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Daniel Karmun, Sr., Interview 3
Daniel Karmun, Sr. 2002

Daniel "Dan" Karmun, Sr. speaks about reindeer herding on March 8, 2002 to a class for teachers held at Nordale Elementary School in Fairbanks, Alaska. Dan was an invited guest speaker and Greg Finstad introduces him. His presentation is on the history of reindeer herding on the Seward Peninsula and his involvement with the University of Alaska and Wien Airlines.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2000-102-12

Project: Reindeer Herding: The Present and the Past
Date of Interview: Mar 8, 2002
Narrator(s): Daniel "Dan" Karmun
Interviewer(s): Greg Finstad
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Science Foundation
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Introduction of Dan Karmun by Greg Finstad and Dan also gives a little introduction of himself.

2) Introduction of reindeer in Alaska.

3) Beginning of the reindeer herds.

4) Lomen Brothers and the reindeer market.

5) Eskimo names being replaced by English names.

6) Reindeer industry directorship and protecting the reindeer herd numbers.

7) Increase of reindeer, the lack of a reindeer marker, and the separation of reindeer to determine shareholders.

8) Building corrals, reindeer by-products, reindeer round-up, and community involvement in reindeer herding.

9) Developing the 5-year plan for the reindeer industry.

10) Working with University of Alaska Fairbanks to establish a good management system for the reindeer industry and getting the younger generation involved.

Questions and Answers

11) Is there any disaster assistance given to those herders when they have so many caribou, that's a big disaster for them? Is there any state and federal money that is going to help the herders?

12) Are you talking about forest timber, there actually were pieces of forest mixed in with the tundra, is that what you are saying?

13) Wolves eating tongues of the reindeer: Is that only when they can get a lot of them?

14) Market for reindeer meat.

15) Radio collars on reindeer and caribou and the elders prediction of the return of caribou.

16) Is anyone in your family herding reindeer right now?

17) Question concerning the skin drawing by George Akupak at the Anchorage Airport.

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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: Wien Airlines\ Fairbanks -- coming to\ Ft. Yukon\ Seward\ mosquitoes\ airlines -- cargo loading\ Reindeer Program\ father\ herd -- established\ caribou\ Seward Peninsula\ herd -- depleting\ married\ 12 children\ adopted boy\ Internal Revenue Service\ wedding anniversary -- 53rd\ grandchildren -- 22\ great grandchildren -- 13\ Deering\ University of Alaska Fairbanks\ 5-year plan\ Reindeer Program -- directed for Kawerak Incorporated/ Bering Strait area|

Section 2: reindeer -- introduced in 1891\ Jackson, Sheldon\ coastal Eskimos -- Northwest\ sailing schooners\ hunt whales\ Bering Strait region\ St. Lawrence Island\ Kivalina\ North Slope\ reindeer -- Siberia\ whales -- depletion\ Port Clarence\ storm\ Aleutian Chain\ reindeer -- established\ Teller\ herders\ system\ worker -- earned shares of reindeer\ Laplander -- Norway\ Eskimos -- Laplanders teach them reindeer herding\ coastal people\ Unalakleet -- reindeer research station\ Teller area -- train herders|

Section 3: church missions\ herd size -- increasing\ herds -- establish in villages\ Rude, Jay Sidney -- headed Reindeer Program\ Nome\ federal government\ reindeer -- good care taken\ Laplanders -- taught reindeer herders\ Jackson, Sheldon\ caribou\ North Slope\ Laplanders -- settled in area\ Unalakleet\ Deering\ Norway\ Laplanders -- earned reindeer\ Lomen Brothers\ Eskimos\ reindeer -- marketed in Lower 48\ facilities established\ Brevig Mission -- west of Nome\ Elephant Point\ Golovin\ reindeer -- increased rapidly|

Section 4: reindeer meat\ Eskimos -- did not compete with them\ Rude, Jay Sidney -- Reindeer Superintendent\ market -- good\ cattle industry -- put an end to reindeer market\ compensation -- government\ Kawerak \ Bureau of Indian Affairs -- contracted reindeer project\ 5-year plan\ Board of directors of Reindeer Herders Association\ Palmer\ father -- head owner in Wales\ Deering\ Kovaruk, Stanley -- drove reindeer up north\ Teller\ Port Clarence\ caribou -- migration\ reindeer -- lost|

Section 5: father's name\ Eskimo Name\ Karmun\ teachers -- changed father's name|

Section 6: Bureau of Indian Affairs\ Nome\ missionaries\ reindeer industry\ Rude, Jay Sidney\ Natives -- earned shares\ villages\ herd-- rebuilding\ lichen\ scientists\ lichen -- re-growth\ 5-year plan\ University of Alaska Fairbanks\ soil conservation\ grazing lands\ Seward Peninsula|

Section 7: markets -- local\ highway systems -- none\ airline system\ World War II\ Nome\ Deering\ reindeer -- dying from lack of food\ wolves -- eat tongues of reindeer\ Bureau of Indian Affairs\ Seward Peninsula\ Teller\ Deering Reindeer Company\ separating reindeer\ father -- big shareholder\ family -- largest share of reindeer\ Koguk Reindeer Company\ oldest brother -- took over Koguk Reindeer Company\ younger brother -- took over Karmun herd|

Section 8: Karmun, Harry -- father\ Deering\ corral\ Theresa Creek\ corral -- building\ January -- men shovel out snow from corral\ reindeer herders -- round-up reindeer\ Thomas, Isaac -- son of first reindeer herder\ tally sheet\ reindeer -- by-products\ skins\ leggings\ sinew\ parkas\ mukluks\ round-up\ families -- come to handling\ children -- leave school\ men -- celebrating the completion of the reindeer operation\ tents -- January to March\ wood -- burn\ wood -- decline\ moving south -- build another corral\ reindeer -- decline in 1940s\ overpopulation -- starving|

Section 9: reindeer contract\ 5-year plan\ agencies -- state and federal\ University of Alaska Fairbanks\ reindeer -- inoculations\ grazing lands -- survey\ Seward Peninsula\ Bureau of Land Management\ National Park Service\ U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service\ corporations -- state, regional, and village\ lands -- assigned\ Cooperative Extension Service\ Agricultural Experiment Station\ Institute of Arctic Biology\ Geophysical Institute\ elders\ caribou -- hinder reindeer herders\ reindeer -- lost to caribou\ herders -- few operating\ Siberian reindeer herders\ predators\ reindeer -- domesticated\ young generation -- not interested in reindeer herding\ soil conservation\ surveying\ establish grazing plan\ measurements for food sources|

Section 10: University of Alaska Fairbanks\ Deitrich, Dr. Robert\ visiting herders\ management system\ disease program\ survey of land\ Luick, Dr. Jack\ food source\ freezing rain\ reindeer -- can't get down to food source\ Canada -- gave reindeer to\ Fairbanks\ meat source\ by-products\ younger generation -- need to learn\ elders -- listen to them\ survival|

Questions and Answers

Section 11: source -- establish\ former Soviet Union\ young generation of herders\ re-establish reindeer herds|

Section 12: timber -- 65 miles southeast of coastline\ willows\ timber -- during two to three months that the operation lasts\ state land|

Section 13: watching herds\ parents -- stayed with reindeer\ predators\ ravens -- gather together\ harass fawns\ fawns -- killed for food source\ younger generation\ establish presence in herd\ reindeer become domesticated|

Section 14: government\ reindeer industry -- no inspection\ inspection process -- allow out of state\ local areas -- not many buyers\ facility -- inspection\ meat product -- sell outside of state\ herders -- not all supporting\ process -- out in field\ buyer -- rent airplanes to bring reindeer in|

Section 15: herder\ caribou -- migration\ Seward Peninsula\ herds -- established\ U.S. Department of Fish and Game\ agencies -- work with\ predators -- problems\ Alaska State Department of Fish and Game -- collar caribou\ Pt. Hope\ Seward Peninsula\ support\ reindeer -- collared\ National Park Service -- assistance\ system -- not fully supported\ land procedures and policies\ elders\ older brother\ lava rocks -- deep pockets\ seasonally\ lava beds\ caribou\ North Slope|

Section 16: older brothers -- taking care of herds\ Bureau of Indian Affairs\ separation\ Reindeer Herders Association\ establish 5-year plan\ innoculation program\ herders -- try to get them to believe in the program\ vaccines|

Section 17: Akupak, George\ reindeer operations\ Shishmaref|