Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gold Rush

When gold was found the natives weren’t treated as good as they were for the fur rush.  The miners were first drawn to Canada where gold was discovered on the Stewart River.  The gold rush caused a flood of non-natives in 1884 to the 1920’s.  With each discovery bringing more non-native people into Athabascan territory.  For about nine years gold was discovered on the Yukon from Birch Creek, where Circle City was built, to Mission Creek, the site of Eagle.  In 1887 the United States bought Alaska from Russia.  In 1897 gold was found on the Klondike River and it attracted the largest amount of people to Alaska.  By then the food supply the Alaska Commercial Company was not enough.  They also had to go through Canada on their way to Alaska and when they did they had to adhere to the Canadians laws.  The miners did not like that so they petitioned the US Government to make paths, and they did.  The Alaskan natives had to look towards the whites for food because the fur bearing animals were so sparse they were destitute (Simeone, 1982). 
Although the gold rush wasn’t in Deg Hit’an territory they prospered from the fur trading industry.  The amount of boats increased to somewhere between thirty and forty steamboats by 1898.  The Deg Hit’an worked as pilots and deck hands on the steamboats.  Supplying the steamboats with wood was a job.  With the jobs came the increase of association with the whites and their awareness of money.  When the fur trading industry failed the Deg Hit’an lost their income. 
Sometime in 1910 gold was found by the Iditarod River.  The Alaska Commercial Company set up their store and the Deg Hit’an weren’t able to prosper.  With the gold rush natives started to demand money instead of goods.  By 1920 the gold mining ended and the town was abandoned.  The natives were also shown harvesting tools that changed their way of fishing.  The fish wheel lessened the work load on the men and increased the work load for the women.

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