Evan Chukwak was interviewed on May 6, 1998 by William Schneider and Don Callaway at the village corporation office/hotel in Levelock, Alaska. In this interview, Evan talks about the hardships of living a traditional subsistence lifestyle in the early days, and changes in the animal populations and in hunting practices. Evan discusses his grandfather, the knowledge he shared, the stories the told, and the lessons Evan learned from him, including about treating animals properly and how to cope with starvation times. Evan also talks about the impact of sport fishermen and lodges on the local subsistence lifestyle, and the importance of passing his land and knowledge on to his children and grandchildren.
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His family background, his grandfather, and what life was like growing up
How tough living was in the early days when you had to get all your food and materials from the country
Using fish traps, living at Branch River, and moving into the village so his children could go to school
Working at the Diamond J Cannery and supporting his elderly parents
Changes in animal populations and hunting, like how they used to have to travel a long way to go moose hunting
His grandfather predicting environmental changes
His grandfather's stories about starvation times and treating animals properly.
His grandfather's story about a medicine man hiding animals, and his own hunting and traveling by dog team in the 1950s
Eating wolf meat when starving, and differences between hunting by dog team versus snowmachine
The first school at New Stuyahok, changes in hunting and trapping practices after the introduction of snowmachines, and weather changes he has observed
A time when he got lost traveling and was rescued, weather changes he has observed, and how they used to gather wood
The first sport fishermen and lodges in the area
Effects from sport fishing, and fishing with his grandchildren on the Branch River
Some of the hardships of boat travel up the Branch River, and his involvement with commercial fishing
Passing on his land to his children and grandchildren when he dies, and the sale of commercial fishing permits
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William Schneider: Today is May 6, 1998. I'm Bill Schneider. Don Callaway's here. We're, uh, in Levelock at the Corporation, uh, office. And we have the, the privilege this morning of talking with Evan Chukwak. And we're going to talk a little bit about his history and his parents and growing up in this area. So, thanks for coming down today. Evan: You welcome. Bill: OK. Tell us about your, your parents. Evan: My name is Evan Chukwak. Born in, uh, ?, April 15, 1929, Kokhanok. And, um, my parents was, uh, he told us stay one place, long time ago. And they, he went over to Nushagak. Stay, uh, couple of years, my parents, I left my parents over there. My dad passed away 1985. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: I don't know what year my mother d..., passed away. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Now, I came over in 1942. Kvichak was, uh, uh, putting canned salmon, you know. Bill: Mmmm. Evan: And they're, my dad was married to, my dad was, um... Bill: Hang on just a sec. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Bill: OK. Evan: Oh. On, uh, I grew up over in Nushagak River. And dad, dad caught me, I still, my grandma. Long time ago. Them years, he do nothing, squirrel. Nushagak River. Only at school in Dillingham and then Ekwok. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: That's why I didn't have no education. Bill: What was your grandfather's name? Evan: I, I think was Alec. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: I don't know what his last name. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Them years, he did not know, uh, people ?, they did not have an education. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: My mom and dad, they didn't have no education neither. Bill: Tell us about your grandfather. How do you remember him? Evan: Well, I was ? about, eight, ten years old. Bill: About eight, ten years old. Uh-huh. Evan: Yeah. He had one store over there, but he hardly get anything. He did not, no store like Anchorage, you know. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Them years he live on, uh, beaver, mink, porcupine. Not moose meat, caribou. That's all they live on. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Go out, catch in the morning. Bill: Mmhm. OK. Evan: That's true. Bill: Yeah. Evan: That's what, that's the way I grow up. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Them years, they, we did not know, uh, st..., stores. Only Dillingham had store. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: I remember this guy. Long time ago.
