Although I’m interested mainly in people of the Yukon area, I’m interested also in people in the North in general.
This photograph shows a beautiful Inuit woman and child from the Nome, Alaska, area.
It’s a uniquely beautiful photograph taken in the 1900-1902 time period, by the Loman brothers of Nome.
Sadly, in 1918, the toll was great from the influenza when it struck. Fifty-five per cent of the Inuit of Nome were killed.
The Yukon, around 1900, had a fairly large Inuit population, mostly living around Herschel Island.
I don’t know how the flu in 1918 affected them. Many native communities in the North, in Alaska, Yukon and the NWT, were ravaged by the influenza of 1918.
I remember my old friend, the late Taylor McGundy, telling me that his mother was one of the few people who survived at Little Salmon Village at the time of the 1918 flu pandemic in the Yukon.
Also, the late Paul Nieman, another friend of mine, was at Fort McPherson when a flu epidemic broke out in 1929 and killed 35 natives. He was the only white man at the fort at the time besides the Hudson Bay manager
There was no doctor in the country, so the RCMP gave Paul instructions, food and medicine to dole out to the people.
When he left Fort McPherson after the flu epidemic, he received presents from the native people, such as dog meat and dried fish.
They kissed him goodbye, wished him good luck and thanked him for helping them survive the flu. Johnny Kay, the second chief, gave Paul a long-barreled 30-30 for a present.
The RCMP also appreciated Paul’s help and gave him a cheque. Inspector Woods said, “That’s for the good work you did at Fort McPherson during the epidemic.”
We have to prepare for any new coming flus, etc. Experts are saying something is coming. I hope not.
I hope God’s at our side in the future, to protect everyone.
Photograph is from the Jim Robb Collection.
Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook – Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2E4, or e-mail through the News website, www.yukon-news.com.