The Tanana Chiefs

Native Rights and Western Law

Edited by William Schneider

The Tanana Chiefs

Edited by William Schneider

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

160 pages | 14 halftones | 7 x 10 | © 2018
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9781602233447 Published April 2018
E-book $35.00 ISBN: 9781602233454 Published March 2018
At the turn of the twentieth century, life was changing drastically in Alaska. The gold rush brought an onslaught of white settlers to the area, railroad companies were pushing into the territory, and telegraph lines opened up new lines of communication. The Native groups who had hunted and fished on the land for more than a century realized that if they did not speak up now, they would lose their land forever.

This is the story of a historic meeting between Native Athabascan leaders and government officials, held in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1915. It was one of the first times that Native voices were part of the official record. They sought education and medical assistance, and they wanted to know what they could expect from the federal government. They hoped for a balance between preserving their way of life with seeking new opportunities under the law.

The Tanana Chiefs chronicles the efforts by Alaska Natives to gain recognition for rights under Western law and the struggles to negotiate government-to-government relationships with the federal government. It contains the first full transcript of the historic meeting as well as essays that connect that first gathering with the continued efforts of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, which continues to meet and fight for Native rights.
Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction

1. From Fur to Gold
by William Schneider

2. From Native to White Man’s Country
by William Schneider

3. July 1915: Wickersham Meets the Tanana Chiefs
by Thomas Alton

4. Alaska Native Leader Will Mayo Shares His Perspective on the 1915 Tanana Chiefs Meeting
by Will Mayo

5. The Fester
by William Schneider

Postscript
by William Schneider

Appendix 1: Introduction to the Transcript of the 1915 Tanana Chiefs Meeting in Fairbanks
by Thomas Alton

Appendix 2: The Original Transcript of the 1915 Tanana Chiefs Meeting in Fairbanks

Appendix 3: The Alaska Purchase and Alaska Natives

Appendix 4: Timeline of Important Laws and Events Impacting Tribal Governments in Alaska
by Kevin Illingworth

Notes
References
Index
 
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