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  • Day21

    Fairbanks continued

    June 5, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Today was a relaxing day after yesterday's long Dalton Highway experience. We did go on a stern wheel paddle boat. This boat travels the Chena River from Fairbanks. We saw a float plane take off as we started down the river. The boat stops at the dog mushing facility of Susan Butcher. Susan Butcher is an American dog musher and is the second woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1986, the second four-time winner in 1990, and the first to win four out of five sequential years. Although Susan died in 2006, her husband and two daughters have kept up the dog sled training facility on the Chena River. We were able to meet her daughter Tekla who gave a demonstration on the training. In the summer months they use an ATV (without the engine) to train the dogs. The next stop was to a remake of an Athabaskan village. Our guides in the village were native Alaskans from some of the local tribes.

    The Athabascan people traditionally lived in Interior Alaska that begins south of the Brooks Mountain Range and continues down to the Kenai Peninsula. There are eleven linguistic groups of Athabascans in Alaska. Athabascan people have traditionally lived along five major river ways: the Yukon, the Tanana, the Susitna, the Kuskokwim, and the Copper river drainages. Athabascans migrated seasonally, traveling in small groups to fish, hunt and trap. They did not live in log cabins until the white people became known to them. Clothing was made of caribou and moose hide. Moose and caribou hide moccasins and boots were important parts of the wardrobe. Styles of moccasins vary depending on conditions. Both men and women are adept at sewing, although women traditionally did most of skin sewing. Canoes were made of birch bark, moose hide, and cottonwood. All Athabascans used sleds --with and without dogs to pull them – snowshoes and dogs as pack animals. Photo 4 is of a fishing wheel. This is how salmon were caught.
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