Craig Mishler papers

Guide to the Craig Mishler papers
1943-2015, bulk 1988-1998

Collection number: HMC-1300.
Creator: Mishler, Craig.
Title: Craig Mishler papers.
Dates: 1943-2015, bulk 1988-1999.
Volume of collection: 8 cubic feet.
Language of materials: A majority of the collection is in English, however it also includes materials in Alutiiq, Tanacross, and Gwich’in.
Collection summary: Papers of an cultural Alaskan anthropologist and folklorist.

Biographical note:
Craig Mishler was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1942. He attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he received a B.A. in English in 1964. Following a year of graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder, he received a fellowship in American Studies at Washington State University, where he was awarded an M.A. in 1968. He then became a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) in Alaska. From 1968-1969 he worked as a VISTA in Fairbanks with the Hillcrest Home for Boys and with 1020 Second Avenue, a halfway house for recovering alcoholics.

In 1969, Craig began teaching English and the Humanities at Anchorage Community College (ACC) in Anchorage. In 1972, he received an NEH fellowship to do ethnographic fieldwork in rural Alaska and began working with the Gwich’in in northeast Alaska, studying and recording their language. He left ACC to return to graduate school in 1976 and received his doctorate in folklore and anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981.

Craig made a career with the State of Alaska, first as a historian with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources between 1982-1986, and then later as a subsistence resource specialist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Division of Subsistence, from 1989-1998. During his years with the ADF&G, Craig worked closely with the Alutiiq villages in Kodiak and with Aleuts in the Pribilof Islands. During this time, he continued to work with the Gwich’in and with the people at Tanacross. He was employed by Tanacross Impact Services on the Over-the-Horizon Backscatter Radar Project in 1988.

From 2011-2015 he was a research professor at the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, under a grant from the National Science Foundation. He is the author, co-author, or editor of eight books, including The blind man and the loon: the story of a tale, published in 2013 by the University of Nebraska Press.

Collection description:
The collection contains files related to Mishler’s employment with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which include his work in Kodiak, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill litigation, as well as consulting and field work documenting the impact of the oil spill primarily in Ouzinkie and Old Harbor. The collection also contains genealogical files and interviews with people from Upper Tanana and Tanacross, files relating to the Over-the-Horizon Backscatter Project, and his work with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Survey at Dot Lake and Big Delta. The collection includes research materials related to the history of the Gwich’in, biographical files of Gwich’in individuals, translations and transcripts of interviews with Gwich’in individuals, materials related to Gwich’in communities, and materials related to Gwich’in language. The collection also contains Mishler’s research and notes mostly pertaining to his papers, projects, and presentations, including the book Crow is my boss: the oral life history of a Tanacross Athabaskan elder.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged in the order in which it arrived at Archives and Special Collections.

Access restrictions: Some materials are restricted due to the presence of personally identifiable information. These items are noted in the container list below. Because the collection contains potentially culturally and personally sensitive information, prior to access all researchers must sign an archives-provided form agreeing to abide by the American Anthropological Association’s Code of Ethics in using this collection Please contact an archivist for further information.

Digitized copies: This collection has not been digitized. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: Craig Mishler retains copyright to the materials in the collection. The Archives can grant permission for use of collection materials.

Preferred citation: Craig Mishler papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory: Biographical information was provided by the donor.

Acquisition note: The collection was donated to Archives and Special Collections, and a deed of gift signed, by Craig Mishler in 2018.

Processing information: This collection was described by Veronica Denison in 2018. Original folder titles were retained.

Container list:



Description Dates
1/1 Kodiak Airport Consulting 2005-2006
1/2 Buybacks MSS [Minerals Management Service] EVOS [Exxon Valdez Oil Spill] 1996-1999
1/3 Storage Boxes ADF&G [Alaska Department of Fish and Game] undated
1/4 Alutiiq Foodways undated, 1991
1/5 Alutiiq Kinship 1991-1998
1/6 Alutiiq Weather Lore 1989-1999
1/7 Ethnography Comments 1998
1/8 Black Ducks and Salmon Bellies 1997-2004
1/9 Black Ducks Maps (4) undated
1/10 MMS Workshop Aug 12-14 1996-1998
1/11 Black Ducks Maps undated, 1998-2002
1/12 Alutiiq Language undated
1/13 Alutiiq Vikings 1992-1996
1/14 MMSII Kodiak Chapters [Old Harbor and Ouzinkie] undated
1/15 Kodiak Alutiiq Kinship Terms undated, 1989
1/16 ABC News: Video Old Harbor 1998
1/17 BIA records: Ouzinkie and Afognak 1943-1950
1/18 RESTRICTED: Kodiak Release Forms/Signed 1996-1997
1/19 Kozley: Ouzinkie 1963 1963
1/20 Kodiak Village and Agency Contacts 1995-1996
1/21 Ouzinkie Ethnography [includes Xerox copy of “Spruce Bough” published by the students of the Ouzinkie Government School 1946] 1996-1997
1/22 Aurcaq Dart Game 1997
1/23 Ouzinkie Census 1946/1934 [Xerox copies of census] undated
1/24 Alutiiq Species Names 1991
1/25 Old Harbor News MSS.[Alaska Anthropological Association 33rd Annual Meeting in Kodiak, Alaska 2006] undated, 2006
1/26 Old Harbor Village Maps [most are hand drawn] undated
1/27 Old Harbor History [includes Xerox copies of documents from 1934-1949] undated, 1993, 2007
1/28 Alutiiq Vikings 1996
1/29 Alutiiq Vikings Census undated
1/30 Old Harbor Interviews: Kana [Interviews with Larry Matfay, Anakenti and Senafont Zeeder] 1983-1987
1/31 BIA Tapes: Old Harbor 1996
1/32 RESTRICTED: Release Forms: Kodiak 1998, 2007
1/33 Looking Both Ways Catalog undated, 1997-1998
1/34 Alutiiq Place Names undated, 1989-1990
1/35 Paul Kahutak Old Harbor [Interviews] 1987-2004
1/36 Dora Aga Larsen Bay [Obituaries] 1996
1/37 George Inga Sr. Old Harbor [Includes interview] 1991-2008
1/38 Sven and Mary Haakanson Sr. [Interview] 1997, 2002
1/39 Hender Toms [Interview] 1997
1/40 Panguingue: Card Game undated, 2000
1/41 Ed Opheim Sr. [Interview] 1997
1/42 Martha Anderson [Interview] 1996-1997
1/43 Arthur Haakanson [Interview] 1997
1/44 Nick Pestrikoff Sr. [Interview] 1997
1/45 Ephraim Agnot, Akiok [Obituary and letter] 1994-1995
1/46 Reed Oswalt [Interview] 1997
1/47 Alutiiq Social Structure undated
1/48 Alutiiq Museum Transcripts 1987-1996
1/49 Larsen Bay Genealogies #1 1992-1997
1/50 Larsen Bay Genealogies #2 undated, 1995-1997
1/51 Kodiak City Genealogies Rachel Mason undated
1/52 Old Harbor Families circa 1990-1998
1/53 Old Harbor Photos [most are Xerox copies of originals] undated
1/54 Old Harbor Census: 1930 [Xerox copy of 1930 census] undated
1/55 Old Harbor Census [Xerox copies of 1910, 1920, and1946 censuses] undated
1/56 Old Harbor Ethnography 1987-1999
1/57 Old Harbor 1979, 1986-1996
1/58 BIA Records: Old Harbor, Alitak [Xerox copies of records from 1950-1951] undated
1/59 A.C. Company Records undated
1/60 The Albatross 1888-1889 [R/V Albatross] undated, 1998
1/61 Ouzinkie History 1981-1998
1/62 Ouzinkie Genealogies circa 1990-1999
1/63 Ouzinkie Photos [Xerox copies] undated
1/64 Ouzinkie [Includes genealogies, maps, subsistence use areas] undated, 1990-1999
1/65 Old Harbor Photos [Xerox copies] undated
1/66 MMS3 Workshop 1997 1997
1/67 Walt Erickson [Interview] 1996, 1998
1/68 Ron Bernsten [Interview] 1997
1/69 Community Ethnographies [Interview] 1997
1/70 MMS: Ethnographic Q’s 1996-1997
1/71 Interview Questions/CE undated, 1997
1/72-2/5 Kodiak Alutiiq Genealogy Workshop funded by a National Science Foundation Grant: Includes two audiocassettes of workshop as well as workshop information circa 1997-2001
2/6 Tanacross Culture Camp 1966, 1998-2001
2/7 Old Trading Post/Big Delta 1984
2/8 John Hajdukovich 1999
2/9 Crippled Boy/Mansfield [The Crippled Boy Who Saved Mansfield told by Kenny Thomas St. in Tanacross. Includes story in Tanacross] 1999-2001
2/10 Kenny Thomas Tape Indexes undated, 1999
2/11 Book Reviews of Crow [Book reviews for Crow is my boss: The oral life history of a Tanacross Athabaskan Elder by Kenny Thomas Sr.] 2005-2006
2/12 Tanacross Kinship Terms undated, 2002
2/13 Kenny Thomas Sr. [Includes stories and tape transcripts] 1998-2008
2/14 Crow is my boss fliers 2004-2005
2/15 Crow is by boss illustrations undated, 2005
2/16 Tanacross Clans undated
2/17 Tanacross Place Names 1988, 2008
2/18 Mansfield Census 1910 [Xerox copies] undated
