Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

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Harvesting Artemisia_small.jpgThe Ethnobotany, Ethnomedicine and Traditional Healing Project Jukebox highlights Alaska Native Elders talking about their traditional uses and connections with plants. It includes archived recordings from the Oral History Collection at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and oral history interviews conducted in 2021 and 2022 by a team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Ethnobotany Program (EBOT).

Ethnobotany is the study of the relationships between people and plants. The traditional use of plants for healing and food goes back thousands of years in Alaska's Native cultures, but ethnobotany as an academic discipline is relatively new. It combines concepts from the humanities and the sciences, mainly anthropology and botany, to explore traditional Native practices and connections to plants, Native language terminology, and plant science.

This Jukebox project was completed in 2022 and was a collaboration between UAF EBOT Program staff (project development and management by Lisa Strecker, EBOT Assistant Professor; interviewing by Jennifer Andrulli, EBOT Cultural Advisor; transcribing and interviewing by Stefani Burich; and assistance from Aihs Palmer, EBOT Program Assistant) and the staff of the UAF Oral History Program (project planning by Leslie McCartney, Curator of Oral History; Jukebox development by Karen Brewster, Research Associate; and oral history collection assistance from Robyn Russell, Collections Manager). This work is supported by the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Ethnobotany Program Kuskokwim Campus with funding from the Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Education Competitive Grants Program (ANNH) from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (grant number 2020-38426-32342/project accession number 1023459). The information in this project reflects the context of the original creation date. Some information may now be out of date.


Jennifer Andrulli Jennifer "Jen" Andrulli

Jennifer (Jen) Andrulli is Yup’ik and Siberian Yup'ik of Qaluyaaq (Nelson Island, Alaska) a member of Too Naaleł Denh Nation (Manley Hot Springs Tribe) of the Bidziyhta Hut’aana (Caribou Clan). Jen grew up in Manley Hot Springs and Fairbanks, Alaska. Her father was the Community Health Aide in Manley Hot Springs, and her mother, Karen Brooks, was the alternate Health Aide. Following in her mother's and grandfather's footsteps as traditional healers and medicine people, Jen was taught... Read More

Kim Aspelund Kim Aspelund

Kim Aspelund is Tlingit and Alutiiq originally from Cordova, Alaska. Her family name is Webber. Her dad was Tlingit from Katella, and her mom was Alutiiq from Ellamar (a village near Valdez, Alaska). She also has Eyak blood through her family history. She was born and raised in Cordova and grew up commercial fishing on her family's boat. Kim worked at Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska and in the Palmer-Wasilla area for thirteen years, where she focused on traditional healing and... Read More

Karen Brooks Karen Brooks

Karen Brooks is Yup’ik and Siberian Yup'ik of Qaluyaaq (Nelson Island, Alaska) a member of Too Naaleł Denh Nation (Manley Hot Springs Tribe) of the Bidziyhta Hut’aana (Caribou Clan). Her parents were Rose and Al Hagen from Manley Hot Springs, Alaska, and her grandparents were Helen and Fred Miller from Takotna, Alaska. Karen has been a health and wellness practitioner for over 45 years, bridging traditional health-based practices with modern complementary and alternative medicine approaches... Read More

Eva Dawn Burk Eva Dawn Burk

Eva Dawn Burk lives in Nenana and Fairbanks, Alaska. She is an avid harvester of local plants and uses the plants for traditional healing and medicine.

Meda DeWitt Meda DeWitt

Meda DeWitt is Tlingit with familial ties to Wrangell, Alaska. Meda’s Tlingit names are Tśa Tsée Náakw and Khaat kł, her adopted Iñupiaq name is Tigigalook, and her adopted Cree name is Boss Eagle Spirit Woman “Boss.” Her clan is Naanyaa.aayí and she is a child of the Kaach.aadi. Her family comes from Shtuxéen kwaan (now referred to as Wrangell, AK.) Meda’s lineage also comes from Oregon, Washington, and the British Columbia/Yukon Territories. Currently she lives on Dena’ina lands in... Read More

Mary Goddard Mary Goddard

Mary Goddard is Tlingit from Southeast Alaska. She is of the Eagle moiety, Kaagwaantaan clan, and is from the Brown Bear house. She currently lives in Sitka, Alaska. Mary is traditional plant harvester and user of medicinal plants. She also is a jewelry maker and film artist who creates contemporary jewelry based on traditional Tlingit formline design using a variety of materials including copper, silver, spruce roots, quill, baleen, and grass. Mary forages for indigenous plants, and... Read More

Naomi Michalsen Naomi Kaasei Michalsen

Naomi "Kaasei" "Daaw Da Oo" Michalsen is Tlingit from Southeast Alaska. Kassei was her grandmother's name and means "higher voice." Her great-grandmother's name was Daaw Da Oo. Naomi is Áak'w Kwáan (people of Auke Bay). She is of the Eagle/Wolf Moiety. and the Wooshkeetaan clan. She comes from the Shark House, and her ancestral home is Berners Bay (Daxanáak). Her father's people are T'akdeintaan from Hoonah, and as well as European descent. She also has some Japanese and Filipino heritage.... Read More