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In 1991 and 1992, when the original oral history interviews were done for the Gates of the Arctic National Park Project Jukebox, Carol Scott was working for the National Park Service and participated in some of the interviews, like with Jack Reakoff in Wiseman, Alaska.
|Interview Title||Archive #: Oral History||Project||Abstract|
|Jack Reakoff, Interview 1||93-15-44||Gates of the Arctic National Park||
Jack Reakoff was interviewed by Bill Schneider, Dave Krupa and Carol Scott on October 14, 1992 in Wiseman, Alaska at an historic cabin that had been occupied by old-timer Charlie Breck prior to his death in 1991. Today the cabin is owned by Jack's parents Rick and June. Accompanying Jack were his children Jesse and Michelle, who were eager to hear their father discuss the history of their home. Jack is an important personality in Wiseman. In recent years prior to this interview, an entire generation of Wiseman old-timers had passed away, leaving Jack, at 35, the oldest of Wiseman's longtime residents. Jack's parents moved to Wiseman in 1971, and Jack has been living there on and off since. He has a great deal of respect and concern for local history, and he spent a lot of time listening to the old ones and in some cases following their example. He is perhaps the most active, and certainly most experienced, local resident involved in a mixed subsistence life, which includes hunting, trapping, gardening, and commercial fishing. At the time of the interview, Jack was busily engaged in the fall hunt, a hunt that had thus far yielded no meat. His wife Roma put in extra effort to take care of chores at home so that Jack could go out with one or two of his children twice daily in an extended search for moose. During the interview, Jack speaks eloquently about the importance of subsistence to the people of Wiseman, and shares his many carefully reasoned perspectives on game laws, federal and state agencies, and the bewildering issues surrounding land and resource management. This interview offers both a highly personal perspective on a unique and compelling life based out on the land, and a detailed discussion of the actual effects of management policies on rural residents of the Brooks Range. Jack's perspectives include a number of surprising conclusions and important challenges to common understanding of sensitive subsistence issues.
As a Person Present at Interview
|Interview Title||Archive #: Oral History||Project||Abstract||People Present|
|Joe Henderson||93-15-18||Gates of the Arctic National Park||
Joe Henderson was interviewed on September 14, 1992 by Bill Schneider and David Krupa in Wiseman, Alaska at the general store that he and his wife, Sherry, recently restored and reopened. Sherry and Joe's young son, Eric, and Carol Scott also were present at the interview. Earlier in the day, Joe repaired the household water pump and shared fresh moose, a gift from a neighbor's successful hunt. The cabin radiated the warmth and coziness of a home nicely provisioned for the long Wiseman winter to come. Joe's quiet, soft-spoken manner contrasts with the strength of his convictions and views regarding development, the land "lock-up" of the National Park Service, and the seeming shortsightedness of policies that discourage the kind of tourism/guiding activities that he offers and feels could allow more people access to the park area. He is very articulate in describing the unintended effects of well-meaning policies aimed at preservation that are conceived in Washington and have little relevance to the Alaskan context. Joe also talks about his skills as a dog musher and trainer, and about his involvement with the filming of the feature film "White Fang," which made use of a number of Joe's dogs. He recalls the lessons he learned while in the midst of some of the best animal handlers in the world. Joe stresses the importance of positive feedback in training, and suggests that if a dog is making mistakes in harness, it is usually the fault of the trainer....a humble conclusion.