2/19 Tanacross Twist [Social Dance] 2000
2/20 Silas Solomon Tapes [Tape index] 1988
2/21 Tanacross Language 1999
2/22 Northway Memorial Potlatch 1988
2/23 Dance: Mansfield/Tanacross undated
2/24 Tanacross History 1969-2000
2/25 Tanacross Folklore [Copies of According to Papa as told by David Paul to Audrey Loftus 1957; and According to Mama as told by Laura David Anderson 1956] undated
2/26 Tanacross Place Names 2000, 2006
2/27 Delta Historical Society [Tape index] 1982-1987
2/28 Protocols: Tanacross OTH [Protocols/Tanacross Archaeology. Over-the-Horizon Backscatter Project] undated
2/29 Backscatter Radar: TIS [Over-the-Horizon Backscatter Project, Tanacross Impact Services] undated, 1974, 1988
2/30 Athabaskan Luke Tapes [Information from tape boxes] undated
2/31 Goodpaster Affidavits undated, 1994
2/32 Tanacross Place Names undated, 1983
2/33 Tape Indexes: Tanacross undated, 1984
2/34 Craig’s Field Notes: Big Delta [Big Delta Field Notes] 1983
2/35 Subsistence/Tanacross undated, 1978-1988
2/36 Tanacross Genealogies [Includes Xerox copies of 1900, 1937, 1938 census] undated, 1972-1989
2/37 Abraham and Eva Luke Land Claim undated, 1983-1994
2/38 Release Forms/Tanacross 1988
2/39 Alaska Native Place Names [Workshop] 2015
2/40 Tanacross: OTH Backscatter [Over-the-Horizon Backscatter Project] undated, 1988-1989
2/41 Paredes Dissertation Correspondence 1979-1993
2/42 Episcopal Church Archives 1993-1994
2/43 Tanacross Language undated, 1987
2/44 Abraham Luke [Includes Goodpaster field notebook] undated, 1983-1989
2/45 Abraham Luke Tape Index 1983
2/46 Tanacross Tape Indexes 1988
2/47 Transcriptions/Tanacross [Interviews with Gaither Paul and Silas Solomon] 1988
2/48 Alaska Society of Natural History and Ethnology (Sitka) undated, 1975-2002
2/49 Miscellaneous Papers and Notes ASNH&E [Alaska Society of Natural History and Ethnology] undated, 1972-1983
2/50 ASNH&E Meeting Dates undated, 1988-1995
2/51 Sitka: ASNHE MSS. 1987
2/52 DGGS [Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys] Reports: Craig 1982-1985
2/53 Doyon Region [Includes Mishler’s article Articulating a Native American folk region: the case for Doyon] undated, 1971-1977
2/54 Superstitions undated
2/55 Speech Play & Verbal Art undated
2/56 Frank Fontaine Fiddler undated, 2002
2/57 Indigenous Knowledge Conf. undated, 1994
3/1 Legends: Folk 1971-1987
3/2 Thomas Johnston [Bibliography] undated, 2001
3/3 History of Alaskan Anth [Anthropology] undated, 2001-2002
3/4 Alaskan Old-Time & Bluegrass [Includes Xerox copies of older documents] undated, 1942-1986
3/5 Margaret Hawk (Sioux) circa 1973-1975
3/6 Translation of Oral Texts [Elijah John] undated
3/7 Alaska Fishing Lore undated, 1971-1996
3/8 Henry & Hilma Shavings undated, 1991-2002
3/9 The Jinx Cabin undated, 1981
3/10 Craig’s Crossword Puzzles undated
3/11 Yesner & Holmes Critique [David Yesner and Charles Holmes] 1990
3/12 Rochester Callers Forum [Square Dancing] 1997-2002
3/13 Western Subarctic [Folklore] undated, 1978
3/14 Narrativity in Dead Birds 1977-1988
3/15 Video MSS [Video as a research and communication tool in Alaskan Applied Anthropology] undated
3/16 Pioneer Peak Ski Report 1984
3/17 Talkeetna Bachelors’ Society undated, 1991
3/18 ASNHE Meeting Minutes 1887-1905, 1910-1911 [Xerox copies of the meeting minutes, and includes Mishler’s notes] undated
3/19 Alutiiq Vikings 10 undated, 1994-1996
3/20 History of Alaskan Anthro [Anthropology] 1972-1987
3/21 Convergence Theory undated, 1981
3/22 Miscellaneous Papers [Papers written by Mishler] undated, 1976
3/23 Finland IASSA (International Arctic Social Science Association) 1994-1995
3/24 AFS’: Alaska Native Music [Alaska Native Music: Here and There, Now and Then by Craig Mishler presented at the American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Anchorage] 2001
3/25 Eskimo Gospel Music undated, 1989-2006
3/26 Aurcaq: Dart Game undated, 1997
3/27 Aurcaq: Dart Game undated, 1992-1993
3/28 Native New Life MSS undated, 1991-1994
3/29 Telling About Bear [Includes Telling About Bear: A Northern Athapaskan Men’s Riddle Tradition by Mishler] undated, 1983-1984
Box 4 Gwich’in history [Includes photocopies of documents, circa 1840-1949] circa 1971-1988
Box 5 Gwich’in biographical files undated
Box 6 Gwich’in trancripts and translations undated, 1997-1998
Box 7 Gwich’in communities undated
Box 8 Gwich’in language files undated, 1998-2008

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