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John Honea
John Honea

In this interview, John Honea talks about combining his subsistence lifestyle with earning money as a fur trapper and wood cutter. He talks about what life was like when he was a boy growing up near Ruby, Alaska, including the types of businesses in the village, the presence of reindeer herds, traveling by dogteam, and how people made a living. He also talks about the changes in the fur trade and its economic role and in subsistence fishing, and life at fish camp and on the trapline.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 78-187

Project: Raven's Story
Date of Interview:
Narrator(s): John Honea
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) The place where he grew up and his employment history.

2) The people, the employment opportunities, and types of businesses in the early days of Ruby.

3) The economic importance of the fur trade and dog teams in the past, and how progress has lessened their economic role.

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


Section 1: birthplace\ Ruby\ birthdate\ employment -- history\ job -- mining camp\ marriage\ fishing\ trapping\ wife\ Novi River\ job -- army\ oil -- hauling\ parents\ future -- death\ adoption -- half-sister\ Honea, Bill -- adopted father\ army\ childhood -- independence\ wood -- cutting\ wood -- selling\ reindeer herding\ herd -- location\ Kokrines\ reindeer -- herd\ reindeer -- number of\ Johnson, Jim\ boats -- type of\ boats -- row boats\ boats -- canoes\ dog teams\ fishing -- Whiskey Creek\ Derrick, Ben -- mail contractor\ job -- wages\ dogs -- care of\ Alaska Roads Commission -- dog team\ dogs -- number of\ fish camp -- summer\ Ruby\ boarding -- dogs\ Ruby -- population of\ Long Creek\ elders -- drowning accident\ drowning -- story of\ shelter -- type of\ tents\ Natives -- population\ population -- size\ sawmill\ shelter -- building of\ shelter -- type of\ materials -- type of\ materials -- transportation of\ insulation -- lack of\ lumber -- type of\ trees -- use of\\ boats -- building of\ sawdust -- insulation|

Section 2: Ruby -- businesses\ tin shop\ grocery store\ hardware store\ stove\ products -- types of\ carpenters\ welders\ traffic -- river based\ boats -- type of\ river boats\ stern wheelers\ boat fuel -- wood\ wood -- cutting\ boat -- steamships\ wood -- sale of\ wood -- price of\ job -- mining camp\ wood cutting -- mining camp\ cords -- quantity of\ saw -- manual\ chain saw -- lack of\ saws -- type of\ saw -- swede\ saw -- cross-cut\ teamwork\ wood cutting -- skills\ trapping -- background\ experience\ elders -- learning from\ trapping -- knowledge of|

Section 3: fur -- prices of\ fur -- types of\ red fox\ silver fox\ fur -- profitable\ trapping -- changes in\ war-time -- effects of\ fur --beaver\ fur -- sale of\ transportation -- dog teams\ trap-line -- access to\ snowmachines -- opinion of\ dog team -- trapping\ dog team -- caring for\ marriage -- date\ marriage -- length of\ daughter\ Big Eddy\ residence -- length of\ wife\ fish camp -- summer \ fishing -- commercial\ mail delivery -- dog teams\ fish -- drying of\ fish -- income\ dry fish -- dog food\ airplane --effect of\ fish\ sales -- decline of\ fish -- subsistence\ fish wheel\ fish -- sale of\ regulations -- effects of\ daughter -- dog racing\ dogs -- training\ trapping -- winter\ snowmachine\ machine\ hunting|