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Joe Herbert
Joe Herbert

Joe Herbert was interviewed on September 9, 2009 by Bill Schneider at the Village Council Office in Chalkyitsik, Alaska. Willie Salmon, Chief of Chalkyitsik assisted with the interview. Joe had a hard time hearing and understanding Schneider, so Willie helped by re-asking and clarifying questions. In this interview, Joe talks about his life of living off of and traveling on the land and environmental changes he has seen in his lifetime. Specifically, he mentions changes in the seasons, weather, hunting, fishing, and whitefish migration. He also suggests that fire and lower water levels have contributed to changes in the lakes around his village.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2009-11-07

Project: Stakeholders and Climate Change Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Sep 9, 2009
Narrator(s): Joe Herbert
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider
Transcriber: Carol McCue
People Present: William Salmon, Jr.
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Science Foundation
Alternate Transcripts
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Slideshow
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Sections

Introduction

Change in Water Level in Lakes

Unpredictability of the Weather

Impact of Lakes and Rivers Drying

Changes in Beaver Populations

Black Ducks

Changes in Timing of Freeze-up and Break-up

Unpredictability of the Weather

Impact of Changing Weather on Animals

Fire

Impact of Fire on Animals

Impact of Fire on Melting Permafrost

Elders' Predictions

Crows

Changes in Bird Populations

Impact of Lakes and Rivers Drying

Change in Water Level in Lakes

Changes in Fish Populations

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Transcript



BILL SCHNEIDER: Okay. Here we are, it's September 9th, 2009. I'm Bill Schneider, we've got Joe Herbert here. Thanks for taking the time, and Willie Salmon, the Chief here, is going to be helping us out with this recording.

So let's start with just the general question. What have you been observing in the way of changes in the weather, the climate, the animals?

WILLIE SALMON: Will, you got to talk to -- you got to talk a little louder to him.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Okay, Maybe you ask the question to him.

WILLIE SALMON: Okay. Hey, Joe. What kind of changes have you been seeing lately around Chalkyitsik since the earlier times to -- to today?

JOE HERBERT: Well, first, you know, I want to say when we were little, you know, we like to work, but today them kids, they don't like to work.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: That's what something new around here.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: That's all over like that.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah, we're -- we're talking mostly -- we're talking mostly about the area, out in the woods, the water, the animals and stuff like that.

JOE HERBERT: Uh-hum.

WILLIE SALMON: What kind of changes you see?

JOE HERBERT: Lots of animal are missing. Like summer birds and fish in the river, water too low.

We usually go back in that dry slough like this when there's high water in the springtime, you know, and you stay there during the summer.

And water high at the end of falltime, they come out. That's why lots of fish are in the river in the past, you know.

And turn not too long ago no more water, water barely go out with the ice, you know.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah. How about the winters? How about the winters?

JOE HERBERT: Wintertime, it get too cold. It used to be cold, too, but at that time, everybody using dog. Today it's all this snow machine, you know.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah. Is the winter a lot more milder now, or is it colder or --

JOE HERBERT: What's that?

WILLIE SALMON: Does the -- does the winter stays longer now or is it shorter or --

JOE HERBERT: Well, mostly about the same but it's just weather the one that change, you know. Because this summer, it never rained until not too long ago.

Dry all summer. But three weeks ago it started raining a little bit.

BILL SCHNEIDER: You talked a little bit about fish and what's happening with fish. Have you seen different species of fish?

WILLIE SALMON: Did you see -- do you see different kinds of fish that you never seen before or just the --

JOE HERBERT: Fish?

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: No mostly, about the same.

WILLIE SALMON: About the same.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What makes the lakes to dry up?

WILLIE SALMON: The lake, vun (Gwich'in) -- how, what makes them dry up, you think?

JOE HERBERT: Oh, gee, it never rain, that's why. And like the little creek over here, water seems like it go too fast, the water don't come up no more. And beaver dam here and there, too, that make it real dry.

WILLIE SALMON: How about the permafrost? Do you think permafrost have something to do with the lakes drying up, too?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, that's right. We had an earthquake before 1962, (indiscernible) that one -- that time when water, no more water.

WILLIE SALMON: Hmm.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, make all our lake dry, that earthquake. Ground crack, I guess.

BILL SCHNEIDER: How does that affect animals like beaver and muskrat?

WILLIE SALMON: How does that -- how does that affect the -- the Zun and the Zeh? (Phonetic.)

JOE HERBERT: Like muskrat?

WILLIE SALMON: Muskrat and beaver.

JOE HERBERT: There's no more water, you know, and that's why they're dying out, those beaver are getting low too now, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: And how about ducks and geese?

WILLIE SALMON: How about the Tzun and the Hai? (Phonetic.)

JOE HERBERT: I don't know too much about them ducks and geese, you know.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah. How about -- how about black ducks?

JOE HERBERT: Black duck are, too, you know, they are getting low.

WILLIE SALMON: Right.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. I'd say the weather take them out now in the Lower 48, you know, the wind and things like that.

WILLIE SALMON: So when you were back in the '60s and compared to now, is there a lot more back then than -- than now?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: Black ducks.

JOE HERBERT: Oh, there's more now, huh?

WILLIE SALMON: No.

JOE HERBERT: No.

WILLIE SALMON: Was there more then than are --

JOE HERBERT: No, less now. Way less. Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Do black ducks need a special conditions?

WILLIE SALMON: Does black duck need special conditions, like -- like -- what should I say?

Is there a certain condition that it needs to -- to be around different lakes?

JOE HERBERT: Oh, gee whiz, I don't know. There's one black duck take care of about 50, the young one, you know, and the rest go out someplace out that way.

WILLIE SALMON: Oh.

JOE HERBERT: They don't lay eggs around the lake, that black duck. You walk way up in the hill and they lay eggs.

The duck, they lay eggs, there's no eggs on the lake.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Black duck don't do that. They go way up in the hill and lay eggs. And when they are young one, they bring it back to the lake.

WILLIE SALMON: Oh.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Let's ask the question about permafrost again.

WILLIE SALMON: Okay. Permafrost, it used to be real shallow, now it's way down. Is there more permafrost now or less?

JOE HERBERT: Well, there's a permafrost here and there, you know.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: It's not everywhere. But in this area, lots of permafrost. It's only a foot down, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Let's stop for a second. (Pause.)

BILL SCHNEIDER: Okay. We're on now.

WILLIE SALMON: Joe, they want to know a little bit about the changes you see in breakup and freeze-up.

JOE HERBERT: Oh.

WILLIE SALMON: Just think back -- just think back about how -- how the breakup used to be and how it is now.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: And just say a little bit about it.

JOE HERBERT: Times when it break up, you know, it slowly water is, but today where water don't even raise. It's just still out in the river.

A long time ago when I go, the old breakup and the water, they up all the way up to the bank. Today, it don't do that no more.

WILLIE SALMON: Is that -- is that caused by not enough water, not enough rain, or what?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, not enough rain. Yeah. Not enough rain and not enough snow during the winter.

WILLIE SALMON: Not enough snow, huh?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: And how about freeze-up?

JOE HERBERT: Freeze-up?

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Oh, freeze-up is --

WILLIE SALMON: Starting -- starting September. Like, say, September, when it rain, then the -- then it start -- it start freezing up, then -- then the weather changes back and forth.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: So what do you see from earlier times around the '70s and '60s and before that, how is it different from now?

JOE HERBERT: Well, quite a different. A long time ago when the water is high as it freeze up, that mean it going to be good break-up.

But when it freeze up when water is low, no high water.

WILLIE SALMON: Oh.

JOE HERBERT: That's what the old timers say. It freeze up when the river is high, and there in springtime where it break -- breakup time, water -- water really high.

BILL SCHNEIDER: This is -- this is a hard question, but how does that breakup affect the banks and the country?

WILLIE SALMON: How does -- how does the breakup and the flood and stuff have effect on the banks and the country around it?

JOE HERBERT: Well, gee, breakup a long time ago, everything goes, you know.

It goes back in the sloughs, and sometimes it come from the lake, you know, and all that. It all go one time.

Back in 1949, Yukon River went out, Black River went out, Porcupine went out all at one time. And we really had a flood.

That was the time Fort Yukon, 1949, Fort Yukon washed out.

Before Fort Yukon the ice jam, the water went up too far, and the ice, it didn't have time to break up, so like a big chunk by chunk, it just make it a flood, ice jam.

They have to blow it up with a bomb and make it go again.

WILLIE SALMON: Wow.

JOE HERBERT: The Old Village down at Fort Yukon --

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: -- it wash out in 1949.

WILLIE SALMON: So what -- what effects has it on lakes and stuff, breakup?

JOE HERBERT: Well, gee, that part I don't know. It's just...

WILLIE SALMON: Does it have any effect on not enough water in the lakes or --

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, not enough water. Lots of water will come from up in the mountains.

There's like the water in Calf Mountain, you know, or the slough, all the water will go up, so it will stay back there in the lake.

It do go back in the lake, but the lake -- the lake is all dry, drying out, too, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Some people down in Tanana talked about the fact that there isn't big breakups, so the country -- the banks are growing in with willows and clogging in, and silt -- and silting in.

That's what I was -- was asking.

What about the timing of freeze-up and breakup? Has he seen some changes there?

WILLIE SALMON: Do you -- do you see different times of breakup and freeze-up now?

JOE HERBERT: Pretty near every year different, you know. Last year was a breakup, and we got breakup coming this spring again.

It's not going to be the same, you know. It's always different.

WILLIE SALMON: But it's not -- it's not the same as --

JOE HERBERT: Last year.

WILLIE SALMON: No, no. Back in the '60s, is it -- does it -- does it change any since this year -- like this year?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. Every time it break up, nothing the same, you know. Always a little different every time.

WILLIE SALMON: I meant the timing, like May and April, does it change any?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: Does it change like April or May?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, it's weather. It will depend on weather.

WILLIE SALMON: Okay. It's a weather change, a climate change.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. Weather never the same like it used too, be long time ago, just like right now, it's early fall, today is only September 9, and look like September -- September 30.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Do you think it's an early fall?

WILLIE SALMON: Do you think it's an early fall?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, early fall.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: One time really early fall, September 16 everything froze up.

Lots of people that froze up Black River, on the river. Everybody got stuck here and there.

WILLIE SALMON: How about have you been hearing any stories about moose in the falltime that -- do they rut earlier now or later, or --

JOE HERBERT: Oh, the animal knows, they know. Early fall, they know it too. They know where to head.

WILLIE SALMON: Okay.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Another hard question. What are the -- what are the animals telling us about the weather today as opposed to the old days?

WILLIE SALMON: This one is a hard one. What -- what is the animals saying compared to now than in the old days?

JOE HERBERT: Oh, gee whiz, that's a hard question right there.

WILLIE SALMON: That's a hard one.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, that's a hard question.

WILLIE SALMON: But do you see any changes in them?

JOE HERBERT: I say they do because the animals know the weather better than we do.

WILLIE SALMON: Right.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. They know what's coming, and that's why they get ready all the time.

WILLIE SALMON: Do they -- like the bears, do they come out earlier now or later, or --

JOE HERBERT: Oh, I -- oh, yeah, they are already now, but they are get ready for winter, though. Yeah.

Bear, the black bear are fat now, you don't see it in open place no more. You may see them along the banks but you don't see it in an open place.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: People have talked a lot about fires. What -- what are your observations about fire? Have you seen changes in the number of fires?

WILLIE SALMON: Compared to when you were younger, the fires now, you have more fires now than back then?

JOE HERBERT: Huh?

WILLIE SALMON: Fire.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: There's more fires now or less fires from when you were younger?

JOE HERBERT: Wildfire?

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah, wildfire.

JOE HERBERT: Oh, when I was young, there was no fire. Nothing.

Now for years and years, later on when I was about 10 years old there was one fire out back ever -- nobody -- nobody bother it, though. There was no -- no fires service.

When I first fight fire, back in 1952, you have to have your own blanket, your own axe, and your own tarp. There was no tarp like that in those days. And only a dollar and ten cents an hour.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: I'm picking up the noise.

JOE HERBERT: Only a dollar and ten cents an hour. And no helicopter.

WILLIE SALMON: So what --

JOE HERBERT: No trench -- no trench hole. You only get axe and shovel. That's all.

WILLIE SALMON: So there's more fires now than --

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, there sure, sure is. Yeah. A long time ago when I was a little kid, I remember you don't see no fires summer time.

At that time, it rain now and then, pretty near every week it rained.

But today, it would never rain pert near all summer around here, until two weeks ago.

WILLIE SALMON: So we've got drier summers now, huh?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: And more fires?

JOE HERBERT: More fires, yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: What -- what kind of effect is that having on the animals, you think?

JOE HERBERT: Oh, it's takes lots of young -- young animal away, they will burn up like bird, ducks, and even moose get burned up, you know.

They go on the hot ash, feet gets burned and it just keel over. I see them all do that in a fire.

They are walking on the hot ashes and their feet gets hot and they can't run more so they just fall down. And I see.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What about after the fire? How does that impact the country and the animals?

WILLIE SALMON: After the -- after the fire go through there, how you think it -- how do you think it impacts the animal that live around there?

JOE HERBERT: Oh, they go to a different area.

WILLIE SALMON: They move out?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, they got to move out. It's like a cabin out there, that one that burned out because you go look around for different places, they are same way.

They are going to a better place. Find a new place, you know.

WILLIE SALMON: How about -- how about the lakes and stuff, what do you think the fire do to it, do you think?

JOE HERBERT: Lake?

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Well, gee, I don't know about that -- yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Does the fire impact the permafrost at all?

WILLIE SALMON: Does -- does the fire have any effect on permafrost, do you think?

JOE HERBERT: Oh, I'm pretty sure, I'm sure it do, yeah. Sure. The top totally, it burn out, so the permafrost right here, so I think the ground thaw out. Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah. Uh-hum.

JOE HERBERT: Up in Arctic Village, we used to fight fire in the hill, you know, in a trench.

And after the fire's out, we cover it back on so that permafrost won't thaw out again. We cover that trench again.

But when the fire burn out, it's open, so I think that permafrost is thawing out.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Did the elders say anything about these changes?

Did you hear as a young boy?

WILLIE SALMON: Like when you were -- when you were growing up, when you were young, do you hear the -- the elders talk about different changes that they see?

JOE HERBERT: Lots of -- lots of change, you know. When I was a little kid, there was no airplane.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Nothing.

WILLIE SALMON: But I meant did the elders ever talk about different change than when they were -- they were younger?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. They knew it ahead of time. The world won't be like this, but I don't even pay attention to them.

What I thought to myself, they don't know what they are talking about. But they knew ahead.

WILLIE SALMON: Oh.

JOE HERBERT: Then my Grampa Herbert said this world is not going to be the same and later on it's going to be changed, because he read that Indian Bible, that's where he learn from.

I didn't know it at that time. Ah, you don't know nothing. How do you know ahead of time, I figure.

Just bulls**t I thought of it, but today, he was right after all. Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What types of changes did he predict?

WILLIE SALMON: What kind of changes they talk about? When the --

JOE HERBERT: Oh, like a easy -- easy life. A long time ago you had to work for everything.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Like now, they kill moose, you know, there was no freezer at that time, so you had to dry that meat.

And that bone, you -- also you leave that bone down there and let it freeze. But you had to dry that meat before it gets spoiled. Everything you get you've got to dry.

Well, nobody know anything about freezer at that time, you see.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Only the dried could do. Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: That's same with our ducks and stuff, huh? Tsun?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, they pick up berries and they make jam and all of that, you know. High-bush and low-bush berries.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Did they talk at all about birds and other animals, changes in birds and other animals?

WILLIE SALMON: Do they talk about different -- different birds and different animals? Do they -- do they change any? Do they move around?

JOE HERBERT: Different animals?

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. Well, just like moose and bear. When they kill bear, they get grease out of it for next winter, you know.

Yeah, when they...mostly your candle at that time. And the bear grease you use for candle too.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Grease, you...

WILLIE SALMON: No, but what he's asking, is there any changes in animals since long, long ago to now?

JOE HERBERT: Animals?

WILLIE SALMON: Is there any change in the animals from back then to now?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. Animals. They are change, you know, you see them crow around the area, at that time, a long time ago you don't see no crow in the village. No.

They stay out there. Now you know why they are here? They got nothing to eat out there.

That's why they live here on -- live on this dump here, that's why they come to town. They say you see crow in the street, you know. And they are getting nothing out there.

