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Mark Jacobs Jr. Part 1 & 2
Mark Jacobs Jr

Mark Jacobs Jr. was interviewed on December 21, 1998 by Kristen Griffin and Robi Craig  at the Sitka Tribe of Alaska offices in Sitka, Alaska. Mark Jacobs was an experienced interviewee. He was poised, spoke loudly and clearly, and covered topics of great diversity. While speaking about the Sitka National Historical Park, Mr. Jacobs traveled up and down the coast of southeastern Alaska in a manner that would prove confusing to those outside of his culture. But, it made perfect sense when, as Mr. Jacobs was, you are steeped in traditional Tlingit culture and you understand the web it casts over all of history, geography and genealogy in Southeast Alaska. Mr. Jacobs was dressed in a collared plaid shirt tucked into pressed jeans. His gray and white hair was carefully combed back from his face, and he wore glasses and a hearing aid. He was in his 70s and was "as sharp as a tack." In this interview, Mark covers an enormous amount of material about traditional Tlingit culture and Tlingit connections with and use of the area of Sitka National Historical Park, the 1804 Battle between the Kiks.ádi clan and Russian troops at the Fort Site, and the history of Sitka. Kiks.ádi clan leader Al Perkins gave his permission for this non-Kiks.ádi telling of the Kiks.ádi battle story to be included. He provides a lot of detail about Tlingit traditions and connections with and use of the park, including mention of the devil tree in the Park, installation of totem poles, and changes in Indian River. He also discusses the relationship between the park and community of Sitka, the Cottages Community, and land claims conflicts.



Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 98-39-05_PT.1_Pt.2

Project: Sitka National Historical Park
Date of Interview: Dec 21, 1998
Narrator(s): Mark Jacobs Jr.
Interviewer(s): Kristen Griffin, Robi Craig
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) His personal background and family

2) His grandmother's remarriage after her husband died and his father's birth in Sitka

3) Life in the Tlingit village versus life in the Cottages, and use of the Park when he was a boy

4) His grandmother's use of medicinal plants collected in the Park

5) The battle between the Russians and the Tlingit at Sitka

6) Use of the Indian River area of the Sitka National Historical Park, and old cars getting stuck trying to go up the steep hill at Shaman Point

7) The layout of the trails and roads of the old Sitka National Historical Park, and the reconstruction of a blockhouse on Kiks.'adi property in town

8) The Kiks.'adi relationship to and use of the Park

9) Using the Park as a boy

10) The battle between the Russians and the Tlingit and the difference between Russians and Indians flying a white flag

11) The skirmish between Chief Katlian and Alexander Baranof during the battle

12) The Kiks.'adi abandonment of the Fort Site and march across the island to escape the Russians, and the peace negotiations that followed

13) Conclusion of Russian and Tlingit peace negotiations, and the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program during the 1940s

14) Sitka men repairing the totem poles in Sitka National Historical Park as part of the federal work program

15) Stories behind the poles, and clan representations on them

16) The story of the accidental death of the first John Cameron and John Hope's adoption into the Cameron family

17) Repair and duplication of old poles in the Park

18) Impacts on Indian River from the removal of gravel during World War II

19) Erosion and stabilization of the banks of Indian River, and changes to the river and salmon spawning grounds

20) Impacts on the water volume in the Indian and Cascade Rivers

21) Changes in the Indian River continued, and impacts from the military use of the Park during World War II and possible pollution left behind

22) Military land use in Sitka during World War II

23) The site where the Tlingit defended themselves against the Russians

24) A treaty between Sitka and Wrangell clans, and restrictions on telling other clans' stories and histories

25) Rules and restrictions of traditional storytelling, and economic and social changes resulting from the Park

26) Feelings about the National Park Service's allocation of funds for projects and programs

27) The battle march, Russians killing Tlingit, and traditional Tlingit beliefs about death

28) The National Park Service relocating Kaagwaantaan house posts to the National Park

29) Land claims conflicts

30) Ralph Young and his uncle's effort to file and fund a mining claim on Chichagof Island

31) Ralph Young's mining activity

32) Ralph Young and John Newell's houses in the Cottages Community, and Ralph Young's marriages and children

33) John Newell's family, and Ralph Young marrying Newell's widow in accordance with Tlingit tradition

34) Ralph Young's house staying in the Jacob's family and the debt owed on it being paid off

35) End of Young's mine and he and Newell losing all their money

36) Indian land claims laws and protections

37) The importance of oral history and the truth found in stories

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Section 1: Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- brother Harvey/ Navy/ language -- Native/ birthdays/ Tlingit names/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- brother Hamilton/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- brother Ernie/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- sister Bertha Karas/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- sister Roselyn Osborne|

Section 2: Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- parents/ Angoon/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- father/ Sitka/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- grandparents/ death/ marriage -- traditions/ Iceberg House/ clans/ Deisheetaan/ Mark, Jacobs Jr. -- step-grandfather/ Jacobs, James|

Section 3: Jacobs, Mark Jr -- father/ Iceberg House/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- father's childhood/ potlatch/ clan house/ Jacobs, Mark Jr -- sisters/ Cottages/ changes -- move to Cottages/ language -- Tlingit/ Park -- playground/ Park -- maintenance/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- grandmother/ medicine -- Indian/ medicine -- plant|

Section 4: Park -- Tlingit placenames/ medicine -- plant/ medicine -- Indian/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- grandmother/ walking/ medicine -- preparation/ Fort Site/ Second Russian American Conference -- speech/ contact -- first European|

Section 5: Lituya Bay/ battle -- Russians and Kiks.'adi/ clans/ battlesite/ battle -- skirmish/ Second Russian American Conference/ speech -- publication/ Alaska Magazine/ University of Alaska/ Russians -- occupation/ boat -- canoe/ shore -- rocky|

Section 6: Indian River -- Tlingit name/ fish -- King Salmon/ Park -- use of/ Park -- automobile road/ Littlefield, Esther -- house/ hill/ car -- four-cylinder/ Shaman Point -- Tlingit name/ graves -- shaman|

Section 7: Metlakatla Street/ boatshop/ Park -- Visitor Center/ playground -- location/ totem poles/ Merrill Rock/ road -- blocked/ trails/ Crooked Road/ buggy/ bicycle/ blockhouse/ erosion/ blockhouse -- replica/ Kiks.'adi/ Williams, Jimmy/ Nielsen, Peter/ Bidruckson, John/ clans|

Section 8: abandonment/ 1926 Indian Village Site Act/ clan -- house/ trees -- use of/ totem poles -- borrowed/ St. Louis World's Fair|

Section 9: totem poles -- Haida/ Park -- use of/ Park -- lack of restrictions/ playground/ tree -- hollow/ bats/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- mother/ bats -- Tlingit name/ Park -- cattle/ Burkhart's dairy/ cattle -- kids clearing from Park/ tree -- Witchcraft Tree/ tree -- Russian Cemetary/ tree -- Devil's Fork/ tourists/ graves -- Russian sailors|

Section 10: Easter -- Russian/ church -- Russian Orthodox/ battle/ Kiks.'adi -- refuge/ trees -- use of/ land -- sacred/ tree -- Tlingit name/ white flag|

Section 11: Russians/ boat -- whale boat/ Chief Katlian/ helmet -- battle/ battle -- attack/ Baranof, Alexander/ Baranof, Alexander -- clothing/ land -- sacred/ graves -- shaman|

Section 12: fort -- abandonment/ history/ Angoon/ Kiks.'adi/ white flag -- explanation of/ battle -- march/ Deisheetaan/ Hanus Bay/ Point Craven/ Baranof, Alexander/ peace -- negotiations/ Chief Katlian/ party -- peace/ party -- deer dance|

Section 13: peace -- negotiations/ Russians/ gift -- bronze eagle/ Kiks.'adi/ museum -- Juneau/ Great Depression/ President Hoover/ program -- unemployment/ CCC Program/ President Roosevelt/ New Deal/ CCC Program -- benefits/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ Moller, Dan/ US Forest Service|

Section 14: Alaska Native Brotherhood/ work/ work -- wages/ totem poles -- repair/ totem pole -- White Man|

Section 15: totem poles -- repair/ Park -- use of/ Lover's Lane/ totem poles -- stories/ clans/ Raven Totem Pole/ Clan -- Shark/ bird -- cormorant/ totem pole -- eagle side/ National Park Service|

Section 16: Civilian Conservation Corps carvers/ Willard, John/ Willard, John -- wife/ Cameron, John/ Cameron, John -- wife/ Hope, John/ Cameron, Don -- brother John/ death -- accident/ boat -- skiff/ Cameron, Don/ Hope, John -- adopted/ Hope, Andrew Jr.|

