Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

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home.gifThe Lake Clark National Park Jukebox Project consists of fourteen photo albums representing different, but overlapping historic themes: subsistence, early education, reindeer herding, park establishment, early industry, population transitions, exploration-guiding-sport hunting, landscape changes, old villages, people, trails, transportation, and Dena'ina tools-education. This body of material offers perspective on Native life in the Lake Clark area prior to outside influence and on the transitions that occurred when outsiders moved in. For example: how children were instructed before schools came into the villages; what the Lake Clark National Park land was used for prior to the establishment of the park; the preservation of resources; transportation before airplanes, boats, and motors; and traditional values. The Dena'ina tools-education slideshow provides a very short version of Native education and craftsmanship. This broadens our understanding of the region's history.

John Branson, a historian for Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Port Alsworth, Alaska, collected the historic photographs (many of which are now included in the National Park Service collection), conducted oral history interviews about them with a variety of Native and National Park Service affiliated people, and provided the theme titles for each photo album/slideshow. For more about these photos, see Bristol Bay, Alaska, From The Hinterlands To Tidewater: A Grassroots Pictorial 1885 - 1965 by John B. Branson (National Park Service, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, 1999). Karen Evanoff Stickman of Nondalton, Alaska, collected additional photographs, and conducted oral history interviews with Nondalton elders about their perspectives on the photo albums' historic themes. She also worked at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Office to create the Jukebox program and add photographic and audio material. The Lake Clark National Park Project Jukebox was funded by the National Park Service. Karen Brewster, Jarrod Decker, and other staff at the Oral History Office at the University of Alaska Fairbanks worked with Karen Evanoff Stickman in 1998 and 1999 to design and implement the project. In 2019, the Lake Clark National Park Project Jukebox was upgraded from its original HTML format to Drupal. The information in this project reflects the context of the original creation date. Some information may now be out of date.


Nicholia Balluta Nicholia Balluta

Nicholia (Harry) Balluta was a Dena'ina Athabascan elder born in 1922 in Nondalton, Alaska. He was the traditional chief of Nondalton for many years, taught bilingual classes at the school, and helped with the Dena'ina dance group. He was always eager to share his knowledge of Dena'ina traditions, values, language, and songs.

Agnes Cusma Agnes Cusma

Agnes Cusma was a Dena'ina Athabascan elder who was born in 1921 in old Nondalton (old village) to Catherine and Gabriel Trefon, and lived the rest of her life in Nondalton, Alaska. She grew up living a subsistence lifestyle, where as a girl she trapped mountain squirrels and went camping for Fall fish. Agnes went to school only up to the 5th grade. She remembered that they first started school in Nondalton in 1930, and how the teachers were very strict about them not speaking the Dena'ina... Read More

Nels Hedlund Nels Hedlund

Nels Hedlund was a Yup'ik elder originally from the Bethel region of Alaska who grew up living a subsistence lifestyle and made his living off the land by trapping, hunting, and fishing. When he married Rose Hedlund, a Dena'ina Athabascan, he moved to the Iliamna region and they lived in Chekok, Pedro Bay, and Iliamna. Together, they raised a family by continuing to rely up their Native traditions. As a trapper, Nels had a detailed knowledge of the land and travel routes, and was an expert... Read More

Rose Hedlund Rose Hedlund

Rose Hedlund was a Dena'ina Athabascan elder born in Chekok, Alaska in 1917 to Eleana Balluta and Jack Kinney. She grew up living a subsistence lifestyle based upon hunting, fishing and trapping, and at age thirteen drove an eleven dog team, trained her own leaders, and designed her own harnesses. She married Nels Hedlund and together they raised a family based on their Native traditions and living off the land, and lived in Chekok, Pedro Bay, and Iliamna. Given her long history of trapping... Read More

Mary Hobson Mary Hobson

Mary "Cheda" Hobson was a Dena'ina Athabascan elder from Nondalton, Alaska. She was born in 1916 in Lime Village, Alaska to Agofia and Gilly Evanoff, and had three brothers and four sisters. In 1936, when she was 21 years old, Mary married Steve Hobson and moved to Nondalton. They had 10 children. In addition to being the matriach of a large family of children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren, she was a devoted member of the Russian Orthodox... Read More

Albert Wassillie Sr. Albert Wassillie Sr.

Albert Wassillie Sr. was a Dena'ina Athabascan elder who was born and raised in Nondalton, Alaska. He grew up living a subsistence lifestyle and spent his life traveling the country around Nondalton, living off the land, camping, fishing, and trapping. He was an expert hunter and trapping, and was eager to share his knowldege of Dena'ina traditions and culture. He was fluent in his Dena'ina language and learned the Dena’ina practical orthography (writing system) and wrote down many... Read More

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