WILLIE SALMON: How about black bear and moose, did they change any in all these years?

JOE HERBERT: Oh, gee whiz, I think they are about the same yet, yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Did the elders predict any of those changes?

WILLIE SALMON: When those old people tell story, they -- they talk about any changes in the animals?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. They talk about it. I remember the (indiscernible) they always -- they are going to come to town. I don't know why, why you won't come to town, because they got no more food out there, I guess.

And they will come to town later. Like the black bear and things like that, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Have you seen different species of birds, different types of birds?

WILLIE SALMON: Did you notice any different kinds of kind of birds around that you never saw back in the -- in the '50s?

JOE HERBERT: Not many bird come around no more. There used to be all kind of different -- different bird, you know.

Even them snipe, they don't come around here anymore, and them tern, too, I don't see no tern in the summer. And snipe.

WILLIE SALMON: How about swallow?

JOE HERBERT: Swallow, too, about 10, 15 of them, but when they gather up, they are about 20 or 30, you know.

WILLIE SALMON: There used to be lots or less?

JOE HERBERT: Oh, there used to be on a wire, they line up here and there.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Have you noticed any changes in their songs?

WILLIE SALMON: Have you noticed anything in the way they sing?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. They used to sing lots. Even the robin don't sing no more.

Maybe I don't hear them, that's why they don't sing.

WILLIE SALMON: That could be it.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah. That's right.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, this is -- this is -- this is good material. I'm not sure where to -- where to go now. There's some things that you see I'm missing?

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Let me put it on pause for a minute. (Pause.)

WILLIE SALMON: Okay, Joe. We're going to talk about how -- when things -- when you notice things started to change, from when you were young.

JOE HERBERT: What's that?

WILLIE SALMON: We're going to talk about when -- when things started to change from when you were young.

JOE HERBERT: Oh, jeepers. A long time ago, it was always like the same, you know, and every year something change.

Maybe -- this is a -- ten years ago, there's lots of animal around, like duck and summer bird, but then and a few years later, you don't see it again. Why?

Well, there's no water in the lake, they got no place to cool.

So they stay out the water out here in the ocean, you know, out there in the ocean.

WILLIE SALMON: So when you're growing up, did -- how they used to live back in the -- the '50s and '40s,

then moving on to this day, when do you think the peoples are changing, times are changing?

JOE HERBERT: Well, like I said, everything pretty near changed, everything different each year, you know. Year and year after, everything change.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah. But when you start -- when did you start seeing a lot of change?

JOE HERBERT: Why, when I was around about 15 years old, I see lots of changes, like everything come all slowly, like airplane and things, you know, like that.

WILLIE SALMON: So you got -- so when you were -- when you were living over in Shuman House and you started moving over this way, what -- when things started changing, when you start getting photographs and planes and stuff, when all that start happening?

JOE HERBERT: Okay. I would say it's good at that time, boats go back and forth up to Old Crow, you know, at that time.

Lots of boat in river at that time, you know. Inboard. Hardly any kicker around that time. (Indiscernible at 8:53.)About this big. Real big one.

WILLIE SALMON: So back in the -- back in the '50s and '40s, when they used to come up with those little launchs and stuff and you started seeing changes from there, newer motors and --

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. And later on -- my Johnson come around, my Johnson, you put the gas in that hangar at the end a motor.

And that was my nice Johnson, had a good motor. It's so old it turn white, you know. Even they can't run it.

BILL SCHNEIDER: So what I hear you saying is that the water level is -- that's the big thing that's -- you've seen change?

WILLIE SALMON: He is saying that what you see is the -- is the water, huh? The water level change since back then and now?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. It really change.

WILLIE SALMON: Okay.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. A long time ago, sure, the water get low but it don't get that low like around here. Yeah.

They always travel back and forth in boat, but today, it really gets down to nothing. Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: So it never used to be this low that the river --

JOE HERBERT: It never -- at that time, like I said before, it rained pretty near every week, you know.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: But May, June, July, through the month when there was rain here.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: It just started to rain about 3 weeks ago now and then.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah. So the biggest change you see is the water, huh?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, sure change.

WILLIE SALMON: And with that, the animal, it affects them, too, huh?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, the water so low, the fish don't even come up no more.

BILL SCHNEIDER: And then whitefish have trouble in the river?

WILLIE SALMON: Whitefish, they have trouble?

JOE HERBERT: Whitefish?

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. There's no more whitefish. Before they are usually back in the lake, but that little slough is just for the birds now, they got no way to come back out.

But they are out there now, though. There's not one come out no more. Where the lake is getting dry, too.

Like springtime, like the slough here, they hardly go in there and they stay there about a half the summer, and water high again, they come out.

Like for lots of fish in the river, and water don't get that high in the springtime no more.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Hang on a second here. (Pause.)

WILLIE SALMON: This is upriver right here. Okay. Right here is -- right here is the creek.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: And right here it start turning into long slough lakes.

JOE HERBERT: Uh-hum.

WILLIE SALMON: Then this here is a slough around there, around Chalkyitsik.

And this is the river. So the river get high in the springtime?

JOE HERBERT: Now, when water get high, it go right in there. And at the same time ice is running.

There's quite a -- fish don't like ice, that's why you go back in the slough.

And water dry right here and they stay right here in the summertime. Spend about half the summer.

And the water get high again when it rain in summertime, they come out.

And they're good and fat. Here in the slough, there's lots of it down that way and down that way. And this one, too.

WILLIE SALMON: Uh-hum.

JOE HERBERT: And this is long slough. They stay there. And about this time they usually come out.

They make their own time, and then again, you know, and they come out.

They got to come out. There's more back here, here they come out here. But this one, they going to die back there, thery've got nowhere to come out.

There's beaver dam right there, too, see.

WILLIE SALMON: So now there's less water and too bushy now so they don't come out anymore, huh?

JOE HERBERT: No, no more. Where that beaver dam at, maybe a couple of beaver dam right here, you can't go through.

WILLIE SALMON: So that it's like that down at Fish Lake and all over the --

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: -- different areas upriver?

JOE HERBERT: Uh-hum. All over. Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Maybe you -- we can maybe do one more thing. As you were talking, it wasn't clear to me the movements of the fish at different times of the year.

So could we -- could you -- could you repeat that, what you were saying, based on your understanding.

WILLIE SALMON: Okay. He want to know what time of the year all this happen.

JOE HERBERT: Oh, gee whiz. This happen within the last 10 years.

WILLIE SALMON: No, no.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Oh, that's good information. Okay.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah. That's good information there. What time they start? In springtime they --

JOE HERBERT: You mean the fish?

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

JOE HERBERT: Oh, yeah. Back where I come from, they go up. And the fish in the springtime, they go in there. And they --

WILLIE SALMON: What time of the year do you think? Breakup?

JOE HERBERT: Early in May. In there. And they go out of the area when -- you know, fish go up there and the falltime they got to come back out again.

WILLIE SALMON: Oh, Okay.

JOE HERBERT: But they can't do that no more.

WILLIE SALMON: So that's year after year, huh?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah, year after year.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah. So they go up there in the spring and they come out in the falltime?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.

WILLIE SALMON: And that's when there's plenty of them.

JOE HERBERT: When there's high water, they go back there.

WILLIE SALMON: So that's why Chalkyitsik is here because they had a lot of fish in that?

JOE HERBERT: Uh-hum. Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Up in spring, down in the fall.

WILLIE SALMON: Uh-hum.

BILL SCHNEIDER: And they don't like ice, huh?

WILLIE SALMON: They don't like ice, that's true?

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. The ice is running and the water -- water go in there, you know. And fish got to go in there.

And they can't stay out there when the ice is running because no. So, they go maybe slowly, and they stay there until the ice go.

And sometimes it's all dried up, water will go down, they stay there. They got food there. And in the summertime when it rain there, water go up, they come back out again.

WILLIE SALMON: So now it don't do that and it's getting caught -- and they are getting caught and they are dying.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah. Right where the ice go in the springtime, water is high enough to go in there.

After a little, like down that way, and then down that way.

WILLIE SALMON: Uh-hum.

BILL SCHNEIDER: That's really good.

JOE HERBERT: And sometimes the water will go up there, and they can't go up in there and they can't go back out.

WILLIE SALMON: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: That's really good. Okay. We've worked you hard. Thank you.

JOE HERBERT: Yeah.