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John Goodwin, Part 2

This is the continuation of an interview with John Goodwin on May 17, 2017 by Karen Brewster and Andy Mahoney at his home in Kotzebue, Alaska. His wife, Pearl, also participated in parts of the interview. In this second part of a two part interview, John talks about changing sea ice conditions in Kotzebue Sound, including thinning ice, timing of freeze-up and break-up, presence of overflow, and the effect of wind and current. He also talks about the importance of understanding the weather and using clouds to predict changes in the wind and weather, ice safety, and changes in seal and beluga whale hunting. Finally, John and Pearl review more of their personal backgrounds, including education and work history.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2013-25-36_PT.2

Project: Sea Ice in Northern Alaska
Date of Interview: May 17, 2017
Narrator(s): John Goodwin, Pearl Goodwin
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster, Andrew "Andy" Mahoney
Transcriber: Denali Whiting
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Coastal Marine Institute, North Pacific Research Board
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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Helping his grandfather build a boat, and hunting bearded seal for the first time

Learning to observe clouds and what they tell you about the wind and the weather

Applying knowledge of clouds and weather when working on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill clean-up

Understanding the current and its effect on ice conditions

Getting caught in moving ice when bearded seal hunting after the wind suddenly picked up

Getting lost in the fog when seal hunting, and finding his bearings without a compass

Timing and sequence of break-up at Kotzebue

Effect of wind and current on ice conditions and break-up

Changes in ice thickness

Effect of seasonal and ice changes on bearded seal hunting

Beluga whale hunting and decline in beluga whale population

Pearl Goodwin's family history and seasonal subsistence lifestyle when growing up

Tagging seals for science

Trusting John's knowledge and safety, butchering seals, and passing on knowledge and skills to the next generation

Hunting seals for the bounty and fur trade

Tidal overflow on the ice

Changes in prevailing wind conditions

Trying to teach young people about understanding the weather and survival skills

John's work history, including working on Amchitka Island

John's education, and serving in the National Guard

Being an impatient boy

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PEARL GOODWIN: He have a song he made when he first went out to go hunting.

JOHN GOODWIN: When my grand -- when my grandpa was working on the boat upside down, he was taking the caulking off and putting a new one on, so I was helping him.

And we were scraping, you know, take two days, and finally one day we were almost done. "You wanna go hunt?" I say, "What?" "You wanna follow hunt?" "Yeah, I wanna follow hunt. Can I go?" "You got to go ask your parents."

Oh, I put my tools down, I ran all the way home just so happy my mom and dad were home. And I was really panting, I said, "Dad, dad." He said, "What?" "Taata say I can follow if you guys say it’s okay."

He look at mom, mom look at him. "What he say? You could go?" "Yeah, I could follow him when he go ugruk hunt." "Yeah, I guess you could."

I was real happy. I ran right back up to him, and then make sure -- I made sure I stayed out there and even worked faster to finish that boat. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOHN GOODWIN: So we got it all caulked up, and then next day put it in the water to make the wood expand, you know, so it wouldn’t leak so much. So I -- I was able to hunt.

The next year we were doing the same thing. Him and I were -- I was helping him, you know, cleaning and about half way, I think maybe the second day or something like, "John, you gonna go hunt again?" "Nope." I’m -- I’m smarter and wiser, I’m 9 years old now.

"Nope." Look at him. "I’m not gonna go hunt. Nope." I’m helping him cleaning, you know. "John, you gotta go hunting." "Nope." "How come you don’t wanna go hunt?" "Well, all you got -- all I do is bail the boat." I sit there and bail the boat, bail the boat.

I start making a song while I was cleaning. Bail the boat, bail the boat, bail the -- He start laughing and -- and then he said, "John, you got to go hunt." "Nope." Real stubborn.

Really cleaning and the -- when we were almost done, he still trying to convince me I got to go hunt. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOHN GOODWIN: And I was not about to go bail the boat for a couple days again. But I learned -- I know I learned a lot. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

JOHN GOODWIN: At that time, you know, it -- it was not registering too much in my mind. ANDY MAHONEY: Right. JOHN GOODWIN: But learning -- I learned that later.

But so, when I was almost done he said, "John, come on, sit down." I sit by him. I was just 9 years old, little boy.

"You got to hunt." "No, I’m not gonna go. Nope." "You got -- you know what, John? You've got the most important job in the hunt."

I looked at him and "No, no, I don’t. The hunt -- the gunner does. He gets the ugruk." "Nope, you are." "A little boy like me? What do I do?" "If you didn’t bail that boat, we’d sink, right?"

I think about it. "Yeah, I guess so." And I said -- went over the most important jobs in my mind, and I was saying the most important job -- holy cow, I look at him and said, "Okay, since it's the most important job, I’ll follow."

KAREN BREWSTER: What -- what was your grandfather's name? JOHN GOODWIN: Charlie. KAREN BREWSTER: Charlie Goodwin. JOHN GOODWIN: Aiyagaak. KAREN BREWSTER: Aiyagaak? JOHN GOODWIN: Yup.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you have an Iñupiaq name? JOHN GOODWIN: Igokpuk. I’m -- I’m named after his dad. Charlie -- Charlie’s dad.

And I -- I was pretty much taught -- they -- they really concentrated teaching me everything. I was really, you know, loved by family and taught. Basically -- maybe -- basically because I was named after him, I think. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, you said he could really tell the weather? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Did he teach you some of that? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how do you use that when you go out on the ice? JOHN GOODWIN: Well, it’s a cloud that we -- we most normally focus on. If it’s a clear day, you still look for cloud. Wind -- we call them wind puffs. In our term.

But in Eskimo I can’t remember -- I forget what they call it. I think it’s nuviaktauraq. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: A -- a -- a small cloud. But it’s --

KAREN BREWSTER: I think nuvi is a kind of cloud. JOHN GOODWIN: What'll happen -- PEARL GOODWIN: Cloud is nuvia. KAREN BREWSTER: Nuvia. PEARL GOODWIN: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: What’ll happen, they’ll come out and just be real nutty in a couple of minutes. You got to be real fast, real quick, so when you see them you got to watch ‘em. And they’ll tell you exactly what kind of wind is coming.

So my -- my dad used to tell me, "John, if you’re out here on the ocean anywhere from over here to -- to here to Kotzebue, you got an hour to -- about an hour to hit the beach. Get away from that wind."

Because that’ll open if you’re hunting. And I -- it happened twice.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. So those wind puffs, what kind of wind is gonna come? JOHN GOODWIN: You -- you can tell. If you’re real observant, they’ll kinda move away and have a little tail. A string, another one -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: Two or three. And then they’ll disappear. They disappear and they come on -- come on again. On the little -- different area.

So unless you’re really observant, you’re not gonna notice. It’s just another -- just another cloud. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: So I mean, you know, I -- I -- I was taught that and really, I mean, I’ve seen it happen. Many a time.

‘Cause my dad was the one who taught me, you know, "You see that? When you see that, you got to go. Let’s go home."

So we started going home and we were watching it and he stopped us, we stop and he says, "Okay, let’s try to look at it, I -- I don’t want you to forget this. It’s gonna turn to west wind. It’s gonna west. Good 20-30 miles an hour already." KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: So, by the time we got little ways to the beach, you know, it was real -- it was about that much. Real --

So, I was out in the oil spill in Prince William Sound. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. JOHN GOODWIN: And I -- I worked with the -- I stayed up there on top, you know, deck house with the captain. They got a fax machine there, and I got a phone ‘cause I was a -- the lieutenant for security -- security guard. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, wow.

JOHN GOODWIN: I was in charge of pretty much half of the whole everybody in secu -- security. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: So I -- I’d go up there and make calls and I was sitting there, it’s real dead calm, sunshine. And I don’t -- I saw them things on the -- on the side of the mountain. And I knew, I got to know them real good. ANDY MAHONEY: Hmm.

JOHN GOODWIN: So I went over there, "You see them puffs up there? Try watch." We watch them. "They going on and off?" "Yeah." "There’s gonna be wind within an hour, couple hours. About 30-40 miles an hour, the way that them things are going."

"I guess I better call them guys in. John, you know, it just only half a day yet. They still got six, seven, eight hours, that’s okay. But they’ll be in good hands." They’re out in the field. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: And him and I made -- talk about it. Then we only talk about it, he said there’s enough boats and everybody out there, they’ll be okay. We’re in the mother ship, the big ship.

One hour later, that thing start whipping and whipping. Some guys had to make -- have makeshift camp and sleep out there.

So that next day he come over to me, he says, "John, what else you know?"

ANDY MAHONEY: Good story, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So -- so does the tail of that -- JOHN GOODWIN: No, it don’t -- KAREN BREWSTER: -- cloud tell you which direction? JOHN GOODWIN: It -- it don’t have -- it won’t have -- it won’t have a tail. It’ll -- it’ll have an indication like a tail. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. That’s --

JOHN GOODWIN: It don’t have a tail. It just puffs of wind that cphew, cphew.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right, it tells -- which way it puffs tells you -- JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: -- it’s gonna be west wind -- JOHN GOODWIN: Yup. KAREN BREWSTER: -- or east wind. JOHN GOODWIN: Or east wind.

And I told him exactly which areas it’s gonna blow on, and that’s when he stopped me and said, "John, what else you know?" ‘Cause I was telling him the story, you know, as -- as we were looking at it. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: And it did happen. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: So he was my good friend after. He listened to a lot of stories.

KAREN BREWSTER: Are there other things you need to be watching for and paying attention when you’re out on the ice to make sure you’re safe?

JOHN GOODWIN: The current. The current. We -- my grandpa, like when I first went hunting with me, he had a line, you know, with a hook, and he just drop it.

Out there it’s just a common practice for him. Then he go on the bottom, and he see what kind of current, which way the ice was moving.

And couple -- he -- he seemed like he did it every two hours and sometimes even faster or slower.

And he'd talk with his -- his co-hunter, the other old man, you know, that it’s slowing down. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: And it’s about to switch to a different -- KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. JOHN GOODWIN: -- coming a different way.

Sure enough, they’d stop and put it in there, and it’d be going the other way. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

JOHN GOODWIN: That’s when I learned the -- I -- I learned to do that. So I was never wrong with the current. I had -- had -- I had that practice, no matter what I did, drop it.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how could he tell it was gonna switch? ‘Cause it was slowing down? JOHN GOODWIN: It -- it slowed down, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

JOHN GOODWIN: Yup. It was real fast sometimes, you know. It was going real fast and then it slow down and he -- he just said maybe if you, next time I do it it’d be going the other way. Sure enough, I couldn’t wait to see it. We put it in, it going the other way.

KAREN BREWSTER: So if you’re on the ice at the lead edge, does the current sometimes come out from under the ice? Or it just goes up and down. JOHN GOODWIN: No, we don’t have that kind of -- KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. JOHN GOODWIN: -- streaming currents here.

KAREN BREWSTER: It goes along the edge? JOHN GOODWIN: It -- it just goes along with the, I mean, with the -- with the flow of the ice. You know, you don’t see it streaming out -- ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. JOHN GOODWIN: Currents, strong currents.

That -- that -- I’m -- that there -- you know, is -- is one important thing, you know. Doing that. But the ice cond --

What I wanted to mention before -- before I forget was that it was 1963. 1963 when me and my dad went out hunting and we got our -- we got our bearded seal, went home to our camp over here, and we started working on them, you know.

We helped mom cut 'em up and everything as soon as we got them on the beach and everything. I think we had seven.

So, as we had about three more to go, our -- our relatives from Noorvik came down with a boat. And they had a launch, and they didn’t have an outboard. A launch, an old style launch.

And they wanted dad to follow, but dad wouldn’t go unless I follow. He said "I’m -- I’m gonna go only if John follow." And I said, "I can’t go. I’m gonna have to help mom. Look, we got to work. Finish these up." Mom didn’t say nothing.

So the guys said, "How long will it take for you guys to finish?" "Well, maybe four or five hours." They look at the time, "That long?"

"Go ahead, go. You guys go." Dad say, "Go. John say we’re not gonna leave ‘til -- we’re gonna go, we’re not gonna leave ‘til we’re done."

And mom said, "Yeah." And they say would you guys follow then? And dad look at me and said, "You gonna follow?" I said, "No, I don’t really wanna go."

But our -- our uncle there, he started trying to convince me, you know, that you’re the only -- dad’s the only one that he depends on that he know can take -- take him out.

Finally, I agreed. We went out. After we got help to where mom can take care of them by herself.

So we went out there in the dead calm, you know, and it was a little bit windy, but when we got out there it was dead calm. No more wind.

And we start coming to ugruk and they -- they wanna shoot ‘em. And dad keep saying let John shoot. He never miss a shot. And they already had missed nine. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

JOHN GOODWIN: Nine that could’ve been in the boat. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, he said -- he didn’t like the idea of me shooting. He said I’m gonna miss. "Okay, let him try."

So we went -- I climb on top that boat and then on a long shot I said -- look at dad, I’m gonna do like a long shot, and they started laughing. I shot it.

One of ‘em that’s it. Cooled off, put it in the boat. Went to another one, shot it. We did the same thing. So we got six of them real quick.

And they didn’t say nothing, but they still wanted to get. So when we get nine, that’s when we said okay, you guys probably can just get one now, but we gotta get back -- that -- see that kind of puffed, we got to go.

And the guys said, "Too dead calm. We're gonna have to leave this weather?" "It won’t be dead calm when we -- in a couple hours."

And they get mad at dad. And dad got mad -- kinda mad at them ‘cause, you know, he’s trying to tell them what’s gonna happen, they’re not believing.

So he talk -- dad talked to them, and he said, well, they got a big boat. They say yeah. So just before the wind hit that p -- that big -- the engine had a magnito. And three of the gears broke. So it had to jump. It misfiring.

And so when it jump, he had to take the spark pl -- I mean, at the end of the -- about six hours figured out he had to pull all the spark plugs off and the guy was just tapping it like that back and forth.

It couldn’t be on together. It’s not gonna fire. Had to take it off.

So we finally got it running, but dad -- we were on a big cake of ice. At the time, was in the '60s, '50s, the ice was so thick and lot of snow, the snow would be maybe -- I mean, that particular ice is about a -- normally on that bay there we’d see maybe two or three, sometimes -- normally it's two, sometimes three, big cakes of ice about a mile long. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. JOHN GOODWIN: All in -- intact. One big piece.

And that’s where a lot of the bearded seal like to stay in that kind of big ice because it’s still.

And that’s where a lot of people like to hunt, and -- but you have to pay the price for it. You know, dragging them a long ways.

So -- but it’s a sure thing. So, that’s what we look for and that big piece of ice.

And it started getting windy and the ice start breaking up, the current start going, another prevailing springtime current hit -- we hit --

If you'll pass me that piece of paper, I’ll show you. I’ll -- I’ll show you it -- it goes from right around here, goes straight up like that. Right -- right -- it just goes out.

When the ice start going out, it don’t stop. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. JOHN GOODWIN: It don’t stop. It just get out of this bay, all at once.

Once it circle around there and get on that current, it goes. So that’s what it doing is it’s taking us out. And breaking up in pieces.

And by the time my dad got -- when they got on the -- when they got on the boat --

Normally, you know, on -- on the ice you got to -- from the boat you got to get down, right? ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: 'Cause the boat is higher than the ice. ANDY MAHONEY: Right.

JOHN GOODWIN: But this ice was so thick, he had to jump from the ice to the boat. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: ‘Cause there’s a lot of snow, and that thick -- the ice is real thick. ANDY MAHONEY: Yup.

JOHN GOODWIN: So I’m -- I just want to mention that -- that real thick ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: I mean that’s the kind of ice we used to have -- we don’t even have -- we don't have that no more. KAREN BREWSTER: No. JOHN GOODWIN: We don’t even see that kind of ice no more.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what happened with that? The wind came and what happened?

JOHN GOODWIN: Almost lost the boat. Lost our souls, it got so rough.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so did you wait out there on the ice? JOHN GOODWIN: No. KAREN BREWSTER: You came home? JOHN GOODWIN: We -- we went in. Because we didn’t want to go up north.

I went up north one time following the ice in the fog, got caught on that ice, and it was so windy we had to ride it. And we were pretty much like up here by Point Hope.


JOHN GOODWIN: But, you know, other side of Kivalina -- between, maybe either close to there, Point Thompson, other side of Kivalina. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: ‘Cause we had no more VHF. Had no GPS.

KAREN BREWSTER: And that was doing ugruk hunting? JOHN GOODWIN: Uh-huh. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. KAREN BREWSTER: In the spring?

JOHN GOODWIN: And -- and -- And you know what I -- You know how I figured out my bearing? KAREN BREWSTER: How?

JOHN GOODWIN: Got that radio, one of them long radios. And we listen to KOTZ, you know, from way out there.

So we were way out there and I -- I just go out there -- It's real foggy. ‘Cause you don’t know where’s -- where’s what.

I grabbed the radio and I go like that, finally, finally I got -- here’s Kotzebue right there. Keep moving it ‘til I get -- ANDY MAHONEY: Uh-huh.

JOHN GOODWIN: -- going louder and then it's Kotzebue. And when I point -- shake my head,you’ll get the bearing on the compass. ANDY MAHONEY: Uh-huh. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. JOHN GOODWIN: And that’s straight to Kotzebue.

So we were moving real slow. We were gonna go home ‘cause the wind had died down a little bit but it was still real foggy.

We were just gonna go through the ice as best we can and get out of there. ‘Cause we knew where we were at. It took us two days to get out there. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. JOHN GOODWIN: Riding the ice, ‘cause we couldn’t go nowhere. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-mm.

JOHN GOODWIN: That -- when we go, I -- I tell them to hit -- we hit about nine degrees, ten degrees left from Kotzebue, because I didn’t want to go straight to Kotzebue.

We’d have to try to stay close to Kivalina or Sisualik in case we run out of gas. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

JOHN GOODWIN: And that’s how I know -- find out our bearing. We had just enough gas to make it home.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you don’t ever carry a compass? JOHN GOODWIN: I mean, we -- we didn’t have GPS then in the 60s. KAREN BREWSTER: No, but a compass.

JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, not now -- you -- you got it right on your GPS. You got a -- you got it in your iPhone. KAREN BREWSTER: No, but back then did you use an old kind of compass? JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, we -- we always had a compass. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: We -- we always carry a compass. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: That’s all we had. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: That’s only good if you can see.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Well, I was also thinking for out -- when you went out on the ice to the ice edge, did you take a compass with you? JOHN GOODWIN: No, we always take -- the boat always has a compass.

But I -- we -- we did that before lot of times. You're sitting in the fog and go like this with a piece of stick and see what -- guess about the -- where the shadow is. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: And tell the time. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh.

JOHN GOODWIN: Before we even, you know -- before looking at the time just by the -- the shadow. And I used to be real close. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: What -- for your dad and grandpa, when they were using dog teams and going out, that time they probably didn’t have compass? JOHN GOODWIN: No, they never use compass.

KAREN BREWSTER: They just knew. JOHN GOODWIN: They -- night time you use stars and land. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: Landmarks.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you want to talk a little bit about break-up? ANDY MAHONEY: Sure! So -- so we're in -- we’re about to see break-up here, right? JOHN GOODWIN: Yup. ANDY MAHONEY: So the Noatak will go out -- the water will start running in the Noatak? JOHN GOODWIN: Mm-hm.

ANDY MAHONEY: Can you explain how the sequence is? How -- how the break-up -- the different -- the different stages of break-up?

JOHN GOODWIN: The first -- the first one to -- gonna break is the Noatak. Coming -- will be coming out. And it come out toward the edge of the sandbar straight across to the -- it’ll -- there’s the strongest current, that’s where the channel is. And then it’ll go out. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: And then after that, Noatak ice, when it break up this channel here, and then we’ll have free ice then. Then as time goes on, the lake, Kobuk Lake, would be chipping off, chipping off. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: And it started coming out. And by that time, the Kobuk Lake and Selawik Lake starting to shift. Start moving, start breaking up, and start coming out.

But it comes out in real big chunks. It’ll -- it’ll hit up here, Lockhart Point. I would say Lockhart Point and across there, it’ll lodge itself and break up to that -- to that point.

And come over here, getting closer where it’s more narrower, then it’ll come that width, It’ll come to town. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: And when it comes to town, it’s close and narrower so it jeopardize them people up there on the point. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: You know and -- ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, okay.

JOHN GOODWIN: That there -- there’s times where the ice moves them houses. ANDY MAHONEY: Really? Yeah, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: It comes up on the beach? JOHN GOODWIN: Yup.

ANDY MAHONEY: And that’s ice from Kobuk Lake? JOHN GOODWIN: Kobuk Lake. ANDY MAHONEY: It’s not -- it’s not ice from the Sound. JOHN GOODWIN: No, that’s going out -- ANDY MAHONEY: No, no.

JOHN GOODWIN: Well, normally -- normally that’s what we -- do damage to Kotzebue, it just -- Lake right here -- I mean this ice right here in the bay. Iliviaq ice right now what we’re looking at. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: It’s so big it -- ‘cause it never break up there, it’s one big whole piece when it comes out. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: But -- but when I was a young boy, a little teenager -- ANDY MAHONEY: Uh-huh. JOHN GOODWIN: -- staying up all night doing -- being mischief. We used to run across. After everybody go to sleep and not watching us -- ANDY MAHONEY: Uh-huh. JOHN GOODWIN: -- run across there to -- to the sand bar from ice to ice and run back.

ANDY MAHONEY: Just for fun? JOHN GOODWIN: Just for fun.

But we’re practicing survival. That was not just fun. You’re learning how to jump from ice to ice and survive.

ANDY MAHONEY: You may have to do that sometime, right?

JOHN GOODWIN: I said -- I said that to my dad. He didn’t scold me. ANDY MAHONEY: No? Okay.

JOHN GOODWIN: He just said -- You know, my dad never did scold me in his life. He said, "Were you one of the boys who was out there last night?"

‘Cause you know people talk. "Yeah." "You know that’s dangerous?"

"Yeah. We were just practicing in case we really have to." If I have to go across something like that, at least I’ll know. It’s a real thing.

KAREN BREWSTER: That’s true. JOHN GOODWIN: It is the ocean. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s true.

JOHN GOODWIN: And so he didn’t say nothing.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when those big pieces of ice are coming out from Kobuk Lake, is the ice in the bay, in the Sound still there? Or it pushes it? JOHN GOODWIN: It’s all out. It goes straight out to the ocean. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay.

JOHN GOODWIN: ‘Cause it -- that -- the current goes out to the ocean and that open -- By that time, all this ice in the -- on this town and everything is dispersed and breaking up. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay. Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: Getting around, the current is controlling it. The wind.

The wind is a real big factor in breaking up our ice. ANDY MAHONEY: The wind? Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: The wind. You know, with the help of the current. But the current is stronger than the wind, it’ll take the ice, you know.

But that wind is the one -- Our prevailing wind is west wind. So when it start turning west wind, the ice will stay. Don’t even come out of Kobuk Lake sometimes. Many a times it just stays up there.

ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, okay. I wondered about that. KAREN BREWSTER: It just -- JOHN GOODWIN: Melts up there. KAREN BREWSTER: It just melts there? Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: It melts up there.

KAREN BREWSTER: If there’s a lot of west wind? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: It just keeps it -- JOHN GOODWIN: The wind.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I wondered if the ice that comes out of Kobuk Lake into the channel then pushes the ice from the Sound out to the ocean?

JOHN GOODWIN: Not in the ocean. It -- it don’t -- don’t take too much effect on the ocean, ‘cause the ocean got it’s own -- you know, thickness in the ice. And the ice is real thick. Thicker than this coming out.

KAREN BREWSTER: But yeah, so does Kobuk Lake break up before the ice in the bay? Or about the same time? JOHN GOODWIN: Kobuk Lake. KAREN BREWSTER: First? JOHN GOODWIN: Yup. That’s when we get -- then we get ready and go out. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: But then the bay start breaking up.

KAREN BREWSTER: But that Kobuk Lake ice just goes through the channel? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: Mm-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Has the thickness of Kobuk Lake ice changed, too? JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, big time. It comes out so rotten, you can't even -- it’s really rotten ice now. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: You don’t even call it ice. But before it used to be at least two to three feet thick, you know. Solid. ‘Cause originally, in the wintertime, the ice would be about six feet. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: In a cold winter.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what about the sea ice, how thick would that get? JOHN GOODWIN: Pretty much the same thing. KAREN BREWSTER: Same.

And nowadays in the winter, how thick? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. This winter is real thick. KAREN BREWSTER: Was it? JOHN GOODWIN: Yup. Cold weather, cold year. Cold year. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: We’re expecting a good ugruk hunting season. The ice gonna be around. When it’s thin, it just disperses and takes off and then we don’t have much ugruk hunting. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: But -- but not as thick as it used to be? JOHN GOODWIN: Nope. KAREN BREWSTER: No.

JOHN GOODWIN: Nope. In the '50s right up to the early '70s, that’s when we start noticing it start getting thinner, you know.

Then the -- right now, what we’re noticing, spring is early. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: Fall is early. I -- I guess make it better for us, we get shorter winters.

ANDY MAHONEY: So for the ugruk season, you need to wait until the ice has gone out, but there still needs to be enough ice for the ugruk? Has that -- has there been any change to that part of the season? JOHN GOODWIN: Uh --

ANDY MAHONEY: Like the time that -- the time available to go ugruk hunting by boat, has that changed at all? JOHN GOODWIN: Big -- it -- it -- it -- it’s -- it -- it -- it does take a lot of big difference ‘cause normally the ugruk would come to our bay and rest and eat.

They’re gonna -- we got a lot of good feed here. We got shrimp, we got clams, we got -- ANDY MAHONEY: Uh-huh. JOHN GOODWIN: Crabs, you name it.

So they come to our bay and really eat before -- When the ice start disappearing, that’s when they go up north. But they try to stay here as long as they can. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: So when the ice -- ice conditions, you know, disappear quick, the ugruks, they’re not here.

But the more ice we have, the more ugruks we’re gonna have sticking around. But when there’s not much ice, you don’t have much time with ugruks. They just move on up north.

ANDY MAHONEY: And you’re hunting ugruk right here in the Sound? JOHN GOODWIN: Uh-huh. ANDY MAHONEY: Or you -- are you hunting ugruk -- ?

JOHN GOODWIN: Nope -- nope, you can't go out there. It’s -- it’s just -- this bay here. Kotzebue bay. Sound bay. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay, yup. Yup.

JOHN GOODWIN: And toward Krusenstern over here, when the ice hit the beach over here. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: You talked about that big, mile-long piece of ice that had -- from back when you were out hunting a long time ago.


KAREN BREWSTER: Do you still get those big pieces? JOHN GOODWIN: Nope, nope you don’t even get nothing near that big. You’d be lucky to find one quarter -- quarter mile long or -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So when it -- JOHN GOODWIN: If that.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when it breaks up, it breaks into smaller pieces? JOHN GOODWIN: Small pieces. But in the past, you know it -- it just stays whole.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. And what time -- how -- what time of year would that break-up start when you’d go ugruk hunting? Like in June or July? JOHN GOODWIN: It used to be right middle part of June or last part of June.

We’d don’t have -- we used to never have too much of a hunting. Two weeks or three weeks at the most.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. And now? JOHN GOODWIN: Now it’s even shorter. The ice is already gone.

KAREN BREWSTER: And now when do they go -- when does it usually break? JOHN GOODWIN: Middle part of June. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, so early -- earlier? JOHN GOODWIN: Yup. I think probably second week of June. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hmm.

JOHN GOODWIN: Now, one time, right? PEARL GOODWIN: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: I think. Yeah, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: So it’s earlier? JOHN GOODWIN: That early.

KAREN BREWSTER: Does -- does the ice thickness have anything to do with those ivus or rough ice out there? Does the ice thickness affect that?

JOHN GOODWIN: No, I don’t think so. Not to my knowledge, anyhow. I wouldn’t -- I would guess so.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, so the thin ice is just a problem because it’s not safe and then it goes out fast? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. Yup.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. What about beluga? JOHN GOODWIN: That’s history.

ANDY MAHONEY: Did you used to hunt beluga? JOHN GOODWIN: We used to hunt beluga. We can’t no more. We don’t have no beluga -- beluga to hunt.

Our -- there’s a lot of different theories on that. Our forefathers, you know, always taught us and have passed down for eons, from day one, that you never fight over animals, you never fight over, you know, any -- anything -- fish. You never fight over anything.

Cause it’ll -- what it’ll do -- they -- the good lord will take it away. And that’s what happened.

They’re -- they start putting regulations on how to hunt our beluga, Elephant Point. Natives against Natives. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. JOHN GOODWIN: Amongst Natives.

So I -- I truly believe because of that, they got caught in the ice. They all drown. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: That’s -- I mean, you know, not only -- all our -- all our animals, anything our people eat, tell not to fight over. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: They’ll just disappear.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. So when the belugas used to come, when do they come in? After the ice goes out? JOHN GOODWIN: After the ice goes out. KAREN BREWSTER: After -- all the way out? JOHN GOODWIN: Yup.

KAREN BREWSTER: So after ugruk hunting? JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, yeah. Sometimes while the ice is still out there -- while the ice is still out there we hunt beluga. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: ‘Cause that -- it’s so thick, it would just stay out there and go back and forth. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. JOHN GOODWIN: You know, but right now it melts. KAREN BREWSTER: It’s gone. JOHN GOODWIN: Gone. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: But, yeah, it used to be fun beluga hunting. KAREN BREWSTER: Is it? Did you herd them onto the beach or you shoot them from the boat? JOHN GOODWIN: No, we’d drive them into shallow waters. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: We got shallow water here right in the bay. Elephant Point got one, Sadie Creek got one that we -- people just drive them right to shallow waters and then get what you want and let them go. I don’t -- we don’t kill all of them. KAREN BREWSTER: No.

JOHN GOODWIN: But -- that -- that’s just the way it was. We never try to get -- harvest them all.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. What about walrus? They ever come in on the ice? JOHN GOODWIN: Not -- sometimes, you know, they come by. Not every year. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: I was able to get one one time. That was it. Had an opportunity one more time, but didn’t get it.

They’re really rare. They don’t come to our -- They do come in here once in a while, but they normally pass right by. They go right in the current -- they hit that current -- this current here, ride it, and just go up north.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. I -- Can I ask you a question, Pearl? Or questions? You’ve -- you’ve been so nice to sit and listen this whole time. Maybe we can ask you a few things? Is that okay with you? PEARL GOODWIN: If it’s something I can answer.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, my first question is did you ever go out on the ice and -- PEARL GOODWIN: Oh, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: -- learn any of this? PEARL GOODWIN: When I got to him. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah?

PEARL GOODWIN: Yeah. I follow him ugruk hunting and only spring time. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. PEARL GOODWIN: No winter time. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. PEARL GOODWIN: Yeah. We go ugruk hunting.

ANDY MAHONEY: When you grew up in Kiana, did you come down the river to hunt or -- PEARL GOODWIN: Every year as long as I can remember from however old I was, maybe from day one, my parents used to come down. Summertime. ANDY MAHONEY: In the summer. PEARL GOODWIN: Sometimes follow the Kobuk Lake ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. Okay.

PEARL GOODWIN: Yeah. And be here ‘til August? August. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. Then they’d go back up river?

PEARL GOODWIN: My dad’s originally from Deering. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh. PEARL GOODWIN: So he’s a sea mammal -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. PEARL GOODWIN: -- eater person.

But the reason why he came down was to commercial fish, too, and try to catch the hunting. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. PEARL GOODWIN: Ugruk hunting. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. PEARL GOODWIN: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And I asked you off tape, but on tape you said what your maiden name was, what your parents' names were? PEARL GOODWIN: Paul and Grace Outwater. My mom is from inland, she’s from Kobuk. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

PEARL GOODWIN: My dad’s from Deering. KAREN BREWSTER: And they settled in Kiana? PEARL GOODWIN: And they settled in Kiana. After they had me.

JOHN GOODWIN: I -- I might want to add one thing about her, you know. I -- What year when we start tagging spotted seals, ringed seals, and young bearded seals. Then we got onto adult bearded seals.

That’s when I -- I had a lot of experience -- we had a lot of experience here with the ice conditions. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. JOHN GOODWIN: And that’s why I’m able to say what I say.

‘Cause we spend ten days just trying to -- effort was trying to capture one of them things and tag it.

KAREN BREWSTER: You were trying to tag it for science? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. PEARL GOODWIN: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: So we tagged seven, total. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. JOHN GOODWIN: The first ones in the world.

KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. And then do you know where they went? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. They’re -- we put satellite tag them, and a flipper tag.

On the flipper tag we learned that -- ‘cause they’re -- they got batteries that goes on, off, on, off.

So the three years that one was operating, it'd go winter exact same spot. And we’re assuming that’s where it was born. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, okay. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. Interesting.

JOHN GOODWIN: Them three go to exactly same spot. And when they go up north and eat, they go to the same area.

Okay, now you can ask some more questions.

KAREN BREWSTER: No, that’s very interesting. Pearl, did you ever go out natchiq hunting with -- onto the landfast ice right to the ed -- lead and -- with dogteams and -- PEARL GOODWIN: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: What he was talking about. You never did that? PEARL GOODWIN: No. No. Just springtime ugruk hunting. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: I’m wondering, what is it like as the wife to be at home and know he’s out there or your sons are out there? PEARL GOODWIN: I don’t know I -- I always be out there with them. I don’t stay home. I’m sure I would worry like crazy -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. PEARL GOODWIN: -- if I stayed home.

But I have an idea of what they do when they’re out there. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

PEARL GOODWIN: And he does a lot of things to be observant of -- that we be safe out there. I see him put his hook down, and watch the clouds and which way the ice is traveling.

So I feel safe, you know, with him out there. Because he’s observant.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. And he always came home. PEARL GOODWIN: Yeah, yup.

JOHN GOODWIN: Not now she won’t stay home.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then all the seals he brought home, you had to do all the butchering? PEARL GOODWIN: Yeah. Not by ourselves, we had help. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. PEARL GOODWIN: Family members. JOHN GOODWIN: Grandkids. PEARL GOODWIN: Grandkids. KAREN BREWSTER: So you --

JOHN GOODWIN: Teaching the grandkids, they enjoy that. KAREN BREWSTER: You’re teaching your grandkids? PEARL GOODWIN: Yup. We have all girls.

KAREN BREWSTER: I was gonna ask, are you taking your -- when you were still going out, did you take your grandkids out? JOHN GOODWIN: I didn’t have -- I mean nah. I -- I taught a lot of my nephews. PEARL GOODWIN: We took our -- KAREN BREWSTER: Nephews.

PEARL GOODWIN: We had our daughter also with that one year. JOHN GOODWIN: And my boy, when he was old enough. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: Two of them --

KAREN BREWSTER: You -- you taught them? JOHN GOODWIN: And they -- they learn. But I taught my nephews a lot. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. Do people still go out to the lead edge and go seal hunting in the winter? JOHN GOODWIN: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No. JOHN GOODWIN: I guess they do, but I don’t know about it. We -- we seem to not to --

PEARL GOODWIN: Maybe Morris? JOHN GOODWIN: -- have a reason to.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Mostly it’s just ugruk hunting? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Not so much the natchiq. JOHN GOODWIN: Yup.

But, you know, there was a time. ‘64 and -- maybe ‘65. They were buying seal pelts. And we got those by the hundreds. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. ANDY MAHONEY: Was that natchiq? JOHN GOODWIN: And still that’s -- the population didn’t drop.

KAREN BREWSTER: What kind of seal? JOHN GOODWIN: Both spotted seal and ringed seal.

There’s a company buying them for, I think, average 45, 35 dollars per pelt. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: What did they make from them? JOHN GOODWIN: I don’t know what they were doing, but the government finally tell them enough is enough and they quit 'em. KAREN BREWSTER: Did they --

JOHN GOODWIN: And that’s when they put that -- lot of -- what do you call it now? Only if they significantly altered. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, right. JOHN GOODWIN: Rule. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Now did -- there was -- was there a bounty? JOHN GOODWIN: Used to be when I was a kid. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: Three dollars a head. KAREN BREWSTER: For natchiq? JOHN GOODWIN: For -- for all. All seals. KAREN BREWSTER: All of them.

So did people do that? JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, them people were going out just for the money lot of times. Especially in the fall time. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: You know, ‘cause they -- they knew it’s money in the bank. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

JOHN GOODWIN: And they’re there. I mean, it’s only weather permitting. And not everybody did it, but -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. JOHN GOODWIN: There were a few -- KAREN BREWSTER: There was a lot. JOHN GOODWIN: You have that all over the world. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: You know.

KAREN BREWSTER: In the falltime, that’s open water? Just by boat? JOHN GOODWIN: That’s when they’re migrating south. Young bearded seal and spotted seals.

They were more abundant. So that had a -- that had a bounty and so did wolf had a bounty on the leg. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I knew about the wolf bounty. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: But the seals, when they took 'em for bounty, did people still eat them? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah, that’s when we were harvesting for our -- for ourselves.

And I -- I -- at that time, I didn’t see lot of people even bother to worry about a bounty. Very few people save them. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: Maybe there’d by one guy walking around, taking the heads out of 'em. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: But I -- I know, my mom and dad, they -- they never worry about that.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Because the wolf bounty, you wouldn’t eat the wolf anyway. JOHN GOODWIN: No. But yeah, the -- the seals were -- had a bounty on them. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I didn’t know that.

JOHN GOODWIN: But that -- we -- we did a real big number when we were getting them for pelts, though. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: High number.

KAREN BREWSTER: Alright. Andy, you have other -- ANDY MAHONEY: I think we covered most of it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I know what we didn’t talk about was the overflow. With the ice lifting up and the tide, and the -- the overflow.

And the ice coming -- I mean, the water coming through the cracks. JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: What’s that all about?

JOHN GOODWIN: Well, I guess when the -- the only time the water will come in is when we have here -- is when we have south wind and the current comes in.

There’s only -- our prevailing winds in wintertime is east wind. So the water’s always going out. We have low -- low tides.

But only when it gets -- Now, when we get south wind it just comes right in and lifts all the ice up and we have overflows all over.

So that’s -- and -- and in most cases double the -- double the thickness of the ice. In overflow.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. ‘Cause it then will keep re-freezing? JOHN GOODWIN: Yup. Yup.

KAREN BREWSTER: Is that overflow dangerous? JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, big time. When you -- when you -- when it gets deep. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: How deep is deep? JOHN GOODWIN: Four feet. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

JOHN GOODWIN: Three feet. Some -- some places. Only on the edge. Just the edges. Edges of the ice. Edges in the beach get overflow.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. It doesn’t happen out in the middle? JOHN GOODWIN: Not -- not in the middle. Once you get in the middle, you’re okay. Just the edges.

KAREN BREWSTER: So can you -- can you see the overflow? Can you tell that it’s there? JOHN GOODWIN: Oh yeah, yup. We’re observant on that.

We -- first thing you -- you can tell is when the weather starting to change, you know it’s gonna overflow. So if you're on the place where you don’t want to be dealing with overflow, you get out of there. I mean, that’s just the way it is. I mean, we all know -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-mm. JOHN GOODWIN: -- that kind of stuff that's going to happen.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how does the weather feel different? JOHN GOODWIN: It’s -- you got the east wind. You got the south wind, warm. KAREN BREWSTER: You feel the warm south wind? JOHN GOODWIN: Yup. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

JOHN GOODWIN: That’s when the water comes in here. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: But each geographic area is different. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

JOHN GOODWIN: And I don’t know what they have in other places, but here it’s the south wind. Only time when you get high water is south wind.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you said that in the winter east wind is prevailing? JOHN GOODWIN: It’s our prevailing wind. Yup.

KAREN BREWSTER: What about in springtime? JOHN GOODWIN: Springtime it’s pretty much east and west, but then our summertime prevailing wind is west.

Fall time prevailing wind is north. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. JOHN GOODWIN: And south wind only from like now, spring -- late -- early -- spring to -- to you know, to falltime. Not -- not -- but right now, there’s no more -- no more prevailing winds.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah, I was -- I was going to ask, if that is still the same?

JOHN GOODWIN: No more prevailing winds. You can’t even tell or -- I mean, you know, it’s -- it’s real difficult right now.

And in the past, we were able to do things, you know, when you go out right away you know what’s going to happen. Even two, three days ahead.

ANDY MAHONEY: So it’s less predictable? PEARL GOODWIN: Less predictable. JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, unpredictable? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. PEARL GOODWIN: Less predictable. JOHN GOODWIN: Oh yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, sorry. It’s my accent. I didn’t grow up around here.

JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah, it is. It is less predictable. We -- we -- For us people, I mean older people, been around to see all that. It’s different. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: But to these new generations, they don’t know what’s left and right. So to them it’s just weather. Just the weather happening. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: But somebody like me, I can tell right away. ANDY MAHONEY: Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so, because it’s so different, the things that you learned growing up and you used in your life, does that help the young people today?

JOHN GOODWIN: The problem we got with young people now that I see is they -- they got that attitude to where they don’t want to believe. It’s hogwash.

You know, you try to tell them that if you do this out there, well, then this could happen. They’re not going to believe you. They’ll go ahead and do it anyhow. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: Like -- like in -- like in the ocean. Like when I’m in the ocean over here, I went to Diomede how many times in my boat. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow, from here?

JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. So there’s one mountain that -- that gives away the weather. It’s Ear Mountain behind Shishmaref. Between -- between Shishmaref and Wales.

They call Ear Mountain. That have a little bit of rings around it, that -- and so does that one behind, over here, Krusenstern. Behind there. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: There’s any kind of indication on those here, get out. Get home. That kind of stuff, you know, when you try to tell them they don’t believe you.

I mean, they don’t even believe -- they won’t even believe me when I tell them, looking at the sky and say it's gonna blow.

But when it does they, "Oh, you just guess, huh? You're lucky shot."

And here I already know it. I mean, we had to learn that kind of stuff. We were taught.

Lot of us, not lot of us, most of us were taught all that in order to survive. And then very few of us hunters that hunted, you know, right up to -- to where the snowmachines -- before the snowmachines take over.

I was fortunate enough to see -- be amongst that, when the transformation from a dogteam to a snowmachine. Hunting.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. How has it changed? How is that different? JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, more dangerous, because you don’t go -- you can’t go where you can go with a snow -- dogteam.

Like right now, a dogteam would -- you can go anywhere with a dogteam. But with a snowmachine, you’re afraid you’re gonna fall through. So that’s the difference. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: Wintertime the trail is good, it’s fine. You’re there in a minute where it would take you ten hours.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right. So, with the young people today, if they’re not believing things, they just go out and try it, do they get into more danger and trouble than back in the old days? JOHN GOODWIN: Oh yeah. They’re -- they -- ‘cause they don’t know any better.

You know, you tell them. You know that -- they -- ‘cause we -- us older people know and can predict weather basically. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: And see what the consequences if you tell them. I mean, you know what’s gonna -- might happen. It’s gonna happen. And it does.

But they just go ahead and think they know it all and get themselves in a situation. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

JOHN GOODWIN: I -- I go to school. Alex (Whiting) and I sometimes -- lot of -- we used to go out there and give lectures, you know, and stuff like that.

But -- I used to be fortunate enough to tell some students that were really interested. Really asking questions.

Her and I ran a -- a what you call -- youth IRA. What they call it now? Springtime, summertime. KAREN BREWSTER: A camp? PEARL GOODWIN: Camp. JOHN GOODWIN: Youth camp. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: So one year I start earlier enough to where I was able to take them ugruk hunting.

This boy never hunt, never been on the boat in the ice out there before. They enjoyed it. They just loved it.

‘Cause nobody taught them. They didn’t get -- they don't have the opportunity.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so they learned from you? JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, they learned. Man, they were happy. KAREN BREWSTER: Good.

JOHN GOODWIN: But that kind of stuff, you know, nobody has the time to do it unless you pay them.

Nowadays, it’s pretty hard to do anything unless you’re paid. It’s real difficult to try to get any kind of help.

You know, it’s -- it’s sad. It’s not like before where the whole community, the families, everybody get together and do stuff. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: Right now, it’s pretty much dog eat dog. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: Eye for an eye. Whatever you wanna call it.

KAREN BREWSTER: I didn’t ask you at the beginning ‘cause I forgot, some of what you did for work. At some point, you probably had to have a job and work a little bit?

Did you ever -- you mentioned the NOAA ship you were an observer on not too long ago. JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. I -- I -- I got married to my first wife pretty young. 21 years old. So my kids were twins, first two were twins. So I had to start working young.

And I had a difficult time working with -- with white people. Because we were still -- minority. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

JOHN GOODWIN: And I guess -- I still got bad memories of people swearing at me and telling me to take a hike. I do.

So I went to training in ’67, and after that I got hired to go to work at Amchitka. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm. JOHN GOODWIN: You know, on that nuclear -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yup. Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: Testing. Six -- I was out there ‘68, ‘69, ‘70, and ‘71.

KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. What kind of training did you get? JOHN GOODWIN: Heavy duty mechanic. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. Okay.

JOHN GOODWIN: So I -- I was able to go from heavy duty mechanic to heavy equipment operator. So that’s what I did all my life -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hmm. JOHN GOODWIN: -- is running heavy equipment.

But I was -- I was out there -- we didn’t -- we had a schedule three months on and two weeks off. ANDY MAHONEY: Whoa.

JOHN GOODWIN: My wife had enough. She (referring to Pearl) almost had enough, too. She said one more time -- "You go out one more time, you might have to go find another wife." I had -- I was on a three months on schedule, too. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

JOHN GOODWIN: I don’t blame her. But I was always working.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. So when did you come back to live in Kotzebue? JOHN GOODWIN: We left here in ’76. Basically, becau -- it was easier for me to get a lot of work from the union, ‘cause I’m an Operating Engineer 302, and -- from Anchorage.

So we moved to Anchorage in ’76, right? PEARL GOODWIN: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: And moved back home in ’80.

I stayed here ‘til ’84. ’84 we moved back down because our -- one of our -- our daughter and granddaughter. And we stayed there ‘til ’94?

When did we move back home, ’96 or ’94?

PEARL GOODWIN: No, I started working at the hospital, ANMC, in 1991. JOHN GOODWIN: Oh, yeah. PEARL GOODWIN: And then in 19 -- JOHN GOODWIN: ’94, we moved here. PEARL GOODWIN: No. I worked there five years, from -- JOHN GOODWIN: ’96. PEARL GOODWIN: ’96, we moved back to -- JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. PEARL GOODWIN: Kotzebue.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. And all that time you did heavy equipment -- JOHN GOODWIN: Mm-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: -- operating.

And Pearl, you worked at the native hospital in Anchorage? PEARL GOODWIN: At the native hospital for five years, and I transferred here and worked in our hospital here. KAREN BREWSTER: What kind of work? PEARL GOODWIN: Social services. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

JOHN GOODWIN: I -- when I got home, you know, I got to know Alex, so I’ve been pretty much his right hand man. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: You know, as far as -- and even -- he learned a lot. I’m sure he did. Because him and I become real close.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then you said you’re on the Ice Seal Committee. JOHN GOODWIN: I’m the chairman, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And you've gotten involved in all kinds of things. JOHN GOODWIN: We travel a lot. I travel a lot. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: She follow when she -- when they have the money for it. That --

KAREN BREWSTER: So how long have you two been married? PEARL GOODWIN: Since 19 -- well --

JOHN GOODWIN: We played house a while. PEARL GOODWIN: We played house ‘til -- We played house ‘til ’89. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. PEARL GOODWIN: In ’89, we got married.

We’re -- we’ve been together since 1976. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. Wow. Long time.

JOHN GOODWIN: So I did something that a lot of people never did. I hit the Amchitka project. And that was one of the biggest projects in the state at the time, you know -- KAREN BREWSTER: The which project? JOHN GOODWIN: That nuclear -- KAREN BREWSTER: The Amchitka. JOHN GOODWIN: You know, one of the -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: They were nuclear testing. We set off three big bombs. That’s when -- that’s when the supremacy of the United States became what it is. Because of them bombs we put out.

That one -- that last one was over a mile deep. Six thousand some feet deep. And we -- I was out there setting off three.

So, I worked on that one and there’s the Haul Road, then the Pipeline (Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline), and I went through the oil spill (Exxon Valdez Oil Spill). I think in June 2 or 3 and I didn’t get out 'til October 13 without a break.

KAREN BREWSTER: So that oil spill, yeah, ’89? ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

JOHN GOODWIN: I stayed out there ‘til -- ‘til -- We were the last ones out.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, well, you said you did security. JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. I was in charge of security.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, you said your mom wanted you to get an education. Did you go to high school? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah, when I -- I graduated high school. Few years -- today she posted -- I was the first -- I was at Mt. Edgecumbe.

KAREN BREWSTER: You did go to Mt. Edgecumbe. JOHN GOODWIN: But October, being a bad boy, they expelled me from school.

So there was a high school here and then I graduated here.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. So there was already a high school here? JOHN GOODWIN: Mm-hm. PEARL GOODWIN: It was church. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, a private high school? PEARL GOODWIN: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: Friend’s Church. PEARL GOODWIN: Friend’s Church.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, they had a school? PEARL GOODWIN: Kotzebue. Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: Mm-hm. PEARL GOODWIN: They had a high school. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

PEARL GOODWIN: 55 years ago, May 17. JOHN GOODWIN: Today.


JOHN GOODWIN: History, man. I was the first graduate of Kotzebue. ANDY MAHONEY: You were? JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Wow.

JOHN GOODWIN: Two of us. My -- my -- the other guy passed away this winter. But yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And did you ever go into the military? JOHN GOODWIN: I was National Guard. KAREN BREWSTER: National Guard.

JOHN GOODWIN: I joined National Guard, ‘cause they were drafting right out of high school. KAREN BREWSTER: Vietnam?

JOHN GOODWIN: All of a sudden, "Gee, where’s our classmate?" We're missing a classmate. During the night, they grab him and someone draft him. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh.

JOHN GOODWIN: So a whole bunch of us were paid to do that and we all joined the National Guard. In Mt. Edgecumbe.

KAREN BREWSTER: That was during the Korean War? JOHN GOODWIN: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No? JOHN GOODWIN: Vietnam. KAREN BREWSTER: Vietnam, okay. Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: That was scary, man. Nobody wanted to go to Vietnam. We were trying to school and they’re drafting them right out of school.

We kept our grades high. They would leave you alone if your grades were high. But then we’d join just to make sure -- ANDY MAHONEY: Oh. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: So I put my time in National Guard.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that’s good. Now, we have a little bit more of a sense of your guys’ bigger life besides ice. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

JOHN GOODWIN: Yeah, I guess. I -- I had a pretty interesting life. Momma and I -- I was taught the old ways -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. JOHN GOODWIN: -- from the beginning. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JOHN GOODWIN: By my grandpa and grandma.

My grandma had me sit down on a chair. And I was 9 years old? ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. JOHN GOODWIN: 8, 9 years. 10 years old, maybe. 10 years old, I think.

"John, you are never, ever gonna have a pocket knife in your pocket." I looked at her and I said, "Man, now, that’s a dream for all young boys. A pocket knife. So you can whittle." "Not you. You’re gonna use it. Then you’ll end up in jail for the rest of your life."

I was real temperamental. I was -- I was -- ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. JOHN GOODWIN: So -- PEARL GOODWIN: I was? JOHN GOODWIN: Still? So advanced.

KAREN BREWSTER: You were a bad boy. JOHN GOODWIN: I was too advanced. Everybody too slow for me. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

JOHN GOODWIN: The pace of life was real slow for me. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

JOHN GOODWIN: I don’t know why. I mean, that’s just the way I was. I was way ahead of a lot of people. Because I had a good memory.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm, yeah. Well, I’m out of tape on this tape. JOHN GOODWIN: Okay. KAREN BREWSTER: So we’ll stop it for now? JOHN GOODWIN: Stop it. KAREN BREWSTER: Quyanaqpak.