Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KOYUKUK: Refuge cooperates with elders to document traditional environmental knowledge
Alaska Region, June 29, 2004
Print Friendly Version
Staff at Koyukuk/Nowitna NWR in Galena has been recording the oral history and traditional environmental knowledge of elders in several villages in the Koyukon region of west-central Alaska. The subsistence oral histories of 24 elders were recorded between 1995 and 2003. These interviews were produced into 371 episodes of Raven's Story; a series of short stories that airs on several public radio stations in Alaska. Raven's Story documents elders? stories, observations, and experiences relating to wildlife, fish, and subsistence in the Koyukon Region. Two to five elders, who were known as subsistence experts in each of the villages in the Koyukon region, were asked to share their stories with Refuge staff or a KIYU public radio interviewer. For the last two years, the Refuge has partnered with the University of Alaska and KIYU to archive these oral history segments and make them available to the public, researchers, and educators over the Internet using streaming audio software. The University of Alaska Oral History Program has developed an audio ?jukebox? that allows an Internet user to select an elder and a topic to listen to. The public may access the Raven's Story jukebox at the following website address: http://uaf-db.uaf.edu/Jukebox/PJWeb/proguse.htm. Users must first agree to the conditions of use as required by copyright law and guidelines established by the Assembly of Alaska Native Educators, and then select Raven's Story.

Raven's Story began as part of a wildlife study to determine why the white-fronted goose population declined in the Koyukon Region in the 1990's. Elders were asked to recall and describe abundance and habitat conditions; information was not available from other sources because no formal waterfowl studies occurred in the area before the 1950's. Using a standard questionnaire, Refuge staff recorded these valuable observations and other information about wildlife and fish species that elders were willing to share. For further information, contact Refuge Manager Mike Spindler (mike_spindler@fws.gov).

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State

Search by Region

US Fish and Wildlife Service footer