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for building and fuel, with easy access to the ocean. The new station is central for the distribution of the herds either northward to Kotzebue Sound, Point Hope, and Point Barrow; southward to the Roman Catholic and Moravian stations on the Lower Yukon, Kuskokwim, and Nushagak rivers, or eastward to the Episcopal stations and mining settlements on the Upper Yukon Valley, being about the same distance from Bering Straits on the west, Point Barrow upon the north, the Middle Yukon Valley on the east, and the Kuskokwim Valley on the south. Located in the neighborhood of the leading mission stations among the native populations, it will be able to draw and educate as herders and teamsters a larger number of the native young men.

At the Teller Reindeer Station no additional buildings have been erected or were needed during the year. Three sod houses 16 by 10 feet in size lined with lumber were erected at the winter quarters for 1896-97 on the Agheeopak River for shelter of herders and their families. Several smaller sod huts were erected at various places between the Teller Station and Agheeopak as a refuge for the herders while en route to and from the station. A few log dwellings and store houses will this winter be erected at the new station on the Unalaklik River. The buildings at the Teller Station, with furniture, boits, sleds, harness, nets, and other property of the Government, are in good repair.


Mr. William A. Kjellmann, who resigned the position of superintendent in the fal of 1895, having expressed a willingness to again enter the service, was reappointed to his former position as superintendent.

A. N. Kittilsen, M. D., of Stoughton, Wis., was likewise appointed assistant superintendent and physician, and the Rev. T. L. Brevig continued as teacher. Herders.-The Lapps continue to justify the wisdom of their importation from Lapland, embodying in their own training and sill the knowledge and methods learned by their people through centuries of experience and observation. Their services in Alaska are invaluable.

In the introduction of reindeer into Alaska and the training of native men in their management and care it is important that that training should be in accordance with the latest and most improved methods of handling reindeer; that the Lapps possess these above all other nationalities is universally recognized. Their assistance has proved so valuable and is so essential to the inmediate future that Mr Kjellmann has gone with your consent to Lapland this winter to secure and bring over a permanent colony of them. The Lapps now in Alaska were brought over with the understanding that they would be returned at the end of three years: this was the best arrangement that could be made at the time. The limit of service being reached, Messrs. Rist, Somby, Kemi, and Eira. with their families, have returned to Lapland. Messrs. Tornensis, Nakkila, and Larsen have been prevailed upon to remain, with the expectation that they will become herd owners and permanent citizens.

During the winter of 1896-97 Messrs. Rist and Nakkila were detailed to accompany the superintendent on his sledge journey to the Yukon and Kuskokwin valleys. Mr. Aslak L. Somby remained in charge of the herds at Golovin Bay until March, when he returned to the Teller Station and was sent to the Cape Nome herd to relieve Mr. M. A. Eira, whose wife needed the medical attendance of the station physician.

Mr. Frederick Larsen was detailed for a month's service with the herd at Cape Prince of Wales. Messrs. Tornensis and Kemi had charge of the Teller Station herd, except as one or the other made short trips with the physician.

Apprentices.-The school of apprentices consists of the same persons as last year-five married and two unmarried Eskimos. They have shown an alacrity in work, a faithful adherence to instructions, and an effort to understand all parts of the work that augurs well for their future success.

Rations.-During the year a change has been made in the rations, decreasing the amount of American food (such as flour and meats brought from the outside) and increasing the amount of native food (such as fish, seal, and o 1).

School.-As the herders and apprentices have been with the herd 60 miles away from the station much of the time, the school has been mostly composed of Eskimo children, resident in the immediate vicinity of the station. Although debarred regular schooling, both the Lapps and apprentices are slowly acquiring the English tongue. The superintendent recomiends that some of the young people be given a few years at school in the States to learn English.

Sickness.-Dr. Kittilsen, the physician, has attended to 60 cases of sickness among the employees or their families and 250 cases among the outside Eskimos,

who have in some cases come 200 miles on a dog sled to secure medical attendance There was but one fatal case at the station, being Mrs. Eira, who remained to long at Cape Nome before applying for help. She passed to her rest May 4, 1897)


On the 1st of July, 1897, there were in Alaska 1,466 head of domestic reindeer These are divided into four herds, and located as follows:

Government herd at Teller Reindeer Station


Congregational herd at Cape Prince of Wales


An undivided herd at Golovin Bay controlled jointly by the Swede and Episcopalian Missions..


Herd in charge of the Eskimos at Cape Nome




The Government herd was wintered on the Agheepak River 20 miles from its mouth.

In the spring it was driven to the south side of Eaton River as a more favorable place for fawning, and this summer has been kept on the south side of Port Clar ence in the neighborhood of Cape Riley.

Fawning.-There were born at the Teller Station 149 living fawns, at Cape Prince of Wales 124, at Golovin Bay 108, and at Cape Nome 85, making an increase for the year of 466.

Sickness. In the fall of 1895, and again in the fall of 1896, a disease broke out in the herd similar to foot-rot in sheep. With a change of the herd to drier ground the sickness gradually abated.

Breaking.-Special attention has been given to the training of the reindeer both to harness and the pack saddle. During last winter 46 two and three year old deer were thus broken. This makes 73 well broken and trained sled deer in the Government herd. In the herd at Golovin Bay are 18 sled deer, and at Cape Prince of Wales 22.

At the Teller Station the sled deer were kept in constant practice, both on their own account and also for the training of the Eskimo apprentices. Including the trip to the Kuskokwim Valley the aggregate number of miles driven was over 10,000.

This practice will be kept up. preparatory to their introduction into the mining camps for freighting and traveling.


The first incentive to the introduction of domestic reindeer into Alaska came as an act of humanity to provide a new food supply for the Eskimos, who were subject to periodical seasons of starvation, their old food supply of whale, walrus, and wild animals having been partially destroyed by the greed of white men. But since the discovery of gold mines in subarctic Alaska and the consequent influx of thousands of miners, it has been found that the reindeer is as essential to the white man as to the Eskimo.

The first thought of the miner in central Alaska is to secure a good "claim:" his next thought is the question of "food supply"-whether he can secure provisions that will enable him to work his claim continuously, or whether for the want of such provisions he will be compelled to leave his claim unworked a portion of the year while he goes where he can secure food--not only losing the profit that would accrue from the claim if worked, but also involving him in heavy traveling expenses in going to and fro.

With the exception of fish, a little wild game, and a limited quantity of garden vegetables, there is no food in the country. All breadstuffs, vegetables, fruits, and the larger portion of the meat supply must be brought into the country from the outside. A small quantity of provisions is packed on sleds and on men's shoulders and brought over the passes in the Chilkat country of southeast Alaska to the head waters of the Yukon; there barges or flatboats are built, and with their freight are floated down the Yukon River to the neighborhood of the mines. The great bulk of the food supply, however, is brought in on steamers plying on the Yukon River. These provisions are necessarily left in warehouses on the banks of the great river. But the miners, who are the consumers, need them at their claims, which are from 10 to 100 miles away from the river. Now, it should be remembered that there are no roads in Alaska as they exist in other sections of the United States; and, with the almost illimitable area of bog and swamp and tundra

and frozen subsoil, it will be impossible to make and maintain roads, except at a cost that would be practically prohibitive.

In summer the supplies are loaded into small boats, which are poled up the small streams or packed on men's backs to the mines. In winter they are hauled on dog sleds. This costs heavily. From Circle City to the Birch Creek mines, a distance of about 50 miles, the freight is 10 cents a pound ($200 a ton) in winter and 40 cents in summer ($800 a ton). From Dawson to the Klondike mines, a distance of 15 miles, the freight last winter was 8 cents a pound ($160 a ton), and this summer 25 cents, or $500 a ton of freight 15 miles. In addition to the expense, the carrying capacity is too limited. A load is from 100 to 125 pounds on a sled per dog, a portion of which is food for the dogs, and if the route is a long one, without intervening sources of supply, they can not carry more food than is sufficient for themselves. So far they have failed in supplying the mines with a sufficient stock of provisions.

Last winter the steamer Bella was caught in the ice and frozen up at Fort Yukon, 80 miles distant from Circle City. An effort was made to forward the provisions with dog teams on the ice, but it was a failure. The food could not be moved in sufficient quantities and with sufficient speed to supply the miners of the Upper Yukon, and by spring at Dawson City flour ran up to over $100 per barrel, $50 to $125 per 100 pounds.

A few horses have been brought into the country, but in the absence of roads, scarcity of food, and rigor of winter climate they have not proved a success. At Dawson, although the wages of a man and team are $50 a day, yet even that does not pay, with hay at $125 to $150 per ton (and not a pound to be had when I was there in July even at those figures), and the horses fed on bread made from flour ranging in price from $100 to $200 per barrel.

The only solution of the question of reasonable land transportation and rapid communication and travel between mining centers hundreds of miles apart in subarctic Alaska is the introduction and utilizing of domestic reindeer.

The reindeer is to the far north what the camel is to desert regions, the animal which God has provided and adapted for the peculiar, special conditions which exist. The greater the degree of cold, the better the reindeer thrives. Last winter a party of them hauling nine sleds made a day's journey with the temperature at 73 below zero. On a long journey through an uninhabited country a dog team can not haul sufficient provisions to feed themselves. A deer, with 200 pounds on the sled, can travel up and down the mountains and over the plains without a road or trail from one end of Alaska to the other, living on the moss found in the country where he travels. In the four months' travel of 2,000 miles last winter the deer were turned out at night to find their own provisions, except upon a stretch of the Yukon Valley below Anvik, a distance of 40 miles. The great mining interests of central Alaska can not realize their fullest development until the domestic reindeer are introduced in sufficient numbers to do the work of supplying the miners with provisions and freight and giving the miner speedy communication with the outside world. It now takes from fifty to sixty days to carry the mail between Juneau and Circle City. With the establishment of relay stations at suitable distances the reindeer teams will carry the same mail in four or five days.

The reindeer is equally important to the prospector. Prospecting at a distance from the base of supplies is now impossible. The prospector can go only as far as the 100 pounds of provisions, blankets, and tools will last him, and then he must return. With ten head of reindeer, packing 100 pounds each, making half a ton of supplies, he can be gone for months, penetrating regions hundreds of miles distant, his deer grazing wherever night finds him. The possibilities are so great, that in the days to come it will be a matter of surprise that the utilization of the deer was not vigorously pushed at the start.


In 1892 the introduction of domestic reindeer into Alaska was undertaken to provide a new food supply for the Eskimo. The new demand that has now arisen to assist the miners in the opening of the country emphasizes the imperative need of some method of procuring the deer from Siberia in larger numbers. To assist in this, last winter permission was secured from the Russian Government at St. Petersburg, through the regular official channels, for the United States to locate an agent at some suitable point on the coast of Siberia for the continuous purchase of reindeer through the year. Hitherto the work of purchasing has been confined to five

or six weeks in summer.

By extending the time for purchasing through the whole year it is hoped to be able to secure a large number and have them on the coast ready for transporta

tion during the short summer, when Bering Sea and the adjacent arctic coast are free from ice. Mr. John W. Kelly, who has spent years in arctic Alaska and is familiar with the conditions of the country, was appointed agent. Associated with him are Conrad Siem and Mr. A. St. Leger, both of whom have had years of experience with the natives of the Arctic.

A good opportunity offering, Conrad Siem took passage on the whaler Bonanza May 29. Mr. Kelly, with supplies and stock of barter goods, sailed from San Francisco June 9 on the schooner Volant, reaching St. Lawrence Bay, Siberia, on July 17, three days after the arrival of Mr. Siem.

When the needs of the reindeer for domestication and transportation are met, early steps should be taken to stock the larger islands of Alaska, especially those in Bering Sea and along the Aleutian group.

In Dr. G. Hartwig's Polar World, page 89, it is stated that "In the year 1770 thirteen reindeer were brought into Iceland from Norway. Ten died on the passage, but the three which survived have multiplied so fast that large herds now (1859) roam over the uninhabited wastes. During the winter, when hunger drives them into the lower districts, they are frequently shot, but no attempts have been made to tame them."


Since the commencement of the herd in 1892 the obstacles that it was predicted would prevent the successful introduction of domestic reindeer into Alaska have either been proved to be groundless or have one by one been met and overcome. Having shown by actual experience that they could be bought, transported, and successfully propagated, it remained to give a practical demonstration of their ability to traverse any part of the country under the most unfavorable circumstances and with a temperature at times lower than experienced by some of the Arctic expeditions.

This was done last winter, in accordance with your directions. At 3 p. m. on the 10th of December, 1896, with the temperature at 15° below zero, Mr. William A. Kjellmann, the superintendent, accompanied by the Lapps Per Aslaksen Rist and Mikkel J. Nakkila, started from the Teller Station with 9 sleds and 17 head of reindeer to demonstrate the capacity of the hardy and swift animal for winter travel in Alaska. Native trails and well-known sections of country were ignored, to show their ability to go anywhere. The course, while traveled by compass, was a zigzag one, in order to better learn the extent and abundance of moss pasturage. Scaling high mountain ranges, shooting down precipitous declivities with tobogganing speed, plodding through valleys filled with deeply drifted snow, laboriously cutting a way through the man-high underbrush of the forest, or steering across the trackless tundra, never before trodden by the foot of white man; gliding over the hard-crusted snow, or wading through slush 2 feet deep on imperfectly frozen rivers unknown to geographers, were the experiences of the trip.

The second day of the journey, with the temperature 43° below zero, and over a rough, broken, and pathless country, they made a distance of 60 m les.

After celebrating Christmas with Rev. Mr. Hultberg and the Swedish missionaries on Golovin Bay, December 30 found Mr. Kjellmann's party crossing Norton Sound, an arm of Bering Sea, and getting into a crevasse filled with snow, from which they escaped without much damage.

The next day. keeping on the ice along the coast, hummocks were found so steep that steps had to be cut up and over them to enable the deer to cross.

On New Year's day, coming to a flagstaff projecting from a huge snow bank, they found under it, completely buried in the snow, the comfortable home of the Rev. Mr. Karlsen and the Swedish missionaries at Unalaklik. On the afternoon of January 11 and morning of the 12th, 85 miles were made in twelve hours. The native guides at St. Michael being afraid to undertake a winter trip across the country to Ikogmute, the Russian mission on the Yukon River, and affirming that it could not be done, Mr. Kjellmann started on January 19 without them, traveling by compass.

On the 23d, while crossing a barren mountain range, they were overtaken by that dread specter of arctic regions, a Russian poorga." Neither man nor beast could stand against the blast. The reindeer were blown down and the loaded sleds overturned. The men, throwing themselves flat, clung to one another and to mother earth to keep from being blown away. Stones and pieces of crushed ice flew by, darkening the air. A lull coming toward evening, with great difficulty a little coffee was made, after which the storm broke with renewed fury during a night which to the travelers, clinging to the earth with desperation,

1 An arctic blizzard.

seemed endless. The following day a belt of timber was reached and rest and safety secured. January 25 and 26 found them cutting a way for the deer and sleds through a dense forest, from which they finally emerged to wade through snow and water 2 feet deep and the temperature at zero. On the 31st they encountered a succession of driving, blinding snowstorms while crossing the tundra south of the Yukon delta, being reduced to such straits that they were compelled to cut the railing from their sleds for fuel. On February 5 the storm passed away, leaving the temperature at 73° below zero, causing even the reindeer to break loose from their tethers and tramp ceaselessly around the tents for warmth. Notwithstanding the severe cold the journey was continued, and at 2 o'clock in the afternoon they found shelter and a warm welcome from the Moravian missionaries at Bethel. On the 10th of March, between the Kuskokwim and Yukon rivers, a lake 15 miles wide was crossed.

The struggle for life commenced, however, on the 11th, when they reached the Yukon, and, contrary to information, found no moss for the deer. A push was made up the Yukon to reach, if possible, the Episcopal mission at Anvik. There being no food, the march was kept up all night, plowing their way through loose snow from 2 to 4 feet deep, and on through the 12th with snow falling fast. That afternoon two of the deer fell dead and were left with their sleds where they fell, while the journey continued uninterruptedly through the blinding snow the second night. On the 13th two more deer dropped dead and were abandoned, as the party with desperate energy pushed ahead day and night for food and life. On the 14th another deer fell in his traces. That evening a native hut was reached and the continuous march of four days and three nights without sleep or rest and without food for the deer was over. Trees were cut down by the Lapps that the deer might browse on the black moss that hung from them, while Mr. Kjellmann, suffering with a high fever, was put to bed by the medicine woman, and dosed with tea made from some medicinal bark. On the 17th one of the Lapps, who had been scouring the country, reported moss upon a mountain 60 miles away. The deer were unharnessed and driven to the distant pasturage, while Mr. Kjellmann continued his journey to Anvik on skis. In the hospitable home of Rev. Mr. Chapman he was nursed back to health and strength.

The return journey to the Teller Station was made without any special adventure, except, on the 16th of April, getting into a crack in the ice while crossing Norton Sound and soaking the load with salt water. On the 24th of April the Teller Station was safely reached after a trip of 2,000 miles, the longest ever recorded in any land as made by the same reindeer.

The result of this trial trip has convinced missionaries, miners, traders, and others residing in northern and central Alaska that domestic reindeer can do for them what they have been doing for centuries in Lapland. That when introduced in sufficient numbers they will supplant dogs, both for traveling and freighting, furnish a rapid means of communication between widely separated communities, and render possible the full and profitable development of the rich mineral interests.


During July and August, through the courtesy of the North American Trading and Transportation Company, I was able to take Mr. William A. Kjellmann and make a trip of 1,600 miles up the Yukon River. This trip was made to secure for you the information you sought with regard to the adaptation of the country for reindeer and the special conditions which will meet the introduction of reindeer freighting. The results of the trip were satisfactory, and I returned more than ever deeply impressed that the great pressing need of the hour is more reindeer and more Lapps.


As year by year increasing numbers of reindeer are passing into the ownership of the apprentices and missions, and as others are looking forward to ownership in the near future, it is important that rules should be formulated for the regulation and registering of brands that mark such ownership.


Leaving Washington on the 1st of June last, I embarked at Seattle on the steamship Portland, of the North American Transportation and Trading Company, on the 12th, reaching Unalaska, Dutch Harbor, on the 21st. Two days were spent at Unalaska visiting the school and attending to school matters.

ED 97-103

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