Notes and Comments

hunting spear

Signed drawing by Native student, c. 1900 Š 2001 Kathleen Lopp Smith

Proceeds from the sales of Neeluk benefit
the Wales Health Clinic, the Howard Rock Scholarship Program,
and the Colin Gilmore Memorial Fund at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
(for Alaska Native undergraduate students).

A book featuring Tom and Ellen Lopp

In a Far Country: The True Story of a Mission, a Marriage,
a Murder, and the Remarkable Reindeer Rescue of 1898

by John Taliaferro
Public Affairs, 2006.

"In the fall of 1897, eight whaling ships became trapped in the ice on Alaska's northern coast. Without relief, two hundred whalers would starve to death by winter's end. Mercifully, an extraordinary missionary, Tom Lopp, and seven Eskimo herders embarked on a harrowing journey to save the whalers, driving four hundred reindeer more than seven hundred untracked miles. At the heart of the rescue expedition lies another, in some ways more compelling, journey. In a Far Country is the personal odyssey of Tom and his wife Ellen Lopp--their commitment to the natives and the rugged but happy life they built for themselves amid a treeless tundra at the top of the world. The Lopps pulled through on grit and wits, on humility and humor, on trust and love, and by the grace of God..."

Another book about Wales

A World Apart
My Life among the Eskimos of Alaska

by Wilford Corbin
Wizard Works, 2000.

Wilford Corbin, with his wife Virginia and young son, arrived in Wales in August 1955 where he was the sole teacher for two years. Many descriptions of life in the village and his experiences are remarkably like those of the Lopps, as reflected in Ellen's letters from about sixty years earlier. His writings reveal a similar love and respect for the Iņupiat people and an eagerness to learