Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

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Map of the Alaska Highway"Changing Communities:" Alaska Highway Project Jukebox was created in 2009 by University of Alaska Fairbanks' graduate student Stacey Carkhuff (now Baldridge) as part of her study of the impact of the Alaska Highway on Alaska and the Yukon Territory, Canada since the 1940's. Thirteen interviews were conducted with Native and non-Native men and women who live in various communities along the highway, including Whitehorse and Destruction Bay, Yukon Territory, Canada, and Northway and Tok, Alaska. These people also come from a variety of walks of life -- construction workers, home makers, entrepreneurs, subsistence trappers and hunters -- and their ages ranged from middle age to senior citizen. The interviews provide a snapshot of changes that the Alaska Highway has brought to this otherwise remote part of North America straddling the Alaska-Canada border.

The original Alaska Highway Project Jukebox was completed in 2009 in the Testimony Software format, and upgraded to Drupal in 2024. The information in this project reflects the context of the original creation date. Some information may now be out of date.

People

Oscar Albert Oscar Albert

Oscar Albert was an Upper Tanana River Athabascan Dene Elder from Northway, Alaska. He was born in 1917 to Peter and Elsie Albert when they were living on Moose Creek near Nasbesna, Alaska. He was one of nineteen children and grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle of seasonally traveling the region for hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering. Oscar married Mary Luke and together they had fourteen children. He never went to school but supported his family by trapping and selling... Read More

Ellen Davignon Ellen Davignon

Ellen Davignon was born in 1937 in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada. Her mother was from Denmark and traveled to the Northwest Territories in Canada to marry Ellen's father, who was born in Denmark and raised in Greenland. During World War II, her parents moved down from the Northwest Territories where her father had mined and trapped, and he went to work helping to build the Alaska Highway and airstrips associated with the U.S. military's Lend-Lease program that was shipping aircraft to... Read More

Ellen Demit Ellen Demit

Ellen Demit was born on May 13, 1913 to Eva and Julius John in the old village of Chena, Alaska, which is now encompassed by the city of Fairbanks. At three months of age, Ellen was adopted by Chief Luke and his wife, Anne, from Goodpaster, Alaska. This type of adoption was a common cultural practice. Following the death of his wife, Chief Luke allowed then three year old Ellen to be adopted again, this time by Selene and Old Blind Jimmy of Healy Lake. Ellen married Frank Felix of... Read More

Charles Eikland, Sr. Charles Eikland, Sr.

Charles Eikland, Sr. was born in 1940 to Pete and Mary Eikland at Pan Creek near Tazamona Lake, north of Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory, Canada. His Dineh mother and non-Native father trapped in the winter and his father placer mined for gold in the summer time. In the mid-1940's, the family moved to the community of Snag, Yukon Territory along the route of the Alaska Highway. Charles grew up using a dog team for transportation and living off the land by catching fish, picking... Read More

Ada Gallen Ada Gallen

Ada Gallen (Dii duh nil naa) was an Upper Tanana River Athabascan Dene Elder from Northway, Alaska. She was born in 1923 to Peter Albert and Elsie Northway, sister of the late Chief Walter Northway. Ada grew up in and attended school in Northway through the third grade. The family lived a traditional seasonal subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering. Her parents died (her mother in the 1940's) when she was a teenager and she was left to raise her younger... Read More

Curley Graham R.L. "Curley" Graham

R. L. "Curley" Graham was born in 1920 to Marjorie and Richard Graham, and in 1935 moved with his family to Atlin, British Columbia, Canada where his father was able to find work. Curley went to work in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada in the early 1940s with his first job being for the White Airport Company working on equipment maintenance at the airstrip.

Polly Hyslop Polly Hyslop

Polly Hyslop is of Upper Tanana River Athabascan Dene and Scottish ancestry. She is a member of the Neesüü clan. She was born at a fish camp near the village of Northway in Interior Alaska. She spent her childhood in Northway, Galena and Tanana, Alaska. She grew up surrounded by lakes, creeks, and rivers. She earned her undergraduate degree in journalism, a master’s degree in justice administration, and her doctorate in Indigenous Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Currently, Dr... Read More

Ray Jackson Ray Jackson

Raymond "Ray" Jackson was born in 1939 to Marge and Peter Jackson at Takhini Crossing, Yukon Territory, Canada. He was a member of the Agunda (Wolf) Clan of the Champagne Band First Nation, and was the eldest of seven children. He served as chief of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations in the Yukon Territory, Canada from 1972 to 1974 and again from 1979 to 1980, and was one of the leaders who helped pioneer modern Yukon First Nations land claims. He was one of twelve chiefs who traveled... Read More

Cherie Marunde Cherie Marunde

Cherie Marunde is Upper Tanana River Athabascan Dene from Northway, Alaska. She is a member of the Che chel yuu clan. She is the daughter of Mary Jane Albert Fix of Northway, and the granddaughter of Oscar Albert of Northway and Mary Luke of Tetlin, Alaska. Cherie grew up in Northway, one of eight children, living a seasonal subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, trapping, gathering, and gardening. She has continued the family tradition of running a trapline in the winter, where she both... Read More

Babe Richards Evelyn Mae "Babe" Richards

Evelyn Mae "Babe" Richards was born in 1924 to T.C. and Bernadine Richards in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. Her father worked for the meat company, Pat Burns and Company, and later ran the Whitehorse Inn hotel. Babe was eighteen years old when the Alaska Highway was built and experienced many changes that brought to the community. She spent three years at Crofton House in Vancouver, British Columbia to complete high school, lived at Watson Lake for a few years while her husband, John... Read More

Julius Sam Julius Sam

Julius Sam was an Upper Tanana River Athabascan Dene Elder from Northway, Alaska. He was born in 1928 to Frank and Annie Sam. He grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle where they traveled around the region of Northway and Tetlin, moving from seasonal camp to seasonal camp for hunting, fishing, and gathering. Julius was a teenager when the Alaska Highway and the airstrip at Northway were built and experienced many changes that brought to the community. He passed away in 2015.

Laura Sanford Laura Sanford

Nora Laura Sanford was an Upper Tanana River Athabascan Dene Elder from Tok, Alaska. She was born in 1928 to Annie and Titus Isaac in Mansfield, Alaska, located seven miles upstream from the village of Tanacross, Alaska. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle of moving seasonally to hunt, fish, trap and gather, and learned the traditions of the Mansfield-Ketchumstuck bands. She was a teenager when the Alaska Highway was built and experienced many changes that brought to the... Read More

Rachel Thomas Rachel Thomas

Originally from Montana, Rachel Thomas came to Alaska in 1954. She and three friends drove up the new Alaska Highway, camping along the way and enjoying the towns and sites they visited. She drove the highway many times since, and noticed many changes through the years. Rachel attended Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, and during summers, she worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Yellowstone National Park and for the Glacier Transport Company in Glacier National Park.... Read More

Lavell Wilson Lavell Wilson

Lavell Wilson was born in Freewater, Oregon in 1937. He moved to Northway, Alaska around 1948 when his father brought the family to Alaska.  At the time of his 2013 interview, Lavelle and his wife, Catherine, were living in Tok, Alaska. His father was a trapper and hunter, so he grew up living a subsistence lifestyle in Northway and the surrounding area. Lavell worked in the construction business as an operator, and also was a pilot and guide taking hunters into the Chisana, Nabsena,... Read More