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The speaker is a White woman of unknown age and education from Juneau, Alaska; she was recorded in 1968.



County: Juneau
State: AK

Commentary:
Located on the Gastineau Channel, Juneau is the capital of Alaska and has a present-day population of 31,275. This region was originally inhabited by the Tlingit peoples, whose culture was rich in artistic traditions such as weaving, carving, singing, and dancing. Russian fur traders first arrived in the mid-1700s, and the formation of the Russian-American Company in 1799 served to monopolize the fur trade. By the 1860s, the company was no longer profitable, and Russia sold its Alaskan territory to the United States in 1867. Juneau was the first town founded in Alaska following the U.S. purchase; it was named for Joseph Juneau, one of the miners who struck gold there in 1880. In this segment the speaker tells of her father???s expedition from the West Coast up to Canada and Alaska in search of a more prosperous life for his family.
Inf: So anyway, he came to Astoria, Oregon, and was going to trade with the Indians for furs, but John Jacob Astor was, Astoria, Oregon, was named after him, and he found that he could not, he could not handle the Indians there. They were all tied up with contracts with John Jacob Astor, and he tried it for a while, but??? And the furs were just as plentiful there, then, in those days [FW: Uh-huh] as they were in Alaska [FW: Mm-hmm], so then he moved to Seattle. Just be-, just before Seattle, the big Seattle fire.

And he opened a shoe store [Laughter] [FW: Mm-hmm]. He couldn???t do very much then. And then he heard about the gold strike, up the, um, up the, uh, Stikine River [FW: Mm-hmm], uh, Cassiar Country [FW: Mm-hmm]. So he took my oldest brother, who was then about eighteen [FW: Mm-hmm], and he said he???d go up and explore a little bit. So he went up the river looking for gold and found that that wasn???t satisfactory, and there were quite a few furs there, but there were uh, Canadians that were buying fur [FW: Mm-hmm] so he wandered up to Juneau. And Juneau was just founded at that time. And they found gold at the mouth of Gold Creek there [FW: Mm-hmm]. Nearly all the towns in Alaska were started [FW: Mm-hmm] by gold strikes.

FW: Mm-hmm. Now just about when was that? When???

Inf: So, he came and found there were a great many furs coming in here, and he decided to put a trading post in [FW: Mm-hmm], which he did [FW: Mm-hmm]. And, then, uh, a year or two later, why, my mother came with the family and, uh, there were seven in the family when she came here. Seven children. And my father did very well, and he built a trading post, and he was about the first trading post here. And I could still remember the Indians coming in wearing only a blanket [FW: Mm-hmm] and a pair of moccasins [FW: Mm-hmm], and I think he brought the first cotton goods to the country. They used to call it calico [FW: Mm-hmm]. Twenty yards to a bolt [FW: Mm-hmm]. And, uh, tha-, I think that they made their first cotton dresses out of his material [FW: Mm-hmm]. And then they also had what they call a Cabot W, C-a-b-o-t, with a big W on it [FW: Mm-hmm]. Big bolts of white, oh, it was almost like canvas. And those were the two, uh, materials that the natives bought.

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