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In writing that crossroad in time the Athabaskan of interior Alaska this is a NAPA Basque an Indian welcomed that after Baskins where the earliest native people of Alaska. This series explores their changing way of life one which Athabaskan is hoped will combine the best features of the two cultures one to care for and sleep on. It is fun to go to sleep in the tent and hunt through doing it and we're not on a four lane highway our slides are no better man. And it seemed to me we've fallen into a tragic or no return like from May until
September and all depend on the fire season there is no one to go and no way to earn money. The way to get good they try to hurt you or that they can get me on their governments. It isn't. Give it a chance. The people has to work for themselves. If we can if the Times to the people sent chance to the people to work for themselves to be a people then I think they can do better because a lot of times I tell my kids but all the time stories and they think it's just understanding less to them the way I can story to them you know and they think it's crazy like Grandma and Grandpa used to live like this. Things like that you know. Means yes pricey means thank you. When I see some kids removing a cup of water this is the more money I think good very nice you
know not going to get me a cup of water when they get me a couple why didn't I say I said I see you knew my beautiful blue kids were just dirt. I'm not I don't like to see that you see it's just happening like you do with these changes. I want to get another four or five years where I hope. To go and change for the time just by seeing a larger disk unwarranted discrimination against us. But very recently were Nadya's we supposed to be dumb and stupid and what have you. It just makes you man because even you go in a village that's supposed to be primitive or backward. You can find the best solid good people there people who a lot of pride and a lot of everything I mean they can stand up with a saying
well I am a native myself and. I am sort of fed up. I've seen him kicked around so much so many things that they should have that were taken away because of an aggressive group where they'd sit back and just let them take over. The native client claims his too. If that's understood surely take care the native people in the future and not kind on different agencies and then look for handouts from Uncle Sam. Well it's a tool that's gone for pixelate you need a phage occasion and a diff income and also be a first class taxpayer. These are the Athabaskan Indians most of Alaska's Sixty five hundred out about skins live in isolated villages throughout the state's interior a rugged
region of stern mountains mighty rivers and endless forests. For the last year and a half we have traveled hundreds of miles recording the voices of Athabaskan in modern cities and in remote villages in the following weeks. We will attempt to tell their story the story of a past too often forgotten. A present too often frustrating and a future. Too often unclear. In this the first of 13 programs we introduce the Athabaskan Indian The first Alaskan Alaska was discovered in 1741 by Vitus Bering a Danish Explorer employed by Russia. The Indians Eskimos and Al Utes preceded him by centuries. The route they followed is explained by Dr William Lorenzo head of the anthropology department of the University of Alaska. Most accepted them and I think the only tenable theory is of course the theory of the Bering land bridge during the latter part of the glacier of
the US constantly she ation due to the capturing of the water there in the glaciers the sea level in the Bering Sea was 300 to 350 feet lower than it is today which is older than the. And the creation of what we call a big land bridge out abang land platform roughly about a thousand miles wide between North America and Siberia. And it is the thinking in the teaching that the early people just simply being land mammals under massive mammoth super bison and so forth that they just simply to spawn the do the changes in ecology the changes in weather climate and so forth and as the as the animal populations moved the people followed with them. Forty thousand years ago the first of these travelers followed the animals down the ice free Yukon Kuskokwim corridor some continued all the way to South America. They noted Alaska merely as a step in a journey of generations.
Ancestors of those now are native to Alaska Athabaskan among them followed the same route we have of course the Indian peoples and we have the Eskimo had already Eskimo people. Eskimo Nell you'd. And we distinguish these two people on the basis of of younger or older mongoloid in us. In other words we speak of the Paleo mongoloid the ancestors of the American Indians and the NE among the ID ancestors of the Eskimos and alue It's now the first commerce word of paleo mongoloid And those are the ones that peopled North and South America. The ancestors of the North American North and South American Indians and of course those have their representatives today in Alaska in the Athabaskan playing it and hide and GMC and cultures. We start moving the belly a mongoloid sword and the North and North and South American Indian ancestors. Maybe as early as 35 to 40 thousand years ago.
And the excesses of Eskimos and I'll use maybe 15 years ago for hundreds of years this summer salmon runs the caribou migrations moose bear and other fish and game provided a reasonably good existence for the hardy and skillful Athabaskan hunters because their territory was extremely cold and dry. A snowshoe and toboggan society developed for housing transportation tools and utensils. They used birch wood birch bark and spruce roots as well as animal fur hides skins bones and sinew in my time. I raise you very isolated country where we've got to restore within the traitor so I can almost describe hard to get that face. I don't live off the country migrating our own play that fall in the game and hoping that there's such
as. And school as I know this is what I'm talking about my time. Isolated with survival in a hostile environment their first concern the Athabaskan is had no direct contact with the outside world until the early nineteenth century as the Russians began to sort of run out of firsts due to their poor ecological attitudes. They began to look at the interior of Alaska because you see they had learned that there was a lot of for showing up in Siberia from somewhere in Alaska. But it didn't go to the Russian-American company so their whole interest was to try to find other data came from and who these people were and so forth. So the Russians did move up of course and they established forts in the Nushagak River then on the gust of wind river and finally they went up to you know to the Yukon River. However may approach this from the miles from St. Michael in the glades. And so by 1834 1834 eighteen thirty eight they had reached the Yukon River and therefore
also the other basket was the garlic and the baskets living. The Yukon River in the meantime the guts of a company have been pushing west from Canada and in 1847 the exam the Murray came down the Yukon and came to what today is called Fort Yukon. And so this was established in 1847 So now you have the Russian influence extending eastward up the Yukon a division. Plate but a considerable increase in the. Economic opportunity will be afforded some of the villages. Those are on the proposed highway there again you have the service industries the restaurants the tourism and these other things hopefully. Leonard Hamilton recognizes a need for personal attention. We also should have someone who could
escort and introduce the applicants to the employers to take them out in the community to. Familiarize them to. Maybe ride a bus route with the person for the first time to have to provide follow up services when once a person has gone into employment there may be problems but they're not willing are don't feel. That they can discuss with their employer that they might be able to discuss with. Francis another native person. That can act as a price on between employer and employee. Gertrude Cunningham of the State Dept. of welfare favors preferential hiring of daters for her department. There are some real. Merit to employing new people here because for one thing we know the story they live here. This is home
and we don't get this turnover that we do when we that are hiring other people who come to us so they are well worth their very worth of gas. State law now forbids not only employing or denying employment because of race but also reference to race on job applications. State Senator Edward Murphy's has recently introduced legislation requiring that information on race be included on applications for federal and state government jobs and for membership in labor unions. With such information proponents of the legislation argue that they can obtain statistical data in order to evaluate the effectiveness of current employment programs. More important say proponents the information can help civil rights enforcement officers investigate alleged job discrimination. At least two agencies provide employment service especially for natives. The Bureau of Indian Affairs helps the native applicant to find a job.
