodges. Now some people here in the village own lodges is that true? DR: I own a lodge. BS: uh huh. DR: Well, how I got into to it was, we lived in Anchorage for 20 some years and the wife decided to come back here. So they moved back up the Bay up there, up in Bay and I told her if we do move back I wasn't about to go out and work someplace you know, I live right there without getting no work and so I built that lodge so I could make my work and make my retirement. But what happened and then she turned around and we just got going it was 83 and 84 and we just start building and then she got breast cancer so I said no it wasn't worth it you know to try run it and I didn't want to run it because if it was me if I was up there say with a bunch of clients and have a cook or something and if the cook get mad at me, take off and go and I'm stuck with a bunch of clients and get them all mad at me. I figured it wasn't worth to run it or whatever but I've been trying to sell it, that's sits on our Native allotment up there, on the Bay up there. But i filed on that back in 68 when I filed on my Native allotment cause I came over in 67 and helped with Newhalen school building for BIA and then I had Dave Olympic come up and we went up there and staked the ground for her and myself but then family come along, her family come along and overlapped us on our Native allotments and I had to fight for mine but since she had that breast cancer I told her I wasn't working for hers because knowing how long that you know, what would happen so but today she's just as strong as a horse I mean she's just as good as anybody else. We go ahead and we put up a lot of fish here, smoke fish and we can a lot of it, smoked, you know can smoked.
DR: We smoke it for 2 days and then can it and then family from Anchorage come out and do the same thing. They come out and all the fish they want, they want smoked and canned you know so they wouldn't have to, it'll keep longer. But you got to find a way to make a living you know. In the village, how many people really working in this village that's got jobs all the time you know steady job. There's a job for a month or two months but then the job run out so you got to find a way to, if you're going to live in a village you got to find a way to do it. Like before, when we lived over Goose Bay over there well, all Dad had worry about was the grub and the gas for the gas lamp you know, and kerosene for the small one, the kerosene light. Now you got to worry about your, back then what he did too after he got through fishing he bought all his groceries for the year you know, cause you bring them up back in the boat and they'd stick them in the cache and put the up in the cellar so it wouldn't freeze then go out like I say fishing, I ate a lot of fish because there wasn't that much meat sometime. Then you go hunting after spruce hen and ptarmigan and we did it everyday, we'd be out hunting, it wasn't like you sit here for a week or two without hunting or whatever, you was out almost everyday hunting unless it was really storming and in the winter time you didn't go but in the spring of the year you'd get enough few days you know three, four days anyways you'd have enough duck and geese to last you for that and a lot of time when we were smaller too and then when we stayed home and didn't go down trapping, down to we would trap a lot of muskrat so...
DR: They weren't that much, well I guess they weren't that much but there was quite a bit of money back then. You went down to the store with 10 cents or whatever you got tow or three candy bars or whatever, maybe a bottle of pop. Now you can't even get a candy for, I don't know, well I'm selling candy here for 75 cents a bar you know but I had pop, selling pop and stuff and then they say well how come your not selling candy. They come after closed up and then they come down here and buy candy and pop because he closes at 5 and I don't close until maybe midnight before they quit coming (laughs). But you guys are going to have to start asking me questions now. BS: No , you've done good. DR: I'm running out of stuff to talk about. DC: I want to start showing him some stuff. BS: OK BS: You want to look at some maps? DC: Yeah. Could you look at some maps with me Danny and see if this sees like reasonable use areas? DR: Yeah, ok. BS: We're looking at these ah subsistence use zones, is that right? DC: Use areas. This was ah some use areas that Judy Morris gained information from when she was here in 1983 DR: Yup. DC: She did some quads and she asked people for their use area for the last 20 years and these striked ones here are moose and then the cross hatched ones are caribou. What I want to ask you is if that seems to you to be reasonable or maybe people went further south? DR: Well we use to go back down in here further too, people, you know while they lived in this area. What lake is that, that's not is it? DC: Yeah that's . DR: OK, well. That's where lived and they traveled further back in that in here. They traveled cleaned back out to .
DC: Here's right here. DR: Oh, ok, yeah. Yeah, that's about right then if that's . I was thinking about this but that's way further down, yeah. Yeah, they travel all over in area. DC: OK, how about, does this look pretty good for the distribution of caribou today? DR: No, caribou is moving up this way further all the time you know. DC: Looks like it's further to the east. DR: Yeah. There's more, there's more caribou migrating up that way. You know for a long time we never had caribou up in this area. BS: Hang on a sec, I want to hear more about that. End of side 1
BS: OK, you were talking about caribou. You said that you didn't use to have caribou? DR: Right, uh, hum. They went up this far, you had to go down to and down in that area to get caribou but then they started migrating up this way further and even last year they had about 5, 000 caribou go through Pedro Bay. They were all over the airstrip and everything so you could tell how far caribou is going up. There might even be caribou on Flat Island right now, nobody never said anything about it yet but I'm pretty sure there are some out in that area cause you had to go someplace to get that many caribou in that area and they never, they never went back so where did they go you know. They might of went up all around the lake as far as I know but they said there was over 5, 000 in Pedro Bay. Last year went out on the airstrip and everybody but they used to come up into just below around Goose Bay, yeah. They have been coming up in that area until last year then like I say, they were running right through the village of Pedro but it was terrible all over place. So, you could see what, how the game is moving and traveling all the time. DC: When were the caribou around then when did they start to move north? DR: Oh, there always been caribou down there for years that I can remember you know, they come up from the Naknek side and they come up into that area and then they would turn around and migrate back again but lately seem like the kind of coming across river down there and coming over. That one year we had ah, oh I think there was around 10, 000 around the village here, up in back the hills back here and running around the airstrip and DC: What year was that? DR: Oh, gee, that was how many years ago, I can't remember what year was , wasn't too long ago.
DR: Ah, I think Richard still living up here yet when that happened so it had to be 5, maybe 6, 7 years ago or more. More than 7 years, I guess. But that one year, you know that caribou went down here just this side of Big Mountain I think it was, somewheres around Dennis Creek in that area. There was a herd, there was a string going across and there was string coming from the other side this way, some going that way and some coming back this way. BS: OK, we're back on. DR: But anyway, that one year there was ah, the caribou was both running both ways. One bunch going across and another herd coming back and there was just not, it was from one side of the lake clean to the other side of the lake. That's how much caribou there were. They were already on the other shore and there was still coming and going and the same thing on that side, they were all the way across. I don't know why, just switching territories or whatever I guess or maybe cause they were interbreeding too much or something maybe they were just switching so much caribou at a time, I don't know. But anyway, those caribou I mean they're moving more and more all the time and like, well there's a little herd that stays up by fishcamp mountains back there now, year round you know, go back again. And there was some caribou in the saddle up here going over to ah in that pass over in there, there was some caribou hanging around in that area. But ah, 84, there was no caribou coming up in this area and well I wouldn't say there was none but there was a few of them coming into the area because over Copper River there was a bear killed a caribou over there in 84, and the surveyers seen it you know and they told us that caribou couldn't believe 'em because we never seen no caribou. But last winter now there been caribou hanging around up around Kokhanok River up in that area. They're like I can say you know, the caribous moving out and there are some of them staying behind and not going back down again. I guess that's just like ducks and geese in Anchorage, I guess they don't go back down anymore either a lot of them, stay all winter.
DC: the geese like DR: Yup, . DC: So recently then this recent ah here, you see the caribou moving further east all the way up into Pedro Bay here, right? DR: Right, um hmm. DC: OK. How about trapping? Does that look like a reasonable distribution for 63 to 83 of areas where people in Kokhanok would trap? DR: Yeah, here in Kokhanok yeah, about as far as they went. DC: OK. and how about, how about in the last 10 years or so, how many people are trapping and ah? DR: Well, off and on they're trapping. You know some of the village people trap one year, next year other people would trap so it's not continuously trapping like when I was growing up and stuff and trapping. It's a little different you know. Some people get the idea they want to trap, they run and start trapping and they find out the fur is not that good, it's too much work to skinning and drying and everything and the only thing you're going after now is like wolves and coyotes, wolverine, linx. They're not after fox and stuff anymore or that much, not even beaver you know because if they're after beaver, the beaver wouldn't be damming up all these here and stuff stopping the salmon spawn from going up. That's another thing they should think about it at salmon spawn. And if the beaver gets in blocks the stream up and the salmon can't go up in there and there are some streams you'd think that the salmon don't go but you'd be surprised where you find salmon you know up in these streams.
DR: And that's why I was saying what they should do is open it back up there in the spring when you're ready to shoot these beaver that way you'd have more people going for beaver cause these guys now they don't want to chop through 2, 3 feet of ice you know to trap beaver. They are too use to power, everything is power. Back when I was growing up it wasn't no power, it was all hand done. You chop, ice pick, and take the saw, cutting wood you know, you don't go out with a chainsaw you had to use a big old handsaw. They use to call them a swede saw, we call them a buck saw which we call them but ah, they came out in the late 30s I think, the swedesaw, with the metal frame all the way around with a tin blade. Yeah, we liked that one better than the old cross-saw because that one cut faster like birch and smaller trees but the bigger trees you had to use the old cross-cut the two man. You figure 6 and 8 back in, yup, and we did a lot of playing when I was growing up you know, sliding and playing ball, playing hide and go seek and the older people use to even coming out and play with us. You don't see that anymore with the kids you know, the Elders going out playing sliding or playing ball or hide and go seek or something with them. But a lot of these kids you don't see them hardly playing at all anymore. Like, shoot, this would be a good beach here for playing boat. We use to make boats and put a string on them and run along the beach and pull it all the way around you know and go out and get a bunch a little sticks like for hauling wood and pull it all the way back again and get a use that as a barrel of gas or something and we're always doing something. One time we had a, Dad and them got us some trucks, little toy trucks and for Christmas and stuff and old Santa Claus brought that of course you know and we had ah little farm sets of animals, porcelain like, and we made a road, oh must of made a half of mile of road pushing these trucks and hauling the gravel up to where the muddy spots were and dumping you know and built all that and had the farm all set up and they kept telling us, you better put your toys away, we're going to be leaving you know, put your toys away.
DR: Time come we didn't get to put the farm equipment, we were running with our trucks you know and stuff but all our little chickens and cows and everything just left out the house and everything, come back they were all smashed up (laughs). Our cousins got jealous cause we had all that stuff and they broke them all up when we were gone. But that you don't see them doing no more. BS: No kids don't. DC: How do you see the kids learning subsitence practices these days? DR: They're, the older ones are doing it more, yeah. But, like when I was growing up you know being younger, I don't see the younger ones doing it that much. There are some of them that does quite a bit of it. Like the boys, they're always going fishing and a lot of them go down with their parents you know they go down fishing but they're not letting really fish that much the younger generation like when I was growing up cause all we ever used a lot of 8 or 10 foot pole and the line was about that long, long as the pole was. You'd stand there and had a cork come out of a bottle or something and tie that so far from your line and you threw that out, when you see that cork go down you just pulled back, there was no pulling it in you know, reeling it in, you just went and grabbed that bait you just whipped him over watch out for people behind you or you'd hit 'em with it. That's how we use to fish. But, now a lot of these people out here fish with by hand, just the line, you know they take a line and throw it out and they pull it back in again, that's how a lot of them fish. There are a lot of younger ones they're using rod and reel of course but the older ones they still using the hand lines.
DC: How about, how tough is it for kids to be able to stay in the community, you talked earlier about finding a job and steady, steady work, and it's awful tough in a community this big. DR: It is, it is getting tougher and tougher for them to stay in the village because like I said, there ain't no work for them and now you got like I say, you got to pay for your water and sewer, you got to pay for your lights, you got to apy for your phone bills and got to pay for your fuel, which you never had to pay for before you know. This is just, this as all something that brought on to us that makes its a lot harder to live in a village and it because there ain't no job you know. But, it's getting harder, a lot of the younger ones leave and they go out and go to Anchorage or someplace and go to school out there whatever and find out that it's easier to make a living out there then to come back to the village so there's very few of them that do come back you know. Your population is never going ever get very big unless they find some kind of a work around here for them to do but other than that if they are going to live in a village pretty quick they are going to have to travel tow work and then come back to the village like a lot of them, in Pedro Bay that's what they're doing, there's a lot doing the, working on the slope for 2 weeks and coming back for 2 weeks or whatever you know but. It's really changing, it's getting harder and harder to live in the village cause like I say we didn't have all this stuff and you didn't have to buy your groceries every month and fall of the year , you went and chopped wood the rest of the time to stay warm and stuff you know but now you got oil and lot of them are too lazy to go out and cut wood because it's too hard they say, it's hard you know and a lot of them lay around say it's boring because they got nothing to do, well, there's a lot to do if a person wants to do it you know.
BS: Do you have any old pictures that will be good for us to maybe look at tomorrow or so and maybe put into this computer based program that we have? DR: No, I'm afraid I don't have no pictures, the one you might find pictures with is my sister in Anchorage. She might have so old pictures. BS: OK. DR: or else Sophie Chase, yeah, or ah, it will be bad time to ask Sandy because she just lost her husband last Friday or something but she'd have old pictures. But another one that would have a lot of old pictures would be Helena, that's ah my brother-in-law's niece. I don't know if you know George or not BS: uh, uh DR: OK, Walter is his brother and he'll know where she's at and what her last name is because I don't know what her, oh, I know it, it used to be Helena . BS: Yeah, we're always looking for material that we can put in to the programs to enhance them. DR: They'd have a lot of old pictures. I had old pictures but when I left in Homer all my pictures disappeared BS: Oh gee DR: you know, I had a lot of stuff in there, I had a Valentine , my wife made me back in 46, I had that you know cause it was hand made for Valentine's Day and stuff and my Dad made me a little , a little thing like that, was a real small one, lost that and lost a lot of stuff. BS: Yeah, but this has been a good interview, you've given us lots of good information about changes in game and hunting patterns and I think it's going to be useful to people to hear this. DR: Yeah, it is, I mean you know that a lot of them want to get a little history of the area you know, background and stuff but they said Iliamna River, and that village was the poorest village in the state and I guess that's why everybody moved out of there or whatever
DR: The last one to moved out of here was Mike , he was the last one up in the river up there. But that's where like Pedro Bay now, I'm related to almost everybody in Pedro Bay cause Pedro Bay moved from Iliamna down in that area, the are my relation and they all came out of Pedro Bay there and Johnson, Walter Johnson, he's my cousin, but he lives in Homer right now but he was born in lives over in Iliamna over there. BS: Is that Walter johnson the physician, the doctor? DR: No, uh, uh, he's just an ordinary guy, fisherman. He's in his late 70s I guess, yeah. BS: Yeah. DR: Another good one you might want to visit is Gus Jenson in Anchorage. He'd give you stories further back than me. BS: Well this has been helpful and we'll bring it to a close and let you turn your heater back on so you don't freeze. DR: Yeah, it's getting a little cold in here. BS: Thanks a lot.