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Lynette Roberts, Part 1
Lynette Roberts

Lynette Roberts was interviewed on November 4, 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. In this first part of a two part interview, Lynette talks about living a subsistence-based lifestyle with her husband, Steve Ulvi, in a remote cabin on the Kandik River in what is now Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. She discusses why they chose to live there, the seasonal round of their activities, the challenges of being a woman and raising a family out there, and their eventual move into Eagle, Alaska and then to Fairbanks. Steve got a job with the National Park Service, which was a source of resentment among some of the people of Eagle, and Lynette talks about some of the hostility expressed towards her and her family. This is not to say that Lynette's loyalties must be considered as if she was a National Park Service employee. She is clearly a woman with her own views. Though Dan O'Neill had never met Steve and Lynette before the project started, they became friends during the course of it, and this may have introduced a complication in the interview process. While Dan O'Neill was very interested in "the woman's perspective" on the bush lifestyle, he felt awkward pressing too hard for details on such marital issues as the division of labor.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-51

Project: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Date of Interview: Nov 4, 1991
Narrator(s): Lynette Roberts
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Personal background and coming to Alaska in 1974

2) Deciding to go to Eagle, and finding out how to "get on the river"

3) How they thought of themselves.

4) Moving out into the country and building a cabin

5) The impetus to go "back-to-the-earth," and the influence of the "frontier mythos"

6) The philosophy that guided the level of technology they brought to the woods

7)  Rebelling from the male-determined structures during the first winter

8) Using old versus new technology, and the philosophy of the "river people"

9) Their diet that first winter

10) .How everyone built their own chair if they wanted to sit down, and women's roles along the river

11) Times when the fishing season work fell on Lynette in Steve's absence, and working and raising two children on the river

12) Having children and raising them

13) Advantages of the bush lifestyle to the family and children

14) Correspondence and regular schooling

15) Disaffection with the Eagle school, and the move to Fairbanks

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Section 1: The Dalles, Oregon\ homesteading - Roberts family\ Roberts, Lynette\ Micronesia - missionaries\ Ulvi, Steve\ Corvallis, Oregon\ Ulvi, Dana\ "back-to-the-land"\ Alaska Highway - story\ Gaudio, John\ Alaska - gear for\ Aruda, Dave\ McKay's Hardware|

Section 2: Waller, Sarge\ Snow, Brad\ Allen, Lily\ Evans, Dave\ Patton, Sage\ Nation River\ Kandik River\ Eagle - attitudes\ Ulvi, Steve\ Ulvi, Dana\ hippies\ Gaudio, John\ Aruda, Dave\ Roberts, Lynette|

Section 3: Roberts, Lynette\ traveling - gender issues\ Ulvi, Steve\ Ulvi, Dana\ river people - spiritualism\ relationships - family\ bush living - skills\ wilderness - appeal\ parents - encouragement|

Section 4: Eagle Village - attitudes\ Aruda, Dave\ Gaudio, John\ Ulvi, Dana\ Paul, Tony\ Beck, Max\ land status - Bureau of Land Management\ Bureau of Land Management - trespass\ cabins - Paul, Tony\ cabin construction - hand tools\ Roberts, Lynette\ cabin construction - logs\ cabin door - wooden hinges\ summer travel - canoe\ canoes\ bush living - skills\ rocks - story|

Section 5: Ulvi family\ Buddhism - nature ethic\ Ulvi, Steve\ river people - rationale|

Section 6: bush living - level of technology\ river people - purism\ outboard motors\ chainsaws\ guns\ wringer washer\ Swede saw versus buck saw\ level of technology\ disposables\ menstruation - pads\ toilet paper\ candles\ kerosene lamps|

Section 7: Roberts, Lynette\ river people - isolation\ winter travel - difficulties\ skiing\ snowshoeing\ toboggans - pulling\ river people - economics\ airplanes - mail\ bush living - mail\ mail\ Young's Restaurant - Tok\ Beck, Max|

Section 8: river people - philosophy\ simplicity - minimum level of outside supplies\ Proenneke, Dick - One Man's Wilderness\ philosophy - minimal impact|

Section 9: river people - diet\ bush living - cooking\ oatmeal\ pancakes\ rice\ pinto beans\ vegetables - canned\ fruit - canned\ rabbits\ salmon\ cooking - skills\ fishing - nets\ snaring - rabbits\ rabbit cycle\ teas - herbal|

Section 10: Roberts, Lynette\ river people - attitudes\ Ulvi, Lena\ Ulvi, Steve\ river people - division of labor\ cooking\ laundry\ trapping\ gender versus character issues\ wood getting\ water-hauling\ division of labor - necessities\ Patton, Sage\ Evans, Dave\ river people - dogs\ outboard motors\ fishing - subsistence\ fish processing\ gardening\ dog food\ dogs - care\ child care\ dishes\ division of labor - economics\ chauvinism|

Section 11: fish processing - labor\ river people - economics\ river people - division of labor\ Ulvi, Steve\ Roberts, Lynette\ children - backpacks\ children - incorporation in lifestyle\ subsistence lifestyle - children\ river people - children\ bear - story\ skinning\ cabin fire - story|

Section 12: Roberts, Lynette\ Ulvi, Steve\ child bearing\ home birth versus hospital\ freeze-up - story\ canoe travel - freeze-up\ doctor - story\ breast-feeding\ infancy - challenges\ mothers - need for "support system"\ bush living - isolation\ Ulvi, Eli -home birth\ Bear Creek - trapping\ Eli born - Dalles, Oregon\ Roberts' family homestead\ home birth - "festive"|

Section 13: bush living - children\ values - focused by child rearing\ bush living - schooling\ lifestyle - family closeness\ peer groups\ children's activities - story about\ winter activities - children\ Ulvi, Lena|

Section 14: Ulvi, Steve\ University of Alaska Fairbanks\ children - education\ Eagle school\ school - correspondence\ bush living - correspondence school\ "Little Alaskans" - pre-kindergarten correspondence\ Kallen-Brown, Karen\ Ulvi, Eli|

Section 15: Eagle - attitudes\ Eagle school - "fundamentalism"\ Eagle school - sex education\ Roberts, Lynette\ pledge of allegiance - controversy\ education - Eagle\ social environment|