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Clifford Weyiouanna
Clifford Weyiouanna

Clifford Weyiouanna was interviewed on April 5, 2002 by Bill Schneider in Anchorage, Alaska when Clifford was in town from his home in Shishmaref to attend a basketball tournament. In this interview, Clifford talks about his family's history of reindeer herding, being a herder himself, the 1930's crash of reindeer, radio collaring reindeer, and the effect of environmental changes on the reindeer and herding. He also talks about the expense and challenges of being a herder and losing reindeer to the infiltration of caribou.


Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2000-102-22

Project: Reindeer Herding: The Present and the Past
Date of Interview: Apr 5, 2002
Narrator(s): Clifford Weyiouanna
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.
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After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Introduction.

2) Family background in the reindeer industry.

3) Working with the reindeer.

4) Community involvement and how it changed.

5) Reindeer herding with airplanes and snowmachines, and dealing with predators.

6) The 1930 reindeer crisis and making a safe area.

7) Signs indicating the movement of caribou into Seward Peninsula.

8) Reindeer herders supplementing their income with other services.

9) Environmental changes.

10) Reindeer herders of the past.

11) Clifford's first snowmachine, difference between dogs and snowmachines, and passing on knowledge to others.

12) Being a reindeer herder and hunter.

13) Changes in the currents.

14) Clifford's closing statement.

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: son\ basketball tournament\ flying -- 17 years\ bush pilot\ Supercub\ reindeer operation|

Section 2: Goodhope family -- wife's family\ herds -- originated in Deering\ Goodhope, Freddie\ Deering\ Goodhope herd -- partnership\ Gimmick, Harold -- partner\ community\ grandfather\ Wales\ Jackson, Sheldon\ education -- reindeer herdering\ Malakiak, Mawilsa\ grandmother -- cook\ chores\ earned reindeer\ Malakiak Herd\ moving with the herd\ sod house -- built on northern portion of Seward Peninsula\ snow conditions\ feed\ herd -- move to where feed was accessible\ caribou -- wiped out reindeer\ born -- 1942\ grandfather -- out of operation\ headquarters\ mom -- two sisters, two brothers\ 1970 -- applied for loan for reindeer herd\ Shishmaref\ loan -- 500 reindeer\ father-in-law -- stayed with herd\ grandfather -- said caribou will come back\ weather\ elders -- pay attention to\ elders -- best weather forecasters\ mother\ grandfather -- hauled reindeer meat to miners\ Taylor\ Anchorage\ aunt -- ? Akupak\ corralling\ sterile females\ University of Alaska\ computers -- helps operations\ reindeer -- enjoy working with\ reindeer meat -- market\ leggings\ mukluks\ elders\ boots -- Sorels\ market\ horn market -- crashed\ medication\ reindeer herders\ helicopter -- expensive\ fawns -- tag|

Section 3: working in the country\ reindeer -- tracking lost ones\ corralling\ community\ meals -- cheap\ reindeer meat\ reindeer stew\ community -- involvement\ meat market -- down\ caribou\ horn market\ reindeer -- not much income|

Section 4: grandfather\ Shishmaref\ village herd\ paid in reindeer\ earmarks -- identify reindeer ownership\ corrals\ Simon, Dr. Jim -- Tanana Chiefs\ old corrals\ Seward Peninsula\ St. Michael\ Stebbins\ St. Lawrence Island\ documentation\ herds -- community owned\ Barrow\ 1930s -- reindeer crash\ caribou -- came in\ starving\ over-grazing\ lichen\ reindeer -- rotate\ summer ranges\ winter ranges\ helicopters\ snowmachines\ transportation -- easier today|

Section 5: airplane\ reindeer -- adapt and move\ snowmachines\ reindeer -- get used to mode of transportation\ grandfather -- had two reindeer dogs\ uncle -- Al\ work reindeer\ dogs -- stop using\ grazing areas\ Seward Peninsula\ caribou\ wolves\ bears\ bears -- come out during fawning\ predators\ ravens\ eagles\ protect private property|

Section 6: Wales\ Tokianna, Katie -- from Wales\ herds -- large\ corral\ caribou\ reindeer population\ lichen -- over-grazed\ University of Alaska\ National Park Service\ competition\ moose\ reindeer\ musk ox\ migration -- arctic hares\ Seward Peninsula\ willows -- dying off\ wolves\ caribou\ summertime -- move into the wind\ weather conditions\ safe area\ winter areas -- can be controlled\ summer -- hard to control\ ranges -- some have road systems\ helicopter -- expensive\ agencies\ lichen -- need to support\ plant life\ Seward Peninsula\ Tin City\ Lost River area\ St. Lawrence Island\ Teller\ caribou -- come in\ Serpentine Hot Springs\ Kougarok Mountain\ Kigluaik -- north of Nome\ caribou -- go anywhere\ Aleutian Chain\ caribou -- go in cycle\ over-graze\ Goodhope Bay|

Section 7: Alaska Department of Fish and Game\ signs\ Deering\ information\ Karmun, Herb\ Goodhope\ Brenilla, Roger\ caribou\ reindeer -- try to hang on to\ stormy\ herd -- some caribou tracks\ Wales\ Sagoonik, Palmer\ Shaktoolik\ reindeer herd -- close to village\ storm over -- reindeer gone\ caribou migrating\ money\ business -- look at expenses|

Section 8: renting buildings\ lease\ sports guiding\ license\ clients -- Lower 48\ hunters -- moose\ income\ wife -- certified sign language interpreter\ people -- some gifted|

Section 9: skin boats\ dog team\ snowmachines\ temperature -- change\ currents -- change in ocean\ hunt -- seal, walrus\ high tides -- higher\ global warning\ warm winters\ freeze-up -- late\ lagoon travel\ weather conditions\ information\ warmer climate\ snow covering\ healthy reindeer\ moose population\ transportation -- snowmachine\ reindeer operation -- depends on weather\ reindeer -- moved around\ satellite collars\ computer -- records deer movements\ data -- updated every ten days\ satellite towers -- accurate|

Section 10: Goodhope, Fred\ butchering\ castrating\ Reindeer Herders Association\ Karmun, Alfred\ Gray, Lawrence -- Selawik\ Kokaruk -- old man\ Francis -- brother of Wilfred\ Clarence ? -- Wales\ old system\ area -- looks good\ safe areas\ caribou\ Goodhope, Fred -- learned from\ Wales\ Bureau of Indian Affairs\ apprenticeship\ Shishmaref\ butchering -- helped\ education -- get experience\ work -- willing to do\ salary -- paid in reindeer meat\ Shirley -- Fred Goodhope's daughter|

Section 11: snowmachine -- have to buy gas\ dog teams\ first few years\ Shirley -- marrying\ grandmother -- pension\ stove oil\ carving\ gas\ children -- 2 boys, 2 girls\ parents -- raised by\ reindeer herder -- subsistence hunter\ grandfather\ Native Name -- nickname\ hunt -- teach\ trap\ food -- getting\ educate -- how to survive off the land\ information -- pass on to younger generation\ reindeer operation\ elders -- pay attention to\ grandfather\ grandmother\ Shishmaref|

Section 12: grandfather\ reindeer -- brought from Norway\ Russia\ Laplanders\ Russian herders\ reindeer herding -- teaching\ castrating\ butchering\ marking\ Goodhope, Fred -- working with\ learning\ John boy -- son\ reindeer -- skinning\ watching old hands\ children -- involved in reindeer business\ oldest daughter -- a cook in Nome\ son -- expert carver\ Shishmaref\ Andrew -- son, works in bank\ Troy -- son, finishing high school\ aviation\ learning to fly|

Section 13: global warming\ yearly -- differs\ ice conditions\ Shishmaref\ Kivalina -- hunt walrus\ water -- rising\ salmon\ temperatures -- warming\ king salmon\ Shishmaref -- climate changes in\ water erosion\ community -- move\ species -- new ones coming in\ crab|

Section 14: Bering Strait School District Board of Education -- 25 years\ President and Chairman of the Board -- currently\ willingness\ make use of your hands and mind\ carving\ Simon, Jim -- doctorate\ MacIntosh, Stacy -- Master of Arts|