Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Fred Ewan

Fred Ewan was interviewed on June 8, 1999 by Ruth Ann Warden and Bill Schneider at his house in Gulkana, Alaska. Ruth Ann arranged the interview and throughout the interview Fred references her grandfather, Henry Johns. Fred's interview is informative on many topics such as surveying the road, life out in remote camp, Indian customs, and the beginnings of wage employment. Throughout the interview, there is a message that the old days were good because people had their land and their way of life - no one told them where to go, what to do. Fred also thinks that the lessons of the woods are not known by young people today and that this is too bad; they couldn't make it in the woods if they had to.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 99-25

Project: Wrangell-St.Elias National Park
Date of Interview: Jun 8, 1999
Narrator(s): Fred Ewan
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Ruth Ann Warden
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

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


1) Introduction and family background

2) Community of families at Crosswind Lake and a typical year

3) Yearly cycle continued and trading furs

4) People getting together and trading furs

5) Trading with the Russians

6) How Crosswind Lake got its name

7) Fred's grandfather participating in the building of the road and his knowledge of the land

8) Discussing a photo of his wife and how he met her and his first model-T car

9) Getting married to Stella

10) Fred and Stella going to Crosswind Lake

11) Working for wages and how it changed their lives

12) Teaching himself how to read and write, and working for the Alaska Road Commission

13) People working during wartime and the good old days

14) Dog racing and working in the old days

15) Advice for young people today

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.


Section 1: Crosswand Lake -- born\ brothers -- two\ sisters -- two\ growing up\ moved -- 1950\ building house -- 1952\ wife\ Norman, Harry -- 2 children\ dog team\ McMahon, Cleo\ flying freight

Section 2: Tion?, Andy\ ?, Kevin\ trapping\ interference -- none\ trap -- fox, mink, otter\ fishing\ Copper River\ summer -- fishing\ August -- hunting\ whitefish\ food -- storage\ winter -- trapping

Section 3: spring -- trap for beaver, muskrat\ groceries\ yeast, coffee, tea, butter\ furs -- trade\ Sourdough, Gulkana, Gakona to trade\ paper slip -- instead of money

Section 4: party\ making moonshine\ beer\ meat -- bring\ get together -- eat\ ducks\ dry meat\ self- reliant\ respect\ land\ Anchorage\ Cordova\ Valdez\ trade

Section 5: Orthodox Church\ Chitina\ Palmer\ Copper Center\ Chief Andrew\ Cordova Headquarters\ Russian traders\ Copper River\ Harry\ Mother

Section 6: Charley Lake\ Charley from Gakona\ grandfather\ airport -- working on\ ferry\ miners\ Chief Ewan -- grandfather\ worked for mines\ freight -- haul\ Palmer\ Glennallen

Section 7: engineers\ Glennallen\ Copper Center\ walking\ Indian River

Section 8: Ewan, Stella\ cook -- Indian River\ met in 1936\ Buster Brown\ bought $50\ sold it -- $12 after two years\ Harry sold it to Ben's brothers\ travel -- model T\ Copper Center\ Sourdough\ Paxton\ job -- provided wood\ work -- hard

Section 9: married\ 1938 Indian marriage\ Ewan, Stella -- parents\ helping parents\ payment -- work for parents\ respect\ grandfather

Section 10: trapping\ working -- Alaska Road Commission\ time off to hunt\ fish\ interference -- none

Section 11: village -- moving in\ education -- effects on children\ McMahan, Cleo\ Copper Center

Section 12: education -- learning to read and write\ village -- moving\ school\ house -- building\ wife\ salary\ Gakona\ jobs -- operator, road grader\ Alaska Road Commission\ money\ contractors\ airport -- building

Section 13: working -- quit\ wife\ old days\ dancing\ Indian way\ worries -- none\ dog racing

Section 14: dog races\ Fairbanks\ airport\ O'Hare bus line\ Santa Claus lodge\ dog teams\ Anchorage\ bus -- driving\ dog racing\ McMahan, Cleo\ photographs -- dog racing\ old days -- good times\ work\ interference -- none

Section 15: education\ old days -- no education\ education -- necessary\ survival\ knowledge\ country -- mapped\ high school\ hunt