The True Story of the Discovery of Gold at Bonanza Creek: A Tlingit Legend (1997)



Paperback

Recorded by Dr. Frederica de Laguna;

Illustrations by Dale DeArmond

Published by Lapcat Publications

49 pages


Contains (16) sixteen wood engraving illustrations by DeArmond. Very few illustrations from this book are known to have been printed. Click on any image below to learn more information (when available). 

From the foreward: 

​Dale DeArmond is a well-known Alaskan author and artist, and her husband Bob is a noted historian. Their combined talents have produced a book we believe you will enjoy. 

This small book tells two versions of how gold was discovered on Bonanza Creek in the Yukon Territory of Canada back in 1896. One version reflects the story as told through the oral history of the Tlingits of Southeast Alaska, while the other narrates events reported by gold rush participants, or by the writings of historians or others who tell the story from the viewpoints of more distant observers. Readers are left to decide for themselves just what did happen in that remote place more than one hundred years ago. Either way, it was a legendary event in history. 

Introduction from the book: 

​The legend, "The True Story of the Discovery of Gold," was told to Dr. Frederica de Laguna by Minnie Johnson at the Tlingit village of Yakutat on July 9, 1952. Minnie Johnson said that her grandmother's cousin had been married to Kukec, known as Skookum Jim. According to James Albert Johnson's biography of George Carmack, Skookum Jim, a Tagish Indian, did marry a Tlingit woman at Dyea. Exactly where and when the legend had its beginnings is not known. 

Dr. de Laguna reported the legend, exactly as told by Minnie Johnson, in her three volume work, Under Mount St. Elias, which was published by the Smithsonian Institution. I have made minor alterations in the wording for clarity. 

There have been many gold discoveries in Canada and Alaska. This legend relates directly to the discovery on what became known as Bonanza Creek near Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada. This discovery resulted in the Klondike Gold Rush, so I have included Bonanza Creek in the title.                  – Dale B. DeArmond