Alaska Native Heritage at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

An image of a native man dressed in a suit and hat.
Keish, later know as Skookum Jim Mason.

NPS, KLGO, Candy Waugaman Collection, KLGO Library DP-116-10570.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is located in Skagway, Alaska. This southeast area of Alaska in connection with lands of western Canada is on the traditional homelands of the Lingit/Tlingit and Tagish people. The Indigenous groups regularly utilized the region for hundreds of generations according to ethnographic studies.

Among those involved with the 1896 gold discovery that led to the Klondike Gold Rush were Shaaw Tlaa (Kate Carmack) and her brother Keish (Skookum Jim Mason). Born in Tagish (Yukon Territory) their family was tightly linked to the trade between the coastal Lingit and inland Tagish.

Before the 1880s, the Lingit closely guarded the Chilkoot Trail, which became the major access during the gold rush leading from Dyea through the Coast Mountains to Bennett, in British Columbia.

Learn more about Carcross-Tagish First Nation people.

Visit the park website at: Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service) (

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    Last updated: January 16, 2024