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Roger Menadelook
Roger Menadelook

Roger Menadelook was interviewed on March 24, 2003 by Bill Schneider, Knut Kielland, and Kumi Rattenbury at Roger's house in Teller, Alaska. Roger previously had identified some photographs from his father's and grandfather's time as reindeer herders. In this interview, Roger talks about snow depth and snowmachine travel, use of radio collars, and his family's heritage in reindeer herding.

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


1) Introduction and Roger's family's history on reindeer herding.

2) How Roger got into reindeer herding.

3) Roger's range and how it compares to other herding ranges and pushing reindeer with helicopters.

4) How weather impacts the access to the reindeer herds.

5) Snow conditions.

6) Having enough snow to travel by snowmachine.

7) Radio collars, how it influenced herding, and using computer technology.

8) Marketing of reindeer meat and antlers.

9) Maintaining a reindeer herd without the presence of caribou and Roger's opinion on the caribou.

10) The possibility of keeping reindeer if Roger had been warned of the arrival of the caribou and using a border collie to help with reindeer herding.

11) NANA Regional Corporation and why they got into reindeer herding and Roger's involvement with NANA.

12) Safe areas for reindeer on Roger's land/range.

13) Changes in management over time.

14) The reindeer crisis and the hopes for the future of reindeer.

15) Herding reindeer with caribou.

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: grandparents\ reindeer handling\ father\ bookkeeper\ Sinruk Mary\ Mary's Igloo\ Shishmaref\ Barrow\ Menadelook, Charles -- grandfather\ grandchildren\ reindeer herding -- starting\ Diomede\ reindeer -- got from Sinruk Mary\ reindeer -- disappeared in Roger's father's time|

Section 2: Kakaruk, Wilfred -- use to have a herd\ NANA Regional Corporation -- involved with Kakaruk\ Teller\ butcher\ NANA Regional Corporation -- took over Kakaruk herd\ hauling gas -- Nome to Tissue\ Kakaruk, Wilfred\ loan -- 500 reindeer\ reindeer herder -- had to have land\ herd -- not marked\ driving reindeer\ corral -- didn't have one\ snowmachines\ reindeer -- walked and stayed with\ reindeer -- tame and easy to handle\ fawning\ Mary's Mountain|

Section 3: 
land -- very rich\ food -- plentiful\ reindeer -- fat\ moss -- very rich\ caribou\ access -- hard to control if not walking\ caribou\ reindeer -- close\ caribou -- presence\ reindeer -- couldn't control\ 2-wheel drive\ Polaris\ snowmachines\ helicopter -- very expensive\ helicopter -- ruined the way the herders pushed reindeer\ reindeer -- fast\ reindeer -- wild\ snowmachine -- sound makes reindeer run|

Section 4: camp\ 4-wheelers -- didn't use for pushing reindeer\ land -- rocky and tough\ caribou\ helicopter -- hire\ caribou -- push reindeer up to mountains\ snowmachines\ good snow -- powdery and not too deep\ trails -- reindeer know well\ Bendeleben Mountain\ camp\ reindeer -- ate food around camp\ reindeer -- wander|

Section 5: snow -- icy\ years -- different amounts of snow\ snow -- blows away\ hard snow\ good snow -- powdery\ snow depth -- very important\ wintertime\ snowmachines -- hard to start\ reindeer -- close to camp\ stormy weather\ reindeer -- push close to camp when stormy\ springtime\ fawns|

Section 6: strays -- roundup\ tussocks\ terrain -- rough\ rocky\ walking with the reindeer\ Jack, Simon\ snowmachines -- use when they became available|

Section 7: reindeer -- locate quick\ radio collars -- useful and handy\ spotted reindeer -- albino\ spotted reindeer -- losing them\ useful for herding\ springtime\ helicopter -- locates reindeer\ beeper\ time and energy -- save\ helicopter -- ride with them\ computer|

Section 8: antlers -- price declined\ market -- low\ helicopter -- couldn't use\ money -- lack of\ helicopter time -- very expensive\ crews -- paid properly\ meat market\ Diomede\ Nome -- reindeer plant\ butcher -- steers|

Section 9: conditions -- improve without caribou presence\ range -- still suitable for reindeer\ caribou -- always on the move\ reindeer -- don't move very much\ US Fish and Game\ caribou -- monitor\ Olson, Donny -- airplane\ caribou -- on range\ reindeer -- on Bendeleben Mountain\ reindeer -- easy to get\ radio collars\ reindeer -- didn't pay attention to them\ caribou -- came in so fast|

Section 10: 
reindeer herding\ dog -- border collie\ reindeer -- tamed\ NANA Regional Corporation\ brother-in-law\ Kotzebue\ dog -- trained\ reindeer herding -- Roger and his dog did it all|

Section 11: 
antlers\ hauling fuel\ Nome\ Kakaruk -- losing their reindeer\ roundup\ herd -- huge in the old days\ Kakaruk, Johnny\ NANA -- wanted to save Kakaruk herd\ misunderstanding\ Kakaruk, Kathy|

Section 12: 
Mary's Mountain -- safe area\ river\ food\ reindeer -- keep cool\ reindeer -- use to area\ reindeer -- come back to where they were born\ caribou -- presence\ predators\ herd -- lots shot by hunters|

Section 13: changes -- not many\ caribou -- presence\ herding reindeer\ helicopter\ snowmachines\ 4-wheeler\ reindeer -- wild and faster\ fawns -- earmarking\ Reindeer Herding Association|

Section 14: 
herd -- start again\ Bureau of Indian Affairs\ children -- not interested\ hunting\ computer\ work outside\ grandfather -- said caribou would return|

Section 15: Teller\ Kakaruk herd\ terrain\ caribou\ safe area\ Bureau of Indian Affairs\ range -- use as a holding area\ Seward Peninsula\ food -- plenty\ control\ Nome-Teller highway\ 4-wheeler\ snowmachine\ training|