Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Howard Luke

Howard Luke

Howard Luke is an Athabascan Elder who was born at Linder Lake, near Nenana, Alaska, in 1923. His mother would teach him at night with stories and how to take care of your luck, "gallee'ya". He moved with his mother and rest of the family to Fairbanks in 1936. Hwward began dog training and racing in the 1940s. His first Open North American Sled Dog Race was in Fairbanks in 1947; he came in second place. Howard also raced boats, winning the 1965 Yukon 800 Boat Race, which runs on the Tanana and Yukon Rivers from Fairbanks to Galena and back. For most of his adult life, Howard has lived in a cabin on the Tanana River across from Fairbanks. He has made educating Native youth about traditional culture, lifeways, and language a focus of his life. As part of this effort, he established the Gallee'ya Spirit Camp on his land, and dedicated it to his mother. The camp is a place where Howard has worked with youth and people from all walks of life to teach them about Athabascan culture, traditions, and values; he has helped people who have trouble with alcohol by focusing on traditional values, and taught children how to make things like sleds and traps. Howard believes that his respect for elders is the basis of his success and is the message he wants to impart to the rest of us. Howard has received many awards and accolades for his role as a culture bearer and elder, and has traveled extensively to share his message. For more about Howard Luke, see his book My Own Trail, by Howard Luke and edited by Jan Steinbright Jackson (Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Knowledge Network, 1998). For a complete list of materials related to Howard Luke available at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, UAF.

Howard Luke appears in the following new Jukebox projects: