Alaska Natives and the Gold Rush
The wave of gold seekers coming north impacted Alaska Natives in many ways For some the stampedes brought illness, alcohol, destruction of forests and hunting grounds, violations of traditional lifestyles...and prejudice. For others it brought economic opportunity, introduction to modern inventions, and exposure to education and religion. Intermarriage left a legacy of children with mixed heritage. While some Native groups were taken advantage of, other, more entrepreneurial Natives found a chance to reverse the role. The Chilkoot Indians were aggressive businessmen, they laid claim to their trail through the pass, excluding other tribes from its use. They provided very competent packing services to miners at prices that ranged from about $5 to $15 per hundred pounds. They often fixed prices among themselves and held fast to their established fees. Chiefs were known to demand one dollar per head for every white man passing through their country.
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