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Richard Frank, Interview 1
Richard Frank

Richard Frank was interviewed on October 2, 1991 by William Schneider and Bernice Joseph in the recording studio at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In this interview, Richard talks about his involvement with Alaska Native land claims issues starting in the early 1960s with Minto suing the federal government over leasing of their land for oil and gas development, the establishment of Tanana Chiefs Conference with their first meeting in Tanana (Nuchalawoyya) in 1962, and passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971. He traces the history of Native land claims back to the 1915 meeting the chiefs of Interior Alaska had with Judge James Wickersham, and he talks about some of the old chiefs and the people who influenced him. Richard also provides details on the revival of the Tanana Chiefs Conference and the land claims leaders of the 1960s. He also discusses the formation of the Fairbanks Native Association (FNA) and its role in the land claims movement and ANCSA period.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 92-05-03

Project: Fairbanks Native Association
Date of Interview: Oct 2, 1991
Narrator(s): Richard Frank
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Bernice Joseph
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Fairbanks Native Association, National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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


1) Background and personal history

2) Land issues to the 1960's

3) Instrumental Native leaders and concerns about land Issues

4) Specific land issues - Minto

5) Roads to Minto - reaction

6) New Minto - reasons for move

7) Control over development

8) Historic Native leaders

9) Leaders who influenced him on land issues

10) Key events leading to ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act)

11) Revival of Tanana Chiefs meetings in 1960

12) Early attempts at resolving land issues

13) Native leaders in Fairbanks Area

14) ANCSA legacy and Minto Corporation

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: land claims - history/ placenames/ Fairbanks Native Association - history/ Minto/ Rampart/ Athabascan - dialects|

Section 2: Minto - community hall/ land claims - meeting/ Frank, Justin/ Indian Services/ Bureau of Indian Affairs/ Titus, George/ Minto/ maps - land claims/ land claims - recognition/ Washington, D.C./ San Francisco/ Juneau/ Denver/ Chicago|

Section 3: Minto Flats/ hunting - territories/ Nenana/ Outsiders/ Titus, George/ Native leaders/ Land Ethic/ money/ land - stewardship/ Wickersham, James/ Fairbanks Native Association/ Alaska Natives|

Section 4: Minto/ Tanana Valley Sportsman's Assoc./ Minto Flats Road/ Nenana/ fundraising/ Fairbanks - meeting/ Rock, Howard/ Alaska Sportsman's Association/ game - abundance/ Tundra Times/ hunting/ muskrats/ moose/ bear/ caribou/ fur-bearers/ waterfowl/ fish/ berries/ subsistence issues/ unemployment/ land - dependence on/ Outsiders|

Section 5: New Minto/ hearings/ due process/ legislators/ road maintenance/ responsibility - state/ travel and transport - river|

Section 6: erosion/ floods/ townsites/ river - access/ airfields/ road - access/ hunting/ fishing/ Murphy Dome Road/ Chatanika/ permafrost/ Old Minto/ New Minto/ resources - access/ education - young people/ Fish and Game/ Nenana|

Section 7: development/ natural resources - exploration/ hunting/ outsiders/ expansion/ utilities/ health/ hunting season/ moose|

Section 8: Chief Charlie/ Chief Thomas/ Chief Evan/ Wickersham, James/ chiefs/ medicine men/ Chief Andrew Isaac/ Chief Peter John/ Tanana Chiefs/ Chief Alexander/ potlatches/ Frank family/ Tolovana - potlatch/ religious gathering/ sharing ethic/ potlatch - memorial/ Baker Creek - potlatch/ Tanana/ Rampart/ Kantishna/ Koschagat/ Tolovana/ Minto/ Nenana/ Wood River area|

Section 9: Frank, Justin/ Athabascan - dialects/ Minto/ Jimmie, William/ Nenana/ John, Roosevelt/ Kantishna/ Tanana/ Chief Matthew/ Joseph, Elijah/ Starr, John/ Albert/ Solomon, Peter/ land ethic|

Section 10: outsiders/ miners/ population - increase/ development/ mining industry/ oil industry/ Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act/ Frank, Justin/ Paul, William/ Alaska Territory - leaders/ land selections - State of Alaska/ Fairbanks Borough - expansion/ Old Minto/ taxation|

Section 11: Minto/ Nenana/ Demientieff, Al/ Tanana Chiefs - revival/ Fairbanks/ Tanana/ Nuchalowoyya/ land/ education/ health/ employment/ Perdue, Ralph/ Native unity|

Section 12: Native leaders/ language barriers/ law - Territorial/ law - Federal/ reservation status/ regulation|

Section 13: Perdue, Ralph/ Fairbanks Native Association/ Gray, Nick/ Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act/ Fairbanks/ health/ education/ employment/ Rock, Howard/ Fate, Mary Jane/ Carlo, Poldine/ Wright, Jules/ Alaska Federation of Natives|

Section 14: Rampart Dam/ food security/ ANCSA/ land claims/ Minto/ ANCSA -- legacy/ success/ success -- lack of/ village corporation/ regional corporation/ land -- Native ownership/ land -- control of/ Minto Corporation/ non-profit/ investments/ culture camp/ elders/ social programs/ substance abuse treatment/ Fairbanks Native Association/ education/ job training/ employment/ equality/ Perdue, Ralph/ Native culture/ potlatches/ Carlo, Poldine/ Solomon, Hannah/ FNA -- board of directors/ meetings -- attendence at/ leadership/ Bartlett, Senator Bob/ Stevens, Ted/ attorney/ legal assistance/ Minto -- land claims/ blanket claims|