Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

George Hall, Part 1

George Hall was interviewed on April 16, 1999 by Karen Brewster at his office in Anchorage, Alaska. The interview began at his office on Tudor Road in Anchorage in the morning. 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 (Part 3). At the time of the interview, George was in his late 70s, and was a profuse storyteller. He still had a sharp memory, provided lots of details in his discussions, and was like a walking history book. In his enthusiasm, George sometimes wandered off the main subject, but eventually returned. 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 also discusses the relationship between the Park Service and the community, and establishment of facilities at the park. In this first part of a three part interview, George specifically talks about working at Sitka National Historical Park, the Native and non-Native history of and use of the area, how the original totem poles were obtained for the park, and efforts to record and preserve Tlingit music and storytelling. He also discusses the battle between the Kiks.'adi and the Russians, the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, the Russian settlement of Sitka, and movements of and relationships between clans in Southeast Alaska. He also talks about the Cottages Community of Sitka, restoration of St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church, and the rest of his Park Service career after leaving Sitka, including at Denali National Park where he dealt with climbing expeditions.


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


1) Arrival in Sitka, various jobs and the National Park Service

2) Visitors, and the National Park Service.

3) Classified as a historian and the relationship between the Natives and non-Natives

4) Missionaries, sharing and language

5) Obtaining totem poles and a house front for the Park museum

6) Receiving a Native name, and mounting the totem poles and house front

7) Tape recording Tlingit music and stories, and adding them to the Park's archival collection

8) Different kinds of days during a party, tape recording these events, and designing a commemorative medallion

9) Design, production, sale, and use of the Alaska Native Brotherhood 50th Anniversary Medallion

10) Tlingit use of the Park, and an archaeological survey at the Fort Site

11) Fort design, and the battle with the Russians

12) The battle between the Russians and the Tlingit, and an exhibit of the metal vest Baranof wore during the battle

13) The battle with the Russians

14) The Russians coming into Sitka, and archaeological findings at Castle Hill

15) Kiks.aacute;di clan history, movement, and relationship to Wrangell people.

16) Settlement of Castle Hill and Old Sitka

17) Relations between the Kiks.ádi and the Russians during different time periods

18) The Crimean War and its effects on Russians and relationships between people in Sitka

19) The Cottage Community and tells a story about an elderly couple with tuberculosis transferring to a family they visited

20) Restrictions on Native fishing and hunting, moving the State's capital, and the Brady homestead in Sitka

21) Governor Brady's homestead and its effects on the Native community

22) Restoration of St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church in Sitka

23) Church restoration continued

24) What brought him to Sitka and work he did for Sitka National Historical Park

25) Overview of his Park Service career after Sitka, and starts to tell a story about one climbing party trying to climb Mt. McKinley

26) The story about the climbing party that went up Mt. McKinley continued

27) Experiences working at Mt. McKinley National Park continued

28) Working as the Park Historian at Sitka, and the relationship he had with the Native community

29) Collecting the story of Glacier Bay from elders in Hoonah

30) Collecting the story of Glacier Bay in Hoonah continued, and tells a story about a boat in Hoonah that people believed was bewitched

31) Story about a feud between people of Wrangell and Sitka

32) Story of the peace party continued

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: Sitka -- arrival/ Chicago -- leaving/ Mt. Edgecumbe/ Smit, Henry/ Glacier Bay/ administrative assistant/ National Park Service/ monument/ flood/ Army/ gravel operation/ National Park Service Regional Office/ Fort Site -- archaeological survey|

Section 2: visitors -- number of/ tour boats/ Alaska Steam Ship Company -- stopped running/ Native people -- exclusion/ National Park Service/ Miller, Ben/ California/ Superintendent/ Miller, Ben -- transferred/ Glacier Bay/ place names/ Sitka/ Schmidt, Hank/ cemetery/ residence -- building/ Juneau|

Section 3: historian/ cemetery/ cemetery -- crew/ relationship -- village, non-village/ village -- poor conditions/ Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall/ Tlingit/ Andrew, Alex/ Eagle clan collection|

Section 4: village -- access to/ house totems/ missionaries/ historical society -- first president/ stories/ sharing objects/ visitors -- special/ language -- limitations|

Section 5: pride/ totem poles -- locked up/ Andrew, Alex/ clan -- Eagle/ totem poles -- removing them/ Visitor Center/ house Front/ Anaxoacute;ots House/ house front -- removing|

Section 6: totem poles -- removing/ house front/ party/ Native name -- receiving/ Native name -- Shakshawnieesh/ Shakshawnieesh -- background/ totem poles -- mounted/ ceiling -- hole/ preservation/ clan house/ Hoonah|

Section 7: party/ tape recorder/ recording -- music/ recordings -- use of/ recordings -- location/ archives/ collection -- adding to/ tapes -- explanation of/ parties -- types/ party -- death payment/ Hoonah/ man -- killed by wife/ Eagles -- paid for loss of life/ party -- protocol/ forgiveness/ bird -- feather down|

Section 8: parties -- types/ greeting day/ honor day/ Eagles/ raven/ gifts/ blankets/ party -- tape recorded/ National Park Service/ culture loss -- future generation/ parties/ Alaska Native Brotherhood -- 50th anniversary/ Alaska Native Brotherhood Anniversary Medallion -- design/ disagreement -- clans/ clan -- Eagle/ clan -- Raven|

Section 9: Alaska Native Brotherhood Anniversary Medallion -- design/ Fediroff, George/ medallion -- carving/ clan -- Eagle/ clan -- Raven/ Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall/ medallion -- sale of/ town -- support from/ medallion -- special issue/ Juneau -- bridge/ Brotherhood Park/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ medallion -- use of|

Section 10: Park/ resources -- Tlingit use of/ plants -- medicinal/ archaeological survey/ Hadleigh-West, Fred/ archaeological sites -- deterioration of/ Park --military/ middens/ Andrews, Alex/ Historical Society/ fort -- location of/ fort -- shape of/ logs -- dug up/ picture -- Lisianski/ cannon|

Section 11: fort -- shape of/ Lisianski -- measurements/ Sitka/ fort -- design/ fort -- logs/ battle -- Russians and Tlingit/ Chief Katlian -- battle leader/ Old Sitka/ Russians -- attack|

Section 12: battle -- Russians and Tlingit/ Baranof -- shot/ metal vest/ Governor Brady/ Smithsonian/ museum -- lack of/ traveling exhibit/ battle -- story of/ Kiks.aacute;di/ Neilson, Peter/ Hopkins, Sally/ Juneau/ battle -- survival march/ Nakwasina/ children|

Section 13: battle -- story of/ children -- left at fort/ Russians -- burnt fort/ archaeological survey -- logs/ fort -- location of/ Nakwasina/ Sitkoh Bay -- fort/ Kake/ Angoon/ Hopkins, Sally/ Russians -- attack/ Castle Hill/ boat -- baidarka/ ship -- Neva/ Lisianski/ Kodiak/ boat -- battleship|

Section 14: battle -- story of/ boat -- canoe/ ship -- Neva/ Lisianski/ castle/ Castle Hill -- Tlingit use of/ archaeological survey -- Castle Hill/ Castle Hill -- ceremonial houses/ clan -- houses/ Tlingit -- movement of/ Sitka/ Juneau/ Haines/ Chilkat/ Wrangell/ Kiks.aacute;di|

Section 15: Kiks Bay/ British Columbia/ story -- Kiks.aacute;di clan emblem/ frog/ Kiks.aacute;di -- movement of/ Wrangell/ house -- naming of/ argument/ families -- split up/ Sitka/ Jamestown Bay/ salmon streams/ Sitka -- first settlement of|

Section 16: Castle Hill -- settlement of/ Old Sitka/ Russians -- arrival of/ Castle Hill -- good location/ Castle Hill -- use of/ battle/ Russians/ Sitkoh Bay/ tensions/ Aleuts/ brass plaque/ story -- Mrs. Hopkins/ gifts -- bringing/ Sitkans -- return of/ Nowish Katl|

Section 17: Nowish Katl/ Kiks.aacute;di/ Sitkoh Bay/ Sitkans -- return of/ Russians/ Baranof/ Castle Hill -- Kiks.aacute;di property/ Russian settlement -- layout of/ Swan Lake/ fort/ blockhouse/ church/ curfew/ curfew -- violation of/ jail/ Customs Building/ cultural exchange/ uprisings/ Canadian warship -- subdued uprising|

Section 18: uprisings/ Crimean War -- British and French against the Russians/ Siberian settlement/ British Admiral -- suicide/ Russian and British contact/ Sitka/ uprising -- Indian/ uprising -- 1879/ refuge -- orphanage/ refuge -- castle/ people -- relationships/ Park -- significance to Tlingit/ Jackson, Sheldon/ Cottage Community|