Bill: Mmhm. Tough livin' then, huh? Evan: Yeah, tough livin'. Bill: Mmm. Evan: Live on, uh, trout fishing. Porcupine. Beaver, mink. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: All that stuff. Ptarmigan. Bill: Mmhm. Evan : Ducks. Geese. Fish. He did not, he did not know ? fishing like that. He use a line hook. Too. When he catch fish, uh, ? fish pull them. Uh, same as them. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: That's the way he used to fish. ?. Hook, through the ice. Bill: Uh-huh. Jigging? Evan: Yeah. Them kind, uh, hook. Bull moose hook. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Homemade. Bill: Homemade hook? Evan: Gran..., Grandpa used to make homemade hooks. Bill: Hmm. What did they look like? Evan: They used to be white. Bone, you know. You fix 'em like, like the others. White man hooks. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Only they didn't stiffen. Have to, mmm, sharpen up some kind of nail. Really sharpen 'em good. They get some fish. Bill: Hmm. Evan: Some time he go, he go, but not out onto the ice. 'Cuz the ice was ? yet. Cut the hole ?. ? pull it in. And the, uh, ? end of the lake. And, uh, pull the, pull it with the rope. And they put net up. Same way when they pick the fish, same way. Some ? all together. He pulled up in, pull 'em back up again. Big difference. That's the way we was living long time ago. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Just not a ? used to have. My grandpa used to have fish trap, in the river. When they go out ?. He did ? all kinds of fish. Boy, them days, no boats. Nothing. He just put, put ? big time. ? camp. Just go in there. Bill: Yeah. So, n..., no rubber boots those days? Evan: No rubber, no rubber boots. Bill: ?. Evan: But they had to all make them kinda fish skin ? boots, you know. Bill: Yeah Evan: Just like water-proof. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Only I same ones. That's all. Bill: Yeah. Wh..., what were those made out of? Do you know? Evan: Fish skin. Bill: Fish skin? Evan: Sometime they make lots of rain..., raincoat, you know. Bill: Hmm. Evan: There's ?. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: From the ? Tie 'em up and sew 'em up. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: That's like, that's good raincoat. Bill: Yeah. Evan: That's the only thing I know. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Them years he was tough livin'. Bill: Yeah. So he was up in the Nushagak area? Evan: Yeah.
Evan: Up about, New Stuyahok. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Couple of miles. Bill: Hmm. Evan: My grandpa used to make fish trap. Bill: Hmm. Evan: My, friend of mine used to have fish trap up in Kokhanok. He up in Kokhanok. He used to make fish trap. The, ling cod. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Used to have lots these ?. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: ? nothing but. Bill: Hmm. Evan: After he passed away, too, nobody had to get in ? teach fish trap. Bill: Hmm. So no one makes fish trap now? Evan: Well, they try it. A couple ? try to take ? few. Bill: Yeah. Evan: After that, nobody try it. Bill: Huh. So you said you were born up at, uh, Kokhanok? Evan: Yeah. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: And that, all of my ? livin' up there and, uh, dad didn't know it. Back to Nushagak. And my dad come over. Leave me over there. Christian's Gram. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Up to nine..., 1950s my pa..., Grandma passed away. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: She was pretty old. Bill: Yeah. And then, um, when did you move back over this way? Evan: 1943, I come back over. Bill: 1940s? Yeah. Evan: After that, I move over here. Got married 1951. Bill: Uh-huh. Tell us your wife's name. Evan: Olga. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: She was livin' over at Branch River and, uh, kids going to school, have to bring it over. They didn't have no school over there. 1957. Bill: There was a school over at Branch River? No. Evan: He was going to, going to ? that guy down there. Pick 'em up. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Down Talikpak. ?. You got the house. Drop it. Bill: Mmhm. So, uh, when you, when you had kids you moved into the village? Evan: I come over nineteen fifty-s..., fifty eight, probably. Branch River. But my kids in school. Bill: Mmhm. Mmhm. Tell us about subsistence over at Branch River before you moved, before you moved here. What you did in fall time, winter, spring, and summer. Evan: Well, got to, uh, got to put net up and drying fish up. Bill: Fall time? Evan: Hunt ducks. Hunt geese. Hunt beavers. Hunt, uh,
