Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Levelock, Alaska


The Levelock portion of the Katmai Project Jukebox contains interviews with John and Mary Tallekpalek, Alex Tallekpalek, Evan Chukwak, Ella May Charley, and George Setuk. The interviews were done by William 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 Igiugig, South Naknek, 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. In addition, some of the interviews describe changes in weather and animal populations over the narrator's lifetime. Several important management issues are discussed. These include Native concepts of conservation, and relationships with the sport lodges.

In addition to the life story interviews, there is a brief slideshow which provides a visual overview of the community and the people interviewed.

Don Callaway and Bill Schneider introduced the project idea in 1996 and came back to do the interviews in May of 1998. The transcripts and computer programming were done during the fall of 1998 and the winter/spring of 1999.

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