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Faye Chamberlain
Faye Chamberlain

Faye Chamberlain was interviewed on November 1, 1991 by Dan O'Neill and William Schneider at her home in Circle, Alaska. Her six-year-old son, Scotty, was home sick from school that day and was laying across her lap as she talked. Occasionally, some conversation with Scotty, or his coughing, is audible. Faye was formerly married to Richard Smith, with whom she lived on the Yukon River for several years, and he is mentioned throughout the interview. In this interview, Faye talks about living a subsistence-based lifestyle on the Yukon River, National Geographic making a film about "river people," and the impact of the establishiment of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and National Park Service management regulations on local people's uses of the area.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-44

Project: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Date of Interview: Nov 1, 1991
Narrator(s): Faye Chamberlain
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill, Bill Schneider
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Personal background and coming to Alaska

2) Coming back down the Yukon River from Dawson City, and learning to trap and use dogs

3) Processing furs, and the division of labor

4) Experiences with hunting

5) Filming by National Geographic

6) Her time at Twenty-one mile and Six mile, and the impact of the Antiquities Act

7) Reassurances from the National Park Service for Richard Smith and Dick Cook, bad news for others on the river

8) Whether or not the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve is a good idea

9) National Park Service attitudes towards living residents and recent improvements versus their treatment of gold mining history and the Coal Creek dredge

10) Cabin permits, subsistence, and the availability of opportunities for people to go out into the country

11) Neighbors and friends along the Yukon River

12) Possible developments and mega-projects that could affect the upper Yukon River, and whether the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve could prevent them

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Section 1: Chamberlain, Faye\ Ontario\ Quebec\ British Columbia\ Dempster Highway\ trapping - Faye Chamberlain\ Elliot Lake, Ontario\ "back-to-the-land"\ Middle Heart River - trapping\ trapping - Yukon Territories regulations\ trapping - women\ Clinton Creek\ Yukon - story\ Smith, Richard\ Kidd, Charlie|

Section 2: Chamberlain, Faye\ Smith, Richard\ subsistence lifestyle\ trapping - enjoyment\ dogs\ toboggans\ trapping - division of labor\ trails - Six mile-Klondike\ Dill, Doug - Asplin, Brian|

Section 3: Dill, Doug\ Chamberlain, Faye\ trapping - snowmachine\ trapping - dogs\ trapping - skinning\ bush living - gender roles\ bush living - division of labor\ dogs - chores\ dogs - references\ fishing - dogs|

Section 4: hunting - moose\ hunting - caribou\ hunting - packing\ meat processing - division of labor\ Dill, Doug\ lifestyle - physical requirements|

Section 5: National Geographic Society - Eagle interviews\ Circle - interviews\ Straub, Bill\ Dill, Doug\ Carroll, Albert\ Kidd, Charlie\ Hannah Creek\ Charley Creek|

Section 6: cabins - Twenty-one mile\ cabins - Six mile\ U.S. Postal Service - Circle\ Antiquities Act - impact\ Coal Creek Roadhouse - NPS personnel\ National Park Service - presence\ "going Native" - NPS personnel\ historic sites - local information|

Section 7: Evans, Dave - "Nation Dave"\ Smith, Richard\ Bell, Ray\ Fortymile (from Circle) - cabin permit\ cabins - Forty mile (from Circle)\ subsistence lifestyle - "proof"\ Cook, Dick\ cabin permits\ river people - NPS requirements\ National Park Service - subsistence definitions|

Section 8: preserve versus park\ National Park Service - impact\ river people - impact on environment\ trapping - sustained yield\ bush living - sensitivity to nature\ park visitors - impact on environment\ cabin ownership - NPS policy\ National Park Service - cabin policy\ cabin permits - inequities\ river people - attitude towards visitors\ National Park Service - misinformation to visitors\ river people - attitudes\ permits - tree harvest\ Smith, Richard\ cabin log permits\ permits - building|

Section 9: National Park Service - attitudes towards residents\ National Park Service - attitude toward cabin building\ Coal Creek - NPS-built improvements\ Coal Creek - "playground" for NPS\ subsistence - perpetuation\ cabins - benefits\ human presence - benefits\ winter travel - assistance from river people|

Section 10: cabin permits\ lifestyle - NPS "phasing out"\ subsistence - perpetuation\ Yukon Quest - emergencies\ human presence - benefits\ winter travel - assistance from river people\ Yukon-Charley - attitudes towards residents\ ANILCA\ cultural values - subsistence\ homesites - Canadian regulations\ land - availability|

Section 11: Chamberlain, Faye\ Twenty-eight mile - cabin\ bush living - privacy\ river people - visiting\ winter travel - visiting\ Bertoson, Gordon - story\ fish wheels - Bertoson, Gordon\ Shultice, Bill - stories\ big game - snaring\ snaring - inhumane\ nature - belief in reciprocity|

Section 12: Rampart Dam\ Eagle-Circle Road\ public opinion - power of\ National Park Service - volunteers\ National Park Service - bear policy\ food policy - story\ National Park Service employees - attitude|