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Therefore, when in 1893 it was ascertained that the herd at Port Clarence had safely passed its first winter (thus assuring its permanence), I at once set about making plans to secure herders from Lapland. There being no public funds available to meet the expense of sending an agent to Norway in order to secure skilled Lapp herders, I had recourse again to the private benefaction of friends of the enterprise, and $1,000 was contributed. With your approval I at once sent Mr. William A. Kjellmann, the new superintendent, to Lapland. He sailed from New York City February 21, 1894, on the steamship Majestic to Liverpool. He then crossed England to Hull, and taking a steamer for Norway, reached Hammerfest, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle (70° 40′ N. latitude), on March 8. In the face of an arctic winter and raging snowstorms, the mercury 39 below zero, he pushed back into the mountains with reindeer and sled to Kautokeino, the center of the Finmarken district, where there were 65,000 reindeer.
Great difficulty was experienced in procuring the consent of the herders to leave their country and their people. The fact that there is not a single colony of Lapps in the United States or elsewhere shows their intense love of home and great unwillingness to leave it. In addition to their aversion to leave home and friends, they were afraid of the barbarous people among whom they were to be taken. However, after being assured of safe conduct and final return home, the following persons were secured:
Johan Speinsen Tornensis, wife, and one child under 1 year of age; Samuel Johnsen Kemi, wife, and two children, ages 1 and 4 years; Mathis Aslaksen Eira, wife, and one child 4 years of age; Mikkel Josefsen Nakkila and wife; Per Aslaksen Rist; Frederick Larsen. Some of these are men of property, owning large herds of reindeer, and have several thousand dollars deposited in bank. They can all read and write, and some of them speak the Finnish, Russian, and Norwegian languages. They brought with them à full supply of Lapp literature, including hymn books and Bibles.
Leaving Kautokeino on April 10, Hammerfest the 17th, and Christiania the 26th, they reached New York City May 12, 1894, the first colony of Lapps that ever set foot on the North American continent. Passing directly westward to Madison, Wis., they tarried there until Mr. Kjellmann, the superintendent, concluded his preparations for removing his family to Alaska. Leaving Madison May 21 over the Great Northern Railway, the party were caught in washouts in Montana. Transferring to the Northern Pacific, they finally reached Seattle June 2, and ultimately San Francisco, by steamer, June 5. At San Francisco, after twelve days' delay, the party was taken on board the whaling brig W. H. Myers, and sailed from San Francisco for the Teller Reindeer Station, Port Clarence, Alaska, where they arrived safely July 29, having traveled over 12,500 miles.
Contract labor-The importation of skilled Lapp herders raised the question among a few of the newspapers whether it was not an infringement of the law "to prohibit the importation and immigration of foreigners to perform labor in the United States, its Territories, and the District of Columbia," approved February 26, 1885. The legality of the transaction was given early attention. The proposed action was brought to the attention of Mr. Herman Stump, United States Superintendent of Immigration, who, upon learning all the circumstances, decided that the case was provided for by section 5 of the above act, which reads:
"Nor shall this act be so construed as to prevent any person or persons, partnership, or corporation from engaging under contract or agreement skilled workmen in foreign countries to perform labor in the United States in or upon any new industry not at present established in the United States: Provided, That skilled labor for that purpose can not be otherwise obtained." (23 Stat., 332.)
As herding reindeer was first established in the United States in 1892, and as there were no skilled reindeer herders in the country, their importation from abroad was very clearly within the law.
Apprentices.-During the year fifteen Eskimo men were employed in the care of the herd and in securing supplies for the station.
Constant changes are taking place in the band. Some become tired of regular duty and return home. Others are dismissed because of habitual carelessness. Those that remained regularly made good progress and manifested an adaptation to the work that augurs well for their future success.
One of the tendencies observed in the apprentices is a feeling that as soon as they can throw a lasso and drive a team they have learned all that they need to know, and that after a few months' service they are fully competent to take the entire charge of the herd. I have noticed the same disposition among the natives of southeast Alaska in learning the carpenter or other trades.
The contributors to the above fund were: Mrs. William Thaw, Pittsburg, $350; Mrs. Elliot F. Shepard, New York, $250; Miss Mary L. Kennedy, New York, $200; Mr. John Nicholas Brown, Providence, R. I., $100; Mrs. Helen Sinclair Robinson, Hawaiian Islands, $50; Mr. H. O, Houghton, Boston, $50.
Dr. Sheldon Jackson landing the first tame reindeer in Alaska. Unalaska and Amaknak Islands, September 21, 1891.
Because a fireman on a locomotive learns to open and shut certain valves, and start, slow down, or stop the engine, it does not follow that he is competent to take the engineer's place. No more does it follow because an Eskimo man gains a little experience with reindeer that he is able to take charge of a herd. In Lapland, where the people have greater intelligence and the advantage of heredity, a young man is required to serve an apprenticeship of five years before he is considered competent to manage for himself. Mr. William A. Kjellmann, who was brought up among the Lapps and spent much of his life in dealing with reindeer, writes wisely that
To learn to be a good herder or deer man takes as much time as to learn any other trade. It is not only necessary to learn how to throw a lasso, how to drive or keep good watch while with the herd, but the main part is to know how to take care of the fawns so that the herd can increase, to select a good sheltered place to keep the herd when the fawns are born, to know how to make use of every particle of the deer so that nothing is thrown away, and to learn to think and act quickly in an emergency, and stand any hardship when necessary to save the herd. All this may be looked upon by outsiders as soon learned, but it is not so. It is only acquired by attention and long practice."
In addition to their duties with the herd, a small amount of schooling was furnished, and arrangements have been made by which during the present year each apprentice will have four full months of school.
Besides food, clothing, and instruction each apprentice that does well throughout the entire year is given 2 female deer, at the end of the second year 5, and at the end of the third and each succeeding year that he remains at the station, 10. This, at the end of a five years' course, will give each one 37 deer, with the increase which will probably bring his holding up to 50.
Herd.-On the 30th of September, 1893, a count of the herd showed 343 head of reindeer. During the winter 20 were lost by disease and accident. During April, May, and June, 1894, 186 fawns were born, of which 41 were lost by being frozen or deserted by their mothers, the thermometer registering during the calving season 30° below zero.
During the summer of 1894, 120 head of deer were purchased in Siberia and transported to the Teller Station, making a total of 588.
Breaking and driving.-Special attention was given during the year in breaking the deer to harness and practicing the apprentices in driving.
In the fall of 1893 there were only 11 trained deer in the herd. During the winter 13 additional ones were broken in.
Harness.-Experiments were also continued with regard to harness. The Siberian harness consists of a strap around the neck of the deer and connected with a trace which passes between the forelegs and outside the hind legs to the sled. In long drives or hauling heavy loads the trace necessarily chafes the hind leg, and often disables the animal. Superintendent Lopp tried a harness consisting of collar, back and belly band, and two traces, which doubled the drawing powers of the deer. Milking.-Experiments with milking were not much of a success. For 6 herders to catch 5 cows, throw and hold them down, and milk with thumb and forefinger 1 quart of milk, usually required two hours.
Upon the arrival of the Lapps in the summer of 1894, a change was at once inaugurated. The Lapps milk the deer standing, just as cows are milked in the States. When I left the station in the fall the Lapps were securing about 60 quarts of milk per day, which was being manufactured into cheese for winter use. Under their management much better results should be obtained this present year.
Distribution.-In August last 118 head of deer were given to Mr. W. T. Lopp, in charge of the mission of the American Missionary Association at Cape Prince of Wales, for the use of that station. This is the commencement of the policy of the Government to secure the active cooperation and assistance of all the missionaries in Alaska.
The missionaries being the most intelligent and disinterested friends of the natives, the Government naturally looks to them as the best agents through whom to reach them. From their position and work, having learned the character and needs of the people, they are best fitted to wisely plan and carry out methods for transferring the ownership of the deer from the Government to the natives in such a manner as will best facilitate the reindeer industry.
The Government further realizes the fact that the natives who most completely come under mission influence, civilization, and education are the coming men of affairs among their own people, and therefore are the best men to lead in a new movement. At an early day herds will be turned over to the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Moravian, Methodist, and Swedish mission stations.
I have also perfected arrangements by which on January 1, 1895, a herd of 100 should be loaned to Antesilook, Iziksic, Koktowak, Iupuk, and Soovawhasie (natives) for five years, at the expiration of which time they are to return 100 head of deer to the Government, and retain the increase for themselves. This herd will be
located about a day's journey south of the Teller Station, and will be under the general supervision of the Government superintendent. The natives will be accompanied and assisted by a family of Lapps.
The progress of this latter herd will be watched with special interest. Caribou.-A large herd of wild reindeer exists from 600 to 700 miles inland, in the neighborhood of Fort Yukon, Porcupine River, and the Lower Mackenzie River. In small bands they are found within 100 miles of the coast, and extending from the Arctic south to the Alaskan peninsula. They are not accessible, however, to largo numbers of the people, and it is much easier, speedier, and cheaper to procure those that have come down through generations of taming than to attempt to catch and tame the wild ones.
Reindeer at Unalaska.-In 1891 sixteen head of reindeer were purchased to disprove the assertions that the Siberians would not sell, and to prove by actual trial that the reindeer could be successfully transported by sea. No arrangements at the time having been perfected for herding them, they were turned loose upon the islands of Unalaska and Amaknak in Unalaska Harbor, where, uncared for, they have maintained themselves from that time to the present. Last winter four of the herd on Amaknak Island walked out on a ledge of snow which overhung a precipice, and the ledge breaking off under their weight, they were killed on the rocks below.
Stocking the Aleutian Islands.-The success of the reindeer on the islands of Unalaska and Amaknak suggests the wisdom of stocking the whole Aleutian group. This remarkable chain of islands reaches out from the mainland of Alaska 1,000 miles toward Asia. It is composed of many islands sufficient in area and pasturage to maintain large herds of reindeer. The scattered Aleutian population, in the past supported by sea-otter hunting, are now being reduced to want by the disappearance and destruction of the otter. The introduction of reindeer would be to them a new and valuable source of food supply.
Again, between the islands are the passes which lead from the Pacific Ocean to Bering Sea and the Arctic. On the 11th of May, 1894, the whaling bark James Allen, attempting to sail through, struck a sunken reef off the east end of Amlia Island and went down, the crew taking to their boats. Twenty-five persons were drowned or died from exposure. And when, on June 14, Captain Healy, of the Bear, took the last nine survivors off of Umnak Island, they were found eating the dead body of a companion who had died two weeks previous. If those islands had been supplied with reindeer much of this starvation and loss of life could have been prevented. In view of the importance of increasing the food supply throughout that desolate region, I would recommend that early steps be taken to turn loose a few reindeer upon the principal islands of the Aleutian group and the larger islands of the Bering Sea.
Reindeer transportation.-From year to year increasing numbers of the whalers are wintering at Herschell Island, off the Arctic coast, northwest from the mouth of the Mackenzie River. Millions of dollars of capital are invested in these vessels and their outfits. If their owners in San Francisco, Cal., and New Bedford, Mass., could hear from them during the winter, it might make a difference of thousands of dollars in the supplies sent the following spring. With the general introduction of domestic reindeer throughout Arctic Alaska, it will be entirely feasible to send the mail from the whaling fleet, between four and five hundred miles across, to the mining settlements on the upper Yukon River, from the mining settlements, over the range, 850 miles, to southeast Alaska and civilization. The Postmaster-General is already arranging for a mail service to the Yukon mines.
During last summer unusually rich placer mines were discovered in the Yukon country, and with the large number of men in the United States out of employment, it is probable that increasing numbers will find their way to the Alaska mines. But a large number of miners can not be maintained in that barren country without increased facilities for taking in food supplies. Two river steamers make two round trips a season upon the Yukon for a distance of about 2,000 miles. But these steamers can not ascend the tributaries of that mighty river, and it is upon the tributaries that the rich mines, so far as known, are situated. The river steamers land their supplies at trading posts at the mouths of these tributaries, and then the difficult question presents itself of getting the supplies to the mines. They can partly be taken on dog sleds, and partly packed upon the backs of Indians. The latter is very expensive and the former insufficient. There are not dogs enough in the country to take in an ample supply. Hence the miners are clamorous that reindeer should be secured in larger numbers so that they can have some for transportation purposes.
Again, at intervals of from 200 to 500 miles Government schools and missionary stations are distributed along the coast from Point Barrow southward, and in the valleys of the great rivers. It is important to the greater efficiency of these stations that they have more frequent communication with the outside world than once a year, as at present. It is also an act of common humanity to bring them more closely ED 94-92
in touch and sympathy with their friends. This can be done with the general introduction of the domestic reindeer.