Section 19: Cottage Community/ Cottages -- rules of/ Cottages -- disappearance of/ Visitor Center/ tuberculosis -- transfer of/ story -- reincarnation/ Mt. Edgecumbe/ Hope, John/ Hope, Ellen/ Hope, John -- Director of Bureau of Indian Affairs/ Hope, Andrew/ legislator|

Section 20: war/ fish -- salmon/ fish -- traps/ subsistence -- restrictions/ sealing -- pelagic/ boats -- towing/ boat -- sailing/ whaling/ Old Sitka/ State capital -- move/ Sitka/ Juneau/ Brady, Hugh/ Brady, Governor John/ Russian Church/ homestead/ limitations|

Section 21: homestead/ Brady, Governor John/ homestead -- agreement/ agreement -- signing of/ Natives/ homestead -- access through for resources/ gate/ graves -- protection of/ graves -- respect towards/ property -- sale of/ agreement -- lack of benefits from/ Seattle|

Section 22: church -- Russian/ Bishop Amvrosii/ church -- restoration of/ Ashby, Joe/ money-- use of/ Brady, Hugh/ church -- roof/ copper/ church -- community|

Section 23: church/ roof -- completion of/ Brady, Hugh/ money -- lack of/ cooperation -- Natives and Whites/ values -- similarities of/ church -- records/ Russian/ church -- fire|

Section 24: Sitka/ Drake University/ business/ Pure Oil Company/ Chicago/ qualification -- lack of/ Park Service/ work -- administrative clerk/ Schmidt, Hank/ experience -- worked with Indians/ work -- historian/ Sitka -- leaving/ Washington D.C. -- monuments/ Alaska -- moved back to|

Section 25: State Coordinator/ Superintendent -- McKinley/ Superintendent -- Katmai/ Senior Superintendent/ Howe, Bob/ Glacier Bay/ congressmen/ mountain climbing/ recreation/ Mt. McKinley -- climbing/ climbing ranger -- Wonder Lake/ ?, Wayne/ climbing expedition -- control over/ Washburn, Bradford/ Wilcox Group/ Colorado Group/ Congress -- Appropriations Committee|

Section 26: Congresswoman -- hosting trip/ Hanson, Julia Butler/ Glacier Bay/ fishing trip -- broke down/ Bartlett Cove/ Mt. McKinley -- climbing/ climbing expedition -- successful/ Washburn, Bradford/ New Hamsphire/ climbing expedition -- people lost/ climbing expedition -- mistakes|

Section 27: bear -- mauling/ ranger/ rescue -- problems with/ flood -- Fairbanks/ rangers -- stranded/ communication -- lack of/ Park Service -- retirement/ Superintendent -- selection of/ Superintendent -- qualifications/ ?, Wilcox/ climbing expedition -- death/ Eielson Visitor Center/ climbing expedition -- rescue/ Davidson, Art|

Section 28: climbing expedition -- death/ parents -- notification/ Superintendent -- difficulties of/ Sitka/ Park Historian/ Park -- main contact for/ relationships -- Native community/ understanding/ Hoonah/ Glacier Bay -- story of/ Andrew, Alex/ story -- collecting|

Section 29: Hoonah/ Andrew, Alex/ story -- collecting/ Andrew, Alex -- aunt/ Natives -- help from/ postcard/ visiting -- rules/ being welcome|

Section 30: visiting -- rules/ story -- collecting/ fishing/ Indian/ ?, Jimmy/ story -- bewitching/ behavior -- jinxed/ doctor -- Indian/ devil's club/ boat -- blessed/ Andrew, Alex/ party|

Section 31: party/ Hoonah/ Ross, Willie/ integrity/ feud -- Wrangell and Sitka/ Kiks.aacute;di -- movement of/ wife -- lost/ feud -- story of/ peace party -- story of/ Killer Whale House/ gift giving|

Section 32: peace party -- story of/ peace day -- third day/ Sitkans/ Ya Kwan -- Sitka Chief/ spear/ spear -- getting rid of/ Ross, Willie/ hero -- reborn/ Olson, Charlie/ reincarnation/ Stevenson, Ian Dr./ University of Virginia/ Olson, Charlie/ Alaska Native Brotherhood|