In 2005, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority celebrated their tenth anniversary and wanted to recognize the accomplishments of the organization and its people through a historical documentation project. The Mental Health Trust settlement went on for many years. It was a complicated case of selecting land and fighting over funding that consumed the lives of the participants, but was relatively unknown by most Alaskans. This project is an attempt to explain the details of and increase awareness about the story behind delivery of Alaska's mental health programs and services to meet the needs of this special community of individuals. We wish to share the experiences of some of the people who devoted much of their lives to improving these services and fought many of the subsequent legal and political battles. It was a long-fought effort that took its toll on many people, but in the end laid an important foundation for better public understanding of mental illness and improved mental health services in Alaska.
The Mental Health Trust History Project Jukebox offers insight into the long struggle to provide quality mental health services in Alaska from the perspective of people who participated. There is discussion about how the mentally ill were treated prior to Statehood when they were sent to Morningside Hospital in Portland, Oregon; how in 1956 Alaska was given one million acres to manage in trust to fund mental health services; a 1982 lawsuit against the State for mismanagement of these lands and funds; the lengthy legal, political, and legislative effort to settle this lawsuit by re-constituting the lands, providing a cash settlement, and creating the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.
The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority has a terrific write up about the history of the organization. You can also learn more about the history, by downloading this video presented by Chief Executive Officer Jeff Jessee. Lisa Morris of the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks researched archival collections throughout the United States looking for Mental Health Trust related materials and compiled a resource guide for future researchers.
There is also a Morningside Hospital Blog which was initially the result of research by Ellen Ganley and Karen Perdue into the history of mental health care in Alaska. Once the focus became Morningside Hospital, the volunteer research team grew. They are assisted by Information Insights’ web staff Jana Peirce and Emma Funk.
The Alaska Communities of Memory Project was a statewide effort from 1994-1996 funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum to provide an opportunity for people in communities around Alaska to share memories of their community and to reflect on what made their community special. These gatherings were held in Bethel, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Kenai-Soldotna, Kotzebue, Nome, Unalaska, and Wasilla.
This Jukebox, also funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum, highlights the gathering in Bethel on January 25, 26 & 27, 1996, where people told stories about their life in Bethel, flying in bush Alaska, and what made them want to stay in their remote city.
Click on a picture below to access a person's interview. Additional photos related to Bethel can be found in the Alaska Digital Archives.
The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was a significant part of 20th century history that had worldwide repercussions. Many consider the Cold War as lasting from March 5, 1946 when Winston Churchill made his famous speech about the descent of “an iron curtain” to December 24, 1991 when the Soviet Union officially dissolved. In 2014, 23 years after the end of the Cold War, Alaskans wanted to recognize this anniversary and celebrate the Alaskan part of the story. Alaska’s location made it a key strategic player in many elements of what happened during the Cold War, both secret and public. Missile sites and radar stations were established around the state to help protect American citizens. For security reasons, much of what happened during the Cold War in Alaska was shrouded in secrecy. Enough time has now passed that security clearances have been lifted, top secret documents have been opened to the public, and the military and associated civilian participants are now comfortable talking about their activities.
This project includes the personal stories of veterans who worked at Nike Missile Sites in Alaska, along with others talking about Alaska's role in the Cold War in general. The interviews were conducted at the conference "A Cold War, 2014 Alaska Conference and Nike Veterans Reunion" held in Anchorage, Alaska in September 2014. These stories tell us about Alaska's role in the Cold War and impacts on Alaska and Alaskans, but also opens doors to understanding what life was like at remote missile sites, the pressures that young soldiers were under, and the impact of the 1964 Earthquake on nuclear missiles in Alaska.
The Dangerous Ice Project Jukebox is a National Science Foundation funded project at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (Award Number 0909517). The goal is to understand changing ice conditions on the Tanana River through the combined knowledge of scientists and experienced local river travelers.
Over the winters of 2005-2007 and 2010-2013, groups of river travelers and scientists traveled to potentially hazardous places on the Tanana River near Fairbanks, Manley Hot Springs, and Tanana to document ice conditions and/or measure air temperature, ice thickness, and water temperature, depth and chemical composition. Photo and video documentation of our site visits can be found by clicking on the orange point markers on the map below.
Local experts have provided historical perspective, personal experience, and traditional knowledge about the ever-changing Tanana River. Scientific research is adding information about the dynamics of the river system and the influence of groundwater upwelling on ice conditions. A booklet explaining ice dynamics and travel advice offers information to the general public about how to avoid trouble during winter travel.
This has been a joint project between Elmer E. Rasmuson Library and the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The Denali Mountaineering Jukebox is an interactive computer program featuring audio and video clips, photographs, maps, and texts of the people that have made history in the mountains encompassed by Denali National Park and Preserve. The "Jukebox" offers a broad spectrum of mountaineering experiences, from climbers to bush pilots, from park rangers to concessionaires. The Denali Mountaineering Jukebox preserves first person accounts of mountaineering and related activities. Interviews focus on the changing role and importance of climbing in historical, scientific, recreational, commercial, and management perspectives. The recordings provide an important record of the people and events that have shaped the history of the Park as one of the world's premier mountaineering venues. Interviews offer a glimpse into the challenges, dangers, and rewards of climbing on Denali and the surrounding area. A previous National Park Service (NPS) sponsored Jukebox on Denali mountaineering and bush flying is significantly augmented by this project. The previous project, produced in 1992 by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Oral History Program with interviews by Bill Brown, has been incorporated into the current Jukebox.
This project was carried out under a cooperative agreement between the NPS and the UAF Oral History Program at Rasmuson Library. Hollis Twitchell, a Cultural Specialist for Denali National Park and Preserve, managed the Park's involvement in the project. David Krupa, Research Associate for the Oral History Program, conducted the interviews and oversaw the construction of the Jukebox. Jarrod Decker and other staff members of the Oral History Program designed and produced the Jukebox. The Oral History Program would like to thank Roger Robinson, Brian and Diane Okonek, Jim Wickwire, Dennis Kogl, Laurie Larson, Colby Coombs, and Will Forsberg for generously supporting the project with photographs from their personal collections.
- For more information about Project Jukebox,
call the UAF Oral History Program at (907) 474-6672.
This Project Jukebox highlights stories related to the history of dog mushing in Alaska. We wanted to showcase some of our historic oral history interviews and this project gave us the opportunity to incorporate new recordings into our collection, as well. While there are many well-known figures in Alaskan dog mushing, we selected stories from some who are less well-known and who might otherwise go unheard, and according to how their experiences reflected the themes we wanted to be sure were represented in the project. The recordings included in this project represent various aspects of dog mushing, including: traditional use, freighting, mail carrying, recreational use, tourism, sled building, trail systems, dog care, and racing.
People who visit this website can access visual and oral resources that reconstruct the stories of how dog teams have been used in Alaska. The site includes recordings from the Oral History Collection at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as historic photographs and film clips from our collections, from other Alaska institutions, and from personal family collections.
Click here for a list of all the material relating to dog mushing available in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library's on-line catalog .
This Project Jukebox highlights conversations with long-term residents of Seward, Alaska about their lives, and traditional activities in the area around Exit Glacier from 1950-1980. The people interviewed are a diverse group, ranging from skiers, hikers and mountaineers, to snowmachiners, hunters, dogmushers, Park Service managers, and construction workers on the Exit Glacier Road that now provides easy access to the glacier and park visitor center.
Other topics discussed in the interviews include: life in Seward and how it has changed; the 1964 Earthquake; construction of the Exit Glacier Road; changes in the glacier and the local animal populations; a snowmachine tour operation on Harding Icefield; hunting; and effects of the establishment of Kenai Fjords National Park in 1980. During the interviews, people used colored pens to mark the areas they used on USGS maps. These maps are visible on this website as interactive Google maps.
Click here for a list of all the material relating to Exit Glacier and Seward, Alaska available in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library's on-line catalog .
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska on March 24, 1989 when the Exxon Valdez oil tanker struck Bligh Reef. An estimated eleven million gallons (257,000 barrels) of North Slope crude oil flowed into the Sound, creating the biggest tanker oil spill in U.S. history at that time.The oil fouled 1,300 miles of wildlife-abundant shoreline from Cordova to Kodiak Island and killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine mammals. The communities of Cordova, Valdez, Chenega, Seward, Nanwalek, Port Graham, Seldovia, Homer, and Kodiak were all greatly impacted. Oil washed up on shore as far away as the village of Chignik on the Alaska Peninsula, 470 miles from Bligh Reef. The human damage included financial and subsistence loss and increases in drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, mental health problems, and occupational problems.
The oil spill not only saddened those who gained food, income and spiritual sustenance from a wild and beautiful place, but caused widespread outrage in the nation’s environmental community. This led to demonstrations, boycotts of Exxon gas stations, and protests by Exxon shareholders. There were Congressional hearings, criminal indictments, and major overhauls of oil-spill prevention and cleanup laws. It led to the formation of Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (PWSRCAC), which promotes environmentally safe operation of the Alyeska Pipeline Marine Terminal in Valdez, Alaska and the oil tankers that use it.
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Project Jukebox contains interviews with people directly caught up in the oil spill. People talk about how the spill impacted their lives and livelihoods, the cleanup work they did and whether the cleanup was effective, impacts to the fish and wildlife, long-term effects of the spill, and the regulatory and governmental structure of oil spill prevention and response. These stories, plus many more, appear in the book: The Spill: Personal Stories from the Exxon Valdez Disaster, by Stan Jones and Sharon Bushell. (Kenmore, WA: Epicenter Press, 2009). PWSRCAC created this project to preserve a record of the Exxon Valdez disaster to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
The Alaska Communities of Memory Project was a statewide effort from 1994-1996 funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum to provide an opportunity for people in communities around Alaska to share memories of their community and to reflect on what made their community special. These gatherings were held in Bethel, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Kenai-Soldotna, Kotzebue, Nome, Unalaska, and Wasilla.
This Jukebox, also funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum, highlights some of the storytelling from Fairbanks, Alaska in 1995 and 1996. Three community storytelling events were held, each with a different theme: celebration of holidays (December 9, 1995); life along the river (March 2, 1996); and history of Creamer's Field (April 3, 1996).
Stories from ten people from Fairbanks are in this Jukebox based upon their importance to the overall telling of Fairbanks' history. A representative sample was taken from each of the sessions. Story selection was made by Dr. William Schneider, Curator of Oral History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Click on a picture below to access a person's interview.
The people of Bristol Bay have long depended on the region’s salmon fisheries. This project contains oral history interviews with seven longtime residents of Dillingham, Alaska in the Bristol Bay region who talk about their involvement in fishing and their efforts to address fisheries management and resource issues over the years. They also reflect on the most significant changes they have witnessed during their lifetimes, and look to the future to offer perspectives for young people today. The project explores how livelihoods connected to the environment have both continued and changed in Bristol Bay over time.
The oral history project was conducted between 2013 and 2015 by Karen Hebert, who at the time was an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. The Project Jukebox was completed in May 2016 by Karen Brewster of the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Funding for this project was generously provided by the National Science Foundation’s Arctic Social Sciences program and by Yale University’s MacMillan Center.
This project contains oral history interviews and photographs from Native and non-Native people who live near or have been associated with the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, located in the central Brooks Range of northern Alaska. In the early 1990s, the National Park Service funded the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program to conduct interviews in Alatna, Allakaket, Anaktuvuk Pass, Bettles, Hughes, Huslia, Wiseman, and with Park Service employees and other people associated with the Brooks Range about their lives and experiences related to the Park.
The material was put into a Macintosh only Hypercard computer program and was accessible at the University and the Bettles Visitor Center. In 2000, Bill Burke and Jarrod Decker of the UAF Oral History Program began to convert the program to a web-based format. From 2002 to 2004, additional interviews were conducted with people from a wider variety of backgrounds with experiences related to the area before it was designated a national park in 1980. The addition of these interviews and final conversion of the project for the internet were completed by Marie Mitchell and Marla Statscewich of the UAF Oral History Program. The current Drupal-based version of the program was completed in 2012 by Leslie McCartney, Marla Statscewich, Karen Brewster, and Jeannine Haney of the UAF Oral History Program. Many thanks to Ilana Kingsley, Web Librarian at Rasmuson Library for the design and development of this most recent version.
You will find other material related to Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve at the Gates of the Arctic Research Portal. The portal provides a single point of entry where you can find all the digital information available at the University of Alaska Fairbanks relevant to the resident zone communities within and surrounding the park. Both of these projects have been created by the Oral History Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks and funded by the National Park Service, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.
The Alaska Communities of Memory Project was a statewide effort from 1994-1996 funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum to provide an opportunity for people in communities around Alaska to share memories of their community and to reflect on what made their community special. These gatherings were held in Bethel, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Kenai-Soldotna, Kotzebue, Nome, Unalaska, and Wasilla.
This Homer Communities of Memory Project Jukebox, also funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum, highlights the gathering at Land's End Resort in Homer, Alaska on April 26 & 27, 1996, where people came together to share stories and talk about what makes Homer so special and appealing to its residents. There were three sessions of storytelling, with each covering a different theme: "Tales of the Sea" related to fishing; "One Hundred Years of Endurance" focused on early homesteading; and "Community Ties" was about what brings the community together, the kind of place it is, and why it is important. A selection of stories from these two days are presented below. You can view a list of all the participants by going to the Session Details page. There were also seven informal brown-bag lunch gatherings held around town from January to April 1996 that were recorded and are available at the Pratt Museum Archives in Homer.
Click on a picture below to access a person's interview. Thanks to the participants and their families for allowing us to share these stories and for providing photographs. Additional photos related to Homer can be found in the Alaska Digital Archives.
This Project Jukebox highlights stories related to the history of judges in Alaska. Prior to Statehood, courts in Alaska were part of the Territorial justice system run by the federal government and cases were decided by Municipal and Village Magistrates and U.S. Commissioners, many of whom did not have a legal background. Court was held in roadhouses, in kitchens or living rooms of village households, or aboard Revenue Cutter ships patrolling the coastline. With statehood in 1959, a new state justice system was created under the terms of the Judiciary Article of Alaska's new constitution which formalized, unified, and professionalized the judiciary. Three Supreme Court justices and eight Superior Court judges were initially appointed. The District Court was established in 1968, and the Court of Appeals in 1980. Magistrates continue to serve as judicial officers in the District Courts, but they do not need to be lawyers and have more limited jurisdiction than a judge. Magistrates hear small claims or misdemeanor cases. For many residents of rural Alaska, magistrates may still be their first point of contact with the state's judicial system.
The experiences of our state's early judges shed light on the social, political, and cultural fabric of life in Alaska in a new way. The recordings represent various aspects of judgeship, including: establishment and early days of the various aspects of the court system, the judiciary article, judicial selection and retention, the day to day life of being a judge, joys and challenges of being a judge, relationships with the community, and rural justice.
People who visit this Website can access visual and oral resources highlighting aspects of the history of Alaska's court system. The site includes recordings from the Oral History Collection at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Joint Archives of the Alaska Court System and Alaska Bar Association in Anchorage, as well as historic photographs and film clips from the UAF collections, the Alaska Court System, other Alaska institutions, and personal family collections.
The Kotzebue Communities of Memory Project Jukebox highlights the gathering that took place at the NANA Museum in Kotzebue from February 29 to March 2, 1996. People came together during these sessions to share stories and talk about their experiences with war, whether it was World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam Conflict. People described what it was like being in the military and then returning home, while others told stories about what it was like at home in Kotzebue during these wars. Walter Sampson of Kotzebue facilitated the event.
The Kotzebue Communities of Memory program began with an introduction by Walter Sampson, followed by a reading of names of people from the surrounding communities who served in the military. This was followed by individuals coming on stage and sharing their stories and memories.
Click on a picture below to access a person's interview. Thanks to participants and their families for allowing us to share these stories. Photos related to Kotzebue can be found in the Alaska Digital Archives.
This Jukebox, also funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum, highlights some of the storytelling from Nome, Alaska in February 1996, where people talked about the history of life and activities in Nome.
Eight stories were selected from the Nome sessions for inclusion based upon their importance to the overall telling of Nome's history. Selection was made by: representatives of the original Nome Communities of Memory organizing committee (Nancy Mendenhall, Bonnie Hahn, Caroline Reader, and Bernadette Stimpfle); Rose Atok Fosdick, a cultural and humanistic advisor on the Jukebox project; and Dr. William Schneider, Curator of Oral History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dr. Pat Partnow was the project's independent evaluator. The booklet "Communities of Memory: The Lives and Adventures of Nomeites Old and New Through the Seasons...And Through the Years" written and published by George Sabo (Nome, 1997) contains transcripts and photographs from the Nome session. George Sabo also produced a video based on the Nome event.
Click on a picture below to access a person's interview.
This project highlights stories related to the history of aviation in Alaska and the role aviation has played in changing our state's economy and transportation system. While there are many well-known pioneers in Alaskan aviation, we selected stories from some of the lesser known figures who also have left a legacy and who might otherwise go unheard. It includes recordings from the Oral History Collection at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as historic photographs and film clips from our collections, from other Alaska institutions, and from personal family collections.
These are just a few of the oral history interviews about aviation which are available at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program. Click here to see an entire list of recordings related to aviation in Alaska in our collection.
Click here for a list of all the material relating to aviation available in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library's on-line catalog (once there, refine your search using the box that appears on the bottom of the page).
Click here for a list of all the photographs in the Alaska Digital Archives that relate to aviation.
Today, the Alaska Railroad from Seward to Fairbanks and the Whitepass and Yukon Railroad in Skagway are the only railroads in the state. Historically, there were others that have since disappeared: The Copper River and Northwestern Railroad which serviced the Kennecott Copper Mine and the communities of Cordova, Chitina and Katalla; The Tanana Valley Railroad which ran from Fairbanks to gold mines at Fox and Chatanika; The Yakutat and Southern Railroad which transported fish from the Situk River to a cannery in Yakutat; and The Wild Goose and other small lines which provided regional transportation to gold miners near Nome.
People who visit this website can access visual and oral resources that reconstruct the stories of pioneering efforts to establish Alaska’s early railroads and highlight the history of the communities they served. It includes recordings from the Oral History Collection at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as historic photographs and film clips from our collections, from other Alaska institutions, and from personal family collections.
Click here for a list of all the material relating to railroads available in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library's on-line catalog .
This project includes oral history recordings of residents of northern Alaska talking about sea ice conditions, observations over time, and changes that are occurring.
The collection includes archival interviews recorded from 1978 to 1980 as part of a study related to potential offshore oil development, and from 2008-2009 as part of a Geophysics Ph.D. project about sea ice thickness along spring whaling trails offshore of Utqiaġvik (Barrow).
More recent interviews were recorded in: November 2013 with Iñupiaq whalers in Utqiaġvik talking about the previous year's ice conditions and long-term changes they have experienced; February 2016 with more Iñupiaq whalers in Utqiaġvik talking about ice saftey and changing sea ice conditions; and March 2016 with Iñupiaq subsistence hunters in Kotzebue (Qikiqtaġruk) about their ice experiences. Kotzebue was added to the project in 2016 as a comparative location with different ice conditions than around Utqiaġvik. The goal is to offer long-term observations about sea ice in northern Alaska.
Transcripts of some of the original 1978 to 1980 interviews appear in Historical References to Ice Conditions Along the Beaufort Sea Coast of Alaska by Lewis H. Shapiro, Ronald C. Metzner, and Kenneth Toovak (Scientific Report, NOAA Contract 03-5-022-55, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, September 1979). The Iñupiaq recordings were originally translated by Molly Pederson. New translations were done in 2014 by Muriel Hopson and Ronald H. Brower, Sr. specifically for inclusion in this project. A list of Iñupiaq sea ice terminology is also provided. Spellings for Iñupiaq words that appear in the transcripts were provided by Ronald Brower, Sr. or were found in the North Slope Iñupiaq to English Dictionary compiled by Edna Ahgeak McLean (Alaska Native Language Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2012).
Seldovia is a small community of approximately 260 people on the Kenai Peninsula in Southcentral Alaska. Another 150 people live in the surrounding area. Occupied for thousands of years, the Seldovia Bay area was a meeting and trading place for the Kodiak Koniaqs, the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq from the Aleutian Islands, the Chugach people from Prince William Sound, and the Dena’ina people of Cook Inlet. Russians arrived in the late 1700s, establishing a trading post and a church. With the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867, European-Americans arrived, particularly Scandinavians, drawn by Seldovia’s rich fisheries and other natural resources. All these traditions infuse the culture of modern Seldovia.
Once the largest community in the area, Seldovia was known as “the boardwalk town” for its elevated town center along the beach, filled with busy canneries and other commercial enterprises. But in the mid-20th century, Seldovia underwent several tremendous upheavals in a short span of time. A new highway was built that connected the community of Homer, on the opposite side of Kachemak Bay, to the Alaska road system, pulling commerce and families away from Seldovia. The fisheries economy largely collapsed, and the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake caused the land to subside several feet, flooding waterfront properties and the boardwalk during high tides. The waterfront, which was also the business district, was demolished and the beach was buried under a seawall, completely changing the face of the community.
Today, Seldovia survives as a smaller, quieter town, depending largely on local government, commercial fishing and tourism for its economy. Modern Seldovia culture is strongly influenced by both Alaska Native and European-American traditions. Seldovia remains relatively isolated, accessible only by boat or small plane, and most of the families who make their home here can trace their roots back several generations in this little village by the sea. Although life here can be challenging, Seldovia is a community of people who are reluctant to leave.
The Seldovia Project Jukebox contains recordings of oral histories collected by Jan Yaeger for the Seldovia Village Tribe’s oral history project, In Our Own Words. In Our Own Words was funded by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and designed to capture Seldovia’s stories and history as remembered by the community and tribal elders who remember Seldovia as it was in its heyday. The Jukebox was completed in 2015 and 2016 by Lisa Krynicki and Karen Brewster of the Oral History Program at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
This project contains oral history interviews about Ted Stevens (1923-2010), who served as Alaska's United States Senator from 1968-2009. It contains an interview conducted with Senator Stevens in 1987 by John Whitehead, and interviews with some of Senator Stevens' professional colleagues and former employees conducted by Charles Fedullo and Paul McCarthy in 2009 and by Mary Anne Hamblen and Karen Brewster in 2011.
The Ted Stevens Project Jukebox was created in 2012 with funding from the Ted Stevens Papers Project at the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives, Elmer. E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks, which is funded by a grant from British Petroleum, Inc. and the Pollock Conservation Council. This Jukebox was created by Karen Brewster and Marla Statscewich of the Project Jukebox office at Rasmuson Library.
This Jukebox, also funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum, highlights some of the storytelling from Unalaska, Alaska on April 26 and 27, 1996, where people told stories about their life in Unalaska, the sense of community there, and what makes it a special place to live.
Click on a picture below to access a person's interview.
This project contains oral history interviews and photographs from Native and non-Native people who live near or have been associated with Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in south-central Alaska. The region has a long history of human use including the Ahtna and Upper Tanana Athabascan people in the interior who lived a traditional subsistence lifestyle of moving with the seasons to hunt and fish, and the Eyak and Tlingit living in larger villages on the coast. Non-Natives entered the Copper Basin region beginning in the 1780s, expanding their activities from trapping and trading to mining in the Wrangell Mountains. The most notable mine is at Kennecott where copper was hauled out by railroad to the coastal community of Cordova from 1911 to 1938. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park was first established as a national monument in 1978, and gained full National Park status in 1980 with passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
In the early 1990's, the National Park Service wanted to better document local history by recording stories from local residents about their lives and experiences related to the Park, its establishment, and subsistence living in the area. The Park Service funded the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to conduct interviews with residents of Chitina, Copper Center, Gakona, Glennallen, Kennecott, Kenny Lake, Nabesna, Valdez, Yakutat, and with National Park Service employees.
Additional interviews were conducted from 1998 to 2002 in Chisana, Chistochina, Chitina, Copper Center, Gulkana, Tazlina, and Yakutat.
Finally, in 2013 and 2014 interviews were conducted in the Alaska Highway communities of Dot Lake, Healy Lake, Northway, Tanacross, Tetlin, and Tok, after the Park Service determined that they have customary and traditional ties to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park area.
Elaine Abraham was born and raised in Yakutat, Alaska, where she now resides. Her father was a traditional Tlingit chief and Elaine was raised in the traditional Tlingit manner. After earning a nursing degree and working for several years in Arizona, she returned to Alaska as the first Tlingit registered nurse. She served at hospitals in Juneau, Sitka - Mt. Edgecumbe, and in Bethel during a diphtheria epidemic. She assisted in the opening of the Alaska Native Health Service Hospital in... Read More
Billy Adams was born in 1965 in Barrow, Alaska, and is the youngest of twelve children of Rebecca and Baxter Adams. Billy learned to hunt from his father, uncles, brothers, and community elders. Being from a successful whaling family, Billy went out whaling at a young age. He was twelve years old when he first paddled a whaling boat. Billy is a passionate whaler and hunter with much experience and knowledge of the sea ice. Billy has worked for the North Slope Borough Wildlife Department... Read More
|Jacob Adams, Sr.||
Jacob Anaġi Adams, Sr. is an Iñupiaq elder from Barrow, Alaska. He was born in 1946 to Rebecca and Baxter Adams, and grew up in a family of twelve children that was highly dependent upon hunting and fishing. He started whaling when he was seven or eight years old, learning from his father and his uncle, Whitlam Adams. Jacob left Barrow to attend the Wrangell Institute boarding school in Wrangell, Alaska, and completed high school at Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska, because at... Read More
Otis Ahkivgak was born in 1891 in Wainwright, Alaska, but lived along the northern Beaufort Sea coast. Typical of Inupiaq families at that time, they moved around a lot following the seasons and available food sources. Starting in 1902, after a measles epidemic, the family spent winters at Flaxman Island. Otis grew up hunting for caribou, seals, and polar bear, setting nets for fish, reindeer herding, and trapping foxes. Otis whaled with Taaqpak at Cross Island, and married his daughter,... Read More
Roy Ahmaogak was born in Barrow, Alaska to Lawrence (Savik) and Myrna Ahmaogak. He started whaling and hunting at a young age. He learned about sea ice from his father and other knowledgeable elders of the community, including Fred Okpeaha. Roy continues to be an active crew member on his family's whaling crew.
Herman Qallu Ahsoak was born in 1964 in Barrow, Alaska, and is one of fourteen children of Jennie and Mark Ahsoak, Sr. Herman learned to hunt and whale at a young age from his father, uncles, brothers, and community elders. He is a passionate whaler and hunter with much experience and knowledge of the sea ice, although he says that he continues to learn from elders who have been whaling longer than he has. Since 2004, Herman has been whaling captain of the Quvan Crew. He performs Iñupiaq... Read More
Jacob Ahwinona was an Inupiaq elder from Nome, Alaska. He was born near White Mountain, Alaska in 1923 to Joshua and Nora (Apok) Ahwinona. He was raised in White Mountain and attended school there through the eighth grade. He moved to Nome to work for the U.S. Mining Company on their gold dredges and as a mechanic. He then was an equipment operator for the Nome public schools. In 1950, he married Hannah Anagick from Unalakleet. Jacob was an active member of the Nome community being involved... Read More
Judy Alderson was a ranger in the Gates of the Arctic National Park in the early 1980's. At the time of her interview in 2004, she still worked for the National Park Service in the Anchorage office.
|Bob Allen||Bob Allen was a long-time resident of Unalaska, Alaska, who participated in the Unalaska Communities of Memory storytelling event in 1996.|
|Clarence "Talliq" Allen, Sr.||
Clarence "Talliq" Allen, Sr. was born in 1925 in Noatak, Alaska. After growing up in a small village and living a traditional Iñupiaq hunting and fishing lifestyle, in 1943, Clarence joined the Alaska Territorial Guard and served in the military until 1945, when he then went to work for the U.S. Department of Defense at Fort Richardson in Anchorage. He returned to northwestern Alaska and in 1950 joined the National Guard, serving a total of 36 years before he retired. Clarence learned to be... Read More
Roger Allin worked for the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park identifying management areas. He was a fisheries biologist and lived in Alaska for a number of years. Because of his knowledge and because he enjoyed showing people these areas, he was often called upon to take VIP's to different parts of Alaska. At the time of his 1993 interview for the Wrangell-St. Elias Project Jukebox, Roger was living in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Alice Ambrose is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Hughes, Alaska. She is the daughter of Susie Williams, a well known name in the Koyukon region.
Andy Anderson was born in 1946 and raised on a farm in southern Illinois. In 1964, at age 16, he moved to Seldovia, Alaska where his brother was already living. He worked in the canneries and as a commercial fisherman, before becoming the community's chief of police in 1979. He also did construction work in Anchorage, ran tug and diving boats in Cook Inlet, and was a heavy equipment operator on the North Slope. Andy retired from the Seldovia police department in 2011, after serving for 32... Read More
Val Anderson was born in Seward, Alaska in 1926, and raised on his family's homestead on Caribou Island in Skilak Lake. His father was a big game hunting guide in the area. Val moved to Cooper Landing in 1940, when he was fourteen years old, after his mother passed away. He served in the Army from 1944 to 1946 and was stationed at Shemya Island in the Aleutians Islands. He worked for the Alaska Road Commission on the road to Kenai, as a fisherman in Cook Inlet, and as a longshoreman for the... Read More
John Andrews was a pilot in the US Army's 404th Bomber Squadron and was stationed in the Aleutian Islands during World War II. He and Louis Blau safely landed a B-24D bomber during whiteout conditions when they couldn't see the runway in Adak. They spotted a hole in the fog and put the plane down further along the Aleutian chain on Atka Island near Bechevin Bay. The entire crew of 11 survived the crash landing on December 9, 1942 and both John Andrews and Louis Blau were awarded medals for... Read More
Gene Angnaboogak is from Wales, Alaska. He grew up living a traditional Iñupiaq lifestyle and learned to hunt on the sea ice from his elders. He continues to hunt bowhead and beluga whales, seals, and walrus for food for himself, his family, and his community. Gene shares his knowledge about sea ice and the arctic environment with scientific researchers, and is an artist who carves ivory.
Will Arthur worked as Ted Stevens’ Executive Assistant for four years before becoming the archivist for the Stevens office. When the Senator closed his office in 2009, Will worked for Senator Ted Kennedy’s office before eventually becoming the archivist for the National Archives in Washington D.C. He helped prepare the thousands of boxes in the Stevens collection that eventually ended up at the Rasmuson Library Archives at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Catherine Attla was a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Huslia, Alaska. She was born at Cutoff in 1927, and grew up speaking her Native language and learning subsistence skills and cultural knowledge from her grandparents in their trapping cabins and fish camps. She married Steven Attla, Sr. in 1944. While raising nine children, Catherine devoted herself to the preservation of her Koyukon language and culture. She worked with anthropologist Richard Nelson and linguist Eliza Jones. She wrote a... Read More
George Attla grew up in Huslia, Alaska when dog teams were used as basic transportation. After suffering tuberculosis as a child, George was limited in his physical abilities but his father gave him puppies to raise. This started a life-long love of dogs, mushing, and eventually dog racing. George, nick-named "The Huslia Hustler," became well known for his sprint racing success in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. For more about George Attla, see: Spirit of the Wind: The Story of... Read More
|Steven Attla, Sr.||
Steven Attla, Sr. is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Huslia, Alaska. He was born in 1924 near Hughes, Alaska but his parents moved down to the Cutoff area when he was about three. He grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle living off the land; hunting, trapping, and fishing following the seasons to different camp locations. He worked as a commercial river boat pilot, for the Public Health Service, and at the Huslia school. Steven and Catherine Attla were married in 1944. Steven is... Read More
Leo Attungowruk was born in 1913 in Point Hope, Alaska, and lived in Point Lay, Alaska. His parents were Minnie and Jakie Attungowruk. Leo grew up living a subsistence lifestyle, where hunting and fishing were critically important for survival. Leo married Martha Ukpiksoun. In the 1950s, he found work helping with the Coast and Geodetic Survey and other visiting projects. As a life-long seal hunter and whaler, Leo learned to understand the sea ice and how to travel and hunt safely on it. Leo... Read More
Roger Babler was born in Monticello Wisconsin. He graduated high school in 1959 and then completed two years training as an electronic technican at a technical school. He ran a small TV/radio repair shop as well as working at General Motors. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1964 and was sent to Alaska to serve at the Site Tare (A Battery A/2/562) Nike Missile Site outside of Fairbanks. He arrived on the same day as Ed Hansen. Roger worked on the plotting boards for the high power... Read More
Jess Bachner was a throw back to the original pioneers of Alaska who were fiercely independent, loved Alaska, and wouldn't have considered living anywhere else. Jess was born in Fairbanks in 1919 to a pioneer mining family. He began working at the early age of 13 and by age 15 was driving truck for Alfred Ghezzi (Alaska Freight Lines). During his early adulthood, Jess made many trips trucking between Valdez and Fairbanks, Valdez and Nabesna, Fairbanks and Livengood, Fairbanks and Caribou.... Read More
At the time of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Gary Bader was the Human Resource Manager for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company (Alyeska). Founded in 1970, Alyeska is a consortium of oil companies responsible for the design, construction, and operation of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and the Valdez Marine Terminal. Gary’s responsibility within Alyeska during the oil spill was to handle safety and fire protection within the Valdez Marine Terminal. Gary later served as Alyeska’s liaison... Read More
Laurel Baird was born in 1949 to Nellie Lena Anderson Olssen and Lawrence Olssen, and grew up in Seldovia, Alaska. Her father was a fisherman of Swedish heritage, arriving in Seldovia in 1912. Her mother was from Chignik, Alaska and was of Russian and Alutiiq/Sugpiaq heritage. In 1959, the family moved to Kodiak, Alaska for a few years as her father followed the fish. Laurel was gone from Seldovia from 1965 to 1980. Laurel is a member of the Seldovia Native Association. She remembers growing... Read More
Chester Ballot is an Iñupiaq elder who was born in 1944 near Selawik, Alaska. Chester grew up in Kotzebue living a traditional Iñupiaq hunting and fishing lifestyle, and graduated from Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska. After graduating in 1962, Chester received electronics training at the RCA Institutes in Los Angelese, California. Chester was drafted and at age 21 began his service in the U.S. Army. With his electronics background, he was first sent to West Germany with the 97th... Read More
Originally from West Virginia, Ray Bane came to Alaska in 1960 to be a teacher in Sitka. He then taught in Barrow and Wainwright, and conducted subsistence research in the Brooks Range. At the time of his 1992 interview, he was working for the Subsistence Division of the National Park Service. He had also been stationed in Bettles. Ray's work focused on documenting subsistence activities and traditional cultural values and he especially focused on the area of Gates of the Arctic National... Read More
Joe Banta has a background in fishing and fisheries and grew up in Cordova, Alaska. He has a B.S. degree in biology from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. As one of the first staff members of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, Joe provides a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Scientific Advisory and Oil Spill Prevention and Response committees.
Mary Barry was born in Seward, Alaska in 1928. Her father worked for the Alaska Railroad and later ran the town's main building supply business. Mary attended college at UCLA in Los Angeles, California, and married her husband, Mel, in 1951. They had two children, and have lived in Anchorage for many years. Mary has become well-known as an author of Alaska history. Some of her publications include: Seward, Alaska: A History of the Gateway City, Pts. 1-3 (M.J.P. Barry, Anchorage, AK... Read More
|Matthew Beans||Matthew Beans is a Yupik Eskimo elder from Bethel, Alaska.|
Donald Bryant Bedford was born in Albany, Oregon in 1922. He became interested in flying as a boy and later studied aeronautical engineering and obtained his pilot's license. Around 1940, he began work as an airplane mechanic at Lockheed in southern California, but Don’s love of airplanes led him to enlist in the Army in 1943 as an aviation cadet. He logged many hours of flight training, but the commanders kept him on the ground, primarily as an aircraft repairman. Don came to Alaska in 1947... Read More
Celia Beetus is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Hughes, Alaska. She was born in Allakaket in 1922, the daughter of Jimmy and Annie Koyukuk. In l938, she married Joe Beetus and they settled in Hughes. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle moving from camp to camp with the seasons. Since her husband, Joe, was a trapper and hunter, they continued to follow this pattern with their own family of eight children until 1957 when a school was built in Hughes. Celia hoped future... Read More
Joe Beetus was a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Hughes, Alaska. He was born in 1915 and raised around Allakaket until he was about 14 when his family moved down to the Hughes area. His mother was Ida and his father Leon. Leon was a prominent member of the community that coalesced around the Episcopal Mission, St. John's-in-the-Wilderness, that was built by Hudson Stuck in l907-08 at the site that became the village of Allakaket. Leon died not long after Joe was born, and his mother married... Read More
For over 25 years, Robert Benda was a biology professor for the Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez, Alaska. He taught a wide range of classes including environmental studies, statistics, and biology. He has a bachelor’s degree in zoology and botany from Indiana State University, a master’s degree in zoology and botany from DePauw University, and a Ph.D. in ecology and systematics from Indiana State University. During the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Robert worked for the Alaska... Read More
Lindberg Bergman is an Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. He was born in 1929 and grew up living off the land and learning traditional skills. He is especially known for his boat building. He married his wife, Lydia in 1947, and they had eleven children. Like most Koyukuk River men of his generation, Lindberg worked away from home many summers when his kids were growing up. He worked at the Utopia mine, was an oiler on the dredge at Hog River, was a firefighter for the Bureau... Read More
Lydia Bergman is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. She was born in 1931 to Agnes Linus and Little William. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle which meant she was not able to attend much school since her family frequently moved from one seasonal camp to the other. She married Lindberg Bergman in 1947 and together they had eleven children. By the 1970s, Lydia began to work, doing jobs such as childcare, sewing, cooking, and being a janitor. In her younger... Read More
|Emil Berikoff Sr.||
Emil William Berikoff . Sr. was born in Wrangell, Alaska in 1944. He grew up and lived the rest of his life in Unalaska, Alaska. He worked as an equipment operator, was a commercial fisherman, was president of the Unalaska Native Fisherman's Association and Ounalashka Corporation, and was involved in the Aleut Corporation. He was married to Harriet Berikoff. Emil also was known for carrying on Aleut traditions by making ... Read More
|Harriet Berikoff||Harriet Berikoff was born in King Cove, Alaska in 1946 to Harry and Agnes Gould. She moved to Unalaska in August of 1965 after marrying her husband, Emil Berikoff, Sr. She is an artist of traditional Alutiiq art forms and teaches classes in cultural crafts, such as making beaded headdresses. Harriet also is active in her community; she has served as a board member of the King Cove Corporation and been involved with the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association.|
|Russell Berry||Russ entered the NPS as a park historian in 1966 at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. His varied service before coming to Denali in June, 1989, included a number of eastern park assignments and management posts. He was assistant superintendant at Big Bend National Park in Texas, and superintendant for 6 years, at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota.|
|Fred Lee Bifelt||
Fred Lee Bifelt is Koyukon Athabascan from Huslia, Alaska. Born in 1958, he began his role as a community leader when he was still a relatively young man. He completed high school in Galena and attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a semester. Fred Lee's parents are Madeline and Cue Bifelt, and his grandfather is Fred Bifelt, one of the oldest elders in Huslia, [who is now deceased]. Fred Lee has served on the Board of Directors of Koyitlotsina Ltd., the village corporation created... Read More
Madeline Bifelt was a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Huslia, Alaska. She was born in 1926 in Allakaket to Edward and Charlotte Bergman. She grew up in the traditional way following the seasonal subsistence cycle of hunting, trapping, and fishing. Her father worked for Wilfred Evans on his boat, "The Imp" hauling goods from Koyukuk for his store in Allakaket, and at Wilfred's sawmill. He also worked for Sam Dubin who had a store in Alatna, which burned and was later rebuilt, and a store and... Read More
Jim Biles was born in Florida in 1944 and currently lives in the Mojave Desert in southern California. His father was an Air Force Colonel. Jim entered the U.S. Army in 1962 when he was 17 years old via the ROTC Program at California State Polytechnic College in San Luis Obispo, California. He graduated in 1967 with a bachelors' degree in business administration. He was then commissioned in the Air Defense Artillery and attended their Officer Basic Course at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was... Read More
|Captain Jim Binkley||
Charles Madison "Captain Jim" Binkley, Jr. was a World War II veteran and popular Alaska riverboat captain. Captain Jim was born in Wrangell, Alaska, on May 16, 1920. He worked in Alaska, piloting freight vessels on the Yukon and Tanana Rivers. He later created the popular Riverboat Discovery tour of the Chena and Tanana Rivers in Fairbanks, Alaska. In addition to running this riverboat tour business, Captain Jim also... Read More
Bob Bishop was born in San Francisco, California in 1944 and grew up in San Carlos, California. He joined the U.S. Army at age 18 after graduating from St. Francis High School in Mountain View, California. After basic training at Fort Ord, California he attended Military Police School in Fort Gordon, Georgia. Bob came to Alaska in December 1963 to work as a MP (Military Police) at the Site Tare (A Battery A/2/562) Nike Missile Site on the bluff overlooking Moose Creek, just outside of... Read More
Percy Blatchford was born in Teller, Alaska in 1929. His father was a fox farmer originally from England, and his mother was from Shishmaref, Alaska. After World War II when fur prices crashed, the family moved to Nome, Alaska. Percy came to Seward in 1954 after serving in the Army, when his mother was sent there for tuberculosis treatment in the local sanitorium. Percy worked as a blaster on the construction of Exit Glacier Road, as a longshoreman, as a carpenter, and as a laborer. Percy... Read More
|Dr. Joseph Bloom||
Dr. Joseph Bloom helped establish mental health programs for the Indian Health Service in Alaska in the late 1960s, and worked to provide coordinated services for rural Alaska. He also worked as a private psychiatrist in Anchorage.
Pete Bowers grew up in Pennsylvania and came to Alaska in 1974 to perform archeological fieldwork in the Alaska Range. He is an archeologist and is president of Northern Land Use Research, Inc., the largest cultural resource consulting firm in Alaska. Pete got involved in sled dog racing in the late 1970's, participating in both sprint races as well as longer distance races. He wrote an article for the Alaska Dog... Read More
Don Brandon grew up near the F.E. Gold Camp in Chatanika, Alaska where his father worked. He now lives in Seattle, Washington and works at Region 10 Disability Business Technical Assistance Center.
Dick Branton worked with the Department of Corrections for the State of Alaska and developed programs to reform and rehabilitate prisoners. He served as Deputy Director for the state's Division of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities where he helped promote cross training between mental health providers and corretions staff in order to best help mental health patients with criminal backgrounds.
Lucille Brenwick grew up in Copper Center, Alaska and went to the BIA Chemawa boarding school in Oregon. She met her first husband in Seattle, Washington when he was in the Navy, and then lived with him in different places around the Lower 48 as his job moved him around the country. She became homesick and returned to the Copper River Basin area without her husband. Once she came back to Alaska, she married Leonard Brenwick, and ran the trading post in Tazlina for a while.
Ross Brockman was a long time Wiseman resident who originally went there hoping the cold climate would help cure a lung ailment. He was an avid fiddler, writer, and gardener. Despite living in the Arctic, Ross was a vegetarian and maintained an extensive summer garden. In 1974, he even caught butterflies swarming around his garden for researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In Wiseman, the story goes that at one point in time Ross Brockman would not speak to Harry Leonard, a local... Read More
Originally from Bronx, New York, Bill Brosge worked as a geologist for the US Geological Survey, Alaska Branch from the early 1940s until 2002. As a geologist, he has done fieldwork in the Brooks Range and produced topographic and elaborate geologic maps of the area. In 1951, he was on the geological mapping expedition led by Bill Patton that traversed the Brooks Range by tracked vehicle. Bill is most well known for his studies of the Lisburne limestone in the northeastern Brooks Range, and... Read More
Ralph Broshes moved to Homer, Alaska in 1973, and as one of the first veterinarians there began his practice out of his house. He built a larger clinic in 1984, and currently has a successful business that offers an important service for the people and animals of Homer.
Eugene Aalaak Brower is an Iñupiaq elder from Barrow, Alaska. He was born in 1948 to Annie (Qaġġun) and Harry (Kupaaq) Brower, Sr., and his growing up was focused on living off the land. Some of his earliest memories are of living in a small sod house at Iviksuk on the tundra inland from Barrow. He learned to hunt, fish, trap, run a dog team, and be a whaler from his father, who was an accomplished subsistence provider for his family. Eugene started whaling at age eight under the mentorship... Read More
Lewis Brower was born in Barrow, Alaska in 1964 to Emily and Arnold, Brower, Sr. He grew up learning about whaling, hunting and sea ice survival from his father who was a successful whaling captain and hunter. Lewis has applied his traditional knowledge about the sea ice environment to his own whaling and hunting, and as a sea ice expert and guide to help others. He is a volunteer with the North Slope Borough Search and Rescue, and has worked for the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium (BASC)... Read More
|Thomas Brower, III||
Thomas “Tommy” Brower, III was born and raised in Barrow, Alaska. Tommy started whaling and hunting at a young age, and learned much about sea ice and whaling from his grandfather, Tom Brower, who owned and operated Brower’s Store and Café and Cape Smythe Air Service. Tommy continues to be an active captain and crew member of his family's whaling crew. He also has served on the board of directors of Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation (UIC).
|Harry Brower, Sr.||
Harry (Kupaaq) Brower, Sr. was born in 1924 in Barrow, Alaska. He was the youngest son of commercial whaler and trader Charles Dewitt Brower, one of Barrow’s earliest non-Native residents, and his Iñupiaq wife, Asiaŋŋataq. Harry and his eight brothers and sisters grew up in a mixed household, where they ate American food and spoke English with their father, and ate traditional Inupiaq food and spoke Inupiaq with their mother. Starting at a young age, Harry learned to hunt, trap and fish in... Read More
|Ronald Brower, Sr.||
Ronald H. Brower, Sr. is an Iñupiaq elder from Barrow, Alaska. He was born in 1949 to Annie (Qaġġun) and Harry (Kupaaq) Brower, Sr. The early years of his childhood were spent inland at Iviksuk on the Inaru River. The family moved back to Barrow around 1954. He started going whaling and hunting on the sea ice when he was about nine years old. Ronald’s knowledge of sea ice around Barrow comes from his many years of experience whaling and from listening to his elders when he was a boy. He... Read More
Born in Seattle in 1930, Bill Brown was a long-time employee of the National Park Service, working in park planning, publication writing and editing, park management, and as regional historian. He came to Alaska in 1975 and was a member of the Park Service's Alaska Task Force that conducted research and worked with local people around Alaska to better understand the areas that were to become new national parks. He played an important role in planning for Yukon-Charley Rivers National... Read More
|Justice Alexander Bryner||
Justice Alex Bryner was born in China in 1943 to Russian immigrant parents and grew up in Menlo Park, California. He earned a law degree from Stanford University in 1969. He came to Alaska in 1969, first serving as a law clerk for Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice, George Boney, then worked in Anchorage as a public defender, in private practice, as a district court judge, as the US Attorney for Alaska, and in 1980 was appointed to the state’s newly formed Court of Appeals. He served as the... Read More
Millie Buck is from Chitina, Alaska and is an active member of the Chitina Native Corporation. Her mother, Margaret Eskilida, also lives in Chitina. Millie was raised in the Chitina area and grew up practicing subsistence activities with her family when she was a young girl. Millie is well known as a pioneer in the bilingual and multi-cultural areas of education and contributed a great deal to the research, teaching, and publishing of Native... Read More
Verona "Ronnie" Budge was born in Draper, Utah in 1928. Her parents were in the restaurant business so they moved around a lot, including to Jackson, Wyoming in 1936. For high school, she attended girls school in Salt Lake City, Utah and Laramie, Wyoming. After one year of college, Ronnie met and married her husband, Charles "Chuck" Budge who was four years older than her. Chuck got his degree in forestry and was employed by the National Park Service. Every few years he was transferred to... Read More
|Buck Bukowski||Buck Bukowski is a long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska. He has done a variety of jobs around Bethel, including maintenance and carpentry work. He has worked for the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC). He is also involved with the Bethel chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).|
Originally from Connecticut, Charlie Campbell came to Alaska in 1975. He studied biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and journalism at Carleton College in Ottawa, Ontario. Charlie moved to the village of Tanana, Alaska on the Yukon River in 1980, and has been traveling the rivers and surrounding countryside ever since as a subsistence hunter, trapper, and fisherman. Charlie has gained valuable insight into river and ice dynamics in interior Alaska from his own years of observation... Read More
Jackie Campbell is married to Keith Campbell, and they came from Iowa to Seward, Alaska in 1971 when he got a job as hospital administrator for Seward General Hospital. Jackie raised her three sons in Seward, and now has sixteen great-grandchildren. Jackie is an outdoor enthusiast who leads an active lifestyle of hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and snowmachining.
Keith Campbell came from Iowa to Seward, Alaska in 1971 for a job as hospital administrator for Seward General Hospital. He retired in 1990. He is married to Jackie Campell, and together they raised three sons. Keith is an outdoor enthusiast who leads an active lifestyle of hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and snowmachining.
Michael Carey has been a journalist in Alaska for more than thirty years. He is a former editorial page editor and columnist for the Anchorage Daily News newspaper, and now in retirement periodically hosts the Alaska Edition radioshow aired statewide on the Alaska Public Radio Network (APRN).
Wally Carlo is an Athabascan who was born in Tanana, Alaska in 1946 and grew up in Ruby, Galena, and Fairbanks. Despite living in the city and getting an education in business, Wally grew up living a subsistence hunting, trapping and fishing-based lifestyle. He learned how to travel and survive in the wilds of interior Alaska and to be a keen observer of the world around him. In addition to his varied career with Native corporations, hospitality services, and as an equipment operator, Wally... Read More
|Joseph "Josie" Carlough||
Joseph "Josie" Carlough is Alutiiq and was born in 1933 in Portlock/Port Chatham, Alaska, thirty miles down the coast from Seldovia. His family moved into Seldovia when he was nine years old after a fire destroyed the Portlock community. From the age of one year old, Josie was raised by his mother, after his father was killed in an accident while working on a pile driver. His mother was from Port Graham, Alaska and his father from the Lower-48. Josie grew up in Seldovia and spent his life... Read More
|Maureen & Bob Carlson||Maureen and Bob Carlson moved to Bethel, Alaska in 1995. They both were teachers having taught in other places in Alaska. Maureen became a teacher at Kilbuck Elementary School in Bethel. She was born in New York City and lived in New England from 1965-1990, when she moved to Alaska. Bob works for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in Bethel.|
|Judge Victor Carlson||
Born in 1935, Victor Carlson grew up on a farm in Michigan, served in the Navy at Adak Island, and went to law school at the University of Michigan. He came to Alaska in 1962 to work for Attorney General Ralph Moody. He went on to work for the Attorney General’s office in Fairbanks, was attorney for the Greater Anchorage Area Borough, was the first Public Defender in Anchorage when the agency was established in 1969, was Superior Court judge in Sitka, and was Superior... Read More
|Diane Carpenter||Diane Carpenter is a long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska. She was the local coordinator for the Bethel Communities of Memory project held in Bethel, Alaska in January 1996.|
|Pearl Laska Chamberlain||
Born in West Virginia in 1909, Pearl was a Women's Air Service Pilot (WASP) in World War II, a pilot in Alaska following the war, and a flight instructor. Though she had humble beginnings growing up and learning to fly in West Virginia, she quickly turned her interest toward the north, coming to Alaska in 1944 after many years of flying, training and teaching. Her adventures as a pilot involved everything from Powder Puff Derbies to filling her tank with water instead of gasoline. In March... Read More
Lena Charley is an Athabascan elder who was born around 1929 in Chistochina, Alaska. She grew up in Chistochina and Batzulnetas living a traditional subsistence lifestyle. Although her father died when Lena was young, she learned to hunt and trap and survive alone in the woods. At the age of twenty, Lena went to work for local hunting guide, Lee Hancock, as a horse wrangler, and spent over twenty years working as a hunting guide in the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains around Nabesna, Slana,... Read More
|Magistrate Arlene Clay||
Born in 1912 and originally from Maine, Arlene Clay came to Nome, Alaska in 1944 with her husband, Earl, to work for the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) . In 1946, they moved to Aniak, Alaska to serve another two years with the CAA. They enjoyed life along the Kuskokwim River, so they made Aniak their home. Arlene served as Aniak’s magistrate from 1960 to 1977, and lived in a cabin on the Kuskokwim River for 67 years until her move to a retirement community in Wasilla in early 2011.... Read More
John Haile Cloe was born in Stafford County, Virginia in 1938. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1963, and went on to serve 29 years in the U.S. Army. As an infantry officer, he served two tours in Vietnam and was later assigned to the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 1970, he drove to Anchorage, Alaska in search of cooler weather and was assigned as Exercise Plans Officer for the Army. In 1973, John became the civilian Alaska Air Command historian at Elmendorf... Read More
|Jack Coghill||Jack Coghill was born in Fairbanks, Alaska on September 24, 1925. Originally a businessman in Nenana, Jack Coghill eventually turned to politics and had a long and distinguished political career. He was mayor of Nenana for 22 years, served in the Alaska territorial and state legislatures, and was the eighth lieutenant governor of Alaska from 1990 to 1994. Jack Coghill also served as one of the fifty-five members of Alaska’s Constitutional Convention in 1955/56 that was responsible for... Read More|
Alta Colberg moved with her family from Seattle, Washington to Seldovia, Alaska in 1936, when she was a young girl. She married John Colberg, a local man, and raised her six children in Seldovia. Alta and her husband owned and operated the Linwood Bar for many years, a popular Seldorvia eatery. Alta was a member of the Hospital Guild, which raised funds to purchase equipment for Seldovia’s hospital. She served on the Seldovia City Council during the “Urban Renewal” period after the 1964... Read More
|Louis "Lou" Collier||
Louis "Lou" Collier was born in eastern Washington. In 1948, shortly after graduating high school, he came to Seldovia, Alaska working as a cook on a salmon tender boat out of Seattle. He served in the military in Korea for two years and returned to Seldovia in 1953. Since then, Lou has served on the Seldovia City Council and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly when it first formed in the 1960s, was project manager for six years of the Urban Renewal Program after Seldovia was devastated by... Read More
Born and raised in Texas, Bruce Collins came to Alaska in 1979 to work on the National Park Service's Alaska Task Force that conducted research and worked with local people around Alaska to better understand the areas that were to become new national parks. Bruce first worked as a ranger for the National Park Service in the Lower 48 starting in 1965. He was Chief Ranger for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve from 1981-1991. At the time he was interviewed in 1992, he was Aviation... Read More
LeNora Conkle and her husband, Bud, came to Alaska after WWII, when he got out of the military. He learned to fly and then got into the guiding business at Tanada Lake. She home schooled their son, Collin who is now a commercial pilot in Fairbanks. They lived off of Mile 58 on the Tok Highway in what eventually became part of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Bud Conkle wrote the book Trail of the Eagle, Hunting Alaska with Master Guide Bud Conkle. For more information about... Read More
Hugh Connelly was born and raised in Sacramento, California. He came to Alaska in 1949 and got a job as a section hand with the Alaska Railroad. He eventually became a locomotive fireman. Hugh met his wife, Sandra, in December 1951 on a blind date with two other people. They married in 1952 and moved to Fairbanks. After his work for the railroad, Hugh began working as a law clerk with local Fairbanks attorneys Bob McNealy and Ed Merdes. Hugh passed the Alaska Bar Exam without ever taking... Read More
Sandra Connelly was born in Saskatchewan, Canada and moved to Vancouver when she was eight years old. She went to nursing school at St. Paul’s in Vancouver. She came to Anchorage, Alaska in 1951 to work at a hospital run by the Sisters of Providence. Sandra met her husband, Hugh Connelly, in December 1951 on a blind date with two other people. They married in 1952 and moved to Fairbanks where they had five daughters.
|Chris Cooke||Chris Cooke was born in Springfield, Ohio in 1943. He came to Alaska in the early 1970s, where he has worked for Alaska Legal Services, practiced law, and was the superior court judge in Bethel from 1976-1986. As a private attorney, Chris represented many Alaskans in a lawsuit in the mid-2000's against Jesuit priests who sexually abused children under their care in rural Alaska. He also served on the Board of Regents for University of Alaska from 1975-1977.|
|Colby Coombs||Colby is an accomplished mountaineer and guide who, together with his wife Caitlin Palmer, owns and operates Alaska Mountaineering School in Talkeetna. The couple have also recently acquired the Okonek's Alaska Denali Guiding. Colby is a gifted mountaineer and teacher, having worked his way through National Outdoor Leadership School and mentored under Brian Okonek on trips in the Alaska Range. He has climbed some of the most technically challenging routes in Alaska, and endured a devastating... Read More|
Tom Copeland was born in Hilo, Hawaii and raised in Tucson, Arizona. His family immigrated to Alaska in 1962, where Tom began fishing in Cordova the following year. On March 24, 1989 Tom was on the board of Cordova District Fishermen United. Two weeks after the oil spill, Tom resigned from the Board to do what he describes as “bucketeering” or removing oil from water by hand with buckets. Tom’s cleanup efforts were conducted independently from the organized industry and government cleanup... Read More
Raymond Coppock is from Kotzebue, Alaska. He served twenty-five years in the Alaska National Guard starting in 1967, and ended up commanding a guard unit. From February 29 to March 2, 1996, Raymond participated in the Communities of Memory public storytelling event held in Kotzebue where local residents spoke about their memories of and experiences related to the military. He currently works as a counselor/therapist in Kotzebue.
|Michael Covington||Michael is the founder of Fantasy Ridge guiding service and is renowned for his climbing and guiding accomplishments. He has decades of experience doing difficult and committed climbs in Alaska and elsewhere. Long before the ascendance of "adventure tourism," Michael was putting together guided trips that pushed the envelope of the possible. While the West Buttress route was becoming the standard "milk route" up Denali, Michael was challenging his clients with risky climbs on the West Rib and... Read More|
Steve Cowper was a lawyer on the Vern Weiss case in 1982. He served in the Alaska House of Representatives before being elected the sixth Governor of Alaska from 1986 to 1990.
Ella Craig was a social worker in Kodiak, the Aleutian Islands, and in Anchorage, Alaska. She helped start the National Association of Social Workers chapter in Alaska, she advocates for the elderly and was on the Alaska Commission on Aging, and volunteers with the Geriatric Education Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Rachel Craig was born in 1930 in Kotzebue, Alaska. She grew up speaking her native Iñupiaq language and living a traditional lifestyle, where they relied upon hunting seals and caribou, fishing, and berry picking for their food and used dogteams to travel between town and seasonal camps. She was well known as an Iñupiaq language linguist and educator who documented, preserved, and passed on knowledge about Iñupiaq history and language in the Kotzebue region. She was... Read More
Darlene Crawford grew up in Seward, Alaska and moved to Seldovia in 1959. She worked at the Wakefield Cannery as an accountant in the 1960s, as the city clerk treasurer for six years, and at the Seldovia Native Association from 1975 until 2007. She also has served on the city council and as mayor, and operated a shop selling ceramics. Currently, she is chairman of the Seldovia Arts Council, is treasurer for Seldovia Bible Chapel, and runs a small wedding and event photography business (... Read More
John Crawford is Alaska Native and was born at a trapping camp on the Kuskokwim River near McGrath, Alaska. In 1939, his family moved to Anchorage, and in 1945 they moved to Seldovia, when John was about nine years old. His father found a job working on a fish tender boat. Eventually, he bought his own boat and started fishing and working in the tender fleet. John graduated from high school in Seldovia in 1955. He was involved with establishment of the Seldovia Native Association in the... Read More
|Don Creamer||Don Creamer is a long-time resident of Fairbanks, Alaska. His family owned and operated Creamer's Dairy until it closed in 1966. The land later became the Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge.|
Lyle Cronk was born in upstate New York and grew up on a farm. He first came to Alaska in 1962 with the U.S. Air Force when he was eighteen years old. After ten years in the Air Force, Lyle went to work for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and in 1973 was assigned to the airport in Northway, Alaska. He was an air traffic controller for thirty-eight years and retired from the FAA in 1998. Since 1978, he also worked for the telephone company as the "telephone guy" in Northway. Lyle... Read More
Moses Cruikshank is an Athabaskan Indian from Beaver, Alaska. Moses spent part of his childhood at St. Mark's Mission in Nenana, Alaska where he became the "dog boy" who helped prepare the dogs to travel on the missionaries' winter circuits. He spent much of his life around dogs and dog teams.
|Judge Beverly Cutler||
Beverly Cutler grew up near Washington, DC and earned a law degree from Yale Law School. She came to Alaska in 1974 as a research attorney for the Alaska Judicial Council. She went on to be an assistant public defender, a District Court judge in Anchorage, and in 1982 was appointed the first judge of the new Superior Court in Palmer. She was the first woman appointed as a Superior Court judge, and retired in 2009.
David David is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. His family originally came from the South Fork of the Koyukuk River. The Allakaket community is basically made up of three groups. Two of these groups consist of Koyukon people, one from the Kanuti and Allakaket areas and another from the region around the South Fork of the Koyukuk. The Inupiaq community of Alatna comprises the third group. People from the South Fork area had a base camp at the mouth of the South Fork of the... Read More
Kitty David is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. She was born in Alatna in 1933 to Oscar and Cora Tobuk Nictune. Ann Edwards, Elma Sam,and Bertha Moses are her sisters. She and her five sisters and two brothers grew up (another brother and sister died as young children) spending a lot of time camping away from the village. Her father and both sets of her grandparents had camps up the Alatna River. After her mother died in 1942, the family spent a lot more time in Alatna, and... Read More
|Roy David, Sr.||
Roy David, Sr. was born in 1937 at camp at Midway Lake, about eleven miles from the village of Tetlin, Alaska. His parents were Titus and Jessie David, and he is the fourth of six children (Kathyrn, Adam, Bentley, Roy, Lydia, Walter). He grew up in Tetlin, living a traditional subsistence lifestyle of hunting, trapping, fishing, and gardening. After leaving the community for work, Roy moved back in 1961 and has continued to live there. He has worked on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, as an... Read More
|Art Davidson||Art is widely renowned for his stirring account of the first winter ascent of Denali in 1967. The book "Minus 148," has garnered critical and popular praise as a classic in mountaineering literature. Art has continued his work as a journalist and essayist, focusing on the plight of indigenous peoples throughout the world. The interview here is an eloquent, if harrowing, account of Art's mountaineering adventures throughout Alaska.|
Sam Demientieff is an Athabascan who was born in Holy Cross, Alaska in 1939, and grew up in Nenana and Fairbanks, and along the Yukon and Tanana Rivers where his father ran a barge service. He graduated from high school at Copper Valley School in Glennallen, and earned a certificate in mineral petroleum technology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Sam worked for Fairbanks Native Association, Doyon, Ltd. and retired from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Sam has extensive knowledge of... Read More
Cora Demit is Upper Tanana Athabascan from Northway, Alaska. Her parents are Andrew and Sarah Jimmie. Her father was originally from the Nabesna area and her mother was born and raised in Tetlin, Alaska. Cora's grandparents on her mother's side are Bill and Eliza Northway from Northway. Eliza was born and raised in Tetlin. Her great-grandparents from Tetlin are Big John and Jessie John. Cora is married to Glenn Demit whose parents are Laura and Joe Demit from Batzulnetas. Cora grew up in... Read More
Ellen Demit was born on May 13, 1913 to Eva and Julius John in the old village of Chena, Alaska, which is now encompassed by the city of Fairbanks. At three months of age, Ellen was adopted by Chief Luke and his wife, Anne, from Goodpaster, Alaska. This type of adoption was a common cultural practice. Following the death of his wife, Chief Luke allowed then three year old Ellen to be adopted again, this time by Selene and Old Blind Jimmy of Healy Lake. Ellen married Frank Felix of... Read More
Bill Demoski is an Athabascan who grew up in Koyukuk, and lived in the Galena area on the Yukon River in interior Alaska, living a traditional hunting, trapping and fishing-based lifestyle. His father, Aloysius Demoski, was a dog team mail carrier in the 1920s and 1930s who depended on good lead dogs to help him determine where the ice was unsafe. Bill moved to Fairbanks around 2006 where he has applied his general knowledge of river ice to the Tanana River.
Bill shared his knowledge... Read More
|Paul Denkewalter||Paul is founder and owner of the outdoor and climbing gear outlet, as well as an accomplished mountaineer with decades of climbing experience in Alaska. Paul's intensity and grace shows through in this interview as he shares stories of climbing some of the most challenging routes in Alaska in the company of other eminent Alaska mountaineers. He gives us an insider's view of climbers, group dynamics, and the changes in mountaineering technology that have helped climbers to reach higher and go... Read More|
Angeline Derendoff was a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Huslia, Alaska. She was born in 1912 to Happy John Issac and Cecelia Happy, and grew up around Hughes and Hog River. Her family spent summers on the Yukon River, where she remembers going to Nulato. She spent many of her younger years in Cutoff, which her father helped found, before the residents relocated to Huslia in the 1950s due to flooding, because it was on higher ground and they could have a school there for their children.... Read More
|John Devens, Jr.||John Devens, Jr. is a long-time Alaska resident who assisted with the cleanup of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. He currently lives in Copper Center, Alaska.|
|John Devens, Sr.||
John S. Devens, Sr. was the mayor of the City of Valdez, Alaska at the time of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and represented the city throughout the cleanup. During the cleanup, he helped form the Oiled Mayors Group, a coalition of leaders from oil communities responsible for managing community relations with Exxon Corporation and VECO. He also helped form the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (PWSRCAC) and served... Read More
|Louis "Packy" Dick||
Louis "Packy" Dick was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Seward, Alaska where his father worked for the military during World War II. He got the nickname, "Packy," from his mother and sister when he was a boy, referring to his penchant for collecting things. Packy has done all kinds of work in his life, from longshoring, to logging, to operating heavy equipment, and building docks around Alaska. He retired in 1991. He has been an avid snowmachiner in Seward, since they were first... Read More
|Jim Donini||Jim is a legendary big wall, technical climber especially renowned for his first ascents in Patagonia. Jim shares his climbing philosophy and technique, providing great descriptions of climbs in Alaska such as the Diamond Arete and Northeast Spur on Mt. Hunter, the Cobra Pillar on Mt. Barrille, and his recent epic with Malcom Daly on Thunder Mountain. Jim describes the mentality necessary to keep pushing in the face of adversity, and knowing when to turn back. He also explains why he prefers... Read More|
|Mary Ellen Duggan Clark||
Mary Ellen Duggan Clark moved to Kennecott, Alaska when she was six years old with her family when her father went to work at the copper mine. Her father was a mining engineer, so after living at the Latouche Copper Mine (near the mouth of Prince Williams Sound) they moved to Kennecott. She lived there from 1924 to 1933 and went to school there from first grade until ninth grade. Mary Ellen passed away in 2003.
|Annie Duquette||Annie, who has spent over ten years on the mountain during the climbing season as the on-site manager of basecamp, was wrapping up the season before stepping down to enjoy life at her new home outside Talkeetna. Annie is world-famous as the liaison to the mountain, serving as everything from radio dispatcher to camp counselor. She gives us an especially intimate look at daily life on the mountain, as well as the characters who are drawn to such extreme places. The interview took place in her... Read More|
Wayne Eben was born December 24, 1910 in Unalakleet, Alaska. He lived in Unalakleet for 43 years, and also lived in White Mountain, Nome, and Anchorage. Wayne was raised at a roadhouse his dad operated near Unalakleet, Alaska and started driving dogs when he was ten years old. He became a saw mill owner, carpenter, and electrician. He also taught Native studies at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Wayne passed away on January 9, 2003. For more information about Wayne Eben, see his... Read More
Ann Edwards is an Inupiaq elder from Alatna, Alaska. Ann was born in Alatna to Oscar and Cora Tobuk Nictune. Her sisters include Elma Sam, Kitty David, and Bertha Moses. Ann grew up living a subsistence lifestyle moving from camp to camp with the seasons and speaking her Native language. Her father was a particularly well-known and widely-liked elder on the Koyukuk River. She and her five sisters and two brothers grew up (another brother and sister died as young children) spending a lot of... Read More
Jane Eisemann has been a resident of Kodiak, Alaska for more than 35 years, working as a commercial fisherman for 23 of those years. Jane put herself through college by fishing salmon and herring, and earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in maritime education and training. She currently teaches maritime science and technology as well as natural resources at Kodiak High School. In 2001, Jane Eisemann joined the Prince... Read More
Cole Ellis grew up at the end of the Nebesna Road with his parents, Lorene and Bill, and his brothers Terry, Lynn and Kirk. He was involved in guiding and air taxiing in the Wrangell-St. Elias area. Kirk and Cole are full partners with their dad in guiding out of Devil's Mountain Lodge. When Wrangell-St. Elias National Park was established by President Carter's invocation of the Historic Monuments Act in 1979, people like the Ellises with long-standing ties to the area were greatly affected... Read More
Kirk Elis was a small child when his parents moved to the remote location at Mile 42 of the Nabesna Road in the Wrangell Mountains in 1957 to begin a guiding business. His parents, Bill and Lorene Ellis, struggled for many years to make a living, keep a home, and home school Kirk and his two brothers, Cole and Lynn. Kirk learned the fundamental skills necessary for bush life by following his parents' example. The children were given strict rules and a perimeter beyond which they could not... Read More
Lorene Ellis and her husband, Bill, moved the family from Texas to Alaska in 1954. In 1957, they purchased Devil's Mountain Lodge from the well-known big game guide, Henry Boyden. The Ellises raised their family in this remote location, which lies at the end of the Nabesna Road, some 42 miles into the Wrangell Mountains. Bill became a bush pilot and, with Lorene's help, established a successful guiding business. They had four sons, Terry, Lynn, Cole, and Kirk, who were all involved in... Read More
Fred Elvsaas was born in Seldovia, Alaska in 1933 to Agnes Ponchene Elvsaas and Herman Elvsaas. His father was originally from Norway and his mother was from Kodiak. Fred grew up in Seldovia, with the family moving to Hoen's Spit in the summertime where his mother had a large garden. Fred worked as a commercial fisherman. He played an active role in the establishment of the Seldovia Native Association (SNA) after the 1972 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and served as the organization's... Read More
|Dr. Andy Embick||
Andy Embick grew up in Salem, Oregon and attended Pomona College in Pomona, California. He studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1977. After a year with the Indian Health Service in Nevada and Arizona, Dr. Embick joined Dr. Bernard Gerard at the Valdez Medical Clinic. Andy was well-known in Alaska and beyond, as an accomplished climber, skier, and kayaker. He climbed some exceedingly difficult routes in the Alaska Range and pioneered almost all... Read More
Originally from Seattle, Washington, Shirley English came to Alaska in 1945 as a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She married Bill English in 1948, who grew up in Wiseman, Alaska and made a living as a commercial pilot. As the wife of a pilot, she spent many hours waiting for her husband to come back home safely.
Born in 1923, Bill English spent the first eight years of his life in Wiseman, Alaska. His father, William English, Sr., was the storekeeper in Wiseman. The family moved to a ranch in Oregon, and Bill then lived with his aunt in California to finish his education while his parents returned to Alaska. After completing his education, Bill returned to Wiseman in the summers to visit and later as a pilot. Bill made his living as a commercial pilot, mostly for Wien Airlines, and also worked as a... Read More
|Ron Engstrom||Ron Engstrom was born in Nome, Alaska in 1937 and since 1940 his family has mined for gold at Basin Creek near Nome.|
Frank Entsminger was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana, where he developed a strong interest in the outdoors and wildlife. In the spring of 1962, after graduating from high school, Frank drove to Alaska with a group of friends. He came to Fairbanks, Alaska and around 1965 started a taxidermy business with his friend, Marty Rinio. In 1977, Frank and his wife, Sue, bought property along the Tok Cutoff near Tok, Alaska and continue to live there. Frank and Sue have lived a subsistence-... Read More
Sue Entsminger was born and raised on a farm in Newport, Pennsylvania. Living on a farm, she enjoyed a rural lifestyle and liked the outdoors and hunting. Sue came to Alaska in 1973 with her first husband and their son, who was three years old at the time. Sue met Frank Entsminger at his taxidermy shop in Fairbanks, when she went in looking for a job. Eventually, Frank and Sue married and in 1977 they moved to the Tok Cutoff near Tok, Alaska where they still live. They live a subsistence-... Read More
Margaret "Maggie" Eskilida was born April 12, 1910 in Lower Tonsina, Alaska. Maggie’s parents were the late John Sr. and Miriam Billum. She was raised in Lower Tonsina and the Chitina area. Maggie worked as a midwife in her younger days. Maggie moved to Anchorage in 1954, where she worked for Alaska Native Services (ANS), first in housekeeping and then as a dietician in the kitchen. She worked there for ten years. She moved with her family to Glennallen after the 1964 Earthquake, where she... Read More
Bill Etchells lives at about Mile 8.5 on the Edgerton Road and is known as one of the hardest working homesteaders. He does some of his farming with horses. Originally from Connecticut, Bill first came into the Wrangell mountains in the early 1960's as a guide. At that time, he would walk the horses into the mountains, crossing the Copper River near Chitina. He used an airplane to bring in the clients. Today, he boards horses and lives a pretty frugal subsistence lifestyle alone. When his... Read More
Ronnie Evans is an Athabascan living in Tanana, Alaska on the Yukon River. He travels the rivers and surrounding countryside as a subsistence hunter, trapper, and fisherman. He has knowledge of Athabascan traditions related to river travel and winter survival. From 2010-2013, Ronnie helped lead the Dangerous Ice Project team to known dangerous locations on the Tanana River near the village of Tanana, and shared his insight and knowledge at... Read More
Originally from Yonkers, New York, Clifford Robert "Cliff" Everts came to Alaska in 1943 as a pilot. He has been a major force in Alaska's aviation industry ever since. Much of his experience has been on the North Slope and in the Brooks Range. He flew for Wien Airlines and Arctic Contractors hauling supplies to Barrow and for the oil exploration program in the Naval Petroleum Reserve Alaska. He's also delivered supplies throughout the Brooks Range to places such as Chandler, Schrader, and... Read More
Fred Ewan lives in Gulkana, Alaska. He was born at Crosswinds Lake, about 30 miles from his home. He was married to Stella in 1938 and they had two children. He built his home in 1952 and lived a subsistence lifestyle by trapping and trading until he taught himself to read and write. He worked for the Alaska Road Commission and helped to build the local airport.
As a child, Tlingit was the first language in Farkas' home, and Lena is an excellent Tlingit speaker and translator. Lena Farkas has taught Tlingit language in the Yakutat City Schools and continues to volunteer her time to help the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe with their Songs and Dance, Cultural Camp and Tlingit Language Club for children. She continues to practice her subsistence lifestyle and shares her knowledge about Native medicines and Yakutat Clan history and protocol. She is a lifetime... Read More
|Howard Farley||Howard Farley is a dog musher and fisherman from Nome, Alaska. He is one of the founders of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and helped organize the finish of the first race in Nome in 1973.|
Patience Anderson Faulkner is an Alaska Native, born in Cordova, Alaska. She worked as a legal technician with the litigation team for the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill lawsuit. She has served on several Cordova community boards and commissions, including since 1998 on the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (PWSRCAC) representing Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU). One of Patience’s most influential impacts within... Read More
Jack Ferguson first came to Alaska during World War II when he was in the US Navy on the crew of a gasoline tanker delivering fuel in the Aleutian Islands. After the war, he went to Anchorage and immediately began work for the Alaska Railroad. He held a variety of jobs, including as a section crew member in Healy replacing ties and aligning track, a car oiler, a fireman in the engine on the Seward to Portage route, and an engineer based out of Fairbanks.
Jack Ferguson currently is president of Jack Ferguson Associates, Inc., a lobbying firm that represents companies and associations involved in transportation, communications, natural resource extraction, construction, fishing, timber, shipping and tourism. Previously, he served as Legislative Aide to Representative Floyd Hicks (D-WA) from 1971-1973, Administrative Aide to Representative Don Young (R-AK) from 1973-1976, and was Chief of Staff to Alaska Senator Ted Stevens from 1976-1978.
Born in 1928 and originally from Pennsylvania, Bill Fickus came to Alaska in 1956. Bill was a pilot, guide, and miner. In 1959, he married Lill who was from Arctic Village and Fort Yukon. In 1963, they moved to Crevice Creek, about forty miles north of Bettles, where they lived year-round on a remote homestead hunting, gathering, and raising their own food. They also raised and educated their children there.
Lillian "Lill" Fickus was born in Arctic Village, Alaska and then moved to Fork Yukon when she was ten years old. Her father was from Old Crow and her mother from Arctic Village. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle where the family moved from camp to camp following the seasons. As a teenager, she went to school at Mt. Edgecumbe in Sitka and since she wanted to be a nurse she worked at the hospital in Fort Yukon in the summer. In 1959, she married Bill Fickus. In 1963, they... Read More
|Judge James Fitzgerald||
Born in 1920 in Portland, Oregon, James Fitzgerald worked as a fireman and served in the US Marine Corps before going to law school at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He graduated in 1951 and moved to Alaska shortly thereafter. He was Assistant U.S. Attorney in Ketchikan and U.S. Attorney in Anchorage, Special Legal Counsel to Governor Egan, city attorney in Anchorage, and State Commissioner of Public Safety. He was one of the first eight judges appointed to Alaska’s Superior Court... Read More
Howard Fix was born in Virginia and moved to Northway, Alaska in 1964. He worked in construction, helping build numerous homes in the area as well as the local school. Howard currently lives in Northway with his wife, Jane Fix.
|Will Forsberg||Will Forsberg was interviewed at his home on the Stampede Trail in Healy, AK. He and his wife, Linda, were preparing to leave with their dogs for their camp on the Kantishna River. This is where they stay in the fall until after freeze-up. Then they return to Healy and train dogs until spring when they begin freighting supplies for mountain climbers attempting northern routes on Denali. Because of a Park Service ban on motorized access, dog transportation is the primary way climbers using... Read More|
Kenneth Frank and his wife Caroline were interviewed by Bill Burke, a Research Technician for the Oral History Program, on September 21, 2000. The interview took place at the Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks. The purpose of this interview was to identity some of the photographs that Kenneth had donated to the University Archives. Kenneth and Caroline chose 16 photographs and briefly talked about them both in Gwich'in and in English. This project is the result of their... Read More
|Kenneth Frank||Kenneth Frank and his wife Caroline were interviewed by Bill Burke, a Research Technician for the Oral History Program, on September 21, 2000. The interview took place at the Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks. The purpose of this interview was to identity some of the photographs that Kenneth had donated to the University Archives. Kenneth and Caroline chose 16 photographs and briefly talked about them both in Gwich'in and in English. This project is the result of their... Read More|
Oscar Frank was Peter Frank's son. He grew up in Yakutat, Alaska and knew a great deal about the history of the Tlingit people.
|Richard Frank||Richard Frank was a respected Athabascan Elder from Minto, Alaska. He was born in 1927 to Justin and Lucy Frank, during a time when a nomadic subsistence lifestyle was paramount for survival. His family moved across the lands of Rampart, Stevens Village and Minto. He grew up learning the skills and traditions of his ancestors. This early training set the path and philosophy that Richard followed throughout his life: a strong work ethic, a sense of place, service to his community, fierce... Read More|
Keith Freeman was born in New Hampshire in 1943, and came to Alaska in 1966 at the age of 23. He has worked in construction and as a heavy equipment operator, in particular for a few months on the Exit Glacier Road in Seward, and twenty-one years doing road maintenance in Cooper Landing for the State of Alaska, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. He retired from the State of Alaska in 1999, but since 1975 has had his own business, KF Construction, which does jobs in the... Read More
|Anne Fuller||Anne Fuller grew up in Curry County along the coast of Oregon in the 1950s. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, California from 1970-1974. When she first came to Alaska, she was a teacher in Goodnews Bay from 1979-1982. Since moving to Juneau in 1982, she has worked for the State of Alaska, retiring in 2012. As a fiddler, Anne has been involved in organizing the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau, Alaska since 1991. Anne is also a writer and storyteller. She enjoys the outdoors and is... Read More|
John Gaedeke was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, with summers spent at his parent's lodge at Iniakuk Lake in the central Brooks Range. John and his mother, Pat, now run Iniakuk Lake Wilderness Lodge. Originally, the lodge was focused on hunters, but now the focus has shifted more toward eco-tourism and recreation. John is also a professional photographer.
Ron Gatterdam lives in Fairbanks, Alaska and is a retired professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is an amateur railroad historian and member of the Friends of the Tanana Valley Railroad organization.
Katie Gavenus grew up in Homer Alaska, and was two years old at the time of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Katie, her family, and her community were deeply impacted by the oil spill. Feeling that the impacts of such an event on children were not recognized enough, Katie established Children of the Spill, a digital oral history project featuring young people affected by the Exxon Valdez and 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spills.
|Doug Geeting||Doug is a big, energetic man, and he was busy that day taking phone call bookings for the upcoming climbing season. He is a very lucid man as well, with good descriptions of flying, scenery, rescues, and his own motivations as a glacier pilot.|
Carl "Ivivik" Geffe was born in 1933 in Kiana, Alaska. Carl grew up in Kiana and at age sixteen joined the Alaska National Guard. He went to Nome, Alaska for training as a non-commisioned office in charge (NCOIC), and then he and Roger Atoruk organized the first National Guard unit in Kiana. From February 29 to March 2, 1996, Carl participated in the Communities of Memory public storytelling event held in Kotzebue where local residents spoke about their memories of and experiences related to... Read More
|Taras Genet||Taras, the son of Ray Genet and Kathy Sullivan, climbed Mount McKinley in June, 1991, at the age of 12. At that time, he was the youngest mountaineer to attempt this climb and the youngest to make the summit. He follows in the footsteps of his famous mountaineer-guide father and his mother, who was one of Ray Genet's assistant guides. Ray died before he could lead his son to the summit of Mount McKinley. Climbing expedition leader, Chip Faurot served as mentor to the young climber. Taras is a... Read More|
|Bob Gerhard||Bob is a long-time National Park Service employee who was instrumental in the development of the climbing ranger program at Denali. His understanding of the history of NPS backcountry policy and management is exceptional, and he has been one of the Park Service "insiders" not afraid to take on difficult and sometimes unpopular positions in the interests of protecting the Park experience on Denali. As a ranger at Denali, Bob was in on many search and rescue operations, long before the days of a... Read More|
Originally from Illinois, Shirly Giles came to Seldovia, Alaska in April 1963 with her husband who had already been living in the community. Shirly raised four children in Seldovia and worked at and helped run the library for many years. As a long time resident, Shirly has been active in many aspects of community life and has seen how Seldovia has changed through the years.
Tom Gillespie was born in 1953 and raised in Seward, Alaska. His father worked as a longshoreman and a logger. The family had a homestead on Old Exit Glacier Road and Clear Creek. Tom is an avid outdoorsman, climber, skier, and runner. He has worked as a hunting guide, in the construction industry, and as a heavy equipment operator. In the 1980s, he and his wife ran Creekside Cabins, a bread and breakfast accomodation in Seward.
Richard Glenn was born in 1963 in Mountain View, California. His father worked at the DEW-Line station in Barrow, where he met and married a local woman, Alice Ahmaogak. Richard spent his childhood and youth between California and Barrow, learning the skills of both cultures. As a young teenager, he learned to hunt from his grandfather, Walton Ahmaogak, and his uncle, Savik Ahmaogak. He was soon going out seal hunting with them, and eventually went whaling with Savik, as well as with his... Read More
|Benjamin Golodoff||Benjamin John Golodoff was an Alutiiq elder. He was born in 1933 in Unalaska, Alaska, and lived there all of his life. He worked as a commercial fisherman and crabber, served in the U.S. Army and Alaska National Guard, and was a board member of Ounalashka Corporation. He was an active subsistence hunter and fisherman who followed his Aleut traditions by generously sharing his harvest with other members of the community. He also fought for Alaska Native land rights. Benjamin Golodoff died on... Read More|
James Barry "Jim" Gottstein is an Alaska based lawyer who specializes in business matters and public land law, and is well known as an attorney advocate for people diagnosed with serious mental illness. He was the one of the lawyers on the original mental health trust lawsuit. Since 2002, Jim has devoted the bulk of his time pro bono to the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) whose mission is to mount a... Read More
|Senator Mike Gravel||
Maurice "Mike" Gravel is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and was a candidate in the 2008 presidential election. He served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1963 to 1966 and became its Speaker of the House. Gravel was elected to the United States Senate in 1968. He and Ted Stevens had many public confrontations on issues related to Alaska during the twelve years he was in office. He considers himself a “maverick” who was... Read More
Marcee Gray was born in the Midwest, but fell in love with Homer when she came to Alaska. Despite having no background in boats or fishing, she got a job as a cook on commercial fishing boats in the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands. She saw it as an opportunity to see something new.
Millie Gray lives on the outskirts of Evansville. She and her husband have retired. Millie has a real love for history; she has old pictures of her father and grandfather, of her father's boats, of him making the boats, and of her mother. Millie's father Wilfred Joseph Evans was a trader on the river. Her mother was the daughter of Tobuk and Tinuk, Kobuk Eskimos from the Alatna. Millie's stepmother was Katherine Pitka, an Athabascan from Koyukuk Station. Millie's grandfather was also married... Read More
|Judge Mary Greene||
Judge Mary Greene was a State Appellate Court Judge in Fairbanks from 1985 to 2002 and during her tenure was responsible for some of the legal decisions regarding the Mental Health Trust lawsuit. She was General Counsel for the University of Alaska until her retirement in mid-2007.
Originally from Tennessee, Herbert Lee Griffin came to Alaska in December 1969 as the base munitions officer with the 5010th combat support group at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks. Lee loved flying and hoping to be an Air Force fighter pilot he joined the military in 1968 as a direct commission in the U.S. Air Force ROTC out of Memphis State University. He flunked the flight physical, so went on to be a line loading officer. He first served with the Titan Missile group at Lowry Air... Read More
Joe Griffith grew up in Oklahoma. In 1960, he entered the U.S. Air Force Academy and spent the next four years there. He then went into pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. He served three tours in Vietnam and worked at the Pentagon in readiness assessment. In 1982, Joe came to Alaska to serve as Commander of the Air Force's 21st Wing, which had just failed an operational readiness inspection. Joe retired from the Air Force in 1984, but has continued to reside in Alaska.
John Gruber was born and raised in Seldovia, Alaska. His family history in the community goes back to the late 1800's, with his great-grandparents on his mother's side, Adam Bloch and Eliza Balashoff. His grandmother, Susan B. English, was born in Seldovia in 1904, and his mother, Cecelia "Midge" English, was born there in 1929. His father, Bob Gruber, came to Seldovia in the 1950's as a pilot with Inlet Airways, based out of Homer, Alaska, and met and married Midge. In 1960, Bob Gruber took... Read More
Born and raised in Illinois, Kay Grubis came to Alaska to teach in rural communities. She has worked as a teacher in various rural locations, and then went on to live a subsistence-based lifestyle in a remote cabin in the Brooks Range. She met Steve in 1983, when she was hired by him to work on a project at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. At the time of her interview in 2003, Kay and Steve Grubis continued to live remotely and enjoy their wilderness lifestyle.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Steve Grubis came to Alaska in the 1960s to teach on the Aleutian Islands. He has worked throughout Alaska in education. He then went on to live a subsistence-based lifestyle in a remote cabin in the Brooks Range. Steve met Kay when he hired her in 1983 to work on a project at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. At the time of his interview in 2003, Steve and Kay Grubis continued to live remotely and enjoy their wilderness lifestyle.
Originally from Minnesota, George Gryc came to Alaska in 1943 as a geologist with the US Geological Survey's War Minerals Program. George is well known as an expert in the geology of the Brooks Range and northern Alaska, and had a long career with the US Geological Survey. In 1946, he was part of a geological mapping trip in the Brooks Range from Chandler Lake down the Chandler River to the Colville River. He was in charge of the Survey's Navy Oil Unit division, and then was the chief of the... Read More
|Judge Nora Guinn||
Nora Guinn was born in 1920 in Akiak, Alaska to Joe and Anna Venes. She was educated at Eklutna Boarding School, and high school in Portland, Oregon. She was a BIA school teacher in Tununak, and a United States Commissioner, deputy magistrate and district court magistrate in Bethel. In 1968, she was appointed the first judge of the new District Court in Bethel. She was the first woman and first Alaska Native to hold such a position. Being a fluent Yupik speaker, she would often conduct... Read More
Dan Gullickson moved to Alaska in 1966 to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks and then moved to Barrow where he worked as a music teacher and audio-video specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He eventually moved to Fairbanks, Alaska where he continued to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as an education specialist with primary responsibility for media center operations for schools in rural Alaska. In 1983, he transferred to the Bureau of Land Management as an audio-visual... Read More
|Peter Hackett||Peter is a physician who has dedicated much of his career to high altitude physiology and medicine. His pioneering work at high camp on Denali and Mount Everest has dramatically increased understanding of high altitude physiology and methods for coping with life-threatening conditions such as cerebral and pulmonary edema. In this interview, Peter describes high altitude physiology, processes of acclimatization, and symptoms of conditions of those who become ill. He helps dispel misperceptions... Read More|
|Bonnie Hahn||Bonnie Hahn was born in 1931 and raised in Nome, Alaska. Her father was superintendent of schools in Nome, was deputy Marshall, and worked for the Alaska Road Commission. As a teenager, Bonnie was a telephone operator for the community. She became a school teacher in Nome for many years, including being the physical education teacher at Nome High School. In 1960. she and her husband, Pete, bought the old Cape Nome Roadhouse and helped repair and preserve it. In 1996, she helped organize the... Read More|
Jim Hannah worked for the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park for many years. He was first detailed to Alaska in 1980, where he took on a tough assignment. President Carter had invoked the Historic Monuments Act and had designated over thirty million acres for preservation as National Monuments. Jim, who had grown up with a love of hunting, fishing, and the outdoors, was assigned to help explain the new Park Service mandate in Alaska to angry and worried local residents in the recently created... Read More
Ed Hansen is from Beloit, Wisconsin. He graduated from South Beloit High School and then attended Northern Illinois University. He was drafted into the Army in 1964 and was sent to Alaska to serve at the Nike Missile Site Tare (A Battery A/2/562) outside of Fairbanks. He arrived the same day as Roger Babler. Ed was responsible for the target tracking radars. When their military service ended in... Read More
Cyrus Harris was born in 1957 in Kotzebue, Alaska, and grew up at Sisualik, a small camp located fifteen miles to the north across Kotzebue Sound. His parents were Doc and Elizabeth Harris, and he learned to hunt and fish from his father and his uncles. He attended school in Kotzebue, although he often started late in the fall, having to wait for the ice to be safe and thick enough to travel across from Sisualik. Cyrus worked in construction, commercial fishing, was a part-time trapper, and... Read More
Originally from Wisconsin, Anne Hatch came to Seward, Alaska in 1946 to teach English at the high school. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus, a Lutheran college in Minnesota, and taught school for three years in Minnesota. She met her husband, Ralph, at a Rainbow Girls dance in Seward, and they married in 1948.
Ralph Hatch was born in Unalaska, Alaska, lived in Seldovia, Alaska and moved to Seward, Alaska in 1930 when his parents got jobs at the Jessie Lee Home. Ralph met his wife, Anne, at a Rainbow Girls dance in Seward, and they married in 1948. Ralph worked as a longshoreman, served in the Army at Whittier, Alaska during World War II, and was an early champion of the Mt. Marathon running race in Seward - running it for the first time in 1946.
Tom Hawkins has worked as a land manager for the federal government, the State of Alaska, and Alaska Native corporations. He was an original member of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority board of trustees formed in 1994 and served until April, 2009. He also chaired their resource management committee for many years.
Merritt Helfferich was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1935, and came to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1958. He holds a bachelor degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Early in his career he worked as a ballistic meteorologist and flight safety officer at the Poker Flat Research Rocket Range, and in 1969 as an ice technician on the SS Manhattan's transit of the Northwest Passage. He... Read More
Born in Gibson, Illinois in 1917, Harmon "Bud" Helmericks is a well-known Alaskan pioneer, who was a bush pilot, adventurer, guide, businessman, and author. He came to Alaska with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, having studied engineering at the University of Arizona. He has a long history as a bush pilot in northern Alaska. He lived a remote lifestyle at Walker Lake in the Brooks Range and in the Colville River delta near the Beaufort Sea coast. For years, he kept... Read More
In 1992, when he was interviewed, Joe Henderson had recently restored and re-opened the general store in Wiseman. Joe first was a logger in southeast Alaska, and after moving north to Wiseman became a dog musher. He started Sourdough Outfitters in 1988 and 1989 to provide dog mushing tours in the Brooks Range. He also had some of his dogs used in the 1991 Walt Disney film, "White Fang." He has done numerous long-distance wilderness trips around Alaska with his dog team.... Read More
DeLynn Henry was the Director of Scheduling and a personal assistant for Senator Stevens for more than twenty years. She started her career working with the National Rifle Association’s lobbying group but when her boss got a job as Special Assistant at the Department of the Interior, she went with her. Eventually, she became the Assistant to the President for Public Liaison during the Reagan Administration. She was hired by Senator Stevens in the late 1980’s. A mother of two, she always felt... Read More
Marie Henzie is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. She was born in 1933 to Frances Ned and Walter Koyukok, After her parents died when she was a child, Marie was raised by her mother's parents, Lilly and Ned Ned. Marie is married to Moses Henzie, and they have a son, Moses Jr., and a daughter Catherine Marie, adopted from Catherine and Stephen Attla in Huslia and several grandchildren. Marie was raised in a household that emphasized traditional skills such as sewing and... Read More
Moses Henzie is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. He has long been known as a fine hunter and trapper, and he is a fiddler of considerable talent. Born in 1930 to Titus and Elizabeth Henzie, Moses parents and many of his close relatives were associated with South Fork, a small community at the confluence of the Middle and South Forks of the Koyukuk River. His father's parents were Old Henzie and his wife Julia. His mother's father was Old Linus, who was one of four... Read More
Larry Hinzman is director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, previously having been a professor of water resources. He is a specialist in environmental engineering, environmental quality science, hydrology, and ice dynamics, with a particular interest in surface and subsurface flow and permafrost hydrology. He has worked around interior Alaska on a variety of water and ice related projects, as well as on the Hula Hula River in northern Alaska.... Read More
Originally from Kentucky, Ron Hogan came to Alaska in 1960 after graduating from Western Kentucky University with his bachelor's degree. He followed his wife who he met in college who was originally from Fairbanks. Ron became a schoolteacher with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, teaching in Kotzebue and Elim, and then was high school principal in Kotzebue. Ron also has a degree from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in secondary education, and a master’s degree from Western Kentucky... Read More
|George Hohman||George Hohman was a long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1932. He first came to Alaska in 1954 with the Army. He was stationed at Fort Richardson, where he was a Russian translator, and then sent to the Pribilof Islands to study the influence of the Russian language on the Native language of the area. In 1962, George returned to Alaska to teach for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Yukon-Kuskokwim area. He taught in the villages of Emmonak and... Read More|
Originally from Pennsylvania, Susan Holly came to Alaska in 1978. In the 1980s, she and her husband, Tom, ran a trapline in the Talkeetna area. They moved to Bettles in 1985 in search of a more remote lifestyle. At the time of her 1992 interview, Susan Holly was working as a seasonal park ranger for Gates of the Arctic National Park stationed in Bettles. During the winter months, she and husband lived at their trapping cabin on the John River. Susan was able to combine summer work in the... Read More
|Milt and Cora Holmes||
Milt and Cora Holmes are Alaska sheep ranchers and long-time residents of Unalaska, Alaska. They lived on a remote sheep ranch at Chernofski for seventeen years, but eventually moved into Unalaska to be closer to family. Milt kept a detailed daily journal of the weather and their activites at the ranch. Originally from Northern Idaho, Cora was trained as a nurse, specializing in neonatal intensive care. She began a career as a writer in 1985, when her article " Living On An Aleutian Sheep... Read More
|Jim Hood||Jim serves as the contract helicopter pilot with the National Park Service, flying the Lama high altitude helicopter for search and rescue missions on Denali. With considerable understatement and humility, Jim provides a first hand account of flying helicopters in one of the most dangerous locations in the world. Flying at altitudes that stretch and even exceed the design specifications of his craft, Jim describes rescue work in conditions where there is no margin for error and "mechanical... Read More|
Jean Huddleston grew up at the historic Copper Center Roadhouse in Copper Center, Alaska, which was operated by her parents, George and Catherine Ashby. Her brother, Randall, took over the family business and Jean was pleased that the roadhouse was beginning to flourish again with a growing tourist industry. The Copper Center Roadhouse burned down in 2012 due to faulty wiring, but Jean's... Read More
|Cliff Hudson||This interview with Cliff Hudson was conducted by Bill Brown on February 28, 1992, in Cliff Hudson's living room in Talkeetna; a busy place with family, friends, and dogs dropping in or running through the room. Since 1948 when he joined his flying brother in Talkeetna, Cliff has been accumulating experience and anecdotes about Alaska and especially Denali flying.|
|Jay Hudson||Jay is the son of the legendary Cliff Hudson,also featured in this Jukebox. Jay followed his father's lead in providing air taxi access to the remote mountains in and around Denali National Park and Preserve. In this interview, Jay discusses growing up with his pilot father, how he became a pilot himself, and the many changes he has seen in the air taxi business over several decades. Like his father, Jay has intimate knowledge about flying in the Alaska Range and surroundings, and a wealth of... Read More|
Ray Hudson lived in Unalaska, Alaska from 1964 until 1991. He has lived in Middlebury, Vermont since 1992. Ray was an art and history teacher in Unalaska. He is an artist, historian, musician, and author. He encouraged interest in the Unangan form of basketweaving and became one of the foremost weavers of Unangan baskets. He has helped document the history of Unalaska and Aleut culture in writing such books as Moments Rightly Placed: An Aleutian Memoir, and Family After All: Alaska... Read More
Fred Hupprich was born in 1926 in Nenana, Alaska where his father was chief engineer on Tanana and Yukon River sternwheelers and later worked for the Alaska Railroad. His mother was from Germany and came to Nenana to work in the family’s bakery business. Fred's childhood was full of mischief and adventure. He was in the Army and held a variety of jobs, including working on the railroad, trucking, building airports, hauling wood, and operating a bar.
Mary Huss was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She married Warren Huss in 1965, and moved to Seward, Alaska in 1971 when Warren got a job as a dentist.
Originally from Michigan, Warren Huss moved to Seward, Alaska in 1971 when he got a job as a dentist. He married Mary Huss in 1965, and they raised their family in Seward. Warren has been an active hunter, snowmachiner, skier, and outdoorsman in the Seward area. He retired in 2004.
James Hutchison was born in 1901 and came to Alaska in 1919 with the United States Army. He became a noted aviation mechanic in Fairbanks, Alaska. He excelled at patching together aircraft at crash sites so they could limp back home. He worked with aviation pioneers like Noel Wien, Ben Eielson, Harold Gillam and Joe Crosson, and worked on Arctic explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins' Fokker airplane for the Detroit News Arctic Expedition. He repaired Wiley Post's landing gear, which was damaged on... Read More
|Senator Daniel Inouye||
Senator Daniel Inouye began his political career in 1954 when he was elected to Hawaii’s Territorial House of Representatives. He later served in the Territorial Senate, in 1959 was elected as their first Congressman, and in 1962 was elected to the U.S. Senate. During his long Senate career, Senator Inouye was known for his role on the Appropriations Committee, his support of the military and national security, his efforts on behalf of Native Hawaiians and was, until his death in 2012, the... Read More
Jerry Isaac was born and raised in Tanacross, Alaska. He is a leader in the Athabascan Native community of interior Alaska. He served on the Tanacross Village Council for a number of years and was its President. Jerry is a member of the board of the Alaska Federation of Natives and was President of Tanana Chiefs Conference based in Fairbanks, Alaska from 2006-2013. He also is Alaska area Vice-President for the National Congress of American Indians.
Harold Itta was born in 1907 in Barrow, Alaska to James Ettak and Lydia Tigiklook Itta. In 1914, the family moved east to Sikulik near Teshekpuk Lake and in 1916 they went to Esook Trading Post at Cape Halkett. Harold grew up along the northern coast of Alaska living off the land and sea. He also was a reindeer herder, and had a whaling crew in Barrow. As a seal hunter and whaler, he gained much experience with local ice conditions. In 1923, Harold married Loyla Egowa. In 1982, Harold shared... Read More
David James was born in Wisconsin. His father was a logger and moved around to where he could find work. In 1940, they moved to Eastern Washington, in 1942 back to Wisconsin, in 1946 back to Washington, in 1948 to Idaho, and finally in 1950 to Alaska. The family traveled the Alaska Highway and settled into homesteading along the highway near Northway, Alaska. The family ran a sawmill, which they moved up onto the Gerstle River in 1955. David left interior Alaska in 1956 seeking employment.... Read More
Moya James is married to David James and they live on a remote homestead at Mile 1254 of the Alaska Highway near the Alaska/Canada border. She met David when he worked at a sawmill with her brother. They were married in 1957 and moved to interior Alaska in 1958. Moya raised five children, plus a daugther later adopted from Northway, based on what the family hunted, trapped, fished, and gathered from the land. Moya is a talented seamstress and quilter.
David Janka has been a year-round resident of Prince William Sound since 1977. In 1989 at the time of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, David and his family were care-taking a remote lodge on Glacier Island, 10 miles west of Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound. Since then he has been involved in oil spill cleanup, research, public education, and environmental advocacy. He served as Executive Director of the Prince William Sound Conservation Alliance, as well as a coordinator and participant of the... Read More
|Judge Michael Jeffery||
Born in 1944, Michael Jeffery grew up in Los Angeles, California, and received a law degree from Yale University in 1969. He came to Alaska in 1977 as the first Alaska Legal Services attorney in Barrow. In 1982, he was appointed the first judge of the new state Superior Court in Barrow. As of 2012, he continues to work in that position. In addition to the interview with Michael Jeffery in the Judges of Alaska Project Jukebox by Karen Brewster, he also was interviewed on January 2 and 3, 2009... Read More
Jack Jefford was born in 1910 in McGrew, Nebraska and grew up on a ranch. He worked for several outfits in the Lower 48 in Nebraska and Oklahoma before coming to Alaska in 1937 to be a bush pilot, where he worked principally for Hans Mirow's air taxi firm in Nome. His work included years of flying in all kinds of weather to help sick or injured people in remote areas and supplying the FAA's far-flung stations throughout the state. Jack was the chief pilot for the Federal Aviation... Read More
Originally from England, Dr. Martin Jeffries is a research professor of geophysics with the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His research concentration is ocean and lake ice, snow, and permafrost. He has conducted ice research projects throughout Alaska and in Antarctica. From 2001-2006, he directed the Alaska Lake Ice and Snow Observatory Network (ALISON) Project that got teachers and their students involved in... Read More
Mamie Jensen was born in 1906 in Douglas, Alaska to John Feusi and Mary Ott. Her father was from Switzerland and her mother from Germany, and they operated a general store in Douglas. After graduating from Douglas High School, Mamie attended business school in Tacoma, Washington, and then worked as head bookkeeper for Juneau Cold Storage. She married Marcus Jensen in 1933 after they met at an Elks Club dance. Mamie helped run her family's store, and was active in the Juneau community. She... Read More
|Marcus Jensen||Marcus Jensen was born in 1908 in Westhope, North Dakota to Fred Jensen and Neva Stephens. He grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and having heard stories of his grandfather's and uncles' success in the Nome gold rush he came to Juneau, Alaska in 1929 at the age of 19. He worked briefly in the Alaska-Juneau mine and then became a surveyor for the Public Roads Administration. He married Mamie Feusi in 1933, and joined her in helping to run the family's general store in Douglas, Alaska. It... Read More|
|Inger Jensen Ricci||
Inger Jensen Ricci was born at the hospital in Kennecott, Alaska in 1918 because her father was a carpenter at the Kennecott Mine. She lived there until 1932 when she moved to Seattle to go to high school. After high school, she went to business school in Seattle. She got married in 1938 in Cordova and was offered a job back at the mine as a typist. She was the only person to have been raised in Kennecott and also to work there. She hoped to be able to raise her family there, but that dream... Read More
Originally from Norway, Espen Jervsjo has lived in Manley Hot Springs, Alaska for twenty years where he has done a lot of traveling on the Tanana River in the winter. He has been a trapper and since 1997 has set trail for the Iron Dog Snowmachine Race. According to Espen, he drives thousands of miles each year on his snowmachine on the river. He has come to understand the challenging ice conditions that develop on the lower Tanana River from Manley to Tanana and knows how to be safe when... Read More
Jeff Jessee is the Chief Executive Officer of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority based in Anchorage, Alaska. He began his career in 1980 as an attorney for the Disability Law Center. In 1985, Jeff represented a subclass in the litigation involving the state’s mismanagement of the Alaska mental health land trust. After that lawsuit was settled, he became the CEO if the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and is an advocate for Trust beneficiaries.
Gillam Joe was born in 1946 in Chisana, Alaska to Huston and Susie Sanford. In 1952, he moved to Chistochina, Alaska where he was raised by Bell and Maggie Joe. Gillam attended school in Chistochina, Gakona, and Glennallen, but did not finish high school. Gillam learned to hunt and fish from Bell Joe and other Ahtna elders, learning traditional practices and showing respect for animals. He killed his first moose when he was eleven years old. Gillam worked at the Chistochina Lodge and then... Read More
Ruth Johns was married to Chief Harry Johns for 64 years and they lived in Copper Center, Alaska. Her father grew up in Copper Center and her mother came from Upper Tonsina. She married her husband in the 1940's, and they raised 8 children. She got her teaching certificate in 1975 from Juneau after going to the University of Alaska Fairbanks and used to teach in the schools. Ruth taught the Ahtna language, bead work, and traditional ways of life in the Copper Center school.
|Harry Johns, Sr.||
Chief Harry Johns was the traditional chief of the Ahtna People. He was born on the Klutina Lake Trail enroute to Copper Center. Chief Johns work career began when he was nine years old and he was hired to haul water for the Copper Center Lodge and as a stock boy and wood cutter. In 1929, when he was 20, he was hired by the Territorial Government Railroad Commission and eventually retired from the State of Alaska Department of Highways. In 1975, at the time of his retirement, Governor Jay... Read More
|Mary Ann Johnson||
Mary Ann Johnson lives in Dillingham, Alaska. She was born in 1940 to Socally and Sassa A. Johnson Wallona. Her siblings are Connie Timmerman, Carol Davidson, Phillip and Leroy Wallona, Judy Samuelsen, Rose Loera, and the late Emma Ann Nicholson. In December 1958, Mary Ann married William P. Johnson. Together they have had 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren. Mary Ann attended school in Dillingham and graduated from Dillingham High School. For many years in the 1960’s... Read More
Born in Nebraska in 1922, Walter Johnson came to Alaska in 1942 to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks. After meeting Bill English at the university, who was originally from Wiseman, Walter got to know and visit the community. With a concern for history, he and Bill bought the Wiseman Trading Company, and he lived off and on in Wiseman for seven years starting in 1945. Walter is an expert on the history of the Wiseman area. After completing bachelor degrees in Anthropology and Biology... Read More
William P. Johnson lives in Dillingham, Alaska. He was born in 1938 in Igushik, Alaska to Carl W. Johnson and Mary (Gosadak) (Johnson) Tilden. In May 1958, William graduated with the last class of the Dillingham Territorial High School. In December 1958, he married Mary Ann Wallona. Together they have had 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren. William has been involved in commercial fishing ever since he could pick a fish. He helped his mother with her set net sites in... Read More
|Dave Johnston||Dave currently works for Denali State Park and is a mountaineer with decades of experience in the Alaska Range, including the first winter ascent of Denali in 1967. That climb cost the life of one climber and became a survival epic for the rest of the party. InArt Davidson's classic book on the climb "Minus 148," Dave emerges as the person most directly responsible for the survival of the team members who were pinned down for a week at Denali Pass (18,200'). Dave shrugs off any accusations of... Read More|
Alfred Jonathan is an Athabascan elder from Tanacross, Alaska. He was born in 1943 in the old village of Tanacross, which was across the river from the current village. The village was relocated and rebuilt on higher ground to be better protected from flooding. Alfred grew up in a large family with twelve sibings; at age sixteen he went to live with his grandmother, Annie Moses, who was originally from Mentasta. He attended the Bureau of Indian Affairs school in Tanacross and went to Tok... Read More
Mildred Jonathan is an Athabascan elder from Tanacross, Alaska. She was born to Kenneth and Ellen Thomas in the old village of Tanacross, which was across the river from the current village. The village was relocated and rebuilt on higher ground to be better protected from flooding. Mildred grew up in a traditional subsistence lifestyle, where she learned to sew and bead at a young age and also went hunting and trapping with her father. Since Mildred's mother was originally from Mansfield,... Read More
Originally from Dixon, Illinois, Chas Jones came to Alaska in 2009. He currently is a doctoral student in hydrology at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, expected to complete his Ph.D. in 2014. His research is focused on integrating local knowledge, hydrology and climate scenarios to understand the effects of hydrologic change associated with a changing climate. Chas participated in the Dangerous Ice Project by establishing study sites on the... Read More
Gladys Jung was born in 1917 to Oscar and Annie Hall in St. Michael, Alaska. Her mother was from St. Michael and her father was from West Virginia. Her father worked for the Northern Commercial Company running the village's store, and the family moved to Bethel, Alaska in 1926 when Gladys was eleven years old. She graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks with a teaching degree and returned with her husband to teach in the villages of the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, beginning with the... Read More
Wilson Justin is an Athabascan who was born in 1950 in Nabesna, Alaska. The family moved to Chistochina in 1957, but he continued to spend summers at Nabesna. They then moved to Mentasta in 1959 so Wilson could attend school there. Wilson grew up in a traditional subsistence lifestyle, hunting, trapping and fishing in the Nabesna and Chistochina areas. He attended high school in Fairbanks and Anchorage, and graduated in 1968. From the 1960s until the mid-1980s, Wilson worked for the family... Read More
Elijah Kakinya was born in the spring of 1895 at Tulugaq Lake, near the mouth of the Anaktuvuk River valley, and grew up along the Beaufort Sea coast and inland rivers of northern Alaska. As was typical of families at the time, they traveled a lot in search of food resources and often moved seasonally following the animals. During this time, Elijah learned much about hunting, fishing, and survival. He came especially to understand ice conditions near and around Flaxman Island and Beechey... Read More
|Daniel Karmun||Growing up on the Seward Peninsula in northwestern Alaska, Daniel Karmun comes from a family with a heritage of reindeer herding. His father was a reindeer agent in Wales and also worked with reindeer at Deering. In addition to being a reindeer herder, Dan also worked in reindeer management as a Reindeer Agent with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, with Kawerak Native Corporation helping develop reindeer programs, and as Program Director for the Reindeer Herders... Read More|
|Eugene Karstens||This interview with Eugene Karstens and his son Rory, was conducted by Mike Sfraga on June 24, 1992 in the ../audio studio at the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Rory is writing the biography of Harry, his grandfather, who is the subject of this interview. The interview covers Eugene's life growing up in the interior of Alaska, and his descriptions of his father, his role in the Park Service, and the 1913 climb of Denali.|
John Katz was Senator Stevens’ legislative director in 1971 during Congressional consideration of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. In 1979, he was hired as special counsel on land-use issues for Governor Jay Hammond, and in 1981 Governor Bill Sheffield appointed him as Natural Resources Commissioner. At the time of his 2009 interview, Katz was the Director of State/Federal Relations and Special Counsel to the Governor of Alaska based out of Washington, D.C., a position he held... Read More
Born in Illinois in 1923, John Kauffmann worked for the National Park Service for twenty years, six as chief planner for Alaska's Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Noatak National Preserve. As a park planner, he played a key role in the establishment of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, assessing and recommending lands to be included in the new park, and determining what the boundaries and wilderness philosophy would be. He is the author of a book about the... Read More
|Ken Kehrer||Ken came to Denali in May 1989 as West District ranger and became Chief Ranger in July 1990.|
Dr. Sergei N. Khrushchev is the son of Nikita Khrushchev who was the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) of the Soviet Union from 1957-1964. Dr. Sergei Khrushchev has his Soviet doctoral degree from the Ukrainian Academy of Science, a Ph.D. from the Moscow Technical University, and a master’s degree with distinction from the Moscow Electric Power Institute. From 1958-1968, he participated in the Soviet missile and space program, including work on cruise missiles for... Read More
Originally from Norway, Knut Kielland is an ecologist and associate professor of ecology with the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has traveled extensively on interior Alaska lakes and rivers in winter, both as a scientist and as a dog musher. His perspective in the Dangerous Ice Project Jukebox is a mixture of personal experience and observation, and scientific understanding.
Born in Switzerland in 1913, Yule Kilcher first arrived in Alaska in 1936. He homesteaded outside of Homer, helped write Alaska's constitution, served as a state senator, and is known for his love of the land and adventurous spirit. Yule Kilcher passed away in December 1998. For more about Yule Kilcher.
Fred Kirsteatter was born in Healy Lake, Alaska in 1953 to Paul and Margaret Kirsteatter. He was the last child born in the old Healy Lake village. Fred was raised in a subsistence lifestyle and learned traditional Native values and ways from his mother. Fred collected lithic artifacts and brought them to the attention of archaeologist, Robert McKennan and others. These artifacts and later investigations documented the long antiquity of the Healy Lake community. After being homeschooled as a... Read More
Paul Kirsteatter was born in 1922 in Illinois and became acquainted with Alaska during his World War II service in the Air Force. After his discharge in 1945, Paul returned to Alaska in 1946 where he met his wife, Margaret Jacob, who was from Healy Lake. They settled in Healy Lake in 1947, shortly after the epidemic which significantly reduced the village’s population. Paul and Margaret lived at Healy Lake during a time when many people had moved away from the community. They lived in both... Read More
|Carol Kleckner||Carol Kleckner is a skijorer and dog musher who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is the director and vice president of the Second Chance League, a sled dog rescue organization which finds homes for huskies and sled dogs that are left at the Fairbanks Animal Shelter.|
Keith Knighten was born in Oregon in 1929, and came to Seward, Alaska in 1965 with the U.S. Coast Guard. He married his wife, Dorothy, in 1948, and they had two sons. Retiring after twenty years of service in the Navy and Coast Guard, Keith settled in Seward and worked as a charter boat operator, started a booking agent business, and flew commercially for Harbor Air, a local flying service. Keith flew all over the Kenai Peninsula and in all kinds of conditions, whether it was taking hunters... Read More
|Augie Kochuten||Augie Kochuten is a long-time resident of Unalaska, Alaska. She has lived in remote places near Unalaska, has fished commercially, and has worked as a case worker for the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association's Tribal Child Support Program. She also has been active in the community, including with the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, the Unalaska Dutch Harbor Fish and Game Advisory Committee, and the Unalaska City Council.|
In 1993, when Art Koeninger was interviewed, he lived in a small apartment above his store, Spirit Mountain Artworks in Chitina, Alaska. The art store, which features primarily work by Alaskan artists, is in a restored building that was once a tinsmith's shop. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and Art has received federal grant support for its preservation. Art was active with Chitina's... Read More
Tom Koester was the attorney for the State of Alaska for the Vern Weiss case in 1982.
|Dennis Kogl||Dennis Kogl was interviewed in the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Dennis was one of the first to establish a dog mushing business to transport supplies up to the mountain. Dennis later sold the business to Will Forsberg. For many years, Dennis has lived in the Denali area and he now works for the National Park Service.|
|Effie Kokrine||Effie Kokrine was a respected Athabascan Elder and long-time resident of Fairbanks, Alaska. She was born in a camp on the Tanana River on March 23, 1919, and moved to Fairbanks with her husband, Andy Kokrine, in 1949. She was an avid dog-musher who won the Women's North American Sled Dog Championships in 1946 and 1947. She was a dedicated educator, teaching Athabascan culture to Fairbanks school children. To them, she was known as "Grandma Effie." After living in Fairbanks for many years,... Read More|
Luther Komonaseak was born and raised in Wales, Alaska. Starting as a young boy, he learned to hunt and survive on the surrounding ocean and sea ice as he followed his father and uncles to hunt seals, whales, and walrus. Luther is now a whaling captain himself, and has been a member of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. He has also served as a school board member for the Bering Strait School District. Luther has shared his traditional knowledge of the sea ice in Bering Strait with... Read More
|Yvonne Konnerup Lahti||
Yvonne Konnerup Lahti was six years old when her family moved to Kennecott, Alaska. Her father worked as a clerk in the store for the six years the family lived there. When the children were ready for high school, Yvonne's mother and siblings moved to Seattle while her father continued to work in Alaska. She got her master's degree from Western Washington University and taught school for many years in Washington.
Rita Koyukuk is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Hughes, Alaska. She is the daughter of Susie Williams from Hughes. Alaska. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle along the Koyukuk River moving from camp to camp following the seasons and the availability of fish and game. She is known for her talents as a skin and fur sewer.
Wilfred "Tod" Kozevnikoff was born in Tanana, Alaska on January 7, 1937. He grew up in Tanana where his father ran one of the last mail routes by dog team, stopping around 1942. Tod worked at the Tanana Hospital, on the North Slope, and for the Tanana Chiefs Conference before finally retiring in 2008. He passed away on May 23, 2009. To read more about Tod, see his ... Read More
|Bea Kristovich||Bea Kristovich was born in1941 and is a lifelong resident of Bethel, Alaska.|
Samuel Kunaknana was born in 1913 in Barrow, Alaska. His parents were Hattie and Hugo Kunaknana. As a boy, his family spent summers along the Ikpikpuk River, inland from Barrow, hunting caribou and fishing. They spent winters in Barrow. Around 1920, the family moved east along the Beaufort Sea coast. Like others of the time, they moved around and lived in a variety of places, such as Kuukpik, Itqiliqpaat, Piŋu, Oliktok Point (Uuliktuq), Kukpaurak, and Nuiqsat. At least one year they... Read More
Sarah Pausanna Kunaknana was born in 1921 in Barrow, Alaska to Harriet and Paul Pausanna, but when she was only two months old her parents moved east to Cross Island (Napaqsralik) on the Beaufort Sea coast. As was typical of families at the time, they traveled a lot in search of food resources and often moved seasonally following the animals. Her father, originally from the Utuqqaq area near Point Lay, was a successful whaler in both Barrow and Cross Island, and also hunted polar bears,... Read More
|Cecelia Kunz||Cecelia Kunz is a Tlingit elder from Juneau, Alaska. She was born in Juneau in 1910 into a well-respected Tlingit family. Her father, Jake, known as Yaakwaan, was chief of Kaagwaantaan, the wolf clan. Her grandfather was Yeesganaalx, chief of the Leeneidi of the Yaxt Hit, the Dipper House. Her Tlingit name was Kintoow, which means "birds flying." During her lifetime, Cecelia was a tireless advocate for the rights of the Tlingit people and a powerful voice in the Native civil rights movement... Read More|
Charles Kurtz worked at Morningside Hospital in Portland, Oregon, first as a kitchen helper when he was a teenager and later as a psychiatric aide in the early 1960s. His mother, Tina Kurtz, worked as a cook at Morningside Hospital in the 1950s and 1960s.
Pat Lando worked at the Harborview facility for the developmentally disabled in Valdez, Alaska from 1972-1999. He was superintendent from 1976-1999, when Harborview closed and he retired.
Herb Lang is the last surviving staff member of the Alaska Territorial Land Office who made the original mental health trust land selections in the late 1950s.
Thelma Langdon is the wife of Dr. J. Ray Langdon, who was a former medical director at Morningside Mental Hospital in Portland, Oregon and director of mental health services in Alaska just after statehood.
Eric Larson came to Alaska with his uncle, Iver Johnson, and was introduced to the Chisana area. He is married to Nancy Larson. He did some mining, hunting and guiding in the Chisana area, which wasn't a national park until later. His mother-in-law lived there year round and they visited quite often. Eric and Nancy live in Fairbanks, Alaska, where they have a large barn and horses.
Fran Latham moved to Yakutat, Alaska in 1975. She operates the comfortable Blue Heron Inn, a bed and breakfast lodge in Yakutat, Alaska. The inn is part of the family-operated guiding and outfitting business that she and her husband, John, have been running in Yakutat for over 30 years. Fran operates the accommodation portion of their business with the inn and vacation rentals overlooking Yakutat Bay and the Wrangell St. Elias... Read More
John Latham was born in California in 1940 and his early love of hunting began with deer, waterfowl, and upland game hunting. Further interest in big game led to elk, deer and antelope hunting in the varied terrain of Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. A hunting trip to Alaska in 1966 decided John's move and he became a resident the following year. John and Fran Latham have been running a family-operated guiding and outfitting business for... Read More
Joe Mello Leavitt was born in 1959 in Barrow, Alaska to Cora and Luther Leavitt, Sr. Joe is a whaling captain and subsistence hunter who grew up hunting and camping with his family in all seasons, and learned much of his knowledge of whaling and hunting from his father, a respected whaling captain. Joe is a well-respected expert on sea ice and frequent collaborator with researchers on sea ice projects. He provides ice observation data to Dr. Hajo Eicken of the Sea Ice Group at the... Read More
|David Leavitt, Sr.||
David Ungudruk Leavitt, Sr. is an Iñupiaq elder from Barrow, Alaska. He was born in 1929 at Cape Halkett, Alaska to Mae and George Tukak Leavitt, Sr. His father was a reindeer herder and worked at the local trading post run by Oliver Morry. The family moved to Barrow in 1943, when David was fourteen years old. David grew up in a traditional way where hunting and fishing were critical to survival. He learned a lot about sea ice while growing up seal hunting and traveling by dog team on the... Read More
|Margaret Lekanoff||Margaret Lekanoff was originally from Unalaska, Alaska but was adopted away from the community when she was five years old. At age fifteen, she moved back to Unalaska from Cordova, Alaska where she was living with her parents Bert and Shirley Vahlbusch. This was an important move in re-connecting with her Aleut heritage. Margaret was the Unalaska City School's Registrar/Secretary for 22 years before retiring in 2009. Since 1980, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Ounalashka... Read More|
At the time of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Marilyn Leland was the Executive Director of Cordova District Fishermen United in Cordova, Alaska, and helped lead the fishermen’s response to the oil spill throughout Prince William Sound. Leland was one of the founders of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council (PWSRCAC). PWSRCAC is an independent non-profit citizens oversight group promoting the environmentally safe... Read More
Kathy Lenniger was born in New York City and grew up in Connecticut. After living in New Jersey and Washington, Kathy moved to Alaska in 1975. She started her sled dog business in 1984. Kathy owns Sled Dog Adventures, where she leads guided sled dog trips into Alaska's wilderness.
Duane LeVan was born in Valley City, North Dakota in 1926. He came to Seward, Alaska in 1946, after being discharged from the Navy, to visit his family who had previously moved to Seward so his father could work for the Alaska Railroad. Duane and Sanna were married in 1948, when Sanna was only eighteen years old. They have two children. The LeVan's have exciting stories to tell about surviving the 1964 Earthquake. Duane worked as a longshoreman for the Alaska Railroad, and as an equipment... Read More
Sanna LeVan was born Sanna Gustava Urie in Seward, Alaska in 1930, where her father ran the Seward Bakery. Sanna attended school in Seward, and then in 1948, at age 18, she married Duane LeVan. They have two children. The LeVan's have exciting stories to tell about surviving the 1964 Earthquake. The LeVans are outdoor enthusiasts who lead an active lifestyle of hiking and cross-country skiing, are avid birdwatchers, and keep daily records of weather conditions and bird sightings.
Sam Lightwood was born in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. He spent his youth in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1950 from Millersville Teachers College with a BS in Elementary Education. He joined his brother in Alaska, working as a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) teacher. In 1960, Sam and Marian Lightwood got married and lived in Girdwood for a year before moving to Kenny Lake, Alaska to stake their homestead claim at 6 1/2 Mile Edgerton Road. Together they faced the challenge of Alaska homesteading... Read More
|Carl Lindstedt, Jr.||
Carl Lindstedt, Jr. was born in 1946 and grew up in Seldovia, Alaska. His father, originally from Sweden, fished for cod in the Bering Sea before settling in Seldovia where he continued to fish and also work in the store in the winter. His mother came to Seldovia from Washington state. Carl's father was co-owner of the original Linwood Bar, with the Lin in the name being from Lindstedt. Carl followed in his father's footsteps and became a commercial fisherman.
Bob Linville is an Alaskan fisherman currently residing in the town of Seward, Alaska. As a commercial fisherman in Prince William Sound, Bob was greatly affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. His fishing business suffered, he ended up working on the cleanup and bird rescue operation, and he associates subsequent health problems to the oil spill.
Sharron Lobaugh is the parent of a son with mental illness and a longtime mental health advocate who helped establish the Alaska Alliance for Mental Illness.
|Dr. Roland Lombard||Dr. Lombard was a veterinarian who was also a famous dog racer in Alaska, even though he lived in Wayland, Massachusetts. He won the Fur Rendezvous World Championship Sled Dog Race in Anchorage eight times in the 1960s and 1970s and was known for bringing innovative ideas about dog care to Alaska.|
Nellie Lord helped with the coordination of the Yakutat interviews for the Wrangell-St. Elias Nationa Park and Preserve Project Jukebox. She grew up living a subsistence lifestyle in Yakutat, Alaska, but went to school at Mount Edgecumbe in Sitka, Alaska.
Born in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1944, George Lounsbury spent twenty years mining on claims near Wiseman that he and his brother, Jim (Clutch) inherited from long-time Wiseman resident, Harry Leonard. George is an expert on Wiseman's history. George also possesses a large collection of historic photographs that originally belonged to Harry Leonard.
|George Lowe||George is a world-renowned climber famed for his unstoppable will and consummate skill. Among climbers, George's climbing style is often described as "impeccable," and he has a reputation for taking on highly "committing" routes. George is cousin to fellow climber Jeff Lowe. George describes how he became a climber, what drew him to Alaska, and what particular challenges he faced on the routes he pioneered in Alaska---some of the most demanding and audacious climbs anywhere in the world. George... Read More|
Margaret Lowe has been involved with mental health treatment and services in Alaska since the early 1950's and has been a strong advocate of helping the mentally ill. She was a school teacher with an interest in special education for young children, and earned a masters degree in Special Education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has been the chairperson for the Governor's Council on Special Education and Developmental Disabilities, the director of the State Division of Mental... Read More
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... Read More
John Maakestad was born in Petersburg, Alaska, became a Lutheran pastor, served in Shishmaref and Nome in the 1950s and early 1960s, and served as the chaplain at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute from 1963-1984.
Louise Maakestad joined her husband John in the interview. She was a homemaker who stayed home to raise their children, including a special-needs daughter who spent some time at Harborview Hospital in Valdez, Alaska.
|Judge Roy Madsen||
Roy Madsen was born in 1923 in the village of Kanatak on Kodiak Island, Alaska. His father was a fur trader, and his mother was Sugpiaq-Alutiiq of the Sun’aq tribe. He attended Oregon State College, served in the Navy during World War II, and went to law school at Northwestern College of Law in Portland, Oregon. He was the district attorney in Clackamas County, Oregon, was a private attorney in Kodiak, Alaska, helped establish the Kodiak Area Native Association and the Kodiak Community... Read More
John Malone helped establish Bethel Community Services, and later served as the statewide president of the Alaska Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and was a Trustee of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority board from its founding in 1995 until 2007.
|Mamie Maloney||Mamie Maloney was born in Nome, Alaska in 1923. Her father, Charlie Dahlquist, came to Alaska from Sweden in 1901 for the Gold Rush, finally settling in the Nome area in 1910. He operated the roadhouse at Port Safety, Alaska and the ferry across Safety Lagoon, and drove the mail from Council to Nome by horse team. Mamie's Inupiaq mother died when Mamie was three months old, so she was raised by her father. She helped run the roadhouse and operate the ferry. There was no school in Safety. Mamie... Read More|
Mark Marette came to Homer, Alaska in 1980, after searching in other parts of the United States for a place where he could live with his horses and be in a beautiful setting. He eventually started his own horseback riding business, Trails End Horse Adventures.
Cecil Martin is from Dot Lake, Alaska. His grandfather, Gene Henry, was born at Batzulnetas on the upper Copper River in 1911, and married a woman from Tanacross. So, Cecil's mother, Marie Dennis, was born and raised in Tanacross. Cecil remembers his grandfather hunting, trapping and fishing through out the upper Cooper River, upper Tanana River, Tanacross, Mansfield, and Dot Lake region. Cecil grew up in both Dot Lake and Tanacross, where he has hunted, trapped, and fished. He has continued... Read More
Craig Matkin has conducted research on marine mammals in southern Alaska since 1977, and received his M.S. degree in Zoology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1980. Since 1982, he has worked as executive director of the North Gulf Oceanic Society based out of Homer, Alaska. He has studied marine mammals across southeast Alaska, through the Aleutian Islands, and the Bering Sea. He loves both the beauty and vitality of Alaskan waters,... Read More
|Justice Warren Matthews||
Born in 1939, Warren Matthews grew up in Hollister, California, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in 1961 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1964. He came to Alaska in 1964 and first worked as an attorney at the law firm of Burr, Boney, and Pease in Anchorage. In 1969, he formed the law firm of Matthews, Dunn and Bailey. In 1977, he was appointed to the Alaska Supreme Court and twice served as Chief Justice during his thirty-two years on the bench. Justice... Read More
|Dr. Mark May||
Dr. Mark May grew up in Wisconsin and came to Alaska in 1974, following his father, Joe May, who was trapping and running dogs in Trapper Creek, Alaska. Joe May later ran the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, winning it in 1980. Mark May attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, earned his veterinary degree at the University of Colorado in 1989, and returned to Alaska to set up a private practice and continue his dog mushing career.
James McGavock was born September 21, 1924, in Seattle, Washington, the son of James and Jean Scobie McGavock. Jim and his sister, Jean McGavock Lamb, were raised in Kennecott, Alaska and were always called "A Kennecott Kid". They were educated in a one room school in Kennecott while their father worked as a master mechanic for the mine. Jim graduated from high school in Denver, Colorado. On September 4, 1953, he married Elese Marie Doxey, in Ogden, Utah. Jim worked for Hill Air Force Base... Read More
|Jean McGavock Lamb||
Jean McGavock Lamb and her brother, James McGavock, were raised in Kennecott, Alaska. She was born in Seattle, Washington, but was brought to Alaska when she was a few months old. She lived there for the first six years of her life. Their father was a master mechanic who worked for the Kennecott Mine. When the family left in 1937, they moved to Denver, Colorado. At the time of her 1990 interview, Jean was living in Utah.
Born in Oakland, California in 1955, Sean McGuire first came to Alaska when he was about ten years old to live with the Meader family on remote Wild Lake in the central Brooks Range. From 1967-1971, Sean lived off and on with Fred and Elaine Meader as a companion to their son, Dion. This remote living experience and subsistence-based lifestyle taught Sean a great love of wild places and showed him the importance of protecting them. Sean went on to become a strong environmental activist... Read More
Walter McInnes was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 1931 to Bertha Hazel Andrew and Walter McInnes. He was raised in Colchester, Ontario, a village-type community near Windsor. Walter first came to Alaska in 1949 as a sailor aboard a cruise ship in southeastern Alaska. He attended Central Technical School in Toronto, Canada, where he learned to be a radio operator, and in the 1950s worked in the Canadian Arctic building the mid-Canada and DEW-line radar defense systems. In 1959, Walter... Read More
Cleo McMahan was born on a farm in Kansas in 1912 and he came to Alaska in 1939 on the SS Yukon. He started flying while living in Fairbanks in the early 1940's. He married his wife Daphne in the 1940's and they homesteaded on Meier's Lake in the Copper River Basin near Gakona, Alaska. They came into Gakona in the winter so the kids could go to school, but in the summer Cleo worked as a big game guide, bush pilot, and bounty hunter. He trapped year round and loved flying. His... Read More
Gloria McNutt was born in 1926 in San Antonio, Texas. After finishing high school, she worked in the offices of two different local airline companies. In 1952, she married her husband, Raymon "Mac" McNutt, who was from nearby Stockdale, Texas, and they came to Alaska. The McNutts lived in Anchorage, and homesteaded in Sterling and Chisana, Alaska. Gloria worked as the postmaster at Sterling for many years, and spent part of the summer helping her husband run his guiding business at Chisana... Read More
Doug McRae was born in Seward, Alaska in 1944. He survived the 1964 Earthquake and tsunami by spending the night with his young family on the roof of their house. Doug loves the outdoors, started hunting at an early age, and spent his career as a professional big game hunting guide. He serves on Seward's Fish and Game Advisory Board, and in recent years has been creating intricate antler cut-out carvings.
|Ian McRae||Ian is a former California big wall climber turned alpinist, with an impressive array of first ascents in the Alaska and Delta Ranges. Ian provides a wonderful and entertaining window into the "Fairbanks climbing scene," carrying on an eccentric and decades old Fairbanks tradition of pioneering "sloggers" who get up routes via low tech approaches and more grit than gear. He reflects not only on numerous memorable climbs, personages, and epics, but also on the philosophical "games climbers play... Read More|
|Elaine Meader McCausland||
Elaine Meader McCausland was born in Massachusetts. She married her husband, Fred Meader, in 1954, who she met while attending nursing school in Boston. In the 1960s and 1970s, Elaine and Fred lived with their children at a remote lake in the Brooks Range. They lived a simple life and chose to live off the land as much as possible. After her son's tragic drowning at the lake and later her husband's accidental death, Elaine left Alaska, earned a PhD in psychology, and moved to northern... Read More
Debbie Mekiana is from Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska and is the niece of well-known Nunamiut elder, Justus Mekiana. At the time of her 1992 interview, Debbie was a senior in high school. She attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), currently is the director of Rural Student Services at UAF, and is married to John Toopetlook.
Justus Mekiana was a Nunamiut elder from Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska. Originally from the Killik River area, Justus was an expert in Nunamiut history and traditional culture, having grown up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle and moving from camp to camp following the seasons and the animals. He was present in 1949 when bands of nomadic Nunamiut living at Chandler Lake and the Killik River in the Brooks Range settled together in the newly established village of Ankatuvuk Pass. His... Read More
Nancy Mendenhall came to Alaska in 1961 from Washington, working as a teacher and commercial fisherman in southeastern Alaska. She moved to western Alaska in 1971, continuing her work as an educator and administrator. She settled in Nome, Alaska in 1973. Now retired, she pursues her interest in writing and fishes for subsistence. She has written Beachlines: A Pocket History of Nome, Alaska (1997). In 1996, she coordinated the original Communities of Memory project storytelling events... Read More
|Berle Mercer||For several years, Berle hauled freight via horseback to the McGonagall Pass cache site for climbers attempting the Muldrow Glacier route on Denali. Berle recalls packing in supplies for some of his most memorable clients, including the ill-fated Wilcox Expedition, Bradford and Barbara Washburn, and a very finicky wildlife photographer. In the interview, Berle also recalls rescuing a Swiss climbing party that descended the Muldrow Glacier, after their guide abandoned them on the West Buttress.... Read More|
|Leonty Merculieff||Leonty Merculieff was an Aleut elder who grew-up in Unalaska, Alaska, where he participated in subsistence activities and commercial fishing. He lived in Unalaska until his passing in 2002 at the age of 66.|
Born in Oregon and growing up in the Seattle area, Pete Merry first came to Alaska in the late 1940s by flying to Petersburg when he was eighteen years old. Pete has since flown all over Alaska, including many years on the North Slope and in the Brooks Range. He has worked as a pilot for Alaska Coastal Airlines and Wien Airlines, as a hunting guide/pilot, and still works for Everts Air Cargo in Fairbanks, Alaska as an engine mechanic. Pete married Renee, originally from Rampart, and together... Read More
Originally from Rampart, Alaska, Renee Merry met Pete Merry in Petersburg, Alaska in the late 1940s, when she was down there working. They married, lived in Fairbanks, and together they raised a family.
|Daryl Miller||Daryl became a climbing ranger for NPS in 1989 and has been of crucial importance to the program, both on the mountain as search and rescue coordinator and in Talkeetna as a seasoned ambassador to Denali mountaineering. Daryl has an exceptionally varied background, ranging from combat soldier in Vietnam, to rodeo clown, to consummate climber and ranger. In 1995, together with fellow Talkeetna climber Mark Stasik, Daryl completed the first circumnavigation of the Denali massif in winter. Daryl... Read More|
|Michael "Mike" Miller||
Michael "Mike" Miller was born in 1941 to Richard "Dick" and Grace Miller. The family moved to Seldovia in 1945, when Mike was four years old, after his father got a job as a bush pilot flying for Harry White whose business was based out of Kenai. After he stopped flying around 1951, Dick Miller became a police officer in Seldovia. He died of cancer in 1956, so Grace moved her family back to California where they had lived before coming to Alaska. Mike was fifteen years old and proceeded to... Read More
Sandy Miller came to Homer with her family in 1956 and grew up there. She raised her children in Homer and currently works in hospice, helping people in their time of need.
|Levi "Alusuk" Mills, Sr.||
Levi "Alusuk" Mills, Sr. was born in 1903 and grew up living a traditional Iñupiaq hunting, trapping, and fishing lifestyle around Kotzebue, Alaska. Levi joined the army around 1941 when he was 38 years old in order to help his country during World War II. He was stationed in the Aleutian Islands. From February 29 to March 2, 1996, Levi participated in the Communities of Memory public storytelling event held in Kotzebue where local residents spoke about their memories of and experiences... Read More
Clara Moonin is of Aleut and Indian descent and was born in 1956 in English Bay, Alaska (it is now known as Nanwalek). Her father, Alexander Moonin, was born in English Bay, and her mother Margaret Ukatish Moonin was born in Portlock, Alaska. Clara and her five siblings grew up living in English Bay, Port Graham, and Seldovia. Her father and mother worked in the canneries, and her father also was a commercial fisherman. While Clara was growing up, the Russian Orthodox church was an important... Read More
Allen Moore was born in Arkansas and graduated from Arkansas State with a degree in wildlife management. He moved to Alaska over 20 years ago with his two daughters and began sled dog racing. Allen won the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race in 2013 and 2014. Allen and his wife, Aliy Zirkle, operate Skunk Place Kennel where they raise and train their sled dogs.
Bob Moore came to Homer, Alaska in 1969, and worked in the village of Nikolaevsk as their first teacher. At the time, there was no road to this Old Believers community, so he carried his supplies while walking forty minutes on a trail through the woods. He taught in Nikolaevsk for twenty-three years, and saw how it grew and changed.
|Terris Moore||Terris was in poor health at the time of the interview. Katrina assisted in helping Terris recall the stories and details. Most of the recording's content is concerning 1951, when he flew Bradford Washington to the West Buttress and pioneered that route. Terris' flights were key to providing support to the Mountain.|
|Joli Morgan||Joli Morgan came to Bethel in 1967 as a Volunteers in Service to America ("VISTA") Volunteer. He worked as a professor for the University of Alaska, and as interim director of the Kuskokwim Campus branch of the University of Alaska. After retirement, Joli remained in Bethel, and is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.|
Riley Morry was a Nunamiut elder from Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska. He was born in 1942 on the Killik River and in 1949 moved to Anaktuvuk Pass when bands of nomadic Nunamiut from Chandalar Lake and the Killik River settled together at the new village. He grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle moving from camp to camp following the seasons and the animals. His grandfather was well-known Nunamiut leader, Simon Paneak. In the 1970s, Riley was actively involved in the Alaska Native Claims... Read More
Originally from North Dakota, Art Mortvedt came to Alaska in January 1974. He was a teacher in the village of Shungnak, Alaska, moved to living a subsistence lifestyle in a remote location in the Brooks Range, has been a pilot, guide, and dog musher, and at the time of his interview in 2002 was running the Peace of Selby Wilderness Lodge at Selby Lake in the Brooks Range. He met Demaris (Dee), his wife, while working at Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota, when she was on her way to... Read More
|Damaris "Dee" Mortvedt||
Damaris "Dee" Mortvedt came to Alaska in 1967 as a school teacher. She taught in Cordova, Nome, Tok, Kenny Lake, Shungnak, and Manley Hot Springs. She met Art Mortvedt at a campground at Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota, when she was driving to Alaska. They married in 1978. At the time of the interview with her and Art in 2002, they were running the Peace of Selby Wilderness Lodge at Selby Lake in the Brooks Range.
Bertha Moses was an Inupiaq elder from Alatna and Allakaket, Alaska. She was born in 1930 in Alatna, the Inupiaq (Eskimo) village directly across the Koyukuk River from Allakaket. Her parents were Cora Tobuk and Oscar Nictune. Her grandparents, Tiluq (or Dinook) and Tuvaq (or Tobuk) on her mother's side and Tikitchuak (or Dickachalk) and Niuqtuun (Nickdoon or Peter Nictune) on her father's side, who lived in Alatna and in camps on the Alatna River, were important to her growing up. In fact... Read More
Johnson Moses was a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Allakaket, Alaska. He was born in 1924 to Billy and Ceza Bergman. When Johnson was about a year old, two of his older brothers died, only a day apart. In keeping with tradition, Johnson's mother gave him away, in hopes that subsequent children, including Johnson, might live. Until he was thirteen, Johnson was raised by Lucy and Henry Moses; then he went to live with Lucy's father, Big William and William William, another youngster whom Big... Read More
|Dr. Roy Moss||
Dr. Roy Moss was a psychiatrist at Morningside Hospital in Portland, Oregon from 1962-1966. He currently specializes in psychiatry in Santa Maria, California.
Born in Illinois, Gil Mull came to Alaska in 1961 as a geologist working for Atlantic Richfield Corporation. Having been involved in early oil exploration on the North Slope and doing extensive geological mapping in the Brooks Range, Gil is an expert on Alaska's northern geologic history. In addition to working for the oil industry, Gil also worked for the US Geological Survey and the State of Alaska, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Division of Oil and Gas. He retired in 2003... Read More
Carl Mulvihill was born in Skagway, Alaska in 1938 and began working for the Whitepass and Yukon Railroad when he was sixteen. Both his father and grandfather worked for the railroad. Carl held a variety of positions from section crew member to brakeman to dispatcher to chief clerk. His interest in the railway’s history developed when he was in college.
|Connie Munro||Connie Munro moved to Juneau, Alaska in 1971. As a middle-aged mother of seven children, Connie completed her education through specialized programs available in Juneau. She worked for the State of Alaska Department of Education, and has been involved in civic organizations such as the League of Women Voters of Juneau, the Alaska Native Sisterhood, and Juneau's Historic Resources Advisory Committee. She was a key organizer of the Juneau International Family Reunion held in Juneau in June/July... Read More|
Myra Munson is an attorney with the law firm of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson and Perry in Juneau, Alaska. She was Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) from 1986-1990, and prior to that was Assistant Attorney General in the Alaska Department of Law primarily representing DHSS cases.
|Susan Murphy||Susan Murphy is a long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska. She is the daughter of the late Judge Nora Guinn, who became the first judge of the new District Court in Bethel in 1968, and was the first woman and first Alaska Native to hold such a position. Susan is involved with the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and the Orutsararmiut Native Council Tribal Court in Bethel, and currently sits on the School Board of the Lower Kuskokwim School District.|
Benjamin (Ben or Bennie) Nageak was born in 1950 to Rhoda and Vincent Nageak and grew up in Kaktovik and Barrow, Alaska. He has ten siblings. He started hunting and whaling at a young age, and learned from his father, who was a successful whaler, hunter, and trapper, and from his many uncles and older brothers. Ben attended Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska and worked for the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL) in Barrow when he was a young man. He has served as director of the... Read More
|Roy Nageak, Sr.||
Roy Maloney Akootchook Nageak, Sr. was born in 1951 at a summer camp at Oliktok Point to Rhoda and Vincent Nageak, Sr. who were living there while his father was working at the nearby Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line) station (POW2). The family moved to Barrow, Alaska when Roy was five years old. Roy began whaling when he was about nine or ten years old under the mentorship of his uncle, Hoover Koonaloak. Vincent Nageak had a whaling crew, but was worried about having to watch over his... Read More
|Vincent Nageak, Sr.||
Vincent Nageak was born in 1903 at Beechey Point, Alaska to Kenton and Ahlak Kuguyuk, and lived along the Beaufort Sea coast in northern Alaska, in particular at Oliktok Point, and in Barter Island (Kaktovik) and Barrow. He was an expert seal hunter and whaler who developed a great understanding of how to travel and hunt safely on the ever-changing sea ice. He also worked as a reindeer herder and was a successful trapper and whaling captain. He married Bernice Taalak in 1925 and had three... Read More
Henry Nashaknik was born in 1906 on the Colville River and grew up living along the Beaufort Sea coast in northern Alaska. As a hunter and trapper and reindeer herder, he traveled extensively along the rivers and coastline in all seasons. He learned to understand the sea ice and how to travel and hunt safely on it. He also worked for Jack Smith at the trading post at Foggy Island, which including running a supply boat back and forth to Barrow. In 1931, he married his wife, Evelyn, and in... Read More
|Virgil Naylor, Sr.||
Virgil Naylor, Sr. is an Iñupiaq elder in Kotzebue, Alaska. He was born in 1936 in Noatak, Alaska, and grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle. He attended Mt. Edgecumbe school in Sitka, Alaska, and after graduation traveled around the state working as an electronic technician repairing the Air Force’s White Alice communication system. In 1965, he married his wife, Elsie, originally from Shishmaref, and they moved to Kotzebue. He continued to work for the White Alice station in... Read More
Herbert (Herbie) Nayokpuk was born in Shishmaref, Alaska on June 12, 1929. He was a veteran middle and long-distance dog racer known as the "Shishmaref Cannonball." Herbie was one of the original mushers to run the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1973. He also represented Alaska at the presidential inauguration of Ronald Regan in 1981. For more about Herbie Nayokpuk, see his obituary in the Ruralite Magazine... Read More
Dorcas Neakok was born in 1919 to Adela and Christopher Tingook. She spent her early childhood in Kiana. Her father was a reindeer herder, so Dorcas had childhood memories of traveling with reindeer herds to villages such as Selawik, Buckland, Kotzebue, Kivalina, Point Hope and finally to Point Lay when she was eleven years old. Dorcas began regular school attendance in Point Lay and lived with the schoolteachers while her parents continued herding reindeer. At age eighteen, Dorcas became... Read More
Warren Harding Neakok was born to Frederick Thomas Neakok (known as Tommy Neakok or Tommy Knox) and Eva Neakok at Akuliaqattaq near Icy Cape, Alaska, while his family was camped there hunting bearded seals. At age four, Warren was adopted by his grandparents, Neakok and Kimmik Knox and grew up in the area around Icy Cape, Point Lay, and Wainwright, Alaska. He grew up living off the land following a traditional subsistence lifestyle of traveling by dog team and hunting caribou, seals, and... Read More
Stanley Ned is a Koyukon Athabascan from Allakaket, Alaska. He was born in March 1950 to Simon and Pauline Ned. Stanley went to grade school in Allakaket then finished high school first at Mt. Edgecumbe near Sitka and then at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks. In July 1970, he was drafted into the Army where he was part of a sharpshooter unit. He served first in Germany and then in Vietnam, returning to the States in March 1972. His extensive employment history includes working as: a... Read More
Sy Neeley was born in Washington, but moved to Alaska with his family when he was a small child. They traveled around because his father worked for the Alaska Road Commission. He came to the Copper River Valley in 1942, a time he remembers as bustling with road construction and pioneering developments that coincided with preparations for defense in World War II. Always interested in things mechanical, Sy recalls that with so much machinery and frantic activity, the area was for him a boyhood... Read More
Ethel Joanne Nelson lives in Dillingham, Alaska. She was born in Nampa, Idaho in 1935 to Jacob Howard Reynolds and Mary Margaret (Mitchell) Reynolds, the second child in a family of eight. She first came to Alaska in 1952, when she worked at a cannery in Dillingham for the summer. She married George Nelson in 1953, and in 1954 returned to Dillingham, where she has lived ever since. She and George have had six children, and now have 16 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Joanne and... Read More
Maranda Nelson was born in 1951 in the village of Blackburn (also known as Holikachuk) on the Yukon River. She came to Seward at age three, when her mother came for tuberculosis treatment at the local sanitorium. After her mother's death in a car crash, Maranda was raised by her aunt, Lucy Broughton, who worked for many years at Seward Fisheries. Although they lived in Seward, Maranda grew up living a semi-subsistence lifestyle, going trapping, hunting, and berry picking with Lucy. Maranda... Read More
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... Read More
|Justice Buell Nesbett||
Buell Nesbett was born in New Mexico in 1910, worked as a radio operator in the Merchant Marines, earned his law degree from the University of San Francisco in 1940, won the Bronze Star while serving in the Navy in World War II, and came to Alaska in September 1945 to work as a private attorney. Nesbett was one of the first justices to serve on the Alaska Supreme Court when it was established in 1959. He was named Chief Justice of Alaska's highest court in 1959 by Gov. William A. Egan, and... Read More
Florence Nictune is an Inupiaq elder from Alatna. Alaska. Her father's family was originally from Kobuk, but they moved to Alatna just before he was born. Her grandparents came to visit Alatna from Kobuk on a two week trip by dog team, and never left. Her mother was Dora White Tobuk, who also was from Kobuk. Florence moved to Evansville in 1956 to go to school. She married Wallace Nictune and together they had eight children. Florence still lives in the Bettles/Evansville area.
Wallace Nictune was an Inupiaq elder from Alatna, Alaska. Born in 1926, he grew up living a subsistence lifestyle based upon hunting, fishing and trapping. His father worked on boats hauling freight on the Koyukuk River. He married Florence and they raised eight children together. Wallace lived near Evansville, Alaska until he passed away in 1996.
|Earl Norris||In this interview, Natalie Norris does most of the talking because Earl has been ill. Working together, they provide a detailed look at early dog team support. Natalie and Earl Norris describe growing up with dogs, coming to Alaska to work, and the growth of dog mushing. During World War II, their dogs were recruited for search and rescue. Bradford Washburn recruited Earl to provide freight support for climbing expeditions on Denali. Earl pioneered the dog route up to the base camp on the North... Read More|
Daisy Northway is an Upper Tanana Athabascan who was born at Healy Lake, Alaska. She is the daughter of Ellen Felix Demit and Frank Felix. The family left Healy Lake in the late 1940s when Daisy was about five years old after an epidemic hit the community. They first lived at Big Gerstle and then, after her father died, at Dot Lake. Daisy grew up mostly living a subsistence lifestyle, and learned to bead and sew at a young age. As a teenager, she worked at the Fortymile Roadhouse when her... Read More
Originally from Massachusetts, Dave Norton earned graduate degrees in Zoology and Zoophysiology from the University of Alaska in 1971 and 1973. His scientific research efforts have crossed disciplinary boundaries, from arctic shorebirds and snowy owls, to effects of petroleum development, to arctic dinosaur paleontology, to river and sea ice dynamics, and to traditional ecological knowledge. Now retired, Dave “spreads interdisciplinary mischief” by teaching for the Osher Lifelong Learning... Read More
Esther Norton was born in 1913 in Noatak, Alaska. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle relying on hunting, fishing, and berry picking and traveling by dog team to seasonal camps. Her husband worked in the mining camps, so she spent some time at Candle, Alaska, and later moved to Kotzebue. She remembers life in the village during World War II, and the local men signing up for and training with the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG).... Read More
Bruce Nukapigak was born in 1900 at the head of Kuuguq ravine southeast of Barrow, Alaska. He grew up at Ualiqpaa on the coast south of Barrow and in Barrow, living a traditional subsistence lifestyle of whaling, hunting, fishing, trapping and traveling by dog team. As a whaler and seal hunter, he learned to understand the sea ice and how to travel and hunt safely on it. After he was married, he moved to Barter Island (Kaktovik), and learned about the local ice conditions as far west as... Read More
Percy Nusunginya is an Iñupiaq elder from Barrow, Alaska. He was born in 1941 to Faye and Ned Nusunginya, and grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle where he learned to hunt and be out on the se ice at a young age. He attended primary school in Barrow and high school at Mount Edgecumbe in Sitka, Alaska. As a young man, Percy worked for the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL), including on their ice island research stations. Percy comes from a long line of successful whalers... Read More
George O'Leary's father, Maurice O'Leary, hauled mail and freight by dog team in the winter and with horses in the summer over the Circle-Fairbanks trail.
|Sharon O'Malley||Sharon O'Malley moved to Unalaska, Alaska in 1982 for a job as a cook on a Bering Sea fishing boat. After working as a teacher's aide for six years, she received her teaching degree from the University of Alaska. She is now a third grade teacher. She plays the guitar and is an active singer/songwriter in the local Dutch Harbor/Unalaska music scene. She also raised two daughters in Unalaska.|
|Fortuna Odell||Fortuna Odell was born in Marshall, Alaska in 1916. She grew up in Marshall and attended a Bureau of Indian Affairs high school in Eklutna. After graduation in 1936, she moved to Juneau to work at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She later worked for the Territorial Health Department. She married William Odell in 1939. The couple had two children, William and Nancy, but later divorced. Fortuna Odell passed away in 2013 at the age of 97. For more about Fortuna Odell, see her... Read More|
|Brian Okonek||Brian is the son of the famed K-2 Aviation pilot,Jim Okonek,a fact that gave Brian special opportunities to explore the rugged Alaska Range. Brian went on to become one the area's most expert climbers and guides. Brian exudes great warmth and has a contagious love for Denali, qualities that help him provide a challenging but reasonably safe climbing opportunity for his clients. Having grown up with the Alaska Range as his backyard, Brian tempers his enthusiasm for the mountains with a somber... Read More|
|Diane Okonek||Diane is an avid outdoorswoman who hitchhiked to Alaska, following her adventurous heart and moving far from the crowds of the Lower 48. Diane has climbed Denali many times, both as a climber and more recently as a guide. In this interview, Diane shares her love of the mountains and reflects on her experience and philosophy as a guide. She provides a remarkable and detailed description of the "nuts and bolts" of guiding trips on Denali, and of the special human rewards of helping people to... Read More|
|Jim Okonek||Jim graciously let Bill stay in the bunkhouse during his visit to Talkeetna. Tape I was going along fine until Bill realized that the tape was not winding. In tape II, they went back over the missing topics and continued to the end of the interview. Jim was able to repeat the lost discussions almost word for word as Bill had first heard and noted them. Jim came to Alaska with the U.S. Air Force in 1964, as a helicopter pilot working at the Rescue Coordination Center based at Elmendorf Field.... Read More|
|Nathaniel "Nate" Olemaun, Jr.||
Nathaniel “Nate” Olemaun, Jr. was born in Barrow, Alaska, but spent thirteen years living away from the community in the Lower 48. Nate returned to Barrow in 1970, and re-learned his native Inupiaq language and traditional hunting and whaling skills. He married Ida Oyagak and went whaling with her father, Roxy Oyagak from 1970 to 1991. He learned much of his sea ice and whaling knowledge from his father-in-law. Nate has served as the mayor of the City of Barrow off and on for many years, and... Read More
|Hjalmar "Ofi" Olson||
Hjalmar E. "Ofi" Olson was born in 1939 in Kanakanak, Alaska to Hjalmar and Mary Olson. Ofi was the eldest of eleven children. He was a lifelong commercial salmon fisherman and an avid pilot who spent many years hunting, fishing, and trapping in Bristol Bay. Ofi earned his private pilot's license in 1957, at the age of 16. He served 22 months in Germany in the US Army, returning to Dillingham, Alaska, in 1961. In 1964, Ofi met Anuska Hansen and they married in 1968. They had three children... Read More
Lela Kiana Oman is an Inupiaq elder who was born in 1915 in Noorvik, Alaska. She moved to Nome, Alaska as a young girl and has remained there ever since. She grew up learning Inupiaq traditional stories from her father, Jim Kiana, despite the pressures against this from nearby missionaries; Eskimo dancing also was not allowed in the village. She has spent her life focused on preserving these stories and passing on her Inupiaq traditions. She has published a number of books of Native stories... Read More
|Tommy "Muquluk" Ongtooguk||
Tommy "Muquluk" Ongtooguk was born in 1922 in Teller, Alaska. His ancestry on his father's side is from Diomede Island and Siberia, and from Wales on his mother's side. He grew up living a traditional Iñupiaq hunting and fishing lifestyle. In November 1946, Tommy enlisted in the Alaska Territorial Guard in Nome, Alaska. He attended basic training at Fort Richardson near Anchorage. His abilities as a subsistence hunter and being able to sustain tough conditions and have stamina, helped him... Read More
Riki Ott, PhD, is a marine toxicologist, author, and former commercial fisher. She was born and raised in Wisconsin. When she was a young teen, her father sued the state of Wisconsin to ban DDT, instilling a strong environmental health ethic and awareness in her. Upon reading Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us, Riki decided to become a marine biologist; a decision that brought her to Cordova, Alaska in 1985 after earning advanced degrees in marine toxicology.... Read More
Nelson Page is a lawyer with Burr, Pease and Kurtz in Anchorage, Alaska. He was an original member of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Board of Trustees serving until 2008, and was the board's first chairman.
|Ellen Evak Paneok||
Ellen Evak Paneok was born in 1959 in Bedford, Virginia to Bernice Evak and Ron Burgandine. Her mother was from Kotzebue, Alaska and her father was in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Alaska. She mostly grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. She is known as Alaska’s first Native woman bush pilot. Through hard work and dedication, she learned to fly at age 16, and began flying mail, medical patients and freight, accumulating more than 15,000 flight hours. She is known not only for her aviation skills,... Read More
|Mary Ann Paquette||
Mary Ann Paquette grew up in Yakutat, Alaska and has memories of the community from long ago. She helped comment on the Kayamori photo collection for the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Project Jukebox.
Walter (Walt) Parker was born in 1926 in Spokane, Washington. As a child, he heard about Alaska from his grandfather, who told him about his life in Nome during the Gold Rush. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Walt arrived in Fairbanks in 1946 with his bride Patricia Ertman. He studied at the University of Washington, Syracuse University, and George Washington University, and received degrees from the University of Alaska in history and anthropology in 1964 and an honorary... Read More
Crawford Ahkivgak Patkotak was born in 1966 in Barrow, Alaska, and was raised by Susan and Simeon Patkotak, Sr. He grew up in Barrow and at Peard Bay, hunting and gathering. He started whaling when he was about eight years old. His father was a successful whaling captain, and his mother came from the Ahkivgak whaling family, where she learned from her grandfather, Taaqpak. Crawford has been whaling captain of the Patkotak Crew since 2008, after his father got too old to continue whaling. In... Read More
|Simeon Patkotak, Sr.||
Simeon Patkotak, Sr. is an Iñupiaq elder from Barrow, Alaska. He was born in 1932, and has spent his entire life hunting, fishing and whaling. He has a subsistence camp at Peard Bay, southwest of Barrow, which is an especially important area to him. Simeon started whaling when he was seventeen years old under the mentorship of Otis Ahkivgak, his wife Susan’s father. In the late 1950s, Otis Ahkivgak lost all his whaling gear during a big ice pileup (ivu) event that caused many crews... Read More
|Bill Patton, Jr.||
Born in Vancouver, Canada, Bill Patton came to Alaska in 1948 as a geologist working for the US Geological Survey in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska. Bill has done geologic exploration and mapping throughout Alaska for the US Geological Survey, but has particular expertise in the Brooks Range and the North Slope. In 1951, he was part of a geological mapping expedition that traversed the Brooks Range by tracked vehicle, and he continued to do remote fieldwork in the region for many... Read More
Grant Pearson began work at Mount McKinley National Park as a park ranger in February 1926 and retired as superintendent in November 1956. During his tenure, dog teams were used to patrol the Park's vast backcountry. For more about Grant Pearson and dog teams at Mount McKinley National Park, see: My Life of High Adventure by Grant Pearson with Philip Newill (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1962); and Crown Jewel of the North: An Administrative History of Denali National Park and... Read More
Born in Trondheim, Norway on January 29, 1919, Einar Pedersen became interested in the Arctic as a youngster when he was inspired by the expeditions of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. His own arctic experience began as a teenager working on a seal-catching expedition in Greenland. He spent time in both the Norwegian and British Armies where he was trained in air navigation, geography, meteorology and flew in the North Atlantic, ferried new aircraft across the Atlantic, and safely... Read More
Jerry Peet grew up in Alden, Iowa. After completing high school in 1966, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After basic training he was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas for maintenance training on Nike missiles. He was sent to Alaska and stationed at Site Tare Nike Missile Site (A Battery A/2/562) near Fairbanks. He was responsible for the test systems on the missile guidance system. After Jerry left the Army, he went back to school for electronics to learn to work on TV and radios. After... Read More
Jim Pepper was born in Annapolis, Maryland and went to law school at Georgetown University. He began working for the National Park Service in the Division of Plans and Objectives in 1971. He worked for the National Park Service in Washington DC during the time of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which set aside over a 100 million acres of public lands in Alaska. He was very involved in land use policy, management, and legal issues related to Alaska's national parks. Jim... Read More
Virginia Pete grew up at Dry Creek and moved to Tazlina, Alaska after the United States Army forced the village to move from Dry Creek. Virginia has taught the Ahtna language since the 1970’s and continues to be a language consultant for the Ahtna Heritage Foundation in Glennallen. She, along with other Ahtna elders, assisted Dr. James Kari in writing the Ahtna Dictionary, which was published in 1990. She was a bilingual teacher for the Copper River School District in the 1980’s teaching... Read More
|Michaella Phillips||Michaella Phillips arrived in Unalaska, Alaska in 1978 on a crab fishing boat from Kodiak, Alaska. Due to a strike in the fishing community, she ended up staying. She has worked for the City of Unalaska, Department of Parks, Culture and Recreation.|
Doug Pieren was born in Palmer, Alaska in 1943. His grandparents came to Alaska in 1934 and homesteaded in the Palmer/Wasilla area. His parents met in Wasilla, when his father was in the Army. Doug spent part of his youth in Oregon, before returning to Alaska and coming to Seldovia for the first time in 1962. His step-father, Harley Ekren, and his mother operated the Ekren Cannery at Kasitsna Bay from 1955 to 1975. Doug worked in the Ekren and other canneries, served in the Army, and settled... Read More
JoAnn Polston is the daughter of Stella Healy. She was born in 1958 at the Native hospital in Tanana, Alaska. Although she spent much of her childhood until the age of five in the lower forty-eight states with her mother and step-father (Lee Saylor), she also has many memories of summers at Healy Lake. Soon after the family returned to Alaska, JoAnn's grandmother, Jeany Healy, came to live with their family until her death in 1986, thereby increasing JoAnn's bonds with her own history and... Read More
Larry Powell is a longtime resident of Yakutat, Alaska. Along with his wife, Caroline, he purchased Mallott's General Store in 1967. He served as mayor of Yakutat from 1971 to 1992.
Kathy Price is a historian and cultural resource management specialist in Fairbanks, Alaska. She has researched and written about military history in the area, especially Ladd Field/Fort Wainwright, World War II, and the Cold War. Many of her reports were prepared on contract with the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. Some of her publications include: Tracking the Unthinkable: the Donnelly Flats... Read More
|Justice Jay Rabinowitz||
Jay Rabinowitz was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1927, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He served in the US Army Air Corps during World War II, received a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in 1949, and graduated from Harvard University Law School in 1952. Jay came to Alaska in 1957 as a law clerk for territorial judge, Vernon Forbes. Following service as assistant U.S. attorney for Alaska, and as the Alaska deputy attorney general, in 1960 he was appointed to the superior... Read More
|Jennifer "Jen" Raffaeli||
Jennifer "Jen" Raffaeli manages the sled dog kennels at Alaska's Denali National Park. She was born in Minnesota in 1975, and as a child loved animals and the outdoors, and as a teenager competed in horse jumper competitions. In 1998, she came to Alaska for a summer job at a ecotourism lodge in Cooper Landing. She became interested in dog mushing when taking tourists to visit Jeff King's Husky Homestead near Denali National Park. In the winter of 1999, she worked for Arleigh Jorgenson in... Read More
Originally from upper Michigan, Urban Rahoi came to Alaska in 1947. He learned to fly in 1934 and joined the United States Air Force in 1942 where he flew B-17's during World War II. He is a pilot, big game hunting guide, lodge owner, and Fairbanks business man. Urban has been a licensed hunting guide in Alaska since 1950, and in the early 1950's he built Ptarmigan Lake Lodge in the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains near the Canada/Alaska border. He has used this as a base of operations for his... Read More
|Robert "Bob" Raichle||
Robert "Bob" Raichle was born and raised in Westfield, New Jersey, just outside of New York City. He atttended Purdue University in Indiana, where he earned a degree in business and participated in the Army ROTC program. He graduated in 1965 as a comissioned second lieutenant in the US Army. In the spring of 1966, he was assigned to the Air Defense School in Fort Lewis, Texas and after three months obtained certification to work at a Nike missile site. From 1966 to 1968, Bob was stationed... Read More
George Ramos was born and raised in Yakutat, where he currently resides. He is of the Yéil (Raven) moiety and the L”uknax.ádi (Coho) clan, and is a speaker of Lingít, the Tlingit language. Mr. Ramos is a life member of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and a member of the Alaska Sea Otter and Sea Lion Commission. He was trained in Tlingit traditions, ceremonies and subsistence skills by his maternal uncle. He is the group leader for the Mt. St. Elias Dancers from Yakutat.
|Caroline Reader||Caroline McLain Reader was raised in Nome, Alaska. Her father was a beach miner so the family lived a frugal lifestyle. She graduated from Nome High School in 1946. She helped organize the original Communities of Memory project storytelling events in Nome in 1996.|
Jack Reakoff came to Wiseman, Alaska as a boy in 1971 with his parents Rick and June Reakoff and his sisters, Heidi and Missy. Jack has been living there on and off since, and by so doing has become one of the longest-term residents of Wiseman. Jack lives a subsistence-based lifestyle focused on hunting, trapping, berry picking, and gardening. With an interest in history, Jack has become Wiseman's unofficial historian. In the summer months, he leads guided walks through town for the Northern... Read More
|Joe Redington, Jr.||
Joe Redington, Jr. (Joee) is the son of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race founder, Joe Redington, Sr. He grew up on the family homestead in Knik, Alaska and got involved with dog mushing at an early age. Joee has been a successful sprint dog racer, winning the Junior Fur Rendevous and Junior Open North American, as well as the World Championship Fur Rendezvous sled dog race in 1966. He competed in races all across Alaska, Canada, New York and New Hampshire, and the Mid-West circuit. He retired... Read More
|Joe Redington, Sr.||
Joe Redington. Sr. was a homesteader and dog musher in Knik, Alaska. He is one of the founders of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1972, and is known as "the father of the Iditarod." For more about Joe Redington, Sr. see: Father of the Iditarod, The Joe Redington Story by Lew Freedman (Fairbanks, AK: Epicenter Press, 1999).
Bill Reed came to Skagway, Alaska in 1944 as a boy with his family. Growing up in Skagway, he worked for the White Pass and Yukon Railroad in various positions during the 1950’s and 1960’s, including as a gandy dancer at a section house, as a hosteler helper, and as a fireman on steam engines. He also has some experience with railroads in the Lower 48, including with mainline freight traffic as a fireman. Eventually, Bill moved to Fairbanks, Alaska where he is active in the community. He is... Read More
Bob Reeve was born in Waunakee, Wisconsin in1902 and was interested in flying from a young age. By 1917, he was bored with school, and wanted to be involved with the war. The 15 year-old ran away to enlist in the U.S Army and was accepted on his second attempt at Davenport, Iowa. By 1926, he had earned both commercial pilot and aircraft mechanic certificates. Finding work as a pilot was difficult, so he re-enlisted in the army. He made his way north to Alaska in 1921. He began his bush-... Read More
|Dr. Larry Reynolds||
In 1974, Dr. Larry Reynolds came to Seldovia, Alaska from California, and started a medical practice. He provided general family practice and obstetrics care in Seldovia, as well as has had medical privileges at the hospital in Homer, across Kachemak Bay. In the early years, he flew patients back and forth and did his rounds in his 1946 Stinson airplane. Larry is an avid backcountry skier, who has spent many weeks every winter camping and skiing in the remote mountains near Seldovia. He and... Read More
Howard was born in Ada, Oklahoma. His father served in the military so the family moved around a lot during Howard's childhood. By the time Howard was a senior in high school, his father had become professor of Military Science and Tactics for the ROTC program at West Texas University so Howard graduated from high school in Abilene, Texas. This is where he met his wife, Ruth. They married in September, 1957. Howard attended the University of Oklahoma and worked as a student engineer for a... Read More
Ruth Rice is originally from Texas. Her father worked for a small retail automotive company and was transferred about every two years so she spent her childhood moving from town to town in west Texas. In 1942, when she was a teenager, her family was living in Abilene, Texas which is where she met Howard Rice. She and Howard married in September, 1957. Howard joined the U.S. Army and Ruth led the life of an Army wife, including time in Anchorage, Alaska while Howard worked at the Site Summit... Read More
Bud Rice was born in 1950 in San Francisco, California, and grew up in northern California. He received an undergraduate degree in forestry and conservation from the University of California Berkeley, and came to Alaska in 1976 for an interpretive naturalist job at Denali National Park. This led to a long career with the National Park Service, working in a variety of capacities in various parks in Alaska. He worked at Kenai Fjords National Park from 1983 to 1992 as a backcountry ranger and... Read More
Born in 1947 in Patterson, New Jersey, Dick Ring got his education at Pennsylvania State University, University of Rhode Island, and George Washington University. He also served in the U.S. Army. He worked for the National Park Service for most of his career. In 1981, Dick became the first superintendent of the newly formed Gates of the Arctic National Park. After leaving Alaska, Dick was the superintendent at Delaware Water Gap National Park and Everglades National Park and . In 2000, he... Read More
Elaine Ritschard worked as a nurse at Morningside Hospital in the 1960s, first on the emergency unit and later she was head nurse of the children's ward where she established a kids activity center.
During the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Roy Robertson supervised the community of Seldovia’s response and cleanup efforts. He later helped found the Seldovia Oil Spill Team, a community-based response organization. Robertson has since gained considerable experience with oil spill response and monitoring in Washington and Alaska. He has served as a consultant to both the Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Councils, as well as the Alaska Department of Environmental... Read More
|Roger Robinson||Roger is chief climbing ranger for Denali National Park and Preserve. He has almost three decades of experience as a climber at Denali and in the surrounding mountains. Roger has a number of first ascents in the Alaska Range, including many new routes in "Little Switzerland" off Rahiltna Glacier. Roger has also been a climbing ranger on Denali with over two decades of experience on the mountain, running climbing patrols, maintaining high camp at 14,200 feet, and working on dozens of search and... Read More|
|Paul Roderick||Paul is the lead pilot and owner of Talkeetna Air Taxi and spends much of his summer in the air, supporting climbers and flightseers headed to and from Denali. As a climber himself, Paul seems to have a special affinity for climbers and tolerance, too, as many of his clients stage out of TAT headquarters. On the day of the interview, poor weather made it possible for Paul to take a short time out of his busy day to reflect on flying in one of the world's most dynamic and perilous environments.... Read More|
George Rogers was born in 1917 in San Francisco, California. He came to Alaska in January of 1945, charged by the Office of Price Administration to roll back the price of fish. Rogers worked as a consultant for the Alaska Constitutional Convention in 1955, served as an economic advisor to two territorial governors, helped develop Alaska's tax and revenue system, taught university economic courses, and served on the Juneau Assembly. He earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in... Read More
|Jean Rogers||Jean (Clark) Rogers was born on October 1, 1919. She met her husband, George Rogers, at the University of California at Berkeley where she obtained her bachelor's degree in English. The couple was married in 1942 and remained married for 69 years until George's passing in 2010. Jean and George moved to Juneau in 1945, where they adopted and raised six children. Jean is an author and visual artist whose published titles include the children's books "Goodbye My Island," "King Island... Read More|
Dorothy Roggeveen was born in 1929 in Detroit, Michigan. In 1948, at age 19, she joined the Women's Army Corps and worked in their dental lab. In 1951, she went to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and learned the administrative side of construction contracting. This is where she met her husband, Adrian Roggeveen of the Netherlands, who was an engineer specializing in bridge building. They married and moved to Okinawa, Japan and for the next 18 years worked on construction projects... Read More
Raised in Michigan, Don Ronda first came to Homer, Alaska in 1956 as a visitor, but was so enamored with the town and the people that he soon returned to live there. He obtained his teaching degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, got a job teaching in the village of Naknek, and then in 1962 became the principal of Homer High School. He served on the Homer City Council, the Homer Advisory Planning Commission, and the Port and Harbor Commission. He was a commercial fisherman, and helped... Read More
|Ethel Ross Oliver||
Born in 1914, Ethel Ross Oliver came to Alaska with her first husband when his doctor recommended a vigorous outdoor occupation as a cure for respiratory illness. For ten years, they trapped in the Rainy Pass area of the the Alaska Range. After her husband's death, Oliver returned to school, received a degree in education, and began her career as a teacher. Ethel Ross married Simeon "Nutchuk" Oliver, an Aleut writer, in 1943. In 1946, the couple moved to Atka village in the Aleutians; Ethel... Read More
Wilma Rutherford was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on April 1, 1929. Wilma was one of the first women inducted into the WACs (Women's Auxiliary Corps) from Pittsburgh. In the military, she was an X-ray technician, which was a career she continued later in life. While in the service, she met her husband, Walter Lee Rutherford Jr., and she followed him to Alaska in 1951, when he was stationed at Ladd Field in Fairbanks. In 1958, they homesteaded in North Pole, Alaska where they farmed and... Read More
|Joe Sallison||Joe Sallison is a pilot and long-time resident of Bethel, Alaska.|
Avis Sam is an Upper Tanana Athabascan elder from Northway, Alaska. She grew up living a subsistence lifestyle where she and her sister had to work hard to help chop and carry firewood. She is an expert beader, seamstress, and birch bark basket maker. As a speaker of her Native language, she has helped to document and teach others the language. She is married to Roy Sam, and raised a family mostly from subsistence harvested resources.
Elma Sam is an Inupiaq elder from Alatna, Alaska. She is the eldest daughter of Oscar and Cora Tobuk Nictune. Her sisters include Ann Edwards, Kitty David, and Bertha Moses. Elma grew up living a subsistence lifestyle moving from camp to camp with the seasons and speaking her Native language. Her father and both sets of her grandparents had camps up the Alatna River. When her mother died in 1942, she and her siblings worked together to keep the family going while her father took a job with... Read More
Roy Sam is an Upper Tanana Athabascan elder from Northway, Alaska. His father was Big John and his mother, originally from Tetlin, was Jessie John. He grew up learning to hunt and trap from his father, who traveled around the area including Northway, Nabesna, Batzulnetas, Suslota, Chisana, Beaver Creek, Kechumstuk, Mansfield, Tanacross, Dot Lake, Tetlin and the Black Hills. When Roy became an adult, he ran his own trapline and has been an active hunter and fisherman. He was in the U.S. Army... Read More
|Tony Sam, Sr.||
Tony Sam, Sr. is one of the Huslia's leading older men, and the patriarch of a large family. Born in 1929, Tony's parents, Little Sammy and Big Sophie Sam, both now deceased, are important figures in the recent history of the area. Tony is married to Emily, who is Lee and Eliza Simon's daughter and originally from Allakaket. He is well known for his skills playing the fiddle and the guitar and was known to play at funerals, potlatches, for holidays, and other special occasions.
Walter Sampson is an Iñupiaq elder who was born in 1948 in Noorvik, Alaska. Walter was educated at the high school in Noorvik, Kotzebue Friends High School, and Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon. After graduating from Chemawa in 1968, Walter was drafted and served in the army for two years, including training at Fort Lewis in Washington and serving in Vietnam with the Americal Division combat infantry unit. He was awarded two bronze star medals, one Army commendation medal, a Vietnam... Read More
|Robin Samuelsen, Jr.||
H. Robin Samuelsen, Jr. lives in Dillingham, Alaska. He was born in 1951 in Dillingham. A lifelong fisherman, Robin is known for his passion for fisheries. In the early 1990s, he served on the Alaska Board of Fisheries, shaping policies and regulations in the interest of subsistence, commercial and personal-use fishermen statewide. As a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, he promoted Alaska’s interests at the federal level. There, he worked toward an equitable approach to... Read More
|Jimmix Samuelson||John R. "Jimmix" Samuelson, Jr. grew up in Bethel, Alaska, was a pilot, and for many years operated Jimmix Flying Service out of Bethel.|
Ralph Savory was born in 1910 in the Santa Rosa area in California, and graduated from high school in 1928. His mother died when he was 13, so six years later, his father decided to re-marry. Ralph was 19, so he moved to San Francisco where he got a job and learned to fly. While in school, Ralph became interested in airplanes because of Lindbergh’s famous 1927 flight over the Atlantic. Ralph began flying in San Mateo, California on a big grassy lot at a flight school called “Speedy Johnson... Read More
Lee Saylor was born in 1941 and grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. At age eighteen, he joined the Army, and came to Alaska in 1964 where he was stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks and Fort Greely near Delta Junction. He married Stella Healy from Healy Lake, Alaska in 1966. They had two sons, Patrick and Benjamin Saylor and he became step-father to Stella's daughter, JoAnn. Lee worked as an instrument man on survey crews for the Alaska Department of Transportation for over... Read More
Patrick Saylor was born in 1966 in Fairbanks, Alaska. He is the older of two sons born to Stella Healy Saylor and Lee Saylor. Pat's genealogical links run deep in both the Healy Lake/Joseph and the Mansfield/Ketchumstuk bands as well as the Upper Ahtna. Although he greatly prefers to be engaged in subsistence activities full time, Patrick has been politically active since he was seventeen years old. He has fought and won many battles for his people of the Upper Tanana region of interior... Read More
Neil Scannell is an Athabascan who was born in Ruby, Alaska in 1941and grew up at Holy Cross Mission on the Yukon River. He graduated from high school at Copper Valley School in Glennallen. Neil worked at Prudhoe Bay as an electrical/instrumentation designer. Living in Fairbanks, Neil has spent many years traveling the Tanana River in summer and winter for both recreation and subsistence. In recent years, one of the main purposes for winter travel has been to collect firewood in the flats... Read More
|Robert "Bobby" Schaeffer||
Robert "Bobby" Schaeffer was born in 1949 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. As the youngest, Bobby had to wait his turn before he could try seal hunting himself, but would tag along and do chores as a way to learn. By high school, he was old enough and knowledgeable enough to hunt on his own... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
Originally from Ohio, Dave Schmitz graduated from Hiram College in 1972, and decided to go to graduate school in Alaska. After one semester of graduate work in ecology, however, he realized that what he really wanted to do was work in the Brooks Range. In 1973, Dave started trapping in the Alatna River area, and continued to trap and operate a guiding business in the area before Gates of the Arctic National Park was established. During the early days of planning for Alaska's national parks,... Read More
Dr. William Schneider was the curator of the Oral History program from its inception in 1980 until his retirement in 2011. He has devoted his career to the preservation of the tradition of oral storytelling and oral history though his creation of Project Jukebox, a vast collection of oral histories gathered from all over Alaska that brilliantly combines modern technology with a sensitivity to the richness and immense cultural value of oral traditions. Bill is well known and respected for his... Read More
|Dr. Jerry Schrader||
Dr. Jerry Schrader was Director of Alaska's Mental Health Division from 1973-1978, was a private psychiatrist in Alaska and was also president of the Alaska Mental Health Association for about ten years.
|Ransom Tony Schultz||
Ransom Tony (R.T.) Schultz came to Alaska in 1938, the same year he bought his first plane and obtained his pilot's license. He began flying for Star Airlines (later Alaska Airlines) in 1940, and in 1950 was chosen as their first chief bush pilot. He also flew in Alaska for Northern Consolidated Airlines, Wien Airlines, Interior Airlines, and as a bush pilot for the Bureau of Land Management. Tony also worked with Hawkins & Powers, who had the forest firefighting contract with the Bureau... Read More
Emily Schwing was born in 1983 and grew up in Colorado and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Carleton College in Minnesota. She got her start as a radio journalist at the age of 19 at KUER public radio station in Salt Lake City, Utah. She came to Alaska in April 2006 to work as an intern at KFSK public radio station in Petersburg, Alaska. She came to Fairbanks to pursue a master's degree in Natural Resources Management at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she became a volunteer... Read More
Gordon Scott came to Alaska in 1974, and began fishing out of Whittier, Alaska while living in Girdwood with his wife, Elly, and their three sons. During the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, he spent 186 days working on the cleanup. Since the oil spill, Gordon has been involved with various oil spill prevention and response activities, including volunteering for the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council’s Oil Spill... Read More
|Martha Scott Stey||
Martha Scott Stey came to Bethel, Alaska in the late 1980s. She played the mandolin in a band called "The Beat Around the Bush Band" that she joined when she moved to Bethel. Since 2000, Martha has been living in Juneau, Alaska. As musicians and avid fans of acoustic music, she and her husband, Jim Stey, help host the Mudlark Sampler folk and acoustic music program on Juneau's KTOO public radio station.
When Dave Seaman came to Homer, Alaska, he lived in a tent on the Homer Spit and worked at Land’s End Resort. He was soon given the opportunity to live in a remote cabin on Yukon Island for the winter. He has worked various jobs in Homer, including commercial fishing, logging, tendering, stevedoring, shrimp fishing, and boat building. From all these experiences, he has learned a thing or two about the weather and its effect on small boats in Kachemak Bay, and he loves living in Homer.
Originally from Minnesota, Dan Seavey moved to Seward, Alaska in 1963 for a job as a high school social studies teacher. Dan and his wife, Shirley, moved to a homestead on Old Exit Glacier Road in March 1964, where they continue to reside. Dan became involved in dog mushing and dog racing, ran the first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1973, and operated a sled dog tour business in Seward. His sons and grandsons continue to be involved in sled dog racing and dog tour operations. From the late... Read More
Originally from Wisconsin, Gert Seekins came to Homer, Alaska in 1969 when her husband was offered a job as the assistant pastor at the Christian Community Church. She worked at the cannery when they first arrived in Homer, but soon moved on to other business opportunities. She and her husband started the first bed and breakfast in Homer, they converted an old building into a boarding house, they had a tour business, they offered fishing charters, and they had an accommodation referral... Read More
Beginning in 1983, Jerome Selby served as mayor of the Kodiak Island Borough, a position he held for over 25 years. Selby’s influence during the cleanup of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill include his involvement with the Oiled Mayors Group, a coalition of leaders from the communities affected by the oil spill. He also helped form the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council and served on its board of directors from... Read More
Bud Seltenreich's family came to Alaska during the Chisana gold rush and ended up homesteading near the site of the Nizina Bridge. Bud was born in 1915 at the hospital in Kennecott, Alaska. His parents had a laundry service and operated a restaurant in McCarthy during the time the Kennecott Mine was functioning. He worked for Gillam Airlines and the McCarthy Garage as a mechanic and also worked for the Alaska Road Commission. He bought a plane with his two brothers in 1930 and they had one... Read More
|Rufina Shaishnikoff||Rufina Shaishnikoff is a long-time resident of Unalaska, Alaska. She grew up in a family of commercial fishermen and participated in local subsistence activities, such as seal hunting. She continues to speak her Native Aluutiq language.|
|Dr. Lewis Shapiro||
Originally from Bronx, New York, Dr. Lewis “Lew” Shapiro came to Alaska in 1971 after completing his Ph.D in geology at the University of Minnesota. Previously, he served in the US Army from 1953 to 1957, worked in Arizona in drilling and mining, and in 1962 obtained his bachelor’s degree from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City. Lew was interested in seismology and tectonics, but found himself involved in the rapidly growing field of sea ice research, in particular... Read More
William Sheffield came to Alaska in 1953 as a young sales representative for Sears Roebuck and built a successful network of hotels. He served as Governor of Alaska from 1982-1986. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Alaska Railroad from 1985-1997, was its President and CEO from 1997-2001, and has continued to serve on their Board of Directors. He was key to getting the railroad transferred from federal to state management. In 2001, he became Director of the Port of Anchorage... Read More
|Roberta Sheldon||This interview is available only at the Oral History office at the Elmer Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.|
Mary Shields first came to Alaska in 1965 as a college student working for Campfire Girls. Eventually, she found herself involved with dogs and dog teams, which led to long distance travel, racing, and tourism. Mary was the first woman to complete the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and currently provides tours of her dogs and kennel in Fairbanks called Alaskan Tails of the Trail. For more about Mary Shields and her dog... Read More
|Judy Shiffler||Judy Shiffler came to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1968 with her husband, Wendell Shiffler. Judy has been involved with education in Fairbanks, first teaching at Denali Elementary School.|
Lydia Simon was a Koyukon Athabascan from Huslia, Alaska. She was born in 1917 to Francis and Christine Olin. Her sister was Mary Vent. When she was only three days old, her parents gave her to Rose and Peter Kokrine who adopted her and took her to live with them in Old Kokrines. When she was six, her adoptive father became ill with TB and died. The next year her adoptive mother also become ill and died. For about a year she lived with her grandparents, Old Man Tom Marie and his wife. Then... Read More
Ron Simpson is an Athabascan resident of Copper Center, Alaska. In 2001 he published a historical novel, Legacy of the Chief, based on his research into the history of copper mining and the development of the railroad. Ron purchased a bar in Copper Center and developed it into a tourist attraction featuring large-scale model trains and models of differnt historic Kennecott mine sites. For more information about Ron Simpson, please see the... Read More
|Pete Sinclair||Leon "Pete" Sinclair was a member of the team that completed the daring first ascent of the West Rib of Denali in 1959. Pete describes how he and his partners first found their way to Alaska and then managed to climb, well beyond their comfort level, all the way into the history books with the first ascent. Their climb became one of the most famous, in part because they shared their story in a "Time Magazine" story and other venues. In this interview, Pete describes the climb, shares stories of... Read More|
Ruby is from Chistochina, Alaska. She grew up living a subsistence lifestyle and traveled from summer camp to fall camp to spring camp. She got married and lived near Chistochina in a cabin. Her husband would leave for months at a time to trap and earn money for the family. He became sick and died leaving Ruby to fend for herself and her children. She worked at the school in Chistochina for 20 years. She also taught language for Ahtna Corporation, sold her crafts, and helped to dry moose... Read More
Sarah Skin is the Oral Historian with the North Slope Borough, Inupiat History, Language and Culture Commission in Barrow, Alaska. She provides Inupiaq language translation assistance and provides access to th department's collections of historic photographs and oral history and Inupiaq language materials. She helped with the Sea Ice Project Jukebox.
Chuck Slaughter is an eco-hydrologist with many years of experience studying ice conditions in interior Alaska, especially on the Chatanika River in the Fairbanks area. He is currently an Adjunct Research Professor of Natural Resources and Engineering at the Center for EcoHydraulics Research, University of Idaho. Chuck shared his scientific knowledge at the 2004 Dangerous Ice Workshop with support from the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS).
|A. Robert Smith||
A. Robert Smith was a young journalist in Washington D.C. in the mid-1950s reporting on the congressional oversight hearings for Morningside Hospital, and the battle over Congress' passage of Alaska's Mental Health Enabling Act.
|Adele Deville Smith||
Adele Deville Smith was born in San Francisco, California in 1901. Her father was French explorer, Erussard Deville - known as “French Pete.” He helped discover the Treadwell Mine in Juneau and ran a general store in Katalla. Adele and her five siblings were brought to Alaska when she was two years old. Her family moved to Cordova in 1916, where she attended high school, worked in a bakery, and met her husband. He was in the military and then worked for the Copper River Northwestern Railroad... Read More
|Hugh Q. Smith||
Hugh Q. Smith came to Seldovia, Alaska in 1970 to be a vocational shop and high school math teacher at the Susan B. English School. He retired in 1986, after 16 years of teaching. Seeing a need for housing in the community and being a shop teacher, he purchased properties, started building, and employed his high school students on the construction projects. Hugh not only was a contractor who built homes and subdivisions, but was involved with construction of the city's library/clinic/fire/... Read More
Peter grew up in the McGrath area on the Kuskokwim River in interior Alaska. His father was a captain on the riverboats that supplied the villages. Peter grew up learning about unsafe ice conditions. He has worked with the local search and rescue squad in McGrath and is particularly interested in sharing what he knows about survival skills. Peter shared his knowledge and experience about interior Alaska river ice conditions at the 2004 Dangerous Ice Workshop.
|Harold "Doc" South||
Dr. Harold "Doc" South was a psychiatrist in Alaska, beginning in 1971 at the state's mental health center in Fairbanks and then at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) in Anchorage until his retirement in 1986. He is also known for his passion for traditonal music. He has been credited with reviving old-time and bluegrass music in Alaska in the 1970s. In 2010, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Alaska Legislature for his contributions in spreading interest in traditional... Read More
|Mary Lou Spartz||Mary Lou Spartz came to Juneau, Alaska from the Pacific Northwest in 1941 when she was ten years old. She grew up in Juneau, and has fond memories of her childhood and the sense of community in the small town. Mary Lou is a poet and author, and works at Juneau's Observatory Books bookstore that specializes in old and uncommon books. Her most recent work is a play titled “The Real Story of the Sinking of the Princess Sophia," which was read as performance at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau on... Read More|
Page Spencer was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1950 and grew up on the Kenai Peninsula where her father, Dave Spencer, was manager of the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Kenai National Moose Range (now the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge). Page has a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and spent her career doing scientific research and mapping work for various federal agencies in Alaska. She was on the incident command team for the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989, and... Read More
From 1980-2010, Rick Steiner was a marine conservation professor with the University of Alaska. From 1983-1997, he was stationed in Cordova, Alaska as the University of Alaska’s marine adviser for Prince William Sound. While in Cordova, Rick provided leadership in the aftermath of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, including, but not limited to, establishment of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council, the Prince William... Read More
Sidney Stephens, now retired, was a science educator affiliated with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and was one of the directors of Observing Locally, Connecting Globally (OLCG) - Global Change Education Using Western Science and Native Observations. Her role in OLCG was to help teachers integrate local knowledge into their science classes. She participated in the 2004 Dangerous Ice Workshop to provide perspective on educational... Read More
Scott Sterling came to Alaska in 1976 as a surveyor with the U.S. Forest Service. He graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1984, and then from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1986. He was the City of Cordova's attorney during the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and later worked as an attorney for the State of Alaska. He represented Cordova as a litigant in the lengthy settlement trial after the spill. From 1990-1993, Scott served as a board member on the... Read More
|Senator Theodore "Ted" Stevens||
Ted Stevens was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1923. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1947 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1950. He served in the United States Army Air Corps in the Second World War in China from 1943-1946. He came to Alaska in the early 1950s, where he practiced law and in 1953 became the district attorney in Fairbanks. During the struggle for Alaska Statehood, in 1956 Stevens became the legislative counsel for... Read More
|Judge Thomas Stewart||
Tom Stewart was a member of Alaska’s Territorial House of Representatives, was secretary for the Alaska Constitutional Convention in 1955/56, and served as a state senator in the first Alaska Legislature following statehood. He served as Administrative Director of the Alaska Court System in the early 1960’s and on the Juneau Superior Court bench from 1966 until his retirement in 1981. After retirement, he remained active in the legal and judicial community, where he was often called upon to... Read More
|Jim Stimpfle||Jim Stimpfle is real estate agent and long-time resident of Nome, Alaska. He married to Bernadette Alvanna, originally from King Island. Jim helped organize the outreach effort that resulted in the "Friendship Flight" of 1988 between Nome, Alaska and Provideniya, Siberia, which was meant to help melt the ice curtain between Alaska and its neighbor the Soviet Union. A New York Times article detailing the historic flight can be found... Read More|
|Annie Stokes||Annie Stokes grew up in Virgina. Her father was a doctor. She moved to Juneau, Alaska where she found a real sense of community. Annie is a special education specialist. She loves the outdoors, and is especially fond of gardening. She has been involved with the Juneau Garden Club, and in teaching children to garden.|
Cody Strathe owns Dog Paddle Designs, where he builds custom dog sleds, kayaks, and accessories. With a degree in Natural Resources, Cody first came to Alaska as a backcountry guide and later studied archeology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He and his wife eventually became interested in dog mushing and going on camping trips by dog team. In 2006, Cody built his first dog sled for his wife based on information from the Internet.
Julie Stricker graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and in 1991 began a career in newspaper and freelance writing in Alaska. She has worked for the Anchorage Times, the Anchorage Daily News, and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. She also has been a contributor to Alaska Magazine and Alaska Business Monthly. She currently resides in Fairbanks, Alaska, and since 2008 has been the Online Content Director for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper. While working... Read More
Georgia Strunk was born in Nebraska in 1913. She and her husband, Ed, moved to Alaska after the second world war where he worked as a salesman traveling all over Alaska selling goods. They owned several business in Anchorage, but after the 1964 Earthquake they moved to Glennallen with their nine children. They owned and operated the Cracker Barrel Store in Glennallen. She lived next door to her business in what she claimed was the oldest house in town. She and Ed supplied hunting guides with... Read More
Originally from New Mexico, Matthew Sturm earned his Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1989. He has spent thirty years studying snow, ice and permafrost in the Arctic. His research concentration is thermal effects of snow cover, spatial distribution of snow and vegetation, and effects of climate change. He has been the leader of more than thirty winter expeditions in pursuit of his science, including many long-distance snow machine treks across Alaska and Canada... Read More
Originally from Illinois, Suzy Stutzman began working for the National Park Service after she graduated from the University of Illinois. In 1984, she transferred to Alaska where she worked as a planner for Gates of the Arctic National Park. She was attracted to this work, because she felt the wilderness of Gates of the Arctic made it the extreme ideal of a national park. Suzy Stutzman went on to become the Lead Planner/Wilderness Coordinator for the National Park Service, Intermountain... Read More
|Paul Sugar||Paul Sugar came to Alaska in 1980. He first lived in Fairbanks and then moved to Bethel in 1987 to teach school for the Lower Kuskokwim School District. As of 2013, Paul is the Early Learning Program Manager for the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, Head Start and Collaboration Office in Juneau.|
George's father came to Alaska during the goldrush along the Chilkoot Trail. George was born in Portland, Oregon in 1922 because his grandmother was sick in Oregon and there was no doctor in Valdez who could deliver him. He came back to Valdez with his mother on a steamship when he was 6 weeks old. In 1937, when he was 15 years old, he worked at the Kennecott Mine on the tram at the top of the mill building. He caught the buckets of ore (weighing 750 pounds) and dumped them to start the... Read More
|Kathy Sullivan||Kathy is the clerk/office manager for Denali National Park's South District. As a former ski instructor, climbing guide, assistant guide to Ray Genet, and the mother of Genet's two children, Kathy has led an active, adventurous life that makes clerical work for the government a less than totally satisfying lifestyle. However, she sympathizes with larger park purposes and admires her immediate mountaineering ranger associates. Single-parent necessities have forced the adjustment to a more... Read More|
Clarence Summers was the District Ranger for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve stationed in Yakutat, Alaska from 1982-1988. He grew up in Fairfax County, Virgina in the 1950s, went to J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia, and earned his college degree at the University of Maryland. Clarence has had a long career with the National Park Service, starting with summer seasonal positions while he was in college. He worked as a seasonal ranger... Read More
Henra Sundt came to Alaska in (1928?) and moved to Gakona, where she married Arne Sundt, who mined near Slate Creek. Together they began to operate the Gakona Lodge and Trading Post. A Norwegian immigrant, Henra had to teach herself English while acquiring the diverse skills needed to live in this harsh environment. Her husband's untimely death in 1949 thrust her into the position of working alone to raise her children and run the roadhouse, which she did with great success until she sold it... Read More
|J.D. Swed||This joint interview with Climbing Ranger Daryl Miller (right) and South District Ranger J.D. Swed (left) was conducted by Bill Brown on February 27, 1992 in the unheated NPS Ranger Station in downtown Talkeetna. It brought experienced climbing ranger, Miller, and recently arrived district ranger, Swed, together with their varying perspectives and responses. Daryl has been long associated with climbing and Mount McKinley, in particular, as an independent climber and as a client and guide with... Read More|
|Ted Swem, Sr.||
Ted Swem was born in 1917 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and came to Alaska in 1962. Working for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C, Ted was key to development of new national park areas in Alaska in the 1970s. He was Chairman of the Alaska Planning Group for the Department of Interior, and his work set the stage for enactment of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Ted received his Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Iowa State University in Ames, and completed... Read More
Michael Swisher first came to Alaska on vacation when he worked for Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington. He fell in love with the scenery and the people so he moved to Alaska to homestead. He chose to homestead in the Copper River Valley area because of the good farming there. He and his wife, Helen, live on the old Edgerton Road, where they raise grain and keep bees for the honey. They also have some rental properties on their land. Like many other homesteaders, Michael has done a variety... Read More
Tom Teasdale was born and raised in Montana. He joined the military after high school and served for twenty-four years. In 1979, Tom retired from the military and moved to Northway, Alaska with his wife, Jean, and his children to be the pastor of the community’s Church of God church. He continues to serve as the pastor for the Northway Alaska Church of God, and is the Conservation Coordinator for the Northway Village Council.
Originally from California, Jack Thomas came to Seldovia in 1968. He first worked for Kenny Arndt of Homer, putting in a water line at King Cove. He then worked in the logging business at Jakolof Bay. After the logging ended, Jack worked for Josie Carlough fishing for crab. He taught himself how to weld, and his welding services have been in high demand in the community. For awhile, he also had a mining claim at Red Mountain and helped develop and maintain the road. He also worked as a heavy... Read More
Thomas (Tom) Tilden lives in Dillingham, Alaska. He was born in 1953 in Dillingham to Mary and Earl Tilden. When he was a young child, his family moved from Dillingham to Portage Creek along the Nushagak River. There, he learned how to hunt, fish, and gather berries and plants. Thomas was sent to high school in Dillingham and went to the University of Nagoya in Japan and the University of Alaska during his senior year. He went on to the Seward Skill Center in Seward, Alaska to get his... Read More
Born in Paradise, California in 1928, Diana Tillion came to Alaska in 1939 when her stepfather got a job working at Independence Mine near Palmer. The family moved to Homer in 1942 when World War II made Anchorage an unpleasant place to live. In 1952, Diana married her husband, Clem, who was a fisherman. They lived in Halibut Cove, on the south side of Kachemak Bay across from Homer until Clem was elected to the State House as a representative for the Kenai Peninsula. They then lived in... Read More
|Ralph Tingey||Ralph spent many years of his NPS career as a climbing ranger in the Grand Tetons, and elsewhere, before coming to Alaska to work as a climbing ranger at Denali. Although Ralph has moved into NPS management as Deputy Superintendent at the regional level, he continues to be an avid climber and outdoor enthusiast. Ralph offers a lively account of search and rescue activities and protocol, the special camaraderie of climbing rangers, and the evolution of rescue craft. Ralph's love of the mountains... Read More|
Lorraine Titus is an Upper Tanana Athabascan from Northway, Alaska. Her grandparents were Chief Walter Northway and his wife, Lilly, from the Northway area, and on her father's side were Peter Albert and Elsie Northway, with Peter being originally from the Copper River area. She was born and raised in Northway and grew up living a subsistence lifestyle. She worked at the school for thirty five years, and was a teacher's aide, community health aide, and an alcohol counselor. She is a member... Read More
Kenneth Utuayuk Toovak was born in 1923 in Barrow, Alaska to Timothy (Quilluq) and Ethel (Agnik) Toovak. He grew up hunting and whaling, and learned to understand the sea ice and how to travel and hunt safely on it. Starting in 1949, Kenneth worked for Arctic Contractors and then the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL). For over twenty years, he operated heavy equipment, served as project support foreman, helped build the NARL camp, worked on the ice island research stations, and... Read More
Jack Trambitas was born in Portland, Oregon in 1919. He moved to Juneau, Alaska in 1938, where he met and married Edie Spaulding. Jack worked in the Alaska Juneau gold mine and then was foreman for the Bureau of Public Roads until statehood in 1959. He then bought a trolling boat and fished commercially for many years. He also did snow removal at the Juneau Airport and retired in 1984. Jack served in the Army from 1944 to 1946, and was stationed in China, India and Burma. He enjoyed hunting... Read More
Louis Mead Treadwell II was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1956. After earning a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University, he took an internship with Walter Hickel's campaign for governor of Alaska. This began his long political career in Alaska. Treadwell is a member of the Republican Party and served as the 11th Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from 2010 to 2014 during the administration of Governor Sean Parnell. In 2006, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as... Read More
Carolyn Turkington came to Homer, Alaska in 1949 with her new husband, Bob. They brought a saw mill with them, so they immediately found work helping to build “Hill Top Hideaway” lodge, houses, and roads. They eventually got involved in transportation, by running a taxi business, and then operating a school bus business for eighteen years. For more about Carolyn Turkington, see her obituary in the Homer News... Read More
|Maria Turnpaugh||Maria Turnpaugh was a respected Unangan elder who was born in Unalaska, Alaska in 1927 to Joe and Agnes Chagin. In 1942, Maria and her family were forced to evacuate Unalaska when it was attacked by the Japanese. She spent the next three years in an internment camp in Southeast Alaska before returning to Unalaska in 1945. Maria is known for her art and commitment to preserving the history of the Aleutians. Her grandfather was a chief and a warden in the Russian Orthodox church, and as a child... Read More|
|Mark Twight||Mark is emerging as a visionary master of what he describes as "extreme alpinism." This is a combination of expedition style preparation and a lightning fast, completely committed alpine ascent. A son of a park ranger, Mark grew up with a love of the outdoors and opportunities to learn the intricacies of technical climbing. Mark describes his climbing philosophy and technique in an intriguing account of how he and partners Steve House and Scott Backes climbed the Czech Direct Route in about 60... Read More|
Tishu Ulen was an Inupiaq Eskimo born in 1905 near Chandalar Lake in the Brooks Range. Her father was originally from Kobuk and her mother from Selawik. Tishu's father was a hunter, providing meat for local miners, so Tishu grew up living a nomadic subsistence-based life. Eventually, Tishu and her mother, Mary Orok English, settled in Wiseman, a gold camp on the middle fork of the Koyukuk River. In 1924, Tishu married Joe Ulen, who was the U.S. Postmaster at Wiseman, operated the radio for... Read More
|Judge Gerald Van Hoomissen||
Gerald Van Hoomissen was born in Portland, Oregon and received his law degree from the University of Oregon Law School. In 1965, he became the Assistant US Attorney in Fairbanks, was district attorney in Fairbanks from 1968-1969, was a private attorney, and then in 1970 was appointed as judge of the Superior Court in Fairbanks. As a private pilot, he flew around much of rural Alaska to hold hearings and try cases in the villages, something which is no longer done. He retired from the bench... Read More
|Dr. R.W. Van Pelt||Dr. Rollo "R.W." Van Pelt was an official veterinarian for the Iditarod Race and a certified pathologist. He established his veterinary practice in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1973 and also practiced in Oregon. He was a researcher and professor at Michigan State University and at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.|
|Elias Venes||Elias Venes was born in Akiak, Alaska in 1928 to Joe and Anna Venes. His father was a prospector looking for gold who ended up in the Kuskokwim area after the Iditarod strike on the Innoko River. His mother was from the local area. Elias grew up living a subsistence lifestyle, and later worked for the NYAK mine as a wood cutter and hauler. He moved to Bethel, Alaska when he was about sixteen years old. Elias is a talented carpenter, sled maker, boat builder, and mechanic and always has a... Read More|
Bobby Vent was a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Huslia, Alaska. He was born in October 1913, grew up near Anvik, and attended the Holy Cross Mission school in Holy Cross. He later moved to Huslia. Bobby was known as one of the original "Huslia Hustlers", a group of men from the Koyukuk River region who were quite successful at raising winning racing sled dogs. He ran dogs in the early Iditarod International Sled Dog Race and the North American Championship Sled Dog Race,and came in second in... Read More
Mary Vent was a Koyukon Athabascan from Huslia, Alaska. She was born in 1912 to Francis and Christine Olin, and grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle on the Huslia River. Her father was one of the last active medicine men on the Koyukuk River, and he taught Mary a great deal of traditional lore. As a result, Mary was someone people turned to for traditional knowledge. Mary was a very skilled bead worker and knitter. She was also a fine singer, whose contributions to funerals,... Read More
|Deborah Vickery House||
Deborah Vickery House grew up in Kennecott, Alaska with her sister, Jane Vickery Wilson, when the Kennecott mine and mill were in operation. The family moved there in 1918 when she was two years old, and lived there until 1931. Their father was the cost accountant for the town, which means he determined how much ore per ton it cost the mine to produce. When they left the mine, the family moved to Seattle so the girls could finish school. After growing up in Kennecott, Deborah found it... Read More
|Jane Vickery Wilson||
Jane Vickery Wilson grew up in Kennecott, Alaska with her sister, Deborah Vickery House, when the Kennecott Mine and mill were in operation. Her family moved to Kennecott in 1918 when she was three years old, and lived there until 1931. Their father was the cost accountant for the town, which means he determined how much ore per ton it cost the mine to produce. When they left the mine, the family moved to Seattle so the girls could finish school. Jane lived in Juneau for a few years and met... Read More
|Les Viereck||Les is a retired botanist who, in addition to a long and productive career as a scientist, was a member of the first successful ascent of the South Buttress of Denali in 1954. Like fellow climbing team member Morton Wood(also featured in this Jukebox), Les recalls this climb not only as a remarkable achievement, but one that came with a tragic price: the loss of the most experienced climber on the team, Elton Thayer. Les describes the climb and subsequent epic in great detail, adding... Read More|
Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Joseph "Joe"Virgin came to Alaska in 1956 to serve the Central Alaska Missions. He married his wife, Peg, in 1955 and together they served in Gulkana, Ellamar, Kenny Lake, Chistochina, and Glennallen. In 1993, when Joe was interviewed he was working at the electric company and Peg volunteered at the medical center in Glennallen. Joe also was a pilot who had a grass airstrip near their home at Mile 140 of the Glenn Highway in Nelchina, Alaska. After... Read More
|Judge James von der Heydt||
Judge James Arnold von der Heydt is an American lawyer and judge. In Nome in the 1940's and 1950's he was a federal marshal, a US commissioner, a private practice lawyer and a US Attorney. He was one of the eight Superior Court judges appointed when Alaska became a state in 1959 from 1959 to 1966. He served as chief judge, for the United States District Court for the District of Alaska from 1973 to 1984 and assumed senior status on July 15, 1984. For more about Judge von der Heydt, see his... Read More
|Rosalee Walker||Rosalee Walker lived in Juneau, Alaska and was a long time employee for various departments within the State of Alaska. She worked for the State of Alaska Department of Education in 1973 when the new State Office Building was completed and they were supposed to move in. Rosalee was involved in various civic and government affairs, including being a member of the Juneau Assembly and a past president of the Alaska Municipal League. In May of 2004, she received an honorary degree from the... Read More|
Robert (Bob) Wallace grew up in Kansas and earned his Bachelor’s degree in History from Ottawa (Kansas) University in 1966 and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas in 1968. He served in the U.S. Army from 1968-1970, led long-range reconnaissance patrol teams of Company E, 75th Rangers in Vietnam and was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, two Bronze Stars with “V,” and three Air Medals. In 1970, Bob moved to Washington, D.C., and served as an... Read More
George Wallot was born in 1942 and grew up in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1962 after studying engineering for two years at Ohio State University. Upon joining the Army, he applied his interest in electronics and attended a twelve-week course in electronics entry with a radar focus at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He then did six more months of training on the Nike Hercules missile tracking radar and associated test equipment at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. He... Read More
Daisy Walton was born in 1924 in Noatak, Alaska. Her husband, Delbert, was originally from Kivalina and served in the military during World War II. They met and married after he returned home. He continued to serve in the Alaska National Guard, leaving Daisy at home alone for periods of time to care for the... Read More
Frank Warren was born June 4, 1928 in Batavia, New York. He came to Alaska in December of 1946. He married his wife, Mary, in 1953 and moved to Circle City in 1956 after purchasing the Yukon Trading Post. He moved to Central, Alaska in 1977 and finally to Fairbanks, Alaska after that. Frank and Mary had four children. Frank passed away on March 14, 2012. For more about Frank Warren, visit his... Read More
Born in eastern Washington in 1920, Bonnie Wartes came to Alaska with her husband, Bill, who was the Presbyterian minister for the North Slope in the 1950's. They were based out of Barrow, Alaska, and Bill was the first minister to also be a pilot. In 1958, he worked with people in Anaktuvuk Pass to build their log church, later named "The Chapel in the Mountains." Bonnie helped Bill with his Presbyterian mission work while also raising a family in Barrow.
|Barbara Washburn||Barbara made history, along with her husband,Bradford,when she became the first woman to climb Denali (Mt. McKinley) in 1947. Barbara describes her colorful life as a hiker, climber, and wife to adventurer and scientist Bradford. Barbara gives a modest account of her exceptional accomplishments, including a wonderful description of her trip up the mountain and the camaraderie of the climbers. She offers a remarkable window into life, not only as a woman adventurer, but as a social pioneer... Read More|
|Bradford Washburn||Bradford's cartographic, scientific, and photographic achievements on Denali (Mt. McKinley) are unparalleled. Bradford, a mountaineer, scholar, and gifted photographer, has not only made many first ascents in Alaska, and elsewhere, but his high altitude photography of Denali and the Alaska Range has earned him the reputation as the "Ansel Adams" of high altitude imagery. Bradford first climbed Denali in 1942, then pioneered the West Buttress Route, which today is by far the most popular route... Read More|
Vern Weiss was the lead name on the 1982 lawsuit filed against the State of Alaska for misuse of the Mental Health Trust. He is the parent of a child with mental illness.
|Alfred Wells, Sr.||
Alfred Wells, Sr. was born in 1922 in Noorvik, Alaska. After growing up in a small village and living a traditional Iñupiaq hunting and fishing lifestyle, in 1942, at age twenty, Alfred was drafted into the army, went to Nome for training, and served in the Alaska Territorial Guard. He served on the board of the Putoo Village Corporation of Noorvik, raised a family, and continued to hunt and fish according to his Iñupiaq traditions. Alfred also was known for being a champion sled dog racer.... Read More
Chuck West was born November 27, 1914 in Des Moines, Iowa and began his career in aviation working as a traffic salesman for United Airlines. With the start of World War II, he enrolled in the military's civilian pilot training program and worked for the Air Transport Command flying planes and supplies to Alaska. He later flew air transport in China. After the war, he returned to Alaska and flew for Wien Airlines, and then started a travel agency and tourism business in Fairbanks. Chuck West... Read More
Gale Wetherell was born in 1933 and moved with his family to Talkeetna, Alaska in 1935. They supported themselves by mining, running a freighting business, operating the roadhouse in Talkeetna, and trapping in the winter. Gale served in the US Army for two years at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, and then got a job as a brakeman with the Alaska Railroad. He went on to become a railroad conductor and worked for the Alaska Railroad for forty years.
|Winton "Utuktaaq" Weyapuk, Jr.||
Winton "Utuktaaq" Weyapuk, Jr. was born in Wales, Alaska in 1950. He was a subsistence hunter since he was a young boy and was eleven years old when he first went out whaling with his father's crew. Winton became a whaling captain himself, and was Chair of the Wales Whaling Captains Association. He received a bachelor's degree in Rural Development with an emphasis in Land Use Planning in 1986 and a bachelor's degree in Inupiaq Eskimo language from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1987.... Read More
Frank Whaley was born in 1906 and moved to Alaska from Seattle in the 1930s. He came to Alaska because there was no business for a pilot during the Great Depression, but Alaska was demanding more pilots because of the gold mining and other operations. Frank worked as a pilot for Noel Wien during the Wien Air weekly flights to Nome in 1933. While self-employed as a pilot, he damaged the wing of his plane and had to find another job so this pushed him toward working with the Wiens. The life... Read More
Originally from Houghton Lake, Michigan, Bob White came to Seward, Alaska in 1972, when he was eighteen years old, to pursue his love of hunting and fishing. Bob has been an avid hunter since he was a boy. Bob has worked as a commercial fisherman, cannery worker, trapper, longshoreman, school bus driver, construction worker, carpenter, and gunsmith. At the time of Bob's 2010 inteview for the Exit Glacier Project Jukebox, he operated a small gun shop in Seward, as well as a flooring business... Read More
|James Wickwire||Jim is a world-famous climber who has accomplished much, and endured even more, over decades of climbing all over the world. An attorney by profession and a devout family man, Jim, nonetheless, is "addicted to danger" and the challenges of extreme mountaineering. In this interview, Jim describes his climbing experiences throughout the world, including the ill-fated trip to Alaska where he lost his climbing partner Chris Kerrebrock in a freak crevasse fall on the Peters Glacier. Jim's account is... Read More|
Effie Williams was a Koyukon Athabascan from Allakaket, Alaska. She was born in June 1919 to Lilly and Ned Ned. They had a house at Old Bergman, but visited Allakaket for church. Among her uncles were Leon and Billy Bergman. When Effie was very young, she was adopted by Grandma Tilly and she lived with Tilly and Big Susie until Tilly died when Effie was six or seven years old. Effie spent a year living at the St. John's-in-the-Wilderness Mission at Allakaket, then went back to her birth... Read More
Fred Williams and his wife, Hallie, moved to the Copper Basin from Wyoming in 1963 with their four children. He worked as a fisheries biologist in the area for 24 years. He is now retired from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, but Fred is a member of the local historical society, volunteers at the Copper Valley Museum and the Copper Valley Visitors Center, and after 40 years still sits on the board of the Copper Valley Electric Association. He still actively hunts and fishes in the... Read More
Homer O. "Red" Williams was born in 1915 and came to Alaska in the 1930's in search of work and adventure. His first job was working in the mining industry. He became interested in flying and enrolled in the Civilian Pilot Training Program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He then advanced to the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program. Throughout his many years in Alaska, Red was a school teacher, a bush pilot, and a mechanic. In the late 1940's, he began flying tourists around Circle... Read More
|Jane Williams||Jane Norris Williams was born in Dayton, Ohio on November 6, 1914. She received a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree from Otterbein College (Ohio) in 1938, followed by a master's degree in biology at the University of New Mexico. She moved to Alaska in 1949 with her husband Homer “Red” Williams. Together they homesteaded in Central, Alaska. After teaching in the villages of Fort Yukon and Cantwell for several winters, Jane and Red relocated the family to Fairbanks. Jane... Read More|
Kimberly (Kim) Williams was born in December, 1961 at Kanakanak, Alaska to Mary Ann and William P. Johnson. She was the third of five children. Kim has been a subsistence fisherman her entire life, and holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a focus on Tribal Co-Management, which she received from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1997. Kim is the executive director of Nunamta Aulukestai (Caretakers of Our Land), an association of village corporations and tribes in the... Read More
Susie Williams was an Koyukon Athabascan from Hughes, Alaska. She was born in October 1905 to Leon and Ida. Leon was a prominent member of the early Allakaket community that coalesced around the St.-John's-in-the-Wilderness Mission. He died when Susie was about nine years old, so Susie did not have as much chance to go to school as she would have liked. She had to stay home and take care of her younger sisters while her mother went out hunting and trapping to support the family. Susie grew... Read More
William Williams was a Koyukon Athabascan from Allakaket, Alaska. He was born in 1916 at Rock Island Point, eight miles below Hughes, to Alfred and Julia Isaac. He was adopted by Big William and his wife Abbey and moved to Bettles, a community that he remembers at that time as being mostly miners, with almost no Indian people and few children. His adoptive family was associated with South Fork, so he had ties to that community as well. His adoptive mother died when he was eight or nine.... Read More
Wilma Williams first came to Alaska in 1926 when she was eighteen months old when her father headed north for work. They ended up in Seldovia where he became a fisherman. After having to return to the Lower 48 because of her mother’s health, Wilma finally returned to Homer in 1941, and worked in Anchorage when the soldiers were there during World War II. After Wilma was married, she and her husband helped to build the road and lived in a Wanigan in Homer. She’s written two books about her... Read More
Jonathan Wills is a journalist from the Shetland Islands, Scotland who came to Cordova, Alaska in 1989 to report on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. He became an oil spill activist who has fought for improved systems of oversight and safety in oil tankers and transportion both in the Shetland Islands and Prince William Sound. Dr. Wills holds M.A. Honours and Ph.D. degrees in Geography from the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of ... Read More
Catherine Wilson lives in Tok, Alaska. She is married to Lavell Wilson. Catherine has family connections with the community of Northway, Alaska. She has lived a subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, and trapping in the surrounding countryside.
Jack Wilson first visited Alaska in 1951 from Colorado and then moved to Alaska a year later. He was a World War II pilot, flew for Mudhole Smith in Cordova, and then had his own air taxi and guide business in the Glennallen/Gulkana area. He was well-known for landing scientific and climbing expeditions on the glaciers of the Wrangell Mountains. He wrote two books about his experiences; "Glacier Wings and Tales" and "The Quest for Dall Sheep". Jack Wilson died in 2003.
Lavell Wilson was born in Freewater, Oregon in 1937. He moved to Northway, Alaska around 1948 when his father brought the family to Alaska. At the time of his 2013 interview, Lavelle and his wife, Catherine, were living in Tok, Alaska. His father was a trapper and hunter, so he grew up living a subsistence lifestyle in Northway and the surrounding area. Lavell worked in the construction business as an operator, and also was a pilot and guide taking hunters into the Chisana, Nabsena,... Read More
|Dr. Aron Wolf||
Dr. Aron Wolf came to Alaska in the late 1960s with the United States Air Force to provide mental health services to soldiers at remote bases, to dependents, and to veterans. He worked at the Langdon Clinic from 1970 to 1995, was medical director for Providence medical system until 2004, and then returned to private practice.
|Morton Wood||"Woody" was a member of the first successful climb of the South Buttress of Denali, in 1954. The climb was both a magnificent mountaineering accomplishment and a tragic reminder of the inherent dangers of climbing. Elton Thayer, perhaps the most experienced climber of the team, was killed in a fall on descent of the mountain. Fellow climber George Argus, who dislocated a hip in the fall, was eventually left with dwindling supplies while Woody andLes Viereckmade a dangerous trek down the Muldrow... Read More|
Virginia “Ginny” Hill Wood was born in Moro, Washington, on October 24, 1917. She came to Alaska in 1947 after serving as a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) during World War II. She subsequently received the Congressional Gold Medal for her honorable service. In 1952, Ginny Wood, her husband Morton Wood, and their friend Celia Hunter opened Camp Denali, a wilderness tourism lodge in Denali National Park. Ginny Wood was passionate about environmental conservation and dedicated much of her... Read More
Harold Woods was born in Rampart, Alaska in 1912 to Alfred Lyman and Annie Pitka Woods. Harold grew up living a subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing and trapping along the Yukon River. Dog teams were the main mode of transportation. He also worked as a dog team mail carrier betweeen Rampart and Manley Hot Springs. In 1935, he got into sled dog racing and participated in races around interior Alaska for a number of years. Although he stopped racing, he continued to breed and train dogs.... Read More
Charlie Wright is an Athabascan living in Tanana, Alaska on the Yukon River. He travels the rivers and surrounding countryside as a subsistence hunter, trapper, and fisherman. He has knowledge of Athabascan traditions related to river travel and winter survival. From 2011-2013, Charlie helped lead the Dangerous Ice Project team to known dangerous locations on the Tanana River near the village of Tanana, and shared his insight and knowledge at post-trip meetings. In 2009, he also participated... Read More
Gareth Wright grew up in Nenana, Alaska, where he learned to drive a dog team from his father and well-known dog breeder, Arthur Wright. Gareth went on to become a successful dog breeder and sprint dog racer.
|Congressman Don Young||
Former school teacher Don Young began his political career as mayor of Fort Yukon, Alaska in 1964. He went on to the Alaska State Legislature where he served in the State House from 1966-1970, and in the State Senate from 1970-1973. In 1973, he became Alaska’s only Representative in the United States House of Representatives. He was on the 1972 ballot, but his democratic opponent, Nick Begich, won the election, despite his having disappeared in an airplane crash while campaigning. Young won... Read More
Gary Zimmerman was born in Wisconsin, and moved from Illinois to Seward, Alaska in 1969 with his family when he was in the fourth grade. His father worked at the Bear Creek Saw Mill, as a hunting guide, and a commercial fisherman. In 1969/1970, Gary's father, Arley Zimmerman, operated a snowmachine tourism business on the Harding Icefield at the top of Exit Glacier. Gary has worked as a driller in the oil industry, and as a commercial fisherman. He is an avid snowmachiner with detailed... Read More
Aliy Zirkle is the first woman to win the 1000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. She was born in New Hampshire and spent her childhood in Puerto Rico and St. Louis, Missouri. Aliy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with dual degrees in biology and anthropology. At age 20, she moved to Alaska and began dog mushing in Bettles, Alaska. She regularly competes in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the Yukon Quest. Aliy and her husband Allen... Read More