We met with Joe and Celia Beetus, Susie Williams' brother, on February 19, 2003 at their home in Hughes, Alaska. Joe and Celia have contributed to the Gates of the Arctic National Park Project Jukebox in the past and invited us to their home to learn more about their lives in Hughes over the last sixty-four years. Joe is the oldest elder in Hughes and he made us feel very welcome in the community the night before at the Gates of the Arctic Project Jukebox presentation we made in the community hall. While we were showing the project, Joe began to tell stories about the photos and the people in the program and the others in attendance were all very enthusiastic about his experiences. Currently, Joe is spending one day a week at the school sharing his accounts and the history of the area with the students. Joe and Celia spent quite some time looking for photographs that we might be able to use in the Jukebox program and were very eager to share them with us. Joe is losing his hearing, so during the interview we relied on Celia to help us explain things to him. Joe and Celia open their house to everyone in the community, so there were people coming and going as well as multiple phone calls thoughout our visit. Everyday life in Hughes keep these two busy. The walls of their home were covered with pictures of their family, and Joe explained several of the older pictures hanging on the walls. Margaret Williams was also present during the interview and she encouraged Joe and Celia to talk about their photos. The original unedited version of this interview is available in the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Feb 19, 2003
Narrator(s): Joe Beetus, Celia Beetus
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Marla Statscewich
People Present: Margaret Williams
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1) Alfred Isaac's story of Hughes' beginnings
2) Start of towns along the Koyukuk River
3) Working for Pipeline near Nolan Creek
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Section 1: 15 mile cabin\ Koko mountain\ Allakaket\ Hughes -- 1911\ Harry Butler White Bluff -- Indian River\ Utopia\ Army Camp\ Mining Camp\ Indian Mountain\ black bear -- food\ gold miners cabin -- Indian Creek\ Black Creek\ 2 claims for Albert (brother in law)\ following year -- gold miners come\ sold claims -- $2000 each\ hauling wood -- gold mining\ Hughes City begins\ old man Attla\ Alfred Isacc\ Wiseman|
Section 2: Koyukuk River -- no towns\ Arctic City -- First town\ 1905 -- Bishop Row from Tanana\ baptized the people\ South Fork\ Alatna -- Alatna River camps\ Arctic City\ Koyukuk\ Nulato\ Anvik\ Holy Cross\ Episcopal Church -- Allakaket\ mission and church\ trapping camp\ 1907 -- Allakaket\ Sam Dubin -- store on Alatna side\ Larson\ Johnny Oldman\ Chief Henry\ Allakaket\ gold -- Wiseman\ people come from Yukon River\ Steven's Village\ Fort Campbell\ Rampart\ Tanana\ Nolan Creek -- richest place|
Section 3: Pipeline -- Green Construction\ Anchorage\ Frank Sampson -- Noorvik\ Galena\ Fairbanks\ 5 Mile Camp -- north of Yukon beach\ Pipeline Crew -- manlift\ Cat operator\ side boom lift -- lift pipe\ Kanutna River\ Oldman camp\ Green Construction -- new job|