Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Dennis Schmitt

Dennis Schmitt

Originally from California, Dennis Schmitt first came to Alaska in late summer 1965 as a volunteer with the OEO program, what eventually became the VISTA program, and was assigned to Anaktuvuk Pass. He got a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and studied linguistics with Noam Chomsky. Schmitt speaks ten languages, including Russian, Norwegian, Danish, and French. Given his aptitude for languages and previous experience in Alaska, at age 19, Schmitt was recruited by Chomsky to travel to Alaska's Brooks Range and attempt to learn the Nunamiut dialect of the Inupiaq language. He lived in Anaktuvuk Pass for four years in the late 1960s, where he mastered their language and lived the same subsistence lifestyle of his Nunamiut neighbors. Given his background as a mountaineer, Dennis went on to explore and lead expeditions in the north. For more information about Dennis Schmitt.

Dennis Schmitt appears in the following new Jukebox projects: