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Tishu Ulen

This interview was done at Tishu Ulen's apartment in Fairbanks, Alaska on April 29, 1991 by William Schneider. It was arranged by Roger Kaye, a close friend of Tishu's, who for many years had encouraged us to do the recordings. We were joined by Tishu's relative Ben. Tishu was not feeling well the day of the interview, but her sense of humor and joy in recounting the old stories comes through. This is a particularly important interview because Tishu was the last of the Inupiaq Eskimo who had long term connections with Wiseman.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-32

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Apr 29, 1991
Narrator(s): Tishu Ulen
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider
People Present: Roger Kaye
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Her background and growing up with her parents

2) Growing up in the Brooks Range

3) Trip to Kotzebue

4) Memories of her family

5) Fishing spots

6) Why her family settled in Wiseman

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: father -- market hunter\ miners -- white\ Mary -- mother\ mother -- Selawik\ father -- Kobuk\ mother -- bad back, recovered\ children -- four\ hunting -- always following game\ Wiseman\ Kobuk\ Alatna\ tough times -- near starvation\ caribou\ grandmother -- father's side; served the girls first\ starvation -- many died|

Section 2: born -- Big Lake\ Chandalar Lake\ traveling -- hard work\ mother -- ran camp; drove dogteam\ hauling -- meat for sale\ Coldfoot -- storekeeper\ Wiseman -- first trip\ fishing\ seining\ fish traps\ fish fences\ blackfish\ Wiseman -- beauty; moonlight; shadows; mountains\ store -- supplies\ river -- scared of\ Stuck, Hudson -- Stuck got stuck story|

Section 3: travel -- after high water; night\ songs -- singing, dancing on boat\ sickness\ seal oil -- medicine\ Kotzebue -- rainy, foggy\ beluga -- people never landed them where they live\ pokes -- seal\ Alatna\ Kobuk\ floating -- raft|

Section 4: mother -- drove dogs; pitched tent; trek\ mother\ father -- heavy; strong; generous\ father's mother -- what she said goes; six boys\ father's father -- forgot\ grandmother -- mother's mother\ Pingalo, Sammy -- grandfather, didn't know\ Pingalo, Sammy -- cousin\ Wiseman\ good lady -- made snow-shoes, sled|

Section 5: Chandalar Lake\ fishing -- trout\ Big Squaw Lake\ ice\ Moonies Lake\ Wiseman|

Section 6: married -- 1923-24\ Bettles -- store\ stepfather -- had four stores\ sickness -- flu; lost hearing; eardrums burst, bled\ Wiseman -- "Nobody wants to leave once you've been there awhile"\ people -- nice group|