Week 4

Reindeer Journeys  – November 5 – November 11



This week you will begin your study of the history of reindeer in Alaska.


  1. Review the history of reindeer in Alaska
  2. Discuss historical figures and events related to Alaskan reindeer
  3. Synthesize information from lecture and readings.
  4. Formulate response to historical questions
  5. Discuss and evaluate the arguments of your peers


Instruction 3 hrs
Assignments 3 hrs
Collaboration 2 hrs

Week 4:  Reindeer Journeys

Herders and their animals have traveled together over a diversity of the world’s landscapes. I’ve had the good fortune to visit Mongolia and observe pastoralists and an assortment of domestic ungulates exploit a grazing regime from desert to alpine habitats. The environmental conditions in some of these areas were severe, especially on the fringes of the Gobi desert where goats and camels grazed on sparse vegetation in very dry, hot surroundings and the herders endured a harsh existence. In this section of the course I would like for us to explore, through the following readings, a few select epic journeys that herders and an incredibly hardy domestic ungulate – the reindeer – have undertaken across an unforgiving landscape. I invite all of you to visit the Reindeer Research Herd at the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, UAF to spend some time with these docile, gentle animals and then be amazed at their world travels. Please read the following adventures for this section of the course.



Lazell, J. Arthur.  Alaskan Apostle: The life story of Sheldon Jackson.  New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960. 135-158.

Lazell, J. Arthur.  Alaskan Apostle: The life story of Sheldon Jackson.  New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960. 159-173.

North, Dick.  Arctic Exodus: The last great trail drive.  pp 192-262. New York: Lyons Press, 2005.

Scotter, George.  “Reindeer Drive.”  Rangelands. 4.6 (1982): 239-243.

Seveck, Chester A. 1973.  The Longest Reindeer Herder: A fascinating true life story of an Alaskan Eskimo covering the period from 1890 to 1973.


By Midnight, Tuesday, write a brief (no more than 350 words) respond to one of the following questions and post it to the forums:

1. Do you think Inupiat reindeer herders will ever become traditional reindeer herders or will they remain traditional marine mammal hunters?

2. Discuss the characteristics of reindeer that promote or hinder the driving of large herds, long distances over remote Arctic landscapes.

3. The Saami people have been involved with the Alaskan reindeer industry since its inception. How has their involvement influenced the successes or failures of the Alaskan reindeer industry?

Use information from the readings and lecture to support your answers. Read and respond to at least two posts of your peers.


When you’ve completed the lectures and reading materials, give the following Cognitive Tutorial a try. If you are uncertain of something, return to the readings or lectures to find relevant information.


When you’re ready, take the Week 4  Blackboard quiz.