Section 17: adoption -- Indian/ family -- care of/ totem poles -- repairs/ totem poles -- location/ trails/ totem poles -- discarded|

Section 18: gravel/ World War II -- impact/ gravel -- digging out/ Indian River -- impact/ salmon -- spawning/ salmon -- impact on/ Indian River -- erosion|

Section 19: erosion/ spawning beds -- loss of/ Signikovitch, Roger/ gravel -- hauling/ Sheldon Jackson School -- hatchery/ water level -- changes/ military/ pump station|

Section 20: pipeline/ Victoria Dock/ World War II/ water level -- changes/ Indian River/ water -- city system/ Cascade River/ Indian River/ pump station|

Section 21: river -- log bank/ Willard, John/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ flood/ nature -- control of/ prophecy/ World War II -- impact/ Park -- military use of/ Halibut Point Road/ Sandy Beach/ Camp Dixie/ Seabee camp/ pollution/ land -- contamination/ land -- military/ Superfund/ land -- residential|

Section 22: land -- military/ land -- restrictions/ Halibut Point Road/ Carvel Mountain/ radar site/ Navy/ radar/ Park -- military use of/ Kean, Dan/ machine guns|

Section 23: Park -- military use of/ Lewis, George Sr./ blockhouse/ archaeologists/ battle site/ defense site -- location/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- father/ battle site -- ceremony/ armistace|

Section 24: peace treaty/ deer dance/ Kaagwaantaan/ Wrangell/ Hoonah/ Sitka/ behavior -- restrictions/ stories -- clans/ history -- telling/ oral history/ storytelling|

Section 25: storytelling/ stories -- discrepencies/ oral history/ Park -- changes/ Park -- Visitor Center/ Park -- cultural programs/ IRA/ National Park Service/ land -- claims/ Russian Bishop's House -- renovation/ funding -- competition for/ artists|

Section 26: funding/ programs -- reduction of/ Visitor Center -- construction of/ Visitor Center -- feelings toward/ Kiks.'adi/ Kaagwaantan/ marriage -- practices/ park -- use of/ fort -- abandonment|

Section 27: fort -- abandonment/ stories -- battle/ Russians/ Tlingit/ death -- beliefs/ reincarnation/ Kuxqatan|

Section 28: totem poles -- moved/ totem poles -- Kaagwaantaan/ Chief Anaxóots/ National Park Service/ Johnson, A.P./ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ clans -- property/ clans -- separation/ Paul, Patrick|

Section 29: Herring Rock/ places -- sacred/ Kaagwaantaan/ clans -- debts/ Johnson, A.P./ Paul, Patrick/ land claims -- Tlingit-Haida/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- grand uncle/ Young, Ralph/ Chichagof Mine/ Chichagof Island/ Indians -- treatment of|

Section 30: land claims -- Tlingit-Haida/ mining -- claims/ Young, Ralph/ Young, Ralph -- uncle/ Chichagof/ Sheldon Jackson School/ Dr. Beck/ Degraw -- merchant|

Section 31: Chichagof/ mining -- ore sampling/ Tacoma/ mining -- income/ Newell, John/ Mark, Edith/ Churchill, Charlotte/ Young, Ralph -- first wife/ Young, Ralph -- son, Gibson/ Lewis, George -- wife|

Section 32: Lewis, George -- wife/ Newell, John/ Young, Ralph/ Frederick, Neal/ Cottages -- building/ Young, Ralph -- wife/ Woodmark, Al/ Young, Gibson/ Woodmark, Phoebe|

Section 33: Newell, John -- daughters/ Newell, Harriet/ Newell, Lila/ Mack, Harriet/ Young, Ralph/ marriage -- practices/ Young, Elsie Newell/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- parents/ house -- sale of|

Section 34: house -- ownership/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- nephew/ Jacobs, Mark Jr. -- niece/ debt -- payment of/ Chichagof Mine/ money/ Young, Ralph/ mine -- end of/ Salinger, Jack|

Section 35: mining/ mine -- end of/ Young, Ralph/ Seattle/ Tacoma/ land -- purchase of/ bankruptcy/ Seattle-Tacoma Airport/ Newell, John/ poverty|

Section 36: Park -- benefits of/ land -- protection/ land claims -- Indian/ Mt. Edgecumbe School -- funding/ Sitka Native School/ property -- reclaiming|

Section 37: oral history/ stories/ land claims -- Tlingit-Haida/ storytelling/ Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall|