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Stephen Matthew
Steve Matthew

Reverend Stephen "Steve" Matthew was interviewed on February 12, 1993 by Walter Newman, Sr. and Mary Larson at Steve's home in North Pole, Alaska. Steve's wife, Valerie, was also present during the interview. In this interview, Steve talks about the Alaska Native land claims movement, the early meetings that were held in the interior, the chiefs and politicians who were involved, and the formation of the Fairbanks Native Association and the Tanana Chiefs Conference. He also talks about growing up along the Yukon River, working at the Tanana hospital, the history of Tanana, the delivery of health services and the Community Health Aide Program, traditional potlatches, and changes in modes of transportation. The intervew has been edited: it was recorded on two tapes (92-05-18 and 92-05-19), but only the audio of Tape 1 is included here. Tape 2 (ORAL HISTORY 92-05-19) is available at the Oral History Program, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 92-05-18

Project: Fairbanks Native Association
Date of Interview: Feb 12, 1993
Narrator(s): Stephen Matthew
Interviewer(s): Walter Newman, Sr., Mary Larson
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Fairbanks Native Association, National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Personal background

2) Working at Tanana Hospital

3) Native meetings

4) The old chiefs and the land claims meetings

5) Laying the foundation for land claims during early meetings in Tanana

6) Fort Gibbon/Tanana history

7) Politicians and Native leaders

8) Fairbanks Native Association and Tanana Chiefs Conference

9) Public Health Service and the Community Health Aide Program

10) Use of satellite communication in the Community Health Aide Program for providing patient care between the villages and doctors in Anchorage

11) Potlatches

12) Changes in modes of travel

13) Dog racing, admiration for Horace "Holy" Smoke, and changes in dog breeding and its impact on dog racing

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


Section 1: Yukon River rapids/ Tanana/ Rampart/ Stevens Village/ World War II/ Nenana/ Galena/ lend-lease program/ fuel - transportation/ Fairbanks/ Black, George/ river-boating/ Mount Edgecumbe/ employment - boat pilot/ employment - cook|

Section 2: Tanana/ employment - cook/ employment - dishwasher/ Anchorage|

Section 3: Tanana/ Rampart/ Edwin, Lee/ Stevens Village/ Fort Yukon/ Nuchalawoyya/ Harwood, Jay/ Peters, Hartie/ Tanana Chiefs Conference/ Fairbanks/ Native Community Center/ Chief Matthew/ schools/ Gray, Nick/ Ketzler, Al/ Huntington, Jimmy/ Newman, Turak/ Luke, John/ Frank, Richard|

Section 4: Chief Matthew/ spring gatherings/ Cosjacket/ Kantishna/ Koyukuk/ Beaver/ Stevens/ Rampart/ Manley/ welfare/ Tanana School|

Section 5: meetings/ University of Alaska/ chiefs - meeting/ elders/ Native language/ Alaska Natives - role of/ Alaska Natives - power of/ power structure/ Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement/ land claims/ Tanana/ Ketzler, Al/ Starr, Alfred/ Newman, Turak/ Grant, Al/ Frank, Richard/ Alaska Natives - preparation of/ Ketzler, Al - father-in-law/ Purvis, Charlie/ Tanana Chiefs Conference/ guests - invited/ Apache/ Indians - in movies|

Section 6: World War I/ Tanana - old days/ Burke, William Sr./ Swenson, John R.- father/ Fort Hamlin/ Tanana mission/ Tozi (Tozitna)/ fishing/ salmon/ dipnetting/ fish traps/ NT Company/ Mission Hill/ Salcha/ Lake Minchumina/ Stevens Village/ Beaver/ Allakaket/ Hughes/ trade - goods/ knives/ food - sugar/ tobacco/ shells|

Section 7: Begich, Nick/ Rivers, Ralph/ Bartlett, E.L./ Stevens, Ted/ Udall, Stewart/ Gray, Nick/ Washington Congressman/ New Mexico congressman/ Wright, Don/ Notti, Emil/ Kito, Sam|

Section 8: Lincoln, Georgianna/ family counseling/ Tanzi, Ruth/ Adams, Al/ National Indian Health Board/ National Indian Board on Alcohol and Drug Abuse/ Lal, Banarsi/ Ivey, Jerry/ Sinacky, Bobby/ Matthew, Val/ nurse - Tanana|

Section 9: Public Health Service/ alcohol treatment program/ Washington DC/ native control - discuss programs/ clinics |

Section 10: Community Health Aide Program/ satellite/ Fort Yukon/ Aleutians/ Tanana Chiefs Health Board/ Alaska Native Health Board/ health services/ Johnson Space Center/ Houston, Texas/ satellite - test/ Public Health Service/ patient care/ doctor/ Alaska Natives - permission/ satellite - demonstration/ confidentiality - importance of/ satellite - scrambling/ transmission - secure/ Anchorage/ village/ travel/ Chalkitsyik/ weather - extremes/ clothing/ Palm Springs - hot temperature|

Section 11: potlatches - old-style/ Tanana/ Kokrines/ potlatches - memorial/ songs/ Chief Matthew/ Doyon - chief/ Denali/ potlatches - preparations/ Henry, Peter/ potlatches - fish and game/ dog team trails/ roadhouses|

Section 12: Eilla, Grandma/ Eilla, Jeannie/ airplane - experiences with large planes/ Pitka, Grandma Jennie/ travel - old days |

Section 13: dog racing/ dog mushing/ dog - breeding/ dog breeding - endurance/ Livengood race/ dog breeding - speed/ dog - harness/ collar - leather/ Stevens Village/ Smoke, Horace "Holy" - dog musher/ harness - webbing/ dog races - Fairbanks/ dog - training/ race - winning/ music/ fiddle/ guitar/ Smoke, Horace - respect for/ Attla, George/ Lombard, Doc/ Wright, Gareth/ dog breeds - development of/ dog food/ dog - nutrition/ dogs - importance of/ John, Walter/ dogs - dependent on/ dogs - quality of/ dogs - training/ dogs - skinny/ Seppala, Leonhard/ Serum Run/ advice - youth/ education - importance of/ technology/ science/ mathematics/ physician/ jobs|