Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Richard Nelson

Richard Nelson

Born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1941, Richard Nelson received a Master's degree in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1971. He first came to Alaska in 1961 to do research on Kodiak Island. He was involved in some of the early studies that were used in developing subsistence policy for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Richard's involvement with Native communities on the North Slope and the Koyukuk River dates back several decades. As an anthropologist and free-lance writer, Richard has lived and worked among Eskimo and Athabascan people, documenting not only unique lifeways, but also conveying a sense of the rich spiritual traditions that bind Native people together with each other and their environment. Among his many works based on these studies are several books, including Tracks in the Wildland, Make Prayers to the Raven, and Shadow of the Hunter. In 1987, in collaboration with KUAC TV in Fairbanks, he was associate producer and writer for a public television series also titled "Make Prayers to the Raven." In 1989, he published, The Island Within, which departs from these earlier works in that it focuses more on his personal experience and the way in which his involvement with Native culture has shaped his own environmental awareness. Richard Nelson was also interviewed by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program about his personal background (Tape # Oral History 87-53), which is not yet available on-line.

Richard Nelson appears in the following new Jukebox projects: