Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Walter Cook, Sr.

Walter Cook Sr. talks with Bill Schneider, Hazel Apok, and Eileen Devinney in Kiana, Alaska on February 27, 2002.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2002-09-05

Project:
Date of Interview: Feb 27, 2002
Narrator(s): Walter Cook, Sr.
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Hazel Apok, Eileen Devinney
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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Slideshow
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Themes

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Sections

Section 1) Introduction

Section 2) Living in the old village

Section 3) Father working in the mining industry

Section 4) Father working in the early 1950s and planting a garden in the spring

Section 5) Planes delivering mail to Kiana and ordering clothes from a catalog

Section 6) Photo of Walter's father standing in the garden

Section 7) Talking in Inupiaq

Section 8) Photo of Frank Glover and Cora Gooden

Section 9) Photo of Lucy Gooden, quot;Itiqsruruqquot;

Section 10) Photo of Richard Glover and Harold Gooden Sr.

Section 11) Photo of Harold Gooden Sr. and Tommy Douglas and talking about mudshark trap

Section 12) Drawing a diagram of a mudshark trap

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Transcript

Section 1: Bill Schneider: Today is February 27th, 2002, and we have the pleasure of doing the second in the series of interviews on the Kiana Oral History Project, and with Walter Cook. And Hazel Apok is going to help here. And I'm Bill Schneider. And Eileen Devinney is here, too. So good. We're off and running.
Walter Cook: All right. Okay.
Bill Schneider: This is good. Is there something you'd like to say to start off or do you want to just start with pictures?
Walter Cook: Well, I think I have a few words to say, you know. This is the first time I've been interviewed and I'll try my best to tell what I know. And if we had pictures, I think I can even do better. There's a few pictures here that I could recognize one of these old people here, so (indiscernible) a little bit.
Bill Schneider: That sounds good.
Walter Cook: Yeah.
Bill Schneider: Could we start with the picture that's down at the Tribal Office, and talk about that one, and then we'll scan that one in afterwards.
Walter Cook: Okay. Fine with me. Okay. I've got that picture down at the -- at the IRA office. My father. I'm adopted, too, by Harry and Belle Cook. And one of my pictures are down at the office. And they both raise me and I was born in 1940. And I remember we used to live at the old village, too, over there before, you know, early days, probably mid -- about mid '40s, I think I remember. '46, '47, where we used to live at the old village over there. And then like Ruth was saying the other time there was no allow -- we was not allowed down here. I mean only -- only white people was allowed down here where the -- where the city is right now.
And then when I -- one day this winter I visited down Tommie Sheldon's, and he talked about quite a little bit about the old village, too. And he was saying the village people, the natives, were not allowed to go to the white people's town over here when the - the first white people first come around. And then he was saying the natives were not even allowed to go to school. And so that must have been about 18 -- maybe late 1800s or so. Maybe even the early 1900s.
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Section 2: Walter Cook: And then -- they live all these years over at the old village, according to what I heard from the stories from the older people. And as the years go by, I -- my dad was the first -- first native to move down here where the -- where the city is down here. But anyway, he build his house about east -- east end of Kiana (map) over here, I mean where the city is right now.
Hazel Apok: Right close by Dorsey's, huh?
Walter Cook: You know where -- you know where Warren lives at?
Hazel Apok: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: Well, we used to have that old place right there. That's where we used to have our - He build a sod house type house them years, you know. And then he -- I remember we start living there maybe about '47, '48 because I knew what was going on by then. When I was about 7, 8 years old when we moved down -- down here over here to Kiana, where the -- where the city is located right now.
Hazel Apok: So he was the first one that moved to the --
Walter Cook: Yeah.
Hazel Apok: -- town?
Walter Cook: The way I understood. Even my sister Hilda mentioned about it one time, too, that he was one of the first ones, native, to move down here. After naluabmiut come around here - probably late 1800s or something like that.
Hazel Apok: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: And in them days, that was when them white people first come around, well, late 1800s, I guess most of them people, you know, they went out for -- up Klery Creek (map) for -- for gold, you know. There must be a lot of white people in them days, the way I heard them, they was even down here, right where Blankenship used to -- store is. The way I heard there used to be a restaurant and a court building. Even a bar there, the way I heard, used to be there, too. There must be a lot of white people them -- them days when they first came around. Well, I was thinking, maybe that's late 1800s or so, around there. Maybe 1888, 1889, 1890, somewhere around there.
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Section 3: Walter Cook: And then as we -- we lived on -- my dad, he start working for some of these white people, go mining up at -- up at Klery Creek, which is what, maybe 37 miles from here maybe, or something like that. But if I remember, I think he said he work for one of those white people for 75 cents a day, I think, if I remember what he was saying it then, or working for them. And --
Hazel Apok: What did he used to do?
Walter Cook: Well, when they -- when these white people mining for gold, you know, summertime they have to, you know, dig in the ground, shovel and picks and all that, in order to get to where they want to mine.
Hazel Apok: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: I mean, at Klery Creek. And during the winter when the ground is frozen, some way some of these miners, they got these boilers and these steel-type boilers that they set fire to underneath them big boilers, and then steam, I guess that's what they thaw out the permafrost -- the ground or something, you know, and go and mine during the winter like that. My father used to say during the winter sometime he would go downtown over here with the dog team, stay up there about a month or so, go home to where -- stay here in Kiana, just to go pick up some dogs-- feed for his dogs, and probably get few -- few items to take back to when he go to work. And make sure the rest of our family was in -- in good shape, you know. Like hauling wood, like that, because I was a small -- I wasn't too small to haul wood them days -- I guess 7, 8 year old.
And then after, well, early '50s, he started going to work to Fairbanks with -- they used to call that F. E. Company, which was the US Smelting and Refining Company or something like that. And then he -- most of the natives started going to work when they start being hired over there, for mining over there, for big outfits. And then they'd go what -- go off in about April, and they'd be home about September, October. And he used to tell me his wages were better them days, a dollar, a little over a dollar and a quarter an hour, I think he was telling me, the miner, those companies over there, F. E. Company. And he used to tell me he usually to get paid every month. And not more than -- not more than 60, 70 dollars a month in them days when you used to work for F. E. Company.
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Section 4: Walter Cook: Of course, them days, early 50s, everything was -- the groceries and stuff were pretty cheap around here, you know. Like, I remember this Blankenship store here, Ruth's father, that old man. I think coffee was, if I remember, 75 cents in the early '50s. And sugar and all that for -- those can of milk, 8 for a dollar, I think. In early 50s in Blankenship store. And then he was the -- he was the only one that owned that store there in the early '50s. And then just let a white guy in, Lorenz Schuerch, he used to work for Klery Creek, too, and then he decided to get a store, too, so he started a store like early '50s, too, cause I remember that. As the years past, I guess his store started going up, too, you know, big store. Schuerchs, Lorry Schuerch's Trading Post. That's where then Don Dorsey, Don Dorsey bought that store down, maybe -- maybe he went down there just recently. Oh, So Mr. Schuerch, he owned store since, well, '57, way early '50s, until he passed on, what, 10 years ago? Something like that now.
And my dad -- sometime when he never go to work for that F. E. Company in Fairbanks he would stay home during the summer, and then early spring he'd be planting the garden, you know. And I remember we -- we used to have different place of gardens. Cause, well I guess, according to the soil, I guess, try to find the best soil for growing all of the turnips and cabbage, lettuce, and probably beets, too, well#133; I've seen him, he grew potatoes, too, but fall time, if we would have a good warm season, some of those potatoes would be quite a big, too, sometime.
Bill Schneider: Maybe four inches across?
Walter Cook: Just about, yeah. About on average.
Bill Schneider: This is the picture we're going to scan.
Walter Cook: Yeah. That's the one. That's where he was standing right -- right in his garden, I think. There's one more picture, my mother was also standing on the same garden, too, but I don't know. Maybe Hilda, she would have that one picture like that taken. That was a pretty good size garden. All that. We come about September when the cold season start coming around, you know, we always go out there and go pull up those turnips and carrots, cabbage.
And we used to have a cellar in our house down there. Then maybe six feet by eight feet, about four or five feet deep, and then you could store all of that, all of the turnips, stuff like that you need for the winter. They never -- they never spoil down there, they just -- they just stay down there - cool there. Just like cooler, I guess. And then we having vegetables all winter, especially cabbage, turnips. Then in them days, it was pretty hard to get potatoes from the stores around here.
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Section 5: Walter Cook: There, I remember in the early '50s, our mail planes, I think they only come one -- one time, once a week, Wien. Wien. Wien Airlines made all the mail run. And then as their planes get a little - two, three planes. Then they started bringing in mail in twice a week. And then later on three times a week, plus passengers. Small aircraft plane. But when they first started, why they usually only come once a week and bring mail.
And I remember we -- Blankenship, Robinson Blankenship used to be a Postmaster, and I usually go check mail in them days. I remember we used to have them Sears-Roebuck catalogs them days they send out. And you order from those catalogs, you gotta wait one whole month to Seattle in order to get your -- your order. Clothing, mostly clothing that we used to order in them days.
Hazel Apok: What's the story about this one old man, he ordered from -- they told him he could have a woman from that catalog, and --
Walter Cook: Yeah, I think this is from -- it was a guy from Selawik, there was a story that I heard, well, one day this -- there was two people there. One -- one younger guy, told him, well, you - looking in catalogs, and then that old man start looking around for the prettiest woman on -- on the catalog there. He never -- he never worry about clothes, he just want to find out the best looking woman. And this guy, this younger guy there told him, if you -- if you -- if you make an order out, that woman is going to come in about a month. So he wrote an order, he used a order blank and filled out the papers and how much clothes cost and stuff like that, and mail them out. And then that guy coming once in awhile, the guy that wrote that order form. That old man would ask him quot;I wonder when is my orders going to come? I'm wondering when that woman is going to come.quot;
And then one day, he went to the Post Office and he had a COD. It wasn't very much, probably just clothes, you know. And he brought em home. And that guy that ordered, wrote an order for him walked in, too. And then he said, just ordered the clothes because there's no woman. There is no woman. And that happened in Selawik. Must have been somewhere around the early '50s, too. Or early '40s. And that's one of the stories I hear often all the time, especially from those people -- people over at Selawik over there.
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Section 6: Hazel Apok: Before we forget, I wanted to ask you where the -- where did your dad get his seeds from to grow?
Harry Cook

Walter Cook: Oh, okay. Well, sometimes he -- when, he goes to work at Fairbanks, I guess he probably saying he could get them from -- in one of those -- there must be an AC Store over in Fairbanks, them days, I guess. AC Store, that's where you-- where he buy seeds. And if he don't get most of his seeds, he would get them from local -- from local white guys like Albert Wise and them, because they are the ones that planted a lot of gardens, too. They always have spares, I guess. They always giving seeds, too.
But anyway, before he plant his garden, about April he would start planting in them boxes, you know. In soil. Plant those, especially those cabbage. And by the time it warms up, ice br-- well, June, June is -- that's when he start planting on the garden. When those guys -- I seen those cabbage, they can grow about that much. And all you had to do was move them right to the -- to the garden.
And fall time, August, September, those cabbage heads grow really big heads when we -- when we get good summers. Carrots, long carrots. And turnips, big turnips. Lettuce. We don't -- only problem is those lettuce, we don't keep them for winter cause they spoil pretty easy, though, it seems like. Cabbage, cabbage last a little longer, though. Like they don't spoil right away. Except turnips and carrots. Well, potatoes, he started planting potato, and like I said a while ago, they grow pretty big, too. They used to be better than store bought stuff, more better to eat, looked like they were more juicy or something.
Eileen Devinney: Does anybody garden here today?
Walter Cook: No. I -- I'm not -- not that I know of. Except for right now there are probably a few people up at
Shungnak or either Kobuk (map), I think they used to do some gardening up there.
Bill Schneider: Let's take a second to see how we're sounding.
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Section 7: Walter Cook: He used to
go to Kiana.
Hazel Apok: Oh,
Frank Glover? Yeah. Yeah.
Walter Cook: Frank
Glover. I remember they used to, early '50s, he used to go to Kiana and
tell all the Eskimo stories, you know, he used to go to our place, I remember.
Hazel Apok: Uh-hum.
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Section 8: Frank Glover and Cora Gooden

HAzel Apok:
Walter Cook: This picture here, (look) like Frank Glover. And this here Cora Gooden, huh?
Hazel Apok: Uh-hum. Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: Yeah. Ok, anyway, this old man here, he start coming to Kiana, well, early '50s because he had a brother around here named Richard Glover. I could see Richard in the pictures here someplace, too. But anyway, he stays around here wintertime at least four or five months at a time. And then he used to visit our home. And he used to tell a lot of Eskimo stories. And I used to stay home and listen to his -- his stories. And especially, sometime when that was -- him and my dad used to run into money order, money. They wanted to -- cause this old man is, seemed like. Because he's -- he's one of these people here that goes out during the summer, go way out there to hunt - probably on Noatak side, and he knows where -- where all the gold and copper and whatever, zinc.
And he used to talk about patukpak. And I didn't understand what patukpak means in Eskimo. It's -- it's not gold, it's -- I used to think maybe patukpak would be -- it couldn't be copper. Well, that's one thing I never find out. But anyway, he was talking about patukpak. Some kind of -- some kind of rich -- rich, rich mineral, I guess.
Bill Schneider: But is that an Eskimo name, patukpak?
Walter Cook: Yes. That's what it is.
Hazel Apok: That's what he called, whatever this mineral is.
Walter Cook: Yeah. One of the minerals that I didn't -- I really didn't find out what is the English name for that. But him and my father used to really talk about, you know, when after all the dinner story, they always cut off and talk about all the -- yeah, money, gold and stuff like that.
But anyway, this old man was, most of his life, he's been going up, way up north to hunt. Because I notice all these people, especially our native old people, you go out about September; August, September, go way up because there's no caribou them days. You have to go either past Noatak side and stay out there for 2 or 3 weeks at a time they used to say. And then they'd run into caribou. And they'd dry their -- dry that meat out there, you know, in order to take it back home. And when they do that, they always take dogs, too. At least two or three dogs each person. So then they would have those dogs, make them -- well, they pack meat.
Bill Schneider: Yeah. Yeah.
Walter Cook: Both sides, you know. Both sides of them. Because I seen those packs, what they put on the dogs. They load those up and let them -- let them pack that meat home, too. Dried meat. That's the only -- they don't -- they have to dry that meat over there because it was so far from here, about two, two or three weeks at a time going home. And then when they run into -- hit the Squirrel, the river, they'd cut trees and then umiarxuk, what they call umiarxuk.
Hazel Apok: When you put the logs together and float down?
Bill Schneider: Like a raft?
Walter Cook: Yeah. Raft. Raft down. Cause maybe they always use rope because they don't have any rope them days, I guess. They get their rope from -- from the coastal people down there made out of seals or bearded seal. Real thick, make 'em thick. And tie them, for tie down even for sleds and tow lines for the dogs.
Hazel Apok: Didn't people from the coast used to come here and go trade right with us?
Walter Cook: Yeah, they did, too. Yes, with -- during the summer the people who -- coastal people like Kotzebue, they come up with their boats, too. And go trade off the dried fish with their seal oil, they -- they -- they made during the spring, too, down there. The seal oil, they used to-- use what they called pokes, seal oil pokes, made out of bearded seal, I guess, or bearded seal, and then fill them up. They put the meat and on that, auklauraq is what they call it.
Hazel Apok: Paugmituk
Walter Cook: Paugmituk . Once you buy one of those stuff, they never -- they never spoil. Nowadays, they put them on --
Hazel Apok: Coffee cans.
Walter Cook: Plastic containers and you've got to freeze them right away in order to have a good fresh seal oil.
Hazel Apok: What -- what did we -- you mentioned that this guy used to like to tell stories. They used to go to people's -- different people's homes?
Walter Cook: Yeah. Oh, yeah, because I remember even he used to go to your parents, too, when he needed a place to live. Down there now. He go -- he go, visit everybody cause he knew everybody here in - by Kiana.
Bill Schneider: Where was he from?
Walter Cook: He was from Kotzebue, Kotzebue, but I don't know where--
Walter Cook:
Hazel Apok: Yeah, that is --.
Walter Cook:
Hazel Apok: And is this how lots of houses were - lots of wood?
Walter Cook: Look like Peter Atoruk's . You know their old house where Ben stayed. .
Hazel Apok: Where did they used to get wood from?
Walter Cook: Behind town here. They hauled wood by dogs before - no snow machines in them days. I used to go out, 13 - when I was 13, 14 years old, I started go -- driving dogs, too. And sometime why there were 12, 13 dogs. But there's times you got problems out in the woods sometime, bumped into trees, especially when you're not strong enough to drive that many dogs.
Bill Schneider: That's a lot of power.
Walter Cook: Lots of power, yeah.
Hazel Apok:
Walter Cook:
Hazel Apok:
Walter Cook: This here - we call great great grandmother.
Hazel Apok:
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Section 9: Bill Schneider: This
is number 3; is that right?
Lucy Gooden, and possibly Winona Sampson, early 1950s

Hazel Apok: Yeah.
Bill Schneider: Okay.
Walter Cook: My
hand's in the way?
Bill Schneider: You're
doing good. Just hold the flaps down. Okay. Go ahead.
Walter Cook: Yeah,
this picture here is one of our great grandmother. My mother's mom right
there. And this picture is taken right -- I believe that's close to Tommie
Sheldon's place over here, used to be sitting .
Hazel Apok: And
what was her name?
Walter Cook: Lucy.
Lucy Gooden. Eskimo name Itiqsruruq. My ma, my
mother's mom and Harold Gooden's, Edward Gooden's mom. She used to be a good fisherman, too. I remember. Fisher.
Fishing. Especially in the summertime, we would gather a lot of fish, too,
for the winter. Even those -- she don't own dogs, but she had a lot of
sons. And I remember she has a daughter, too, named Sarah.
But anyway, she gets a lot of fish during the summer
seining or either nets. Then fall time, a lot of berry picking for the winter,
you know, gather for the winter. And she was a -- she was also a church --
good churchgoer, I remember.
Bill Schneider: Where
was this picture taken?
Walter Cook: Taken
over here near - in Kiana. I could tell must have been pretty close to
where Tommie Sheldon is living right now. Here in town.
Hazel Apok: By
Dorsey's?
Walter Cook: By
Dorsey's.
Bill Schneider: And
that was taken quite a while ago, too, huh?
Walter Cook: Yeah.
That look like must have been early '50s.
Bill Schneider: Okay.
Walter Cook: Yeah.
Uh-hum.
Bill Schneider: Shall
we look at another picture?
Walter Cook:
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Section 10: Hazel Apok:
Richard Glover (left) and Harold Gooden Sr. (right), circa 1950s

Walter Cook: This here is -- this here is --
Hazel Apok:
Walter Cook: Right there.
Hazel Apok: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: This picture here is Richard Glover, Eskimo name Masruabruafuraq.
Bill Schneider: Which one is he?
Walter Cook: Richard Glover .
Bill Schneider: The one on the -- okay. Uh-hum. Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: He -- he lived most of his life here in Kiana. Cause, he used to have his own house down here, right across Blankenship's store. Right now PHS has their sewer plant where he used to live. Anyway, he sort of was short guy. And he does most of his hunting in them days, too, walking. Like I was saying, taking dogs and go out two, three months out at a time when he goes out. Well away - and during the winter, he visits our place too, until -- he, he's the one -- he's got a lot of Eskimo stories, when he's talking about --
Hazel Apok: Too bad we didn't catch him. We'd get lots of stories from him.
Walter Cook: Uh-hum. He has all kinds of stories. Cause I would stay home there in the evening when I was young listening to those stories, too. Some of them would be real interesting. He does a lot of hunting, too, with Hill, old man Hill. And he -- I think I remember you fellas live in his -- after he dying and you was living in his place.
Hazel Apok: Yeah. But when we had log cabin down below, he used to come down almost every night and tell stories. I would fall asleep on my mom's feet just listen - because they would all gather and just tell stories. Their oral history --
Walter Cook: This here is Harold Gooden, my uncle. My mom's brother. He -- he is also a hunter, you know. Especially with dogs. And then he goes out and he catch caribou. Usually this old, this guy here, he never gets his mukluks bloody or anything when he's out. He's really clean when he's butchering caribou. You never see no blood stains on his mukluks when he comes home. I guess he -- the way he -- that's how he was when I first noticed when he goes out hunting. He takes care of all of his dogs wintertime. He's a good hunter, too. But most of his life, he -- well, he's been a -- he operates, work for B amp; R Tug in Kotzebue and he's been captain for 20 -- 20, 30 years. Harold Gooden.
Bill Schneider: Yeah.
Walter Cook: Uh-hum.
Bill Schneider: We were talking about how difficult a job that was being tugboat captain.
Walter Cook: That's how -- yeah. He talks about his work, too, as being a tugboat captain. And then especially one thing he used to mention he don't like to go out to the coast, especially in September when the water gets pretty rough, because he's not used to the coastal side there. He would rather stay up here where he can go back and forth in our rivers.
He say one time some years the water gets so rough out there, they are not used to being out there in the coast side when the water is real rough. They always have a hard time. And then they would rather have -- he say he would rather have those coastal people go out on the coast instead of -- instead of them. They are not raised down there on the coast side. You know. But up here, though he knows where - the river up here, like going up to Selawik, Buckland, and all the way up to Kobuk. He has -- has been a captain. He has two deck hands at least, three people on the tug like that, all these years. Probably one deck hand, one cook, and the captain, right.
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Section 11: Walter Cook: This picture here is my uncle Harold Gooden.
Harold Gooden Sr. (left) and Tommie Douglas (right) building a mudshark trap

Bill Schneider: Which one is he?
Walter Cook: This here on the right side. Harold Gooden. And the other man is Tommie Douglas. This picture here was probably when this man here, Tommie Douglas, was a pastor.
Bill Schneider: Oh.
Walter Cook: Right now, they are working on a -- like on a mudshark trap after freeze-up. This is one of the ones that they put underneath the ice, because for when they build -- when they are building a mudshark trap, they -- they set it on where the river is shallow, maybe four or five feet deep from the shoreline. And they'd make it a -- make it a square type with -- made out of -- what they call those things? They are not alder, they're birch.
Hazel Apok: Birch willow?
Walter Cook: Yeah. Birch. Or either cottonwood. And then split them in half when they are thick enough, and then stand them up and make them maybe five feet by five feet square, and they'd put this -- put this what they call it's like a basket type, this -- this narrow part here, it usually goes inside that square thing there. But cause it - this, this is -- it points up, upriver, this one here.
Bill Schneider: The fat end points upriver?
Illustration by Eileen Devinney and Takashi Sakurai. Based upon an original drawing made by Walter Cook during his interview on February 27, 2002.
Walter Cook: Yeah. This one here. All the uh - on the shoreline you would have willows over here to block off the current, and block off so that fish won't go -- mudshark won't go through. On the shoreline, on the deeper side, too, not very much, maybe 20, 30 feet. Just stand up some willows. And then when those mudshark comes up, it's already blocked on both sides, but they -- they don't have to either go around, you know, or to go inside that -- that square -- square --
Bill Schneider: Trap.
Walter Cook: The trap. And this side here, it's got an opening, oh, maybe about that much. Over here, this one here, it's pretty small.
Bill Schneider: At the narrow end.
Walter Cook: That's -- so when that mudshark goes in, this is small here because it won't go back out. Even though he tried so many times.
(Mudshark topic continues in next section)
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Section 12: Walter Cook:
Illustration by Eileen Devinney
and Takashi Sakurai. Based upon an original drawing made
by Walter Cook during his interview on February 27, 2002.
Hazel Apok: Upside-down
willows?
Walter Cook: Straight up and down like this. These uh, cottonwood today. Especially they use cottonwood. Because we don't have , we use cottonwood. Later I find out you can't use spruce trees, like the cottonwoods is always the number one.
Bill Schneider: Why is that?
Walter Cook: I -- I asked around, and seems like if you use spruce trees, all these fish here, mudsharks, maybe you could even smell the pine or something like that, maybe that was the reason. But for -- for these cottonwoods is what they usually use - thick, thick cottonwoods, they'd just split them in half and then -- and then stand them up, make them square like I was mentioning right here. Right here. Stand them up. So you got to be closed like this because if they are open, they are open like this, the fish going to go out on the side, you know.
Bill Schneider: Uh-huh.
Walter
Cook: You have got to make
them real close to they won't. And you have to sink 'em down,
too, maybe at least 6 to 8 inches to the -- to the bottom of
the -- on the river. Gravel. This here's the shoreline. Shoreline
here.
Bill Schneider: Okay. Let me do shoreline like this.
Walter Cook: Okay.
Bill Schneider: And I'll call this shoreline. And then this is --
Walter Cook: This here is, like I say, either with willows.
Bill Schneider: So these are standing up in the river?
Walter Cook: They're standing up, yes. And then in between, you'd put in down these cottonwood, maybe about 2 or 3, 2 or 3 feet apart, and then with willows, you start laying the willows like this until they're pounded down.
Bill Schneider: Oh. Oh.
Walter
Cook: Because here there's
only 3 or 4 feet of water. And then you have to block -- block
it on the shoreline side. Same way over here.
Bill Schneider: Let me just make sure I've got that right. So the willows would be piled up like this?
Walter Cook: Yes, like piled up.
Bill Schneider: And then squished down.
Walter Cook: Packed down. Packed down, see. They would be packed down. And then if they try to float back up, you're going to have to get -- cut some willows with a quot;Yquot; type on it. And so the willow's quot;Yquot; is like this, and you have to force it down like this, and tie it down to one of these poles here so the willows won't float back up.
Bill Schneider: Then this is the trap itself?
Walter Cook: The trap itself is made out of the cottonwood. At least 5 feet by 5 feet square.
Bill Schneider: Let me put that in blue. And then this is the part here that goes into a --
Walter Cook: Yeah. It's the one they are working on. It's made out of willows, this one here.
Bill Schneider: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: They peel the willows.
Bill Schneider: This is the one we're talking about right here.
Walter Cook: Yeah. It's made out of willows.
Bill Schneider: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: And then they are fresh. Before they dry up they work on these. They -- they even wrap it around this with the willows, make the willows thin and tie -- tie them down. See, that's what they doing right there, they are tying down the -- that band right there on this here.
Bill Schneider: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: He's the one that's showing my uncle here how to do it. I notice I haven't seen him try it out, but probably I know Tommie, he made a trap like this one year when he was pastoring around here in them days. Mr. Bill Schneider: And what are they tying that with, again?
Harold Gooden Sr. (left) and Tommie Douglas (right) building a mudshark trap

Walter Cook: With - probably twine. It has to be twine.
Bill Schneider: Oh, okay. Let's go -- oh, I'm sorry, go ahead.
Eileen Devinney: (Indiscernible.)
Walter Cook: Store bought probably twine, you know. They are going to have to -- that's the only way they are going to do it because there's no way you could use tape, you've got to use twine in order to tie them down.
Bill Schneider: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: And then when it's done, when the trap is done, all winter long you could have fresh fish, fresh mudshark. And then you maybe every -- every three or four days, or especially fall time, you go down there and check that trap out, and then it's already frozen. You have to make a small hole enough to pull them fish out. And then you got to have a gaff, a gaff-type hook, and then you have to gaff the fish out from that trap there. Just make a small hole, maybe 10-inch diameter hole in order to gaff out the fish. And then if you're -- if you're lucky, sometime a trap like this can hold 80 to 90 fish in there.
Bill Schneider: Hmm. Let's keep working on this diagram. Let me focus down on it, and then we'll... See, I'm -- what I was doing is I'm going back to -- I have to -- you have to view it straight on in order for it to make sense to you. And then you lock with this here, and then you can flip it over so you can look at it. Okay. So what about this side here?
Walter Cook: This side here has to -- well, you've got cottonwood like this, same type. You got to stand them up.
Bill Schneider: Same -- same as like here?
Walter Cook: Same distance.
Bill Schneider: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: You've got to -- if you don't want to put willows like on this shoreline type, you know, where it's shallow, you could jam all those willows down. But further out, it gets deeper.
Bill Schneider: Uh-hum.
Walter Cook: Five to six feet down there where it's deeper. And then you have to use all cottonwood, but they have to be real close - each like this in order to close that so the fish won't go out when they -- of course, the only way they could go up the current and go around here on this fish end in order to go in. Because once they go around this on the trap here, they are going to have to go in from the -- from the upper side in order to go in.
Bill Schneider: Now, there's one other thing that we need here is - which is downriver and which is upriver?
Walter Cook: Well, this here is upriver, see. The current's going down.
Bill
Schneider: OK. Current is
running this way.
Walter Cook: Yes.
Bill Schneider: Okay.
Walter Cook: So down here, when the mudshark is coming in, because they travel through the shoreline. Right now when we go fish for them, sometimes when the ice is clear on the shoreline, you look around down there when it's shallow, you could -- you could see like caribou trails. Same thing in the gravel. So when they come up, they travel like through the same route like the first bunch, a bunch here that was followed up, follow their path, too.
Bill Schneider: But are the mudsharks, are they going upriver?
Walter Cook: They are going upriver after freeze-up. Well, they start going up about September and they -- they run until about late December.
Bill Schneider: Do we have this trap backwards? Should it be the fat end going to the small end?
Walter Cook: No, that's how they set this. You can't put it on -- it has to be -- it has to be on the current side up here.
Bill Schneider: So how does the fish go in?
Walter Cook: They going to have to go around here. Once this is all blocked.
Bill Schneider: Yep.
Walter Cook: They'll have to go around, and then they'll just -- because there's current coming down.
Bill Schneider: Oh. OK.
Walter Cook: Coming down. And finally they want to go inside because sometime most of our whitefish or either small qalusraaq they call them, right after freeze-up, after they go upriver, about mid September, they start going back down. And these -- these fish here, mudshark here, they go for those when they are going down. And some of these little fish, they, you know, when they travel to the shoreline, they go inside here. Cause they're small, there's no problem with them, they go right in and go back out. They're only about like that. So when -- when this happens, there's mudshark knows there's fish in there, that's how come they always want to go in.
Bill Schneider: Oh, okay.
Walter Cook: Once they go in there, there's no way they could go back out. They are trapped in there.
Bill Schneider: I got it.
Walter Cook: They're trapped. The only way. And then the only way up here, when the ice gets thick, you're going to have to make at least 10-inch diameter hole maybe, maybe 12 inch, and then get a -- get a pole with a gaff on it. And start gaffing them out. If you're -- if your -- if your trap is set up right, if you make it right, if you -- especially these here, these poles here, they have to be just right. They don't want to -- like if you make 'em tilt, if you angle them too much, they -- they won't -- they won't go in here cause this here has to be with the current. Right direct, this basket here. Has to be right with the current.
Bill Schneider: Oh, okay.
Walter Cook: See.
Bill Schneider: So it should be lined up like this.
Walter Cook: Yeah, lined up.
Bill Schneider: Uh-hum. Ah, that's interesting.
Walter Cook: It's just too bad we don't try to have them around here. That's one thing I never tried to learn from my father either to, to build a trap like this.
Hazel Apok: We should try it sometime, huh?
Walter Cook: We could. Cause I probably -- we probably could get to know -- go upriver where those people always build that kind of stuff. Maybe build one like this.
Bill Schneider: That's fine.
Walter Cook: But anyway this here is for -- anyway, before we make our main fish traps, you know, but this is way different from here. You can set a fish -- set a fish trap out for whitefish with a long neck, maybe 20 feet in diameter, about 20, 70 feet long, fish trap. Get a lot of fish with those. That's a lot of time I want to talk about the fish trap --
Bill Schneider: That's great.
Walter Cook: Yeah.
Bill Schneider: Yeah. Well, this has been good. Thank you.
Walter Cook: Yeah. Sure. All right. I'm glad I -- when I see this, I wanted to --
Bill Schneider: Yeah.
Walter Cook: -- display what we done.
Bill Schneider: Thank you for sharing. Okay. Thank you.
(End of recorded interview.)
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