Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

Sidney Huntington

Sidney Huntington

Sidney Huntington was born in 1915 along the Koyukuk River in Hughes, Alaska. His mother, Anna, was a Koyukon Athabascan woman of the caribou clan and his father was a Gold Rush stampeder, trapper, and trader who came to the Koyukuk area in the early 1900's. They lived at Hogatzakaket, where the Hog River meets the Koyukuk River, about 90 miles downstream from Hughes. Following his mother's death when he was five, Sidney, his brother and three sisters were sent to the Anvik Mission. Later, he and his brother, Jimmy, attended the Bureau of Indian Affairs school at Eklutna, where he completed the third grade. When he was twelve years old, Sidney returned to help his father on the trapline at Hog River, where he learned many essential subsistence skills. At the age of 16, Sidney was on his own earning a living by trapping and fishing from their camp at Batza Slough. In 1937, when he was 22, Sidney took a job at the gold mine on the Hog River. Later, he married Angela, and moved to Huslia, where he lived mostly by subsistence in combination with cash jobs. In 1963, Sidney moved to Galena to take a steady job as a carpenter for the U.S. Air Force. Then in the 1970's, Sidney got into the fish processing business, which remained his main livelihood for many years until he retired. He served for 17 years on the Alaska State Board of Game, and in 1989 was conferred an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Alaska. He also was a strong advocate for public education in rural Alaska, promoted the importance of a serious work ethic among rural residents, and denounced government assistance programs. Even in his later years, Sidney continued his subsistence lifestyle; he would get out to trap wolves, and every spring, it was usually Sidney who made the first boat trip upriver after the ice went out. Due to his long life and varied experiences, he was continually asked for his observations of and traditional knowledge about fish and wildlife, the rivers, and environmental change. His remarkable life is detailed in his book, Shadows on the Koyukuk (Huntington, Sidney and Jim Rearden, 1993, Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Books). Sidney Huntington passed away in 2015 at the age of 100.

Date of Birth:
May 10, 1915
Date of Death:
Dec 8, 2015
Sidney Huntington appears in the following new Jukebox projects: