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Sam Demientieff, Interview 1
Sam Demientieff

Sam Demientiefff was interviewed on February 9, 1993 by Walter Newman Sr. in the conference room of the Fairbanks Native Association's office in Fairbanks, Alaska. Mary Larson of the UAF Oral History Program was also present. She ran the recording equipment and interjected occasional comments. The setting was relaxed, as Sam and Walter have known each other for some time, and Walter also was very well-versed on the issues being discussed. The interview was more of a discussion or dialogue than a one-sided response to questions. In this interview, Sam talks about the early days of the Fairbanks Native Association (FNA), its formation during the Native land claims period, and the people involved in the organization's founding. He also talks about his role in FNA, the various programs they run, and key events in FNA's history. In additon to talking about FNA, Sam shares some of his family history, and discusses author James Michener, and George Attla's contribution to dog racing.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 92-05-17

Project: Fairbanks Native Association
Date of Interview: Feb 9, 1993
Narrator(s): Sam Demientieff
Interviewer(s): Walter Newman, Sr.
People Present: Mary Larson
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Fairbanks Native Association, National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Personal background

2) The early days of the Fairbanks Native Association

3) Alaska Native land claims

4) Political people who were sympathetic to Native issues

5) Dena Aka program, employment issues, education programs, and alcohol treatment

6) His role in the Fairbanks Native Association

7) Fairbanks Native Association's administration of services, funding, and membership eligibility

8) Key events in the history of the Fairbanks Native Association

9) Organizing transportation of food and people to potlatches, and the way that dog racing brought people to town

10) James Michener's visit to Alaska during his research for his novel about the state

11) George Attla's contribution to dog racing

12) The Demientieff family's involvement with river boats

13) Fairbanks Native Association history

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Section 1: childhood/ education/ travel and transport - riverboats/ Fairbanks/ Alyeska/ Doyon/ Fairbanks Native Association|

Section 2: potlatches/ Fairbanks Native Association - meetings/ Solomon, Hannah/ Notti, Emil/ Perdue, Ralph/ Gray, Nick/ Kokrine, Effie/ education/ employment - Alaska pipeline/ Fairbanks Native Association - employment department/ potlatches - 30th annual|

Section 3: oil - discovery/ Ketzler, Al/ Wright, Don/ Thompson, Morris/ Notti, Emil/ Carlo, Poldine/ Carlo, Bill/ Richards, Tom, Jr./ Drake, Tom/ Gustafson, Daphne/ Fate, Mary Jane|

Section 4: Notti, Emil/ Wright, Don/ Thompson, Morris/ Sackett, John/ Kito, Sam/ Wallis, Tim/ Perdue, Ralph|

Section 5: Doyon, Ltd. Regional Corporation/ profit/ non-profit/ village councils/ Fairbanks Native Association/ CETA program/ Dena Aka program/ Catalone, Irene/ Renfroe, Robin/ Johnson O'Malley Program/ health - addiction/ Regional Center for Alcohol and Drug Addiction/ alcohol - treatment facilities/ drugs - treatment facilities/ Lal, Banarsi|

Section 6: Fairbanks Native Association - offices/ Bergamaschi, John/ tribal authority/ Fairbanks Native Association - member villages/ village status |

Section 7: Fairbanks Native Association - contracting/ Bureau of Indian Affairs/ funding/ funding - State of Alaska/ Tanana Chiefs Conference/ Doyon Ltd. Regional Corporation/ non-profit status/ Alaska Natives/ Fairbanks North Star Borough/ tribes/ villages/ services/ Fairbanks Native Association - status/ Fairbanks Native Association - bylaws/ Fairbanks Native Association - membership/ services - eligibility/ Native American - Lower 48|

Section 8: dogs - races/ North American Sled Dog Races/ Wright, Gareth/ Smoke, Horace "Holy"/ discrimination - racial/ segregation/ potlatches/ Fate, (Bud) Hugh/ education - Native/ gathering place/ Native needs|

Section 9: Samuelson, Moe/ Samuelson, Ruth/ radio/ newspapers - Fairbanks Daily News - Miner/ Tundra Topics/ communication - with villages about potlatches/ potlatches - Fairbanks Native Association/ travel and transport - airlines/ food - transportation by Interior airlines/ Minook, Ron/ Ostland, Agnes/ dances - Native/ Miss FNA Pageant/ baby contest/ Wright, Gareth/ Aurora Kennels/ Paul, Raymond - "Iron Man"/ Smoke, Horace "Holy"/ Luke, Howard/ Stickman, Fred/ Kokrine, Henry/ Sampson, Wilbur/ Livengood - races|

Section 10: Michener, James/ Carlo, Poldine/ creation story/ Cruikshank, Moses/ Grant, Al/ military - Army Air Corps/ clothing - Army mukluks|

Section 11: Attla, George/ Huslia/ "Spirit of the Wind"/ "Attla"/ dog - handling/ Wright, Gareth/ Wright, Roxie/ Fairbanks Native Association/ Tanana Chiefs Conference/ Doyon Limited/ Institute of Alaska Native Arts/ Native people - gathering/ Kokrine, Marvin/ Taylor, Bill|

Section 12: Bering - voyages/ Peter the Great/ Alaska - Bering's discovery of/ Demientieff, Avram/ Demientieff - family tracing/ Demientieff, Sam - father, Nicholas/ row boat/ Nenana/ Galena/ Demientieff, Sam - raised on river/ Demientieff, Sam - Army/ Holy Cross Mission/ Demientieff, Evan Captain/ McGrath/ Fairbanks/ Demientieff, Ephrem/ age span/ Demientieff, Sam - tour boat/ River Journeys|

Section 13: Fairbanks Native Association - formation/ education issues/ Kleinfeld, Judy/ education - Native students/ Fairbanks Native Association - retirement plan/ wage scale/ Fairbanks Native Association - services/ Fairbanks Native Association - service awards/ Fairbanks Native Association - 130 employees/ World Eskimo Indian Olympics|