Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Igiugig, Alaska


The Igiugig portion of the Katmai Project Jukebox program contains interviews with Anne and George Wilson, Mike and Dallia Andrew, and Mary Olympic. The interviews were done by Bill Schneider, a University of Alaska researcher under contract from the National Park Service, and Don Callaway, a National Park Service researcher. The plan was to have people tell their life stories and provide personal perspectives on their lifetimes of hunting, fishing, and trapping in and around Katmai National Park.

The interviews provide glimpses of peoples' lives and the changes they have experienced. Each person was asked to discuss yearly cycles of activities for different times in their lives. Several themes should be noted here. The individuals interviewed have ties to people in other Bristol Bay villages, particularly Levelock and Kokhanok and they travel to these places often to visit and do subsistence activities. The Bristol Bay fishery has provided summer employment opportunities for at least two generations of men, and for women summer subsistence fishing on the Kvichak River is a large part of their yearly cycle. The Alakanak or Branch River is often discussed as a destination for seasonal hunting and fishing. Mary Olympic and her sister Dallia Andrew grew up at Kukaklek Lake where their father was a reindeer herder. They speak about their ties to that area in the map portion of the program.

Some of the interviews describe changes in weather and animal populations over the narrator's lifetime. Several important management issues are discussed by the elders. These include Native concepts of conservation, conflicts with the sport lodges, and overland access to parklands by wheeled vehicles. Each person provides their own perspective on these issues.

In addition to the life story interviews, there is a tour of Anne and George Wilson's yard, narrated by George. The purpose of this slide/tape format is to provide a view of some of the equipment a well-respected community member has used over the years. Some of it goes back to the sailing days, such as wooden rudders and water jugs, while other items like snowmachines and four-wheelers depict the evolution of motorized transportation and winter overland travel, and illustrate some of the points George makes in his interviews.

The program also includes a narrated slide/tape presentation by Mary Olympic of historic photographs that hang in the school. These include subsistence activities, commercial fishing, and the church.

The Igiugig project began in December 1994 when community members viewed other Jukebox projects and suggested elders in Igiugig to be interviewed for this project. Don Callaway and Bill Schneider returned in March of 1995 to do the interviews. The transcripts and computer programming were done during the summer and fall of 1995.

Place Theme: