Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Ross Schaeffer

Ross Schaeffer

Ross Schaeffer was born in 1947 in Kotzebue, Alaska. His father was an expert hunter and taught his seven sons how to hunt seals, beluga whales, polar bears, and caribou, trap and fish, survive on the sea ice, and provide for their family with a subsistence lifestyle. Ross attended Copper Valley School in Glennallen, Alaska for high school, and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work. He has worked as a magistrate in Kotzebue, as a school counselor, was president of the NANA Regional Corporation, and is a former mayor of the Northwest Arctic Borough. He also has been a commercial fisherman, a full-time trapper, and always has maintained his subsistence lifestyle. In retirement, he continues to hunt, trap, and fish. He is one of the few who still actively hunts for seals in the winter out on the ice. He also sets crab pots with his brother, Bobby, and hunts for seals amongst the broken ice floes of late spring/early summer, for beluga whales, and for caribou. As an active hunter all his life, Ross has been a close observer of the environment and is an expert traveler and hunter.

Ross Schaeffer appears in the following new Jukebox projects: