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Mary Ann Olympic, Interview 2, Part 2
Mary Ann Olympic

This is the continuation of an interview with Mary Ann Olympic on March 9, 1995 by Bill Schneider and Don Callaway at the school in Igiugig, Alaska. In this second part of a two part interview, Mary talks about the traditional values she was taught about not wasting food and respecting the animals harvested, and about times where there were food shortages and starvation. She also discusses the effect of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV's) on the activity level of children and community members, and remembers reindeer herding days when they used dogteams to get around and had to keep the reindeer separated from caribou.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 95-33-03

Project: Katmai National Park
Date of Interview: Mar 9, 1995
Narrator(s): Mary Ann Olympic
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Don Callaway
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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What she was taught about not wasting any part of animals that were caught

What her grandfather taught her about hunger

How the lodges have stopped wasting as much and how they are now giving meat to the village

How children are not walking and running as much now because of four-wheelers

Keeping reindeer and caribou from mixing

Dogteams getting used to having reindeer around

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Bill: Okay, I think we're back on. Talking about those beliefs that the old, your parents and grandparents taught you. Mary Ann: Yeah, when you really believe, when you gonna live longer. When you really believe those kind of stuff, you don't, do it, you gonna be live longer. You're hardly sickness. Don: How about not to waste any part of an animal. What did your parents teach you about that? Mary Ann: Ah, when not, those kind of stuff? Don: Yeah. Mary Ann: In the future, if you reached a, in a starvation stuff, you can think about those, the one you were wasting. That's what they told me. There's gonna be starvation coming someday, that's what I heard. Old people, old, old timer stories true, some of them. Some of them not true at all, I think, that's what I figure.

Bill: What about the starvation? Do you think that's gonna come? MaryAnn: That's what they told me, that's what I hear story, talk story, starvation is coming. Is scary, got scary, scary spot right there. That's why they told me, "Don't use, you don't say that, "I don't like this, I can't eat.'" I can't say that. They tell me not to do, talk like that. When starvation come, you're gonna think about that, your "I don't like." I was thinking about that when I went in it. Worst part is sickness, our stomach empty. I know it, some time I try. Boy, I can't stay, stay away from the food. I try sometime, I never eat. I start shaking, and then I go back to eat. And try that sometime. That's what my grandpa told me, to "Try, sometime." And so I start. Some time I try. It's kind of hard to without eat. You have to have eat. Then what?

Don: How about all the uh, the lodges and so forth that you've seen build up around here. What has that meant for you? Mary Ann: The lodge people here? They usually throw the, wasting the meat. They dump in the dump, throw 'em in the dump down there. Two years now it's getting no more do that. We's, 'cause talking, when we meeting in the village council, talk about don't like to see the, in the dump for meat and skin and bone. They slowly, finally slowing down. When they first, it was too much wasting the meat. Especially when the hunting time. Now they start give us meat, this village, saving us their meat. Make me happy. They usually don't give us nothing, just wasting the food.

Don: Do you think the children today are as healthy as you or your parents generation? Do you think all the four-wheelers and stuff, they don't walk as much? Mary Ann: Eee yep, kids getting spoiled by four-wheeler, riding too much. I think it's not too right of them, at least that's what I thought. Too much wanna ride, don't wanna run. laughing That's what look I look to me, they spoil all over the villages. They wanna ride, ride, don't wanna walk. Even including me, I start in riding, laughing. I'm still walking though. Bill: Pretty fun, those four-wheelers, though. Mary Ann: Yeah, oh yeah, too much fun. Relax, lots of people getting relaxed, too. No more hard work, seems like, seem like to me. laughs

Don: Can, uh, when the reindeer started to mix with the caribou. Could you tell the difference in the caribou? Mary Ann: Gee, that, my dad, my father don't like those join the reindeer. 'Cause caribous are taller, little bigger, bigger, taller, they have to rid of 'em right away. Bill: They have to what? Mary Ann: Rid of 'em right away, Kill 'em right away. The caribou. Don't let 'em join the reindeer. They might take 'em away some time, can't let 'em wild. 'Cause caribous are wild. Our reindeers are tame. Smaller, small, too. Fancy colors. Spot, white, black. The reindeer color. Nice color laughs.

Don: Did you use dogs when, with the herds, with the reindeer herds? Mary Ann: Yeah, they had dog team. We dogs, used 'em, they don't bother 'em no more. They don't bother. Just pass by. Even close by, don't bother it. Dogs used to reindeer. Bill: They get used to it, yeah. Mary Ann: Uh huh. 'Cause when they stay by the, by the our yard, they come to the house, reindeer, reindeer start talking, or, start walking around outside of the house. Dogs don't bother it. They're used to it. But moose different. I guess, they after, after the moose. He must be different from the caribou, I mean, the reindeer. They have to, have to run for moose. Not, not, not reindeer laughs. Bill: Well, I think that's good, that's. Thank you for all your help. Mary Ann: Yah. I've ? live a long time.