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Nathan Hadley, Sr.
Nathan Hadley, Sr.

Nathan Hadley, Sr., was interviewed on January 26, 2001 by Bill Schneider and Rose Atuk Fosdick at his house in Buckland, Alaska. Nathan was getting ready to head to Kotzebue for dog racing so was a little rushed, but he gave us a large amount of his time. In this interview, Nathan talks about his relationship with reindeer, how he traveled with dogteams, how caribou started coming into the country and effecting the reindeer herds and that he ranked caribou as more of a danger to the herds than wolves or bears.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2000-102-10

Project: Reindeer Herding: The Present and the Past
Date of Interview: Jan 26, 2001
Narrator(s): Nathan Hadley, Sr.
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Rose Atuk Fosdick
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Science Foundation
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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1) Introduction and how his parents got into reindeer herding.

2) How Nathan's parents got into reindeer herding.

3) Dropping out of school and helping his father with the reindeer.

4) Watching the reindeer during the day while his father slept.

5) Father training the reindeer dog and herding reindeer with sled dogs.

6) Snowmachines, their introduction to reindeer herding, and how it changed the herding.

7) Dogs and herding versus snowmachines and herding.

8) Nathan discusses his Army experiences.

9) Army experiences continued and what Nathan did after he was discharged.

10) Some of the changes in the climate and weather.

11) Climate and weather changes continued.

12) Noticing caribou coming into the country.

13) When the caribou started taking the reindeer out.

14) Caribou mating with the reindeer.

15) What can be done to deal with the problems of reindeer mixing with caribou.

16) Environmental conditions that are hard on reindeer.

17) Impact of wolves on the reindeer population.

18) Corralling time and how the community gets involved.

19) Corralling time continued and sled deer.

20) Tracking wolves.

21) When reindeer get away and how you know where they are going.

22) Reindeer herding and keeping the range for the future.

23) Reindeer herders from the past and keeping a good record of them.

24) Reindeer herders from the past 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: corralling\ Napatolik\ Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)\ Downey, Chester\ reindeer -- round-up\ dog team\ reindeer -- acquiring\ fall time\ herd\ chief herder\ loan -- Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)\ Selawik\ BIA -- corral|

Section 2: hired people\ Parrish, James\ Shawn, Ben\ Geary, Isaah\ caribou -- none on ranges\ Hadley, Paul -- father\ Napatolik\ sled deer\ reindeer herding\ winter\ spring\ reindeer -- camping with\ fawns -- watch\ wolves\ dog team\ wolves -- track with dogs\ lost trail\ watching reindeer|

Section 3: school -- starting in November\ school year -- didn't finish\ reindeer camp -- April\ Mt. Edgecumbe\ sled deers -- four of them\ main deer -- drag sleds\ camping -- nine dogs for tent load\ sled deer -- take rest of load\ father -- left Nathan with the dogs and sled reindeer\ sled deer -- big\ father -- brought reindeer across the creek|

Section 4: father -- returned\ dogs\ mother -- stayed home with family\ other kids -- stayed in school\ sister -- watched the reindeer in the daytime\ father -- took care of the reindeer at night\ reindeer dog\ reindeer -- didn't eat during the day\ springtime -- green grass\ reindeer -- allowed to stay in tight bunch\ reindeer -- scared of reindeer dog\ reindeer -- didn't want to lose them|

Section 5: reindeer dog -- went after runaway bunch\ main herd\ shortcut\ trail -- follow\ trail -- smell\ won't get lost\ reindeer -- round-up in the falltime\ camping equipment\ good leader -- drive team\ reindeer meat -- dog eats\ father's dog -- have to use brakes all day|

Section 6: 1964 -- snowmachines introduced to Alaska\ snowmachine -- acquired one\ dogs -- no longer used in reindeer herding\ snowmachine -- made life easier\ breakdown -- have to walk home\ snow\ dogs -- depended on for everything\ dogs -- good ones behave|

Section 7: dog team\ reindeer watching with dogs\ snowmachines\ wolves\ gas\ parts\ breaking down\ dog team -- hitch them up and go|

Section 8: physical\ Fort Richardson\ Anchorage, Alaska\ father\ wolves\ drafted\ Army\ dog team\ dogs -- thirty\ top shape\ wood -- chop\ hunt for muskrats\ good shooter\ forced march\ life easy\ training -- had at home\ trip -- first one outside village\ personnel\ Fort Ord, California\ Fort Lewis, Washington\ Korea\ Oakland, California|

Section 9: Army\ rifle team\ Master Sergeant\ Staff Sergeant\ Private First Class\ tending reindeer\ meat market\ corral -- working on\ snowmachines\ dogs -- old\ snowmachines -- watch deer and then come home|

Section 10: old days -- cold\ frostbite\ today -- warmer\ generator\ temperature -- below zero\ Buckland\ engine -- base freeze\ west wind\ wind chill\ woodstove\ snowmachine -- cover with canvas\ ice -- thicker on river|

Section 11: Elephant Point\ mukluks -- use for mitts\ frostbite -- on face\ ice thickness\ hole -- take a couple of hours to make\ early breakups\ mild winters\ stove oil|

Section 12: Geary, Jimmy -- friend\ Hadley, Paul -- father\ Thomas, Marvin\ main herd\ camp\ father\ reindeer -- big\ father -- butchered caribou\ 1954\ fall -- roundup\ bull -- one or two every year\ bunches started to come\ Northwest Arctic caribou\ springtime\ goose\ Arctic\ bulls -- leaders of caribou pack|

Section 13: NANA -- merged deer in 1976 to 1986\ caribou -- come in the falltime\ heading south\ October\ reindeer -- roundup\ caribou -- let pass\ big herds -- wave after wave\ heading south to north\ prediction -- where they will come through\ reindeer -- keep away from caribou\ game warden\ reindeer -- probably won't come back\ reindeer herders\ Karmun\ helicopters\ snowmachines\ reindeer and caribou -- know the difference\ Henry, Merlin\ Stalker, Johnson|

Section 14: tougher\ endurance\ half tame\ half wild\ reindeer\ bull\ caribou\ summer\ mate\ reindeer -- half breeds\ full blooded reindeer -- easier to take care of\ reindeer -- mate in August\ caribou -- come in October\ caribou -- mate in October\ wilder each year\ blood -- changes|

Section 15: reindeer -- save full blooded ones\ caribou -- can't stop\ crisis\ population crash\ wintertime\ snow -- freeze over\ moss -- access to\ survival\ grazing areas -- most are frozen\ soft spots -- reindeer can dig in it|

Section 16: caribou\ watching reindeer\ wolves\ bears\ caribou -- too many\ wolf pack\ snowmachines\ old days -- no caribou\ fish and wildlife predator control\ Kotzebue\ bounty|

Section 17: wolves\ reindeer\ wolf pack -- killed nineteen reindeer\ snowmachine\ tussocks\ miners\ prospecting\ catching wolves\ creek\ crossing\ reindeer -- roundup\ herd\ mixing -- reindeer and caribou\ difference -- reindeer and caribou|

Section 18: father\ corral -- get ready\ shovel -- hire people\ castrating\ ear marking\ food -- located in mess hall for people to eat\ beach\ airplane -- charter\ Olson\ Nome\ corral hands\ pay -- cash\ old days -- pay in meat\ caribou -- not around\ maqtaq\ fish food\ butchering\ pay in meat per day|

Section 19: butchering reindeer\ meat\ butchering -- right off the corral\ meat -- stink\ stress\ reindeer -- contented\ meat -- good\ caribou -- fat\ Nome\ reindeer -- mixed with caribou\ sled deer\ sled deers -- Tickle, Trigger, Silver, Shorty\ fawning\ training deer\ father -- handle reindeer like pets\ father -- helped him|

Section 20: wolves\ reindeer -- scattered\ reindeer tracks\ kill -- lots of reindeer\ tracking wolves\ wolves -- kill reindeer to teach their young\ wolves -- shooting them\ gathering herd\ fresh snow -- need some to catch wolves\ leave trail\ old tracks|

Section 21: trail -- follow\ tracks -- lots of\ running -- long scratches\ old tracks -- act normal\ reindeer -- track down\ reindeer -- some have names\ missing -- go look for them|

Section 22: range -- keep\ corral\ children -- want to get reindeer\ caribou -- crash\ Kotzebue\ boys -- trained to do reindeer herding\ father -- passed away\ father -- hunted and herded reindeer with\ Buckland|

Section 23: Bureau of Indian Affairs -- owned government reindeer\ Napatolik\ Selawik\ Downey, Chester\ Sevik -- Eskimo name\ Gray, Lawrence\ Hadley, Paul -- father\ Buckland\ Clark, Charley -- Candle and Deering\ Karmun, Edward -- got loan\ Karmun, Alfred -- took over his brother's reindeer\ Goodhope Sr., Fred -- Shishmaref\ Sheldon, William -- Selawik\ Commack, Louie -- Noorvik\ Wilson, York\ Kotzebue\ Stalker, Johnson -- Noatak\ Aukongak, Sigfried|

Section 24: Sagoonick, Palmer -- Shaktoolik\ Henry, Merlin -- Koyuk\ Sheldon, ?\ Doug? -- Candle\ Larsen, Pete -- Nome\ reindeer -- get from Nome\ Deering\ caribou\ game wardens\ respect|