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Ted Katcheak
Ted Katcheak

Ted Katcheak was interviewed on March 20, 2002 by Bill Schneider at the Reindeer Herder's House in Nome, Alaska. Ted is from Stebbins, Alaska and in this interview he talks about learning about reindeer herding from his parents, getting an education, and the decline in reindeer populations from wolves, the infiltration of caribou and climate change. Ted also talks about the responsibilities of herding and setting up camps, how the community comes together to manage the combination of Ted's herd, the Stebbins herd, and the St. Michael herd, the future of reindeer herding, and the economics of marketing reindeer horns.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2000-102-20

Project: Reindeer Herding: The Present and the Past
Date of Interview: Mar 20, 2002
Narrator(s): Ted Katcheak
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Science Foundation
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

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


1) Introduction and Ted's family's background in reindeer herding.

2) Ted's father's parents and reindeer herding.

3) Ted taking over the herd for his dad, getting an education, and learning reindeer herding.

4) Decline in reindeer in the 1940s and the impact on the Stebbins herd.

5) The danger created by wolves and when caribou became a problem.

6) Safe area for reindeer.

7) Climate change and how it affects reindeer.

8) The community of Stebbins and its involvement in reindeer herding.

9) How Ted fits in family responsibilities with reindeer herding.

10) The future of reindeer herding.

11) Why Ted's herd has been easier to manage than other reindeer herders.

12) What young people should know about camp.

13) Setting up camps and watching the herd.

14) Herding reindeer economically and marketing the reindeer horns.

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: dad -- Katcheak, Benny\ Nome\ Elder Care Center\ check reindeer -- with dad\ reindeer herd\ tussocks\ older -- more experience\ reindeer herding -- spent with dad\ Stebbins herd -- managed\ community herd\ mother -- Katcheak, Minnie\ camp\ brothers -- two\ sisters -- two\ herd -- small\ Davis, Larry\ Kokaruks\ family\ mother and her sister -- camp\ Koyuk\ old corrals\ fence wires\ reindeer herding -- aunt and dad taught him\ Stebbins herd -- 100 heads\ Shaktoolik\ Bureau of Indian Affairs -- loan\ reindeer -- different markings\ Unalakleet\ reindeer-- moved along the coast\ reindeer herd -- drove walking with snowshoes\ trip -- tough|

Section 2: camp\ mud sod homes\ mother and dad -- always lived in camp\ Stebbins\ dad -- primary herder\ herd reindeer -- 20-30 men\ Stebbins herd\ U.S. government\ Lomen Brothers\ aluminum ear tags\ mother\ old corral\ catholic church\ St. Mary\ Mountain Village\ Hooper Bay\ Holy Cross\ Unalakleet\ Shaktoolik\ dad -- earned shares in herd\ dad -- out in the tundra with the reindeer|

Section 3: reindeer herding -- volunteered\ education\ Lathrop High School\ anthropology\ reindeer\ handlings\ 1974 -- started reindeer herding\ Native Corporation\ herd -- managing\ started own herd\ Bureau of Indian Affairs\ Stebbins herd|

Section 4: reindeer -- starving\ herd -- declining\ island -- over-grazed\ no feed\ minding the herd\ herd -- building up\ Shaktoolik\ Stebbins\ reindeer -- spending time with\ winter -- snowmachine\ summer -- reindeer out in tundra|

Section 5: wolves\ herd\ January\ caribou -- migrating south\ wolves -- follow caribou herd\ Stebbins\ November -- caribou start migrating\ caribou -- east of Stebbins\ St. Michael\ Western Arctic Caribou Herd\ March -- migration of caribou ends\ caribou -- problem|

Section 6: Stebbins\ St. Michael\ herd\ caribou -- easier to hunt\ herd -- moving among\ reindeer -- feeding\ caribou|

Section 7: areas\ permafrost -- melts\ ground -- collapsed\ hillside -- big holes in it\ water level\ erosion\ glacier -- melting\ winters -- colder\ June -- cold\ climate -- changing\ reindeer\ feeding habit\ drive reindeer -- summer\ winter -- drive with snowmachine\ summer -- reindeer stay near coast|

Section 8: reindeer -- herding\ celebration\ Deering\ Goodhope\ Karmuns\ herds -- don't spend too much time with\ camping\ round-up\ herd -- bring back to camp\ Stebbins|

Section 9: foster boy -- bring to mother\ check reindeer\ daughter -- going to school\ snowmachine -- allows for flexibility\ old days -- walk to herd\ first snowmachine\ impact on herding|

Section 10: daughter -- hope she will take over\ foster boy\ daughter -- experienced\ handlings\ Yup'ik name -- means fawn\ reindeer -- large herd easier to handle\ growth -- faster|

Section 11: not on migrating path of caribou\ predators -- lack of\ bears\ caribou -- not many come into the area\ over-grazing\ mountains\ hills\ upland\ rough country\ four-wheeler\ camp -- near herd|

Section 12: not interested\ stay in town\ television\ spend time at home\ daughter\ handling\ hard work|

Section 13: cabins -- three\ community herd cabin\ Ted -- put time in watching herd\ St. Michael\ Stebbins|

Section 14: small herd -- not profitable\ big herds -- profitable\ reindeer herding -- management\ harvesting the velvet\ velvet marker -- down\ antler supply -- too much\ Australia\ New Zealand\ Japanese\ Korean -- buys reindeer horns\ reindeer horns -- ship frozen\ antler -- sell when buyer is available\ Anchorage|