Tommie Sheldon Jr. was interviewed on February 27, 2002 by Bill Schneider and Eileen Devinney in Kiana, Alaska. In this interview, Tommie talks about the history of the community of Kiana, discusses a map he has drawn of the old village that indicates who lived in each of the cabins, and reviews photographs from his personal collection. He also talks about the traditional lifestyle in the village, use of dogteams, and environmental change he has observed in his lifetime.
Digital Asset Information
After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.
Introduction, personal and family background
Village map and how the village was established
Talking about village map and identifying the houses and families
How people lived in the old village
Living today versus the old days
Dog team mail carriers
Changes in the environment and climate
Establishing a small village like this
Tommie Sheldon reads a quote
Photo of Annie Hasway and Enoch Sherman by the Friends Church in Kiana
Photo of Annie Hasway
Photo of Elsie Thomas, the preacher's wife
Photo of Effie Atoruk, Peter Atoruk, and Johnnie Smith by the fish cache
Photo of Nellie Coffin (Baldwin)
Photo of Lucy Gooden
Photo of Duffy Smith
Photo of Anna Cook Black and Andrew Black in Noorvik
Photo of Helen Strong, Sharon Hunnicutt, and Sophie Stoney
Photo of Archie Ferguson
Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.
After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.
Bill Schneider: Today is February 27th, 2002, and we have the pleasure of talking with Tommie Sheldon, Junior or Senior? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah. Junior. Bill Schneider: Junior. And we're with Hazel Apok? Hazel Apok: Apok. Bill Schneider: Apok. And Eileen Devinney and myself, Bill Schneider. And I think the first thing we're going to do, Tommy, is talk about this map of the old village because everybody -- or unless you want to start someplace else. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: I have a biography -- it could be easy -- Bill Schneider: Oh, okay, why don't you do that first. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: It could be explained our home somebody that know me from the beginning, but if we don't have anybody that old enough to talk about it, so, I'll just start my speaking about how -- where I come from, when I was born, and how many kids I have. Okay? Bill Schneider: Okay. Hazel Apok: (Translation: "Go ahead.") Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Okay. My name is Tommie Sheldon, Junior. My wife, Ella. Been together for 45 years as of January. January 1957. Got married January 31, 1957, until today, January 2002. Have 5 children and have 31 great -- grand and great children total, 31 in all. I have been through all these years in the village. My education is about 8th grade. Not even finish 8th grade, part 7. So I don't -- I don't -- I don't know too much about English-speaking and everything that - but it comes from what I listen all my life. And been through some -- some jobs with hard people and all I learned from all that 'til now. And I been an elder for -- I kind of forget about this one, but long time. Kiana elder, they call me. I was able to speak to the children in school, Inupiaq days, and also anytime when we have meetings, I was able to speak in English and Eskimo. I would rather speak Eskimo a lot of times because I'm... But so I have been here for a long time, since that time, I was 1957 -- when I was been married that long, but 1926 is the day that I was born, April -- 28 -- 1926. So -- so, so far, that much for me. Whatever you have, I would like to...
Bill Schneider: Okay. Let's talk about your map here. How did -- how did this map get started? Click here for map. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: In the beginning, I didn't even know that I could do this. One day I get to thinking now I know that somebody trying to draw our village - old Kiana village over there, but I see that more like that kid are just only guessing what he draw on the picture. But I have a feeling that I know more than those people. Even her, she didn't know that much. Even older people, they were real surprised that we have a village something like this. Where I born was a little cabin here, I'll point it after a while. I'm going to name all these, they got name on top. I know all those people. I was there when I -- this village was there in -- around the corner. My first day of school was from here in 19 wha--? -- five years -- five years old. And we used to go eat lunch from that school down here, on over, that quarter, quarter of a mile maybe, maybe more, in one-hour time. We only have one hour to -- to eat lunch, so that we had to run. How I get to thinking that if I put this into a piece of paper just in the top of my head. Because I would -- I thought I would do some help to the young people who don't even been there before. They were not there. They were too young. They were born lately. I know their parents and I know their grandparents, like Hazel. I know -- I know all those people. But I -- that the hardest thing I will ever try to do is try to make a forest. I can make a little cabin in no time. With ballpoint pen. One mistake I make, I'll try to patch it up so that it'll show like a tree. And then the dog -- dog team down here tied up in front of the house. This belonged to Jimmie Hasway. I'll talk to these people and say their names later. See if I make the funny -- funny looking dog, that mistake I make and I can't even make it better with that ballpoint. I could erase it with -- with my pencil if I could use that lead pencil. But I can't. So whatever you see funnies, that -- that means I can't do it that good. So this lake I drew, it's way up from that. Elevation is up because that lake has a little slough called lake on the other side. Bill Schneider: Okay. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Far end of that village. Good -- good 2 miles, 3, 4 miles. Bill Schneider: Can you move your hand back a second so that I can see the lake here. Eileen Devinney: He's taking a picture of it. Hazel Apok: (Translation:"What's the name of that lake?") Bill Schneider: The lake? Hazel Apok: Yeah. What's the name of that lake? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: I don't know the name of that little small lake. All that waste from up there and all over here drained lake, and we hardly eat anything when you get from there, muskrat and duck or anything because it's so waste water.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Click here for map. You want me to explain what these -- who it belongs to now? Bill Schneider: Yes. Yes. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Okay. Over here we have Jacob Johnson. And let me explain something first. Over here it's a water level, high water level. Every spring it floods up to there. These -- this sod house is -- that -- this is a permanent. They built it up there so they wouldn't be flooded. But this one will be flooded and they will have to renew it every fall. Jacob Johnson, Qaniarauruk (Jacob's Inupiaq name). Mikaylauruk (Stanley's Inupiaq name), Stanley Johnson. Their family, Lydia, they are up in Ambler. Bill Schneider: Sorry, Tommie. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Okay. Speaking of Stanley and Jacob and Dorothy, Dora - all that family they live there, but they move out to Selawik and then back to Kobuk, Ambler. And the next one is John Beaver. This is the house. Hazel Apok: Who is John Beaver? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: John Beaver is a brother to Jacob. Hazel Apok: Is he from -- Itqiļļiutit, (Inupiaq word for Athapaskan Indians) from Interior? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: No. His parents are from Noorvik and Kotzebue. Hazel Apok: Oh. Oh. Okay. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: I know him well. You know, Miqalrauk. But that -- that guy drown in the water down here. Hazel Apok: Uh-huh. Clifford Jackson, yeah. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Clifford Jackson's dad. Okay. That's John Beaver's. I forget his Eskimo name. And their name was -- Hazel Apok: Beaver's house used to flood too? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Huh? Hazel Apok: Beaver's house used to flood, too? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Very little bit, but this one can stay there, not too high water, but this one float away one spring, that Frank Jackson, Percy Jackson's family. It float away into this lake. From that lake they pick it up and build it way up on top. Okay. As you see that there's these people, they were living here for a long time, ever since I was a boy, they finally move it up because it happened, it really flood that spring - that high. And then the other one, Atoruk, John and Clara, my dad Peter's parents. Attauraq (John's Inupiaq name), Qapuk (Clara's Inupiaq name). Okay. Then also there's my house, way up there. That's where I was raised. My family was there. Qapuk's son, Peter, Aaquq (abbreviated version of Peter's name), and that's where my family was raised right there. And pretty soon there's Isaac Jackson, Utauyukxuk, Henry Jackson's family. Bill Schneider: Go ahead. I'm sorry. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Henry Jackson family. Small house. And also a big house, they move into that one. Utauyukļuk has a new house. So they move their big family. And there is another -- another, Isaac Jackson and Jenny, Ray Jackson and Henry and Kitty and all those people grow up. Big family. And there is another house belonged to Tommie Jackson, that - to Isaac Jackson's brother. Ayupsuq. That's Freddy Jackson's, or Dora and Flora Reed's parents, that's where they grew up. And there's another one, Jimmie Hasway's parents -- Jimmie Hasway and Annie. And also there's another Jimmie Hasway's dad, Utauyuuraq. Gee, I forget his name - but Bill Hasway. They move into a new house, they build it. And there's another one, that cache that got four legs, that kind of high. And there's Mulluk, Bob Mulluk and his family, Charlie Mulluk. And then there's Gooden, Harold Gooden's mom and dad. And also that Harold Gooden's dad's mother, and dad is there right there. And that's why we buy this. The missionary's cabin. Hazel Apok: That's the house you and Ella used to live in. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah. That house -- it was facing down that way. And there's Church. Friends Church. And then -- and there's Smith, that one - Duffy Smith, Johnny Smith. And Susie Barr. And also, they were living right there for a long time, and when I grew up they still were living there. And so - also there's Arthur Barr, Akłaqchiaq. And we picked -- we picked a wrong map. There should be one more right here for Arthur Barr. When -- when Hazel -- not Hazel, and them were kids. Hazel Apok: Anna Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Anna. And there's Harry Jackson's house. That ice -- Hazel Apok: Harry Cook. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: -- really shoot up. Hazel Apok: Harry Cook. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah. Harry Cook. That house was damaged from the ice flow - that ice, chunk of ice, climb up. So that -- this is the graveyard and there's another graveyard. And this is quite a -- quite a high hill, how high I drew it up. And here's a trail. So it changed quite a bit since -- since when I was young and finally got married to Ella and we started living in that house. This one becoming a ghost town, they call it. Just like a white man town. It's a ghost town. You could see there's old dwellings, some logs sticking out yet from -- from them days. In 1926, when I was born, I -- something like five, six years later, maybe seven years later, these logs were getting to be kind of old. They were just kind of going down. Nobody live them -- live in them. These -- these sod houses. And my wife have a dad, see he -- he was born somewhere, but I think he was living right there for long time. The -- huh? Hazel Apok: Enoch Sherman? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah, Enoch Sherman was living in that house for long, long time. And -- but they took off to Noatak somewhere, and that's why he stay -- they found -- he found him Gertrude, Ella's mom.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: I'll tell you what -- how we lived. This is not like this all the time, it's through all through the year. It's come spring, summer, fall, winter. All that time, how many years, I was here -- old long enough to go get some wood and walk around, go fishing. I could see that I -- I draw a fish rack where we dry fish and we used to have tents like this on the flat. And their tent -- and their tent, there will usually be a tent here. Every one of these families are living up here winter time they will set their tent. This is for just example how we all used to live out here. This is flat. And there are main -- main channels, Squirrel River (map) used to be right here. Right now you won't even recognize what kind of a front we use to have. This one is nothing but big island and a lot of willows. And so it's way different over there than how many years now, that's quite a bit, quite a few years. Seasonally, these people will go look for work, but hardly anybody go to work anyway unless if they go up to Klery Creek (map) and ask for a job. There will be working seasonally. They earn a little money. And bring it home and buy groceries, because groceries were so cheap. Half a pound -- or one pound of tea, it usually costs 25 cents. One half a pound or one pound of coffee is 25 cents. Eight for dollar for milk (referring to cans of milk). Eight dollars for fifty pound flour. And these people will go muskrat hunt down the river or up the river anywhere. We used to live here all year around. Even muskrat time, we have -- we have to stay. How this village was established, I don't know, but I've heard about what my -- my dad used to tell me that every bend he had to go up the river, you will see old dwellings here and there. Here and there one old dwelling in one spot, maybe three, four in one spot, maybe two of them two or three miles above, and that's how these people were living. As the time goes, they are looking for something to eat all the time. We -- they don't have any good boat, outboard motors, no, nothing. All they had is rowboat made out of birch bark. And you have to take care of that, keep it wet. If it's already -- don't leave it in the sun but it will crack open. Nets, same thing. They have net they weave from willow bark. After they done go seining, they bring -- put it back into the water and keep it there for next time use, maybe like tomorrow. If you leave it out in the open, it'll break to pieces. So it was -- it must have been a hard life. No guns, nothing. Bow and arrow, they -- that's all they have. Old stories, if I was old enough, I would tell you, but I see -- I see that I can go so far and remember. Like this one, from the top of my memory, I had -- I drew this so that it's going to look the way it is. She will look at it like ever -- ever since she could remember all of it -- it's for example. Hazel Apok: I know -- I know when I was growing up, there was only Arthur Barr's house. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah. Hazel Apok: Right there. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Right there. It's in my other map. Hazel Apok: And -- and where you and Ella used to live -- Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah. Hazel Apok: -- there. And then there was one other house they used to say Jackson --. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: They were going down, they were just going - no more. Hazel Apok: Uh-hum. They are all gone. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: People -- people move out. Why? On account of that village here starting, white people, they -- they struck gold in 1990 -- what, 1900s, if I remember right. It's on this one right there. Some place there. But these people#133;these people are different, completely different way of life from today because depend -- they are depending on the seasonal animals they hunt all through -- all through the year. It'll be muskrat time. It'll be go fishing for drying fish certain times. Other than that, they won't - they can't do it. It comes easily what, what are you looking for, right now. Right now they would be looking for rabbit or ptarmigan snaring. And also, depending on where you go, you go to Noorvik, old Kotzebue, somewhere they'll go fishing through the winter, through the ice. Here we don't have that kind. So I don't care what you look for here, they could come seasonally. Like, right now you can be able to go out anywhere you want with a fast machine and caribou hunting one day way on the other side of the country and come back same night, same evening. Not that kind of a life it was them days. It was tough. Health. We are -- used to be healthy when we were kids. All these years my mom and my dad, they never go clinic every day. They have to wait for that nurse traveling by, you know, dog team to Kiana, or very seldom there will be a doctor. Clinic, a nurse will come with -- I don't know if I still could show you my -- Hazel Apok: Mine is still here. Let's see. Right there? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah, that's my first vaccination. I don't know what it was for, I forget. They scrape it. And you hardly see doctor ever when you grow up. I didn't see the doctor for a long time. But today, every turn I make, they want to know. They want to listen to my chest. It's something new to us today. It's something new that we have to have all the time because what they bring in them days is a barge full of groceries. In that pot of groceries you have something that you can become a sugar diabetic, stuff that you will eat and eat and eat, and pretty soon I'm a sugar diabetic before long. Heart problems, TB, you name it, it come through that barge. Yeah.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Okay. I kind of wander off too far. In this village you'll never see anybody start staggering around drunk when I was a boy. Until even I grow up, nobody's -- no -- any kind of liquor get into this -- we have only one mail run each month by dog team. And also, we have barge, like I'm talking to you a little bit ago, that it come only in summer. No airplane goes -- will bring groceries to Kiana (map). Teachers -- this come later after this one. Teachers come in the springtime and they leave with the boat. And they leave fall time, or come. Today you will see teacher going off after two days teaching, he's ready to make a leave. So I told him, I used to be a school board member for a long time, and this life here with -- you have good -- good life in this kind of a village. Because we hardly have anything like sugar, flour, coffee. Maybe we'll have groceries since my dad would come home from work, he will buy -- he will buy groceries, and that's the time we will eat like flour. We want flour, sugar, and coffee and tea mainly. No junk food yet. So that's why maybe I'm -- if I was living like today like these kids live, my health would be a little different. My -- my childhood days were -- were complete different. Cultural -- cultural and traditional ways were different. Quite a bit different them days. And we have no snow machines. We're not asking for -- to borrow somebody's Sno-Go. My dad or somebody. All we had is a bunch of dog team right here all the time, just like this one. And only time when we go for dog team ride is to go get some wood in that direction and bring it home right there. When we go out fishing, we used that dog team. And when we stored that fish out in the creek cache someplace, we go with the dog team. And we had to feed that dog team every day and every time when we have to feed it, it's not -- not that snow machine sitting out there wanting some gas only. So tough, life that way. But in a way, it's a lot of fun. We have good happy childhood days, and -- and we respect more parents, not like the way we did today. We always respect my stepfather, my mother. I respect these elders. All of them, whatever they tell me, I would try to do it, respectfully. And that time, that way we were told not to -- not to steal, not to talk back to an elder, or try to help the elder as much as we can. Any time we see somebody back in waters, that's where we used to have our boat. But the river, we have a water down there, a water hole, and... But I used to work for Mulluk, they used to give me by payment, I used to take it, it was in April - maybe, March, I dig a boat from the beach and they will give me a four pound lard can full of berries. See, that's what I earned. And it's not money I'm asking for. I want something like that to take it home to my family and share. Sharing, hunting when you go hunting, these people share what they get from out hunting. Very important that you -- you listen to the elders, others than that -- if you don't listen to what the elders try to tell you, you might have -- they might explain it something like it this: If you don't listen to elders, or tell them that to -- you don't like what they -- what they are, how they live, you might have a short life. It's a -- it's a fate, what you call it, fate. And we are afraid of something that might happen. Today nobody tell you things like that. They will take you if you're being a bad man for to getting drunk and something, you will be taken away and bring you back again. But we are listening to our elders mainly here. I'll tell you a little bit about while ago that we have camp -- camp, camp every bend. But this church and this store down below downtown, my dad used to say, only chance we have what -- do what we should be doing by getting together is just because of the church. And also just because of that school. Just because of that store, to buy groceries. Of course, we don't have too much money them days, but we still need to go to the groceries to buy. You can't live on Eskimo life, Eskimo food, and Eskimo -- white man food alone, you have to combine them to live good. That's how I was raised. I was eating two things, white rice maybe and hot cake and fish. Bill Schneider: Where did your father work? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Huh? Bill Schneider: Where did your father work? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Up in Klery Creek (map) like I say a while ago. Bill Schneider: The mining? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah. We have gold miners there all up through that creek. They struck gold there. And every one of them have -- have mining claims and they will dig their own ground. So my dad used to work for one white man, that was married to his sister. So see, those white people will marry some Eskimo ladies from here. And okay?
Bill Schneider: Can you tell us about the dog team mail carriers? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Okay. Mail carriers you say? Bill Schneider: The people that used dog teams to carry mail. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Okay. As I remember easily, one long dog team will come each month. We called him Ijiyaurak. Bill Schneider: That's okay. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: If I remember it, I'll ask around and find out his English name. Ijiyaurak. And they will be tying their dog team right down here every month only. And they'll spend the night with this guy, he's kind of rich, that guy up here, Utauyuuraq Hasway. So that mail carrier will be right here spending the night. And from there next day they will head for Kobuk, Shungnak, and Ambler (map). Ambler, Shungnak (map) and Kobuk (map). And from there I don't know where they go, but that's a long trip with the dog team. Heavy, deep snow. That's how they travel. It's -- it's a long wait. Same thing with the summertime. "Steam-a-launch" we call it. Boat with engine. They carry one mail run each month. Hazel Apok: When did they start changing to once a week? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Oh, I was an old man when they start doing that. Once a month and pretty soon maybe every two weeks and every week. As I go along, they -- it's hard to remember. Time changes so fast. Yeah. Today they give us telephone, they give us TV, electricity. When I become a board member for Economic Develop Planning Board, I fight for these good airport, good schools, water and sewer, lights, and everything we are -- we have, every time they say don't get tired of asking because it's nice for you to ask every time. That's what we've been doing. Now, we got it today. Bill Schneider: Yeah. Do you remember how many dogs a dog team -- the mail carrier had? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Over 10. Bill Schneider: Over 10? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah. It's a long team. You've got to have that long -- long team. If you've got 6, 7 dogs, you won't go very far. They -- they need food, they need power to carry, pull. The longer the team is, the better for the long run. Bill Schneider: And did he have fish cached along the way? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Well, I don't know that much, but they have like stops, like here in Kiana (map), Noorvik (map), and along the line, like I say, there will be people living year 'round. Supposing you have no kids and nobody to go to school from your family, they will be living up there when I was a boy. So they stopped there. Hazel Apok: And those people, where they stopped too, would feed their -- his dogs. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: They -- they help out. Yeah. Hazel Apok: Yeah. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: They help out.
Bill Schneider: Have you seen a lot of change in the environment or the climate here? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah, there's a lot of change, environment. Of course, like I say now, when you want to go hunting and fishing for living, it takes -- it takes seasonal -- seasonal time to -- to get certain things. But some years it's very hard to get those things. Like rainy season, high water prevent us from having a good dried fish for lunch. We have that dried fish for lunch, like I say, from the school to here in one hour time. I'll eat that dried fish whether it was dried properly or not. It -- rainy season really can damage that fish for my lunch. Bill Schneider: Uh-hum. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: So I have no other -- nothing to eat. No food stamps. Except what we caught last summer, dried fish. We have to have a good weather to dry that good fish dry. And fishing, it really -- sometime we have too much high water, we hardly get anything at all. Life was tough, in the beginning I said life was tough, but it was good. We have good times. Everybody usually have good time. Christmas time, Thanksgiving time. Then we have a lot of good times like when we never look for, if you buy TV tomorrow, I also want one TV. See, we're not thinking that way. We live whatever we have at this moment, and we don't expect too much for tomorrow and the rest of the season. As long as we're healthy and be able to move around. Health come first. No doctors, no hospitals, just a nurse once in awhile. Like I say, no alcohol, no alcohol and drugs. I belong to Maniilaq task force right now. I'm not very smart on this job, but I have some good ideas once in awhile. I give them some ideas, what -- what I've seen when I was -- as I live. And I have become a good help once in awhile. I never gave up. Not very smart, all right. Hazel Apok: Did it used to be real cold long time ago in the wintertime? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Well, we didn't notice that too much because we were moving around, good clothes, like skin pants. And the more we move, it better for to move around in cold day. And you are able to move around real good them days, but today you can stand out here with big thick pants and thick -- cold for me, terrible. Everything changed quite a bit. It used to be cold, not like -- the weather was good until lately that we have -- as we see it -- big, strong winds from north will do the change in weatherwise. It's too cold for us. I think today is more worse than before. When I was -- when I was a kid I could see that weather, nice weather like this -- not like this, but all through the winter we will have nice weather, and we usually really enjoy it how we -- how we lived. Move around. Keep warm. And circulate the blood. That's what I'm talking about. Move around. Hazel Apok: What about tuttu (caribou) and our fish and game, (Translation: "they change") in any way? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah. When I was a kid, that's only 75 years ago, I used to see caribou way up north. My dad used to hunt for them out there. Starting in November, come back April. Load of caribou, caribou meat. And also there's ways -- like moose. It's different today, you have more moose. And there was nothing at all them days around this area. They just kind of move in and they are kind of moving out right now the way -- you hardly see moose this winter. Yeah. Everything changed. The game warden never bother us when we were kids here, we never see game warden. All we see was white teachers. No one, nothing else. Teachers, you know. Gold miners from up Klery Creek, they move -- they spend the night or spend their winter here, go back to work. Some will be they call sink holes. They test maybe 10, 20 feet deep down, they will sink hole and see what they can find from the ground. That's where they will be digging this coming summer. They will find out if it has the gold right there, right there, or nothing up there, they don't bother that one up there. So life was more enjoyable than -- when I was a boy than it is today. You're looking for snow machine today and go-- speed -- speed. Bill Schneider: Well, that's very helpful. And this is a neat drawing you've made here of the old -- the old camp. That's neat.
Hazel Apok: What else did you want to talk about? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: I told you about how, what's become of -- why is in this place established a small village like this. For three -- three, four reasons. We have to form a village. See, we have members from this Friends Church, that's the first church that came to north, and nothing else. Friends Church, Quaker. And that's when they formed the church. These people belong to it. Another thing - we never receive oil until I become 40 years old, I think, in this little house. I buy me a stove, old stove from Oscar Henry, that lived from over here. This is for a certain time of the years only. Maybe 1930s this house was there, but in 1940, this one was gone. But then another family move in. That's why I remember these houses like the way they are. Because time changes. People moving out, move in and right -- we don't buy lots, see. You have to buy a good lot in order to build your own home. Them days was not like that. You can build a house over here and stay there for five years, and then if you decided to move, another family move in with that little house. It belonged to everybody. It's not -- it's not what today, there is no trespassing signs, no -- lived just like that. We never see trespassing sign. Not too long ago, there was one down here, I think Ruth -- Ruth was the one that put it in. And after that it was gone again. No -- nobody like it. Because we were trained -- we were like here -- village belong to everybody. Yeah. That church, when they finally tear this thing down, they move it to town. That Friends Church down here. So. I don't know if I -- if do I any help, but -- Bill Schneider: No, you did. That's good. Hazel Apok: Lots of help. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: This is what I'm talking about not only, not downtown. This is downtown's history. Eileen Devinney: Tommie, how old were you -- how old were you when your family came here and left the other village? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: You mean downtown? Eileen Devinney: Yeah, when you came. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: When my daughter was about 7 years old, Gertie, we have to bring her to close to that school. That's when we finally buy - one old lady died, Harold Gooden's -- Harold Gooden's mom. She owed $30 to the store, and Harold Gooden said,"Tommie, if you will have that piece of lot right there, you give me $30 and I give you the lot." See? That's really something. Bill Schneider: Yeah. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Can't beat that. He just give it to me.
Bill Schneider: Do you want me to turn off the recorders? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: No. No, this is good if you want to keep it on. It's a code. Well, we run into problems like alcohol and drug abuse and suicide prevention for Maniilaq. And a lot of times I would talk to some people because I belong to the task force member from that Maniilaq. I go to the meeting once in awhile. Grief and tragedy and hatred are for a time only. But goodness, remembrance, and love will never come to an end. See, sometime we are hateful because of how we live today. How come -- how come we have tragedies that happen overnight? Sometimes I try to tell these children that what it is all about, grief and tragedy and hatred for a time only. The rest is like goodness, remembrance, and love will -- will never come to an end. That was President Bush. We need to work together and share#133;credit. Hazel Apok: Not blame. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Not blame. Sometime we blame somebody. Trying to clear our name. Oh, we don't want to blame, see.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Click here for image. This lady, she was a young girl when I was a young boy over here, but this lady come from up way up this house. This cabin float away. Hazel Apok: What's her name? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Qaanaq, Lucy. Lucy come from that house up there. This Annie (Hasway), Aaġayukłuk she lived over here. Over here. Annie Hasway, she lived this right here - this cabin. And this is my birthplace, right there. 75 years ago. Cora, she's from upper - on the river. Lucy Gooden right here, and this is mom -- my wife's dad, like, like I say, he live right here when he was young man. This one. And this one -- Bill Schneider: Show me where he lived again, please. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Enoch -- Enoch Sherman, that my wife's dad. Bill Schneider: Yeah? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: This one's becoming a ghost house because it's right in the flooding area. They will have to make a new house next fall. Out of sod house. This guy. And also this lady, Itiqsruruq Lucy Gooden, she lived right here. My -- my younger days. But that family was living right here, Harold Gooden's grandpa. And Susie Barr, she live right here. She live right here. Bill Schneider: Uh-hum. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: This is one picture. Annie Hasway lived right here, like I told you while ago. And these are cousins, relatives. Most of these people are related to each other in one way or the other because there were how many families, how many families. These were taken in front of the church. See also that one.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Click here for image. Enoch Sherman, Annie Hasway. They are related. Somehow they are cousins.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Click here for image. Also, there is Annie. This is when she was going to the hospital, they told her that she was sick. She was real skinny, too. See, they flew that kind of planes in them days, Wiens, I think. (Wien Airlines) Annie is the one that lived all her life over here.Bill Schneider: Show me her house again. Hazel Apok: Right here. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Isaac, Tommie, Annie, right there. Bill Schneider: All right. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: It says, Jimmy Hasway right there. Bill Schneider: Yeah. Yeah. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Okay.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: This is pastor's wife. (Elsie Thomas) Click here for image. She's from out -- like, Buckland. She's not from here. Hazel Apok: Pastor's wife? Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Yeah. Hugh Thomas. That Irene's mom, she was adopted, that lady. And there's Johnnie Smith. Like I say, when they were young, this guy and there is another man, Duffy, and also Susie, Susie Barr or Susie--; oh right there. (Tommie is racing through the drawing of the old village and talking beyond the photo.) Susie, and this one, and also Duffy, they grew up and live all their life right here with their mom. (Inupiaq name: "Tuvinrun, Tuvinraluq.") She's related to her (meaning Hazel is related to her.) And there's Arthur Barr, it's not shown here. And there's another one, Lucy. Hazel Apok: (Translation: "Slow down, they said to slow down.")
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Click here for image. Johnnie Smith, my dad, stepdad, Peter Atoruk Attauraq, and Effie. Effie's daughter, Cora Gooden up there. See, they were just sitting around enjoying the sun and -- when we took the picture.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Nellie Coffin. Click here for image. This used to be Nellie Coffin or Nellie Baldwin. She -- she was living with a white man by the name of Tom Baldwin. They were there when we were kids. As a matter of fact, they -- I would drive their dog team and go get some wood for them. That's how it was. You helped people -- elders. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: This Nellie, she lived here in Kiana for many years. They raised kids like Tommie and Edith. She's living in Fairbanks - Edith. Hazel Apok: Uh-huh. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: And that's her -- her mom. Ahtyuk, Nellie (Baldwin).
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Click here for image. Harold Gooden's mom, that lady that was living over here, Lucy Gooden. Lucy Gooden right there. Bill Schneider: Show me where her house was at. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: She lived there many years. This was taken over here by my house. You see that little cabin, we buy it from that guy, her son, she says they got no money to pay the bill, "$30 if you buy the building" -- for $30, it's mine. That's what he says. Okay. That's my lot.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Like that picture taken here, these two are brothers, and her parent or what you call him. Click here for image. Hazel Apok: Qaaqsiñiuraq (sp?) Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Qaaqsiñiuraq (sp?). She was raised by him, adopted. And this is his brother, Duffy. We call him Itisiraq.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: And there's Andrew Black and Annie, Anna, in Noorvik. Click here for image. Just like a big boulder, but it's not. It's frozen mud (referring to the frozen eroding river bank they are standing on in the picture). I don't know what you call it.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: Click here for image. And there is Helen Strong (Inupiaq name Tisru), she was -- she lived up to 107 years old. 106, 107. My granddaughter. And Sophie (Stoney). Hazel Apok: Tisru's granddaughter.
Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: I think this is 1940s or '50s - early '50s. Click here for image. Bill Schneider: Uh-hum. Tommie Sheldon, Jr.: First taxi in Kotzebue. This guy own it, Archie Ferguson. You never heard that Archie, but he own it. First taxi - right in front of restaurant.