A HOLIDAY in the Koyukuk has two principal attributes. It involves a general assemblage of the people of the region and it involves a dance. On Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's it involves in addition a certain amount of gorging. But as for any original significance which the holiday once possessed, that has largely disappeared.
The matter of assemblage has an importance in Wiseman out of all proportion to its moment in any of the more heavily populated regions. The diggings centering around this Koyukuk metropolis are so widely scattered, the extreme distance between Jack Rooney's hole at Big Lake and Dutch Henry's sniping on the South Fork being over seventy miles, that many men who have been in the country for over a quarter of a century have never even visited their friends' operations. Without some general congregation one would rapidly lose contact with most of one's fellowmen. But by these periodic gatherings of the citizens from all over the hills the gregarious instincts of the Koyukukers are assuaged, and this geographically scattered community becomes socially a most closely knit organization.
There were eleven major dances at the Pioneer Hall during the year I was in the Koyukuk. They occurred on each of the eight major holidays: Election Day, Thanksgiving,