At Point Barrow there is a Presbyterian mission and school, a Government refuge station, and two shore whaling stations in charge of white men. From Point Barrow a reindeer express can carry the mail 360 to 400 miles down the coast to Point Hope. At Point Hope is an Episcopal mission and school and two shore whaling stations. From Point Hope the express would go southeast 420 to 500 miles to Nulato, on the Yukon River.
Commencing another line at Bering Straits it would convey the mail from the Congregational mission at Cape Prince of Wales, the Government reindeer station at Port Clarence, and the Swedish mission at Golovin Bay to Nulato. From Nulato the express could go southward, taking in a large number of mission stations and trading posts, across the Alaskan peninsula to Katmai on Shelikoff Straits, where it could connect by steamship with San Francisco. From Nulato to Katmai would be, approximately, 850 to 900 miles.
But as the Post-Office Department will first open mail communications with the mining camps on the upper Yukon, it will be more feasible for the present to run the reindeer express up the Yukon River to the mining settlements, and connect the southwestern settlements with this trunk line. At Nushagak (Carmel), on Bristol Bay, south western Alaska, is a Moravian mission and school, a Russo-Greek mission, and several large salmon canneries. Starting at Carmel the express can carry the mail via the Moravian station at Quinehaha and the salmon canneries in the vicinity of Bethel, 400 miles. At Bethel is a Moravian mission school and trading place. From Bethel up the Kuskoquim River via Moravian mission Ogavigamute, the Russo-Greek mission Oogovigamute, the Roman Catholic mission, Okhagamute, thence across to the Russo-Greek mission at Ikogmute, on the Yukon River, up the Yukon River to the Roman Catholic mission at Koserefski, the Episcopal mission at Anvik, the Russo-Greek mission and seaport trading place at St. Michael, and the Swedish mission at Unalaklik_to Nulato, about 500 miles from Bethel. At Nulato the branch lines from Point Barrow, Cape Prince of Wales, and Carmel unite in a trunk line up the Yukon River to St. James Mission (Episcopal), 200 miles.
In the future, if found necessary, a route can be had up the Tanana River, across to the Copper River and down the Copper to Nutchek, on an island in Prince Williams Sound. But for some years to come there will be no need to go that way.
Continuing up the Yukon River from St. James Mission the route would lead to Fort Yukon (250 miles), where it would be joined by the branch line from the whaling fleet (400 miles); from thence to Buxton, in the mines (200 miles), where it would connect with the mail to Haines and southeast Alaska (770 miles). The trunk line, with its several branches, would number 4,000 miles. To Katmai and Nutchek would add £00 to 1,000 additional miles.
To make this express possible it is essential that the reindeer shall be widely distributed throughout all northern Alaska, and to accomplish this in the near future will require some more rapid method of securing the animals.
A purchase station in Siberia.-The experience of the past three years has demonstrated the fact that the present system of purchasing deer is too slow and tedious. The season when the ice conditions are favorable on the coast of Siberia is usually confined to about six weeks in July and August. The ship visits a village in the neighborhood of a small herd, and sometimes a week is consumed in securing a load. As a result, notwithstanding constant diligence during the few weeks that could be devoted to it by the cutter Bear, we only succeeded in purchasing, in 1892, 171; in 1893, 124, and in 1894, 120 head of deer. At this rate of increase it will take many years to accomplish the purposes of the Government. What is now necessary is some method by which the deer can be procured in large numbers. If, instead of delaying the ship while tedious negotiations are pending, someone could be sent on in advance to make the purchases and have the animals gathered ready for shipment, it would greatly facilitate matters. Instead of transporting 100 or 200 head a season, there is no reason why 1,000 should not be secured.
Last season a movement was made in this direction by Captain Healy detailing Lieut. C. M. White and a seaman and sending them up the coast to negotiate for deer. This experiment was not very successful. Although Lieutenant White secured the promise of a large number, yet when a ship came along to collect them many of the owners backed down and failed to deliver according to promise.
I think, however, that if, with the consent of the Russian Government, a party could be placed on the Siberian coast in the fall with a supply of trade goods, and left through the winter to barter with the deer men, a large number of animals could be secured.
With a supply store within reach, the deer men would come as often as their necessities required, and in the place of money (of which they have no knowledge) barter deer in exchange for supplies. As the deer came in from time to time they could be made into a station herd, and Siberians employed to herd them. The following sum