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George Hall, Part 3

This is a continuation of the interview with George Hall on April 16, 1999 by Karen Brewster at his home in Anchorage, Alaska. The interview began at his office on Tudor Road in Anchorage in the morning (Parts 1 & 2). He had artifacts and mementos from his years in Sitka at home that he wished to share, so the interview continued later that afternoon at his house in South Anchorage. In this interview, George talks about his ten years of working for the National Park Service in Sitka, Alaska. He discusses the variety of jobs he held and many tasks he completed. The most important to him were recording Tlingit gatherings, collecting Tlingit house pieces for the park's museum collection, and coordinating the museum's exhibit design with the Tlingit community. He speaks highly of the Tlingit in Sitka, and appreciatively of the opportunities he had to work closely with and become friends with them. He specifically mentions his close friend, Alex Andrews. He also discusses the relationship between the Park Service and the community, and establishment of facilities at the park. In this third part of a three part interview, George specifically talks about the changing relationship between the National Park Service and the community of Sitka, restoration of Indian River, and the establishment of the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center in the park. He also discusses his role in the development of the exhibit's at the park, the installation of totem poles at the park, and the development of facilities in the park. Finally, he mentions a shooting that took place at the park, the close friendship he had with Alex Andrews, formation of the Sitka Historical Society, and his appreciation for Tlingit culture and the community of Sitka. At the end of this interview, George proudly showed Tlingit artifacts, art, and craftpieces he collected and received while living in Sitka. For him, this material reflects the special relationship he developed with Native people in Sitka. After moving away, he continued to return to Sitka for periodic visits. He felt a strong connection to Sitka and its residents. As he said, "It was home."

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 98-39-12_PT.3

Project: Sitka National Historical Park
Date of Interview: Apr 16, 1999
Narrator(s): George Hall
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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There is no slideshow for this person.

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1) The poor relationship the Park had with the community of Sitka when he first arrived

2) His experiences working for the Park, and its image with the community

3) Restoration of the Indian River within the Park

4) A tar melting plant permitted in the Park and having to restore the area in later years

5) The National Park Service's interest in the Sitka Park, and the development of the Native arts and crafts program at the Visitor Center

6) His role in the collecting of artifacts and designing the exhibits at the Park's museum

7) Taking totem poles from a house that were given by the Kiks.ádi clan and giving them to the Park

8) Installing totem poles in the Park continued, and facilities at the Park before there was a Visitor Center

9) Tells a story about a time when somebody was shot at the Park

10) The story about the shooting in the Park continued, and talks about his friendship with Alex Andrews

11) Alex Andrews' personal collection of artifacts, and how he first met Alex

12) Forming the Sitka Historical Society

13) Getting Sitka Historical Society meetings up and running on a regular basis

14) His feelings toward Sitka and his positive experiences working at the Sitka National Historical Park

15) The level of contribution and cooperation by people in Sitka on community projects, and all the help he gave to other people

16) The Park buying two Native owned properties at the entrance to the Park

17) The Park's property trade continued, and the Park's importance

18) The wisdom of Native people and the importance of Native culture

19) Being thankful for the good experiences of his life, and the opportunities he had to know Native people

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Section 1: National Park Service -- role of/ National Park Service -- relationship with community/ Schmidt, Henry -- Superintendent/ Miller, Ben -- custodian/ Visitor Center/ tourism/ National Park Service -- conflict/ Juneau/ relationship -- mending/ National Park -- land trade/ community -- bad feelings|

Section 2: National Park Service -- relationship with community/ gravel pits/ National Park Service -- lack of support/ Indians/ archaeologist/ historian/ City -- welcoming group/ Rockefellers/ Chase Bank -- President/ Alaska Day -- programs/ Fort Richardson/ General -- escort/ car -- poor condition/ image -- poor/ National Park -- role in|

Section 3: National Park/ river -- restoration/ Mitchell, Liam/ Juneau/ Indian River -- erosion/ heavy equipment -- Cat/ gravel/ river -- flood/ river -- changes to/ salmon -- return of/ initiative|

Section 4: Schmidt, Henry (Hank)/ National Park/ Indian River/ ?, Kutcherry?/ permit -- hot plant/ road -- paving/ Silver Bay/ actions -- repercussions/ Miller, Tennessee/ garbage -- buried/ river -- erosion/ clean up/ trees -- planting/ children/ river bank -- stabilization|

Section 5: National Park Service -- lack of interest/ National Park -- facilities/ Russian Orphanage/ Indian River/ river -- erosion/ river -- damage/ Army/ river -- flood/ National Park Service -- help from/ Visitor Center -- building/ Natives/ crafts program/ Mrs. Littlefield/ crafts -- teaching|

Section 6: museum -- planning/ Sitka -- leaving/ artifacts -- collection of/ gate piece/ historical society/ house -- demolished/ photograph/ Park -- party/ Kiks.ádi/ fate/ Russian America Company/ harpoon heads/ James, Scotty/ exhibits/ Tlingit material|

Section 7: Sitka -- leaving/ clan -- meeting/ Andrews, Alex/ gift/ totem poles/ totem poles -- taking from house/ totem poles -- preservation of/ totem poles -- installing in Park/ Tlingit/ totem poles -- why give away|

Section 8: respect/ totem poles -- installing in Park/ totem poles -- care of/ totem poles -- protection/ Andrews, Alex/ Kitka, Frank/ Park -- display/ Frog and Raven pole/ Park -- facilities/ Visitor Center/ Rockefeller/ Park -- lack of facilities and staff/ Park -- display/ Clay, Floyd|

Section 9: Juneau/ Clay, Floyd/ Park -- shooting/ weather -- bad/ Coast Guard (Coastie)/ hunter/ story -- shooting/ investigation/ hospital -- Mt. Edgecumbe|

Section 10: story -- shooting/ Ricks, Mel -- probation officer/ Juneau/ Coast Guard/ office -- location/ Post Office building/ Andrews, Alex/ gentleman|

Section 11: Andrews, Alex/ Andrews, Alex -- daughter/ artifacts -- collection/ museum -- buy collection/ swords/ uniforms/ cannon/ clan -- Eagle/ James, Scotty/ clan -- Raven Seagull/ Eagle Nest House/ Andrews, Alex -- meeting/ Alaska Day -- display|

Section 12: Sitka Historical Society -- formation/ Governor's Residence/ Capital -- moving/ Alaska Ethnographic Organization/ artifacts -- collection of/ Sheldon Jackson Museum/ Alaska Historical Association/ Alaska Historical Society -- Juneau/ Alaska Historical Museum -- Juneau/ Sitka/ meeting/ Sheldon Jackson School/ Society -- president/ Society -- meeting location/ Russian Orphanage/ Orphanage -- tea house/ Bishop|

Section 13: Sitka Historical Society -- meeting of/ Bishop/ tenants/ Orphanage -- use of/ exhibits/ meetings/ Natives/ Andrews, Alex -- wife/ James, Scotty/ artifact -- shaman's charm/ object -- dangerous/ charm -- beliefs|

Section 14: Sitka Historical Society/ Park -- employment/ Park -- feelings/ Sitka -- feelings/ people -- acceptance/ people -- cooperation/ Chicago/ friendship/ church -- restoration/ Rotary Club/ projects -- community/ church -- painting|

Section 15: Sitka Historical Society/ Restoration Committee/ Alaska Day pageant/ projects -- community/ Anchorage/ people -- cooperation/ people -- helping/ Boy Scouts/ community -- trust/ Sitka/ people -- acceptance/ Staton, Norm|

Section 16: Park -- land trade/ Park -- buying property/ rock -- commemorative/ Merrill, E.W./ property -- payment for/ property -- new/ Natives/ land trade -- feelings about/ property -- negotiation|

Section 17: house -- Littlefield's/ house -- location/ Park -- importance of/ Tlingit/ Sitka -- settlement of/ Sitka Bay/ Tlingit -- history/ Castle Hill/ Old Sitka/ land trade/ village -- conditions in/ Natives/ relationship -- Natives and Whites|

Section 18: Tlingit -- wisdom/ relationship -- Natives and Whites/ segregation/ Native leaders/ Andrews, Alex/ James, Scotty/ music/ life -- fulfillment/ Natives -- image of/ Natives -- knowledge/ Kake/ Klukwan/ trial/ culture -- loss of|

Section 19: Klukwan/ village -- walking through/ bad feelings -- lack of/ behavior -- group/ Visual Art Center -- Board/ alcohol -- problem/ experiences -- personal/ Natives -- understanding/ Native -- music/ tradition -- bird down/ forgiveness|