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Steve Ulvi, Part 1
Steve Ulvi

Steve Ulvi was interviewed on April 9, 1991 by Dan O'Neill in the audio studio at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska. At the time of the interview, Steve was an employee of the National Park Service at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. He was the principle contact for the Yukon-Charley oral history project, and helped isolate themes which the interviews addressed. The strategy for this interview was to focus on Steve's life on the river prior to his joining the professional staff at the Preserve. In this first part of a two part interview, Steve talks about living a subsistence-based lifestyle in a remote cabin in the area that became Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. He discusses why he came to Alaska and chose this wilderness lifestyle, building and restoring cabins, the seasonal round of activities they did to survive that included hunting, trapping, and fishing. He also talks about how his attitude changed about things after living out on the river and learning about running a dog team.

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Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-05

Project: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Date of Interview: Apr 9, 1991
Narrator(s): Steve Ulvi
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Personal history and factors that influenced him to move to Alaska

2) How the vision of the 1960s and1970s affected him and his decision to go to Alaska

3) Preparations they made, misconceptions they held, and things people told them when they reached Alaska

4) Agreement with Tony Paul about the construction of cabins and subsistence use

5) Cabins they built and restored, and how they subsisted

6) Ceasing to be a vegetarian and how his attitude towards the use of animals was changed by the life they lived

7) The spring of 1975, and changing relationships with each other, with Eagle Village, and with the people along the river

8) Attitudes towards use of steel traps, high-powered rifles, visqueen, and other products of a highly industrialized society

9) What his family and friends thought of his lifestyle

10) First winter, and how they thought about income and resupply

11) Fishing for food for dogs and humans, and how they came to regard certain fishing areas as their own

12) Feeding his dogs fish, rice and tallow, and later realizing that this was poor food

13) Communication by radio, and influence of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race on his knowledge about dog nutrition

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Section 1: Ulvi, Steve - background\ Walnut Creek, California\ Ulvi, Dana\ Yukon River\ Roberts, Lynette\ Eagle\ Proenneke, Dick - One Man's Wilderness\ Waller, Sarge\ Gaudio, Little John\ Rudholm, Dave\ lifestyle - rural\ river people - philosophy\ Waite, Louie\ Paul, Tony\ "back-to-the-land" - rationale|

Section 2: environment - preservation\ Ulvi, Steve - background\ lifestyle - outdoors\ survivalism\ lifestyle - subsistence\ population - pressure\ "back-to-the-land" - rationale\ wilderness - values\ Willamette River\ Alaska - misconceptions|

Section 3: Ulvi, Steve\ Eagle\ Evans, Dave\ Patton, Sage\ Snow, Brad\ Allen, Lily\ Nation River\ Yukon River\ lifestyle - subsistence\ Native Claims\ Beck, Max\ Paul, Tony\ river people - goals|

Section 4: trapping\ hippies\ river people - goals\ Eagle Village - attitudes\ Eagle - attitudes\ Edwards, Charlie\ Edwards, Cher\ Shade Creek\ Cook, Dick\ Sheep Creek\ "Pollack Joe" - Hajak, Joe\ Potts, Mike\ Fortymile River\ hippies - stories about\ dog teams\ bush living - role models\ bush living - sense of community\ Scott, Jim\ transportation - canoe\ winter travel\ Goebel, Bill\ river people - Canadians\ Coal Creek\ Lotter, John\ Beaudet, Gaetan|

Section 5: Roberts, Lynette\ Ulvi, Steve\ Waite, Louie\ Ulvi, Dana\ Dave, Rudholm\ Gaudio, Little John\ cabins - construction\ bush living - level of technology\ fishing - subsistence\ gill nets\ hunting\ Boundary Creek\ bush living - supplies\ Potts, Mike\ Paul, Bertha\ Windy Corner Cabin|

Section 6: hunting\ trapping\ Gaudio, Little John\ "back-to-the-landers" - rationale\ lifestyle - subsistence\ Edwards, Charlie\ Edwards, Cher\ 1970's attitudes - foods\ bush living - foods\ land - sacred values\ river people - spirituality|

Section 7: toilet paper - story\ river people - purism\ cabins - construction\ Windy Corner Cabin\ bush living - lighting\ "back-to-the-landers" - rationale\ Proenneke, Dick\ bush living - level of technology\ Edwards, Charlie\ Edwards, Cher\ bush living - lumber\ bush living - visqueen|

Section 8: Ulvi, Steve\ "mythic frontier"\ "back-to-the-landers" - level of technology\ bush living - transportation\ trapping\ trapping - values\ river people - concept of history\ toboggans - birch\ sled -building - traditional knowledge\ Potts, Mike\ travel - level of technology\ bush living - preconceptions\ lifestyle - subsistence|

Section 9: Ulvi, Steve - family\ Roberts, Lynette - family\ care packages - story\ "mythic frontier"|

Section 10: Windy Corner Cabin\ trapping\ bush living - income\ seasonal work\ Peterson, Steve\ Fort Egbert\ BLM\ Roberts, Lynette\ dogs - sleds\ "kicker" - story\ bush living - communications|

Section 11: fishing - commercial\ seasonal work\ bush living - foods\ fish wheels\ Goebel, Bill\ Ulvi, Dana\ freeze-up|

Section 12: bartering fish\ dog teams\ dogs - nutrition\ old timers|

Section 13: radio\ CBC - Whitehorse\ KGO - San Francisco\ bush living - communications\ dog racing\ Iditarod Sled Dog Race\ dog teams\ dogs - nutrition\ Potts, Mike\ dogs - breeding\ Keyes, Dan\ dogs - sleds\ dogs - harnesses\ dog teams - technology|