They Zim subsistence until he receives his first paycheck and attempts to teach him how to adapt to a new working situation. The employment assistance section of the Fairbanks native community center operates in part through a $2000 a month grant from the BEA Ira. If an employer specifies to a government employment agency that he wants to hire natives the agency refers the employer to the Welcome Center. The welcome center offers a limited but comprehensive service. The Employment section automatically refers its applicants to the social services section. This section provides tools clothing equipment temporary housing and transportation to the job or training center until the first pay day. It also provides assistance in filling out applications. A difficult task for many people from the bush. Athabaskan are now enjoying a limited success in obtaining jobs to and from Beaver have begun training as apprentice surveyors. A number from the village of Chow Kit sic
worked on the recent improvement of the airport there. The Radio Corporation of America is now operating a training program which Fred Baker says really does relate the success to the availability of jobs in Alaska. Probably the RCA program illustrates very well where we have people who complete this electronic program and have fallen jobs various projects like away tell us that programs like this throughout the state of Alaska are really exceedingly well. These people that have graduated from RCA are assuming leadership. Among the native people in Alaska leadership that is badly needed. Their only homes they're. Really doing a fantastic job and making the adjustments and they're in some ways are good examples that we can point to to other other other people through. Attempts all these programs. The attitude of the professors or the instructors and working with the students and making them feel like they're that they're important and not like.
Second class citizens that we're going to bend over backwards to get through school but he really isn't a very good kind of attitude that we find so predominance of our schools. Mr. Baker suggests considering the dropout rate of Alaskan Natives from training programs in perspective. If we look at this thing objectively we see that places like the like UCLA which draws upwards 10 percent or the top students. So to say and California has a rather high dropout rate in their freshman year and the students have for the most part have found from the same kind of environment that they find at the university and even they drop out so or it is really surprising if you look at it objectively to see that that we would have a. Large number of students that drop out of these programs. The encouraging thing I think is that the students after they have dropped out. Take a couple of years to pull themselves together and then I still have enough courage to go out and try to do something
again. This country has and I think it's going to continue on how they react by thinking people who live are used to living a certain way of life to. All of a sudden become white middle class Americans. Most of us saw it. It's just not going to be there for according to Wiley Olson it looks like economically the villages will be supported. You know there's no way they can really make a living out there. You'll have to be make work. It'll have to be building your own airstrip get paid for putting up your houses get paid for village improvement. When Athabaskan faces a brighter future economically businessman Ralph brick you presides over Alaskan native developers Incorporated which will provide modular homes especially constructed for Alaska weather. Mr. Purdue says the company will provide summer jobs for 50 Alaskan natives each year. The men will go 10 a time to Tucson Arizona at be-I expense for two
weeks of training. Perhaps more encouraging is the founding of DNA which a corporation owned by all those people who are represented by the tenant chiefs. Each person owns a thousand dollars worth of stock held in trust by the tenant on chief's DNA recently completed the seeding of the fair banks to live in good section of the winter road to the North Slope. It is now involved in studying the feasibility of an above ground oil pipeline and is opening a pre casting yard for concrete for the pipeline. DNA age now contracts labor to Associated General Contractors. Chairman of the board Jim Wallace says the DNA age is considering entering the lumber industry and operating a ferry service for tourists along the Yukon River from Dawson City Canada to Circle City Alaska. Ralph heard your comments on the business sophistication of this new corporation and achieve this Non-profit the NIH is a profit which make it may be very beneficial as far as the NIH is concerned. Actually I think it's
very beneficial because they can. Write off the profits of the charity and write and don't and cannot she said. I think it's you know. A very smart move from that standpoint. The change from finding fish and game to finding tax loopholes may symbolize how rapidly Athabaskan is have changed. Whether they can change rapidly enough to cope with new challenges. The future will tell. This has been crossroad in time a program about the Athabaskan Indians of interior Alaska and their changing way of life. This series was produced like at the University of Alaska. It was made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Crossroad in time
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Chicago: “Crossroad in time; Sample,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 20, 2024,
MLA: “Crossroad in time; Sample.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Crossroad in time; Sample. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from