Evan: others, bea..., beavers. Minks. Ducks. But I'm, uh, was, uh, 1926. And, uh, I start working in 1947. Down Diamond J. Bill: Oh. Evan: Start work in 1947 and, ?. One year after I go fish. 1948. Bill: Mmm. Evan: And, uh, I start that ? Mom. Buy 'em food. He was good. Better than long time ago 'cuz you had cannery creBill by. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Time ? you down there. Bill: Hmm. Evan: He had store. He had trappin', trap the ice and trap beavers. Hunt moose winter time. All the season. Bill: What was your work for Diamond J? Evan: It was working to spring and fall. Bill: Hmm. What sort of work did you do for them? Evan: Do anything. Cannery ?, you know, labor. Do anything. Bill: Uh-huh. And were you involved in the war? Evan: Huh? Bill: World War II? Did you, were you in the army? Evan: No. I never did. Bill: Uh-huh. Mmhm. And then you said you, uh, started fishing then? Evan: 1948. Bill: Commercial fishing? Tell us about that. Who did you work for and how did that get started? Evan: Well, I work for the cannery down at canning. That's what I work that work. Bill: Uh-huh. Which cannery was that? Evan: Diamond J. Bill: Diamond J? Mmhm. Evan: Right down there. Bill: Yeah. Evan: That's first time I ever work. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: But they never asked, couple times to work from... OK for ask me to work, work, you know. They hire me. Good thing I was eighteen then. Bill: Eighteen? Evan: Mmhm. Bill: Young man, huh? Evan: I was luck. Bill: Yeah. Evan: I start, after that I start working. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: He hire me just ? full time. Working. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Get employment. Bill: And it helped out, huh? So you were supporting your folks? Evan: Yeah. My dad, ? happened to have. From the canneries. Bill: Yeah. Huh. Evan: After that he looked good, boy. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Bill: Tell me more about that, yeah. Evan: Under the ice, you go pike fishing. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Got the ice. Get at a few pike. Bill: Uh-huh.
Bill: So you were doing, you were fishing for pikes under the ice? Evan: Yeah. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: It was fun. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Get something to eat. ? used to have, long time ago you used to have you know, both sides Branch River. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: ?kuk River. Used to be white ptarmigan all over place. On both sides. Bill: Ptarmigan? Evan: Yeah. Bill: Hmm. Evan: After that, no more. I don't spend that much time open any more. That year when porcupines go away. Bill: Mmm. Well that's something we want to ask you about is, uh, changes you've seen in animals. Evan: Yeah. When I..., lots of caribou, lots of moose right now. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Long time ago, we have to go way up river to get, hunt moose. They got about, take up, take us about a we..., week to get the moose. Some time you lucky, you get in one day. Bill: Yeah. Evan: So, sometime it took us fourteen hours a day. One week. When out on foot you have to eat anything. Porcupine. Ptarmigan. Bill: Tell us about one of those hunting, those hunting trips where you had to go way up. Do you remember one of those times? Evan: Yeah. I..., do not..., '48 and '47. Fifty, fifty two, fifty three. Fifty four. Fifty five. Fifty six. I came over '57. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Now, now, you don't go hunt. You don't go hunting to try anymore. Bill: Yeah. Evan: You see 'em anywhere. Bill: Yeah. Evan: But they never learn it. Village, they have running around caribou. Moose. Up, uh, long time ago, you used to go out far away. Bill: Why do you suppose that happened? Why has that changed? Evan: I couldn't... Gee, I don't know. I haven't been for a long time ?. Old people, you know, we used to talk. You gonna run out of food. Run out of animal. There gonna be lots. After that, we gonna go away slowly. Slowly, going down, you know. That's when there hardly anything. I, uh, heard this, I heard this story long time ago. Too, from old people. You gonna run out of food, run out of fish. You gonna go, gonna be lots of fish. Lots of caribou. Lots of moose. Lots of everything, you know. After that, when I was old but there no more left. That's what old people used to tell us.
Evan: My grandpa, he was blind man. He used to tell me. I used to get mad at him. Boy, he tell me this for. Now we get ?. But, now I think about grandpa used to tell me long time ago. He getting the... Bill: Yeah. Wonder how he knew, huh? Evan: I don't know how it, I don't how he know. But even, uh, talk about him in the Church. You know, ? poor people. He know most of what? you know, in the Church. He never missed one. ?. Bill: He knew 'em? Evan: That's what ? used to tell us. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: He, and he said, people, that group. He, uh, I, uh, I don't know how he know what's going to happen, you know. Bill: Yeah. Evan: I couldn't figure out how we, how we know. Bill: Yeah. Evan: That's what he used to tell us. Bill: Huh. Do you see other signs of that happening? Evan: Yeah. Bill: Hmm. Evan: Now, now hardly any porcupine and ptarmigan right now. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: But they hard to get, porcupine and ptarmigan. Bill: Yeah. Yeah. You see, uh, changes in, uh, weather? Evan: Yeah. He n..., grandpa used to tell us that, you know, what...how the ?, you know, used to play out in no cold weather. Bill: Yeah. Evan: He used to tell us, how state's going to be change. Gonna be cold weather. Gonna be snowin'. Out there. But they hardly believe those guys and how we did it. That true now. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Why ? but he didn't have the cold weather before. It gonna be turn cold out states. Alaska pu..., Alaska gonna be warmer. That's what he thinks. Bill: Hmm. Evan: How we used to be good. How we, how we know. Bill: Yeah. Evan: That was true. Bill: Was, was he telling you to do something different? Evan: Yeah. He tell us when you guys eat, keep quiet, eat. If you're not hungry, you're gonna be laugh. That's what he used to tell us. If he started us in coming up you guys gonna ? around the food. Stuff like that. After that, starvation coming.
Evan: He used to tell us when he, when we eat in the table, you laugh. Look after table. You not hungry. He used to tell us. He can't ? eat that time. Them days. You can't talk. Just quiet. Quiet and eat. If he, if you laugh, he kick you out of there. You, you go up from the table, you not hungry. That's what he used to tell us. Bill: If you laugh? Evan: Yeah. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: When he talks, he tell us same thing. If you're hungry, you're gonna keep quiet. Eat. After while, people gonna throw my own food. Stuff like that, you know. Started it already. Lots of play is for carnival. That's what grandpa used to tell me. I'm learn that story now. You could ask me questions and I could answer. Bill: I'm just thinking about your grandpa and, uh, it seems like he had a lot of respect for animals. Evan: Yeah. I don't know how we know. That's what he used to tell us. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: If you get, say, bone, take 'em, pick 'em up. Throw 'em in the river. That's what he used to tell us. Bill: Bone? Evan: Yeah. Af..., while you go hunting, he be right there. If you don't pick it up, hard to find. That's what he used to tell us. Bill: Did he say other things about ways of respecting animals? Evan: Huh? Bill: Did he say other things about ways in which you should respect the animals? Evan: That's about same thing I was telling you guys. Bill: Yeah. Hmm. Did he know starvation time in his life? Evan: Yeah, I think he was starved before. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Long time ago. He used to tell me when fish eggs, you know, a fish cache, you know, when fish, little fish eggs. Bill: Yeah. Evan: He hanging some, old people cry. That's what he used to tell us. About starvation. Bill: Tough times. Evan: You use it up ? cry. Some people did when the time before starvation come. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: That's what he used to tell us. I'm telling you guys truth. What he used to tell me. Bill: Mmhm. Mmhm.
Bill: Yeah, tough, uh... Evan: Tough livin'. Bill: Tough times could be comin'. Evan: Well, my grandpa, long time ago, he said the, you know, the mosquitoes. He said when medicine man he, he had 'em. He had 'em, you know. Take 'em away. No mosquitoes. No fish. And they bring 'em back, mosquitoes. Fish get, getting red already. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: That's what they used to tell us. I just think about it. Bill: Yeah. Evan: That's what he used to tell us. Bill: Medicine man take away the mosquitoes away and... Evan: Mmm. Bill: ...bring 'em back. Evan: And bring 'em back. Just, come already, already get them wet. Bill: Ha, ha, ha, ha. Evan: But he had to believe. Bill: Yeah. Yeah. So, um, when you moved your family in here, to Levelock, to go to school for the kids, tell us about your activities. Were you still hunting and fishing? Evan: Yeah, I'm still hunting when I feel like it. Bill: No. When you moved the kids in, that was... Evan: Yeah. Bill: ...in the 50s? What... Evan: Yeah. I ? go hunting. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Me and my friends. With dog team. Bill: Dog team. Evan: Same place as go up ?. Bill: Oh. Tell us about that. How did you travel when you were living here in the village? Evan: Well... Bill: With dog team. Evan: Well, they could, we could live in one camp. Camp up, uh, Charlie's cabin, when ? go to ? Bay. From that, on, uh, Big Mountains. He look, he find moose tracks. He fire. And we get a moose. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Sometime he lucky, see 'em one day. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Sometime he don't. Have to look for 'em all over the place. Tracks all over. Had to find. So much you see moose. Moose took off. The mooses hear you comin'. He took off. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: That's what, ? hard one to catch. Bill: Yeah. Evan: That evening ? go to. When you start hungry. Start eating it, you know, be awhile. He catch 'em like that. Bill: They come out? Evan: They don't run away when they hungry. Bill: Aah. Evan: When you start eating. ? first time to catch. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: While they learn that. It took us long time. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Yeah. Bill: So sometimes it would take you a long time... Evan: Yeah. ?. Bill: so sometimes it would take you a long time to get up there? Evan: We walk on foot. Fourteen hours a day. Bill: Oh. That's hard goin'. Evan: One of my friend, that was run out of food, up there, you know. He, uh, he gets wolf. And he, he was so hungry. Too bad, you know. You have to cook steak on it. Wolf meat.
Evan: He's fancy. He's not gonna eat any, he said. He said he finished. He not gonna e..., have none. Bill: Huh. Evan: In the morning, we ? up that, in the morning, we wake up. Everybody was frying, you know. That meat. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: If you hungry, bad, you know. Bill: Yeah. Yeah. Evan: I'm hungry. I'm going to have to eat. Bill: Ha. Evan: He tell 'em that. His friends tell him, I thought you were from, you not gonna eat. That meat. I'm too hungry. I have to eat it. Heh. Three o'clock in the morning. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: You know Georgie Wilson. Bill: Yeah. Evan: He still want to eat. Heh, heh, heh, heh. Bill: Heh, heh, heh. He's quite a trapper, too. Evan: He is good trapper. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Yeah, he's good friend of mine. Bill: Huh. So, uh, things changed when you, um, got snow machine, huh? Evan: Yeah. Things changed, yeah. Bill: When did you get your first snow machine? Evan: I don't ever ?. Scorpion first. It was snow machine I had. That Jack Holman was schoolteacher over there. He was the dealer. Scorpion. Bill: Scorpion? And, um, how did that change your hunting? Evan: We, it changed plenty after we get snow machine. We could spot 'em same day. Bill: You could get way up there? Evan: You have to find, uh, you have to find tracks, you know. Moose tracks. Caribou tracks. You have to find 'em. The only way you catch 'em. Sometime I don't track before, uh, ? find tracks, they don't find tracks, you see 'em coming out. You catch 'em right there. Bill: Mmhm. So when you had snow machine you could go, you could go anywhere? Evan: Yeah. Bill: But with dogs you had to break trail? Evan: Yeah. Snowshoes ?. Bill: Yeah. Evan: We got too much snow. Bill: Well, that must have made a difference in terms of being able to get moose and caribou? Evan: Yeah. Lots of difference. You could get 'em in a day. Bill: Yeah. Hadn't thought about that. Evan: Sometime he lucky. Good. Catch 'em one day ?. Sometime hard time. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Yeah. Them days was pretty liv..., tough livin'. That's why I did not get an education. I did not know school or...while ? my uncle Mick. Log school over Stuyahok. Log school. Log cabin. Log house. Bill: Uh-huh. He didn't... Evan: He live school.
Evan: My uncle, uh, Ivan Plunka?. He was chief in Stuyahok. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: He make school, uh, how we get school. When he, the players after he, but never school stake. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: School staff never turn him down. That's what he call Stu..., Stuyahok. Ivan's School. That's what he call 'em. Bill: Because of that? I want to get back to this hunting and change from snow machine. Change to snow machines. Do you remember that first winter when you got your snow machine? Evan: Yeah. Well, you could just riding all over. Sometimes you running them. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Catch 'em right there. Used to have lots of porcupine ?. That's no more. Bill: Huh. How did snow machine, um, change your trapping? Did you, um, were you using snow machines to chase down wolves and wolverine? Evan: I don't chase the wolverine and wolf. Bill: You don't. Evan: I never did. Bill: Mmm. Evan: I chase the caribou and moose. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: That's all. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Otters. I run into otters ? on the ice there. Bill: Yeah. Evan: I chase 'em. Best thing, uh, snow goes off. You got a ? on, you know. Boy, he get, run into, hotter it gets, we get place he could knock 'em down, right there. Hit 'em hard. Knock 'em out. Bill: So you run into the otter? Mmhm. Evan: Yeah. Lot of fun. Bill: Mmm. Have you seen the, uh, climate change here? Evan: What's climate change? Bill: Have you seen weather change? Evan: Yeah. What's, there's lots of times. You know, newspaper long time ago used to use half that much wind. Long time ago. Old paper say ? why it gonna be. Start blowing all over the place. He no start to, gonna, any minute, any hours it quit blowing. Wind come no time. That's what I get, uh, lost lots of time go for going over in Stuyahok. But, I, when I was lost, people ? weather's change. I don't know what it's changing. I, I go a long way. Bill: Huh. Evan: I camp out.
Evan: Twelve hours have to know what's, when you all soaking wet. Good thing it didn't turn cold. Otherwise, I wouldn't come back. If it turned cold, I'd be freezing to death. Next morning, my friends, they look for me. I run out of gas. I crack my, uh, snow-go couple of times, you know. I did, they was couple of hundred yards from me. Away from me. Bill: Huh. Evan: He heard me crank it. My friend start coming. He didn't see me. He was down by that tree. I hollered to him. Come to me. He said he didn't see me. He come to me. He went back to snow-go. But, ? gas, bring 'em, ?. Bring me home. Bill: Heh, heh. Evan: It was cold. Windy. Raining. Bad place to go stay under that Christmas tree at bad weather. Bill: Heh, heh. Evan: We had stay under the Christmas tree, you could more ?. You know. Was dripping rain. Bill: Dripping rain. Mmm. So you've seen some, you've seen some weather changes here? Yeah. How about snow cover? Is there, have you seen changes in the snow? Evan: Yeah. Hardly any snow coup..., last couple of years here. Bill: Aah. Evan: Used to get, uh, lots snow long time ago. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Three, four feet. Bill: Yeah. Evan: Hard time for driving a dog team. Have to make, uh, snowshoe trail first to make go. Same way get some wood. Have to go to snow ?. Snowshoe trail first and, uh, get wood. Bill: Aah. Evan: Otherwise, it would be hard time. Bill: Yeah. Boy, it's a lot of work breaking trail. Evan: Yeah. Bill: Uh, that's something that I wondered about. How far do people go for wood here? Evan: Well,... Bill: When the, when the old days, when you had dogs. Evan: You used..., not very far from Branch River. Used to live in Branch River. Bill: But when you were living here in Levelock, how far did you go for wood? Evan: Just cross the river. Bill: Cross-river? Uh-huh. Evan: Can't do that before river freeze. After river's good. Once I had a dog team here. This guy did not know dogs, you know. He had lots of wood. He have to pile 'em, wood from him. He took 'em like this. Bill: On his shoulder? Evan: Yeah. He get wood that way. Bill: Huh. Evan: That guy, he passed away not long ago. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Good thing he passed away. People were ?. Bill: Huh.
Evan: He had lots of wood, that guy. He did not even had no dogs. This guy had the dogs, you have to borrow, borrow from him. Bill: Hmm. Heh, heh, heh. Hmm. The, uh, have you, have you been, um, have you felt the impact of having the National Park here? Katmai National Park? Or the Preserve? Has that influenced your life? No. How about, um, how about sport hunters and... Evan: Sport, uh... Bill: ...logging. Evan: Sport hunters started not long ago. He always didn't have anything. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: What was it? I forget what year. Around 1949. Someplace around there. Bill: Around 1949? Evan: Said '48, '49. Bill: After the war? Evan: Yeah. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: That's what these, these guys come from Anchorage. Sport fishing up here, but I used to take 'em out. Bill: Oh yeah? Tell us, tell us about that. Evan: Yeah, I took 'em out. Charge 'em about five dollars a piece. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: And then..., we way want to go, I took 'em down. I bring 'em back up. Still five dollars. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: And they, sportfishermen come from Anchorage. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: How we start ? them guy. How we started. Bill: Yeah. Evan: He did not know lots ?. Just, uh, when they get long?, there's like this plane come from Anchorage. Sportfisher. But, uh, he brought everything back to Anchorage. Same day. Bill: So when did, when did the lodge actually get built up there? Evan: That, you see that medal that, yellow site there. By the Saytay River. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: An island there. Bill: Yeah. Evan: I think that's a, no... ? I think that's a fresh start. An island. Bill: Oh. Evan: On the left ?. Right ?. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: I did that when they started it. And check 'em lots ?. Trying to make 'em ?. Used to winter 'em ? down at cannery. He build that never, large up there. After that, lots of 'em. Bill: Did you work for those lodges? Evan: No. Long time ago, I just take what, uh, sportfishermen have to ?. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: They did not know lots. How we started. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: With them, them guy.
Bill: How, how has sportfishing, how has that, um, affected the fish in the river? Has it been OK for the fish? Or... Evan: Yeah. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Well, I took 'em out. They don't get no fish there. I took 'em up, upriver. He get lots of fish first and he, he'd go home. Bill: Yeah. Evan: He happy. Bill: Yeah. Evan: That's what I started it. Bill: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Don Callaway: Uh. When you first lived in, uh, Levelock, did you take your kids back to the Branch for camping and for fishing and hunting? Did you...? Evan: Yeah. Don: ...uh, uh... Evan: We do that every fall. Don: In the fall. Evan: Before the school start. Don: Uh-huh. Evan: My grandkids. Don: Wait,... Evan: I got a cabin over there. Don: Uh-huh. Evan: Right up here. Don: And you take your grandkids and do you fish and do you hunt with them? Evan: Yeah. Evie's boy, one of my grandkids, he, he'd stay out in the ?. Three, four hours. Five hours, maybe. Bill: Out in the water up in... Evan: Yeah. Out in the water. Yeah. He try to get fish. I tell 'em. I'd call him. Be there. You better come up now. Grandpa come running around for this one. Boy, some brown bear come, come around. After he came up. See, you see that. He look at him. He look at him. Boy, you lucky, huh. Yeah. Otherwise, there'd not be, heh, heh, heh, heh. Black bear come. Little while after I tell him. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: Back when ? running around. Pretty soon, you better come up. He come up. Little while, a bear come out. Same, same place he come camp. Yeah. Don: Do, do, do your grandkids eat, uh, foods that you ate when you were younger, too? Evan: Yeah. Don: Yeah. They eat fish? Evan: Yeah. Eat, eat anything. Bill: Uh-huh. Whereabouts is your camp up there? Whereabouts up the Branch? Evan: Camp? Bill: Yeah. Where is your, c...your house? Evan: Right up, up, right by the bank at, right up the hill. Below the Katmai Lodge. I don't know how many miles up to Katmai Lodge. Bill: Mmhm. OK. Yeah. Don: How about, uh, traffic on the, uh, the river. Are there, the, the boats, are they a problem for getting up the Branch anymore? Evan: Yeah, you got shallow water up there. You have to use jet. Don: Mmhm.
Evan: Long time ago, used to go Nonvainuk. Go get ?. Big rocks. Sometime they picked us out ?. Go back. Sometime hard to buck the wind, the north wind, you know. Keep on ? the beach. Don: Do, do you go up to Nonvainuk still? Evan: No, I never been up there, I don't know how many years. Last time I went up there, ? I remember what year. Me and Georgie went up one year. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: After that, I never go up there. Don: Because it's too far? Evan: No. Because too much motor problems. Don: Huh. Evan: There's, uh, big rocks between there and river. Don: Do you have a jet motor now? Evan: But I got one right, ?. Don: Uh-huh. Bill: Hmm. Are you still commercial fishing? You still commercial fishing? Evan: Not now, but I just head up to my daughter's last couple of years. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: After buying good skiff, I give up. Bill: Heh, heh, heh. Evan: This year, we going out fishing. My wife gonna stay home. He took over us from it this year. Bill: Your daughter took over for you? Evan: My wife is from it. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Yeah. It, still working that. He's training right now. ? it. Bill: Troll fishing. Mmhm. Evan: Gonna go back to, uh, what, what you call it? Up in the north. Bill: Be a nurse? Evan: Go back training. Bill: Hmm. Evan: Nome. Gotta go back to Nome. Bill: Uh-huh. Evan: Right now, she's over in Stuyahok. Gonna be home tomorrow. Bill: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Don: Did, uh, do you have a permit? Fishing permit. Evan: I sold it. Don: You sold it. Evan: My wife was picking on me too much. She try to bit me. I couldn't bit me. Bill: Heh, heh, heh, heh. What, um, what are, what are your, um, suggestions for the younger generation. In terms of subsistence and living on the land? Do you have any things to tell young people? Evan: Yeah, I got, I got a couple of hundred acres over Branch River. Gonna turn it over my grandkids. My kids, oh, we are well way back. When they go up. Say anyone anything happen to me.
Evan: It all go to my grandkids. That's the way it gonna be. Bill: Yeah. Evan: I'm not going to sell my land. No way. Some people does. But they gonna have, uh, these kids grow up, they wouldn't have no land. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: His daddy never give him land. My, my life going for my kids. Grandkids. My kids and grandkids. My daughters. Bill: Mmhm. Evan: That's the way set up, uh, what you call it? Bill: Legal... Evan: Will. Bill: You have a will. Mmhm. Don: Do, do, uh, have many people in Levelock sold their, uh, their permits? Their fishing permits? Evan: Couple of 'em, yeah. I guess I'm first one. Don: You're first one. Evan: No, uh, Edwin Peterson was first one. He sold it for ten thousand dollars, his. Bill: Hmm. OK, well thank you very much for taking this time. Evan: Yeah, you welcome. Bill: Yeah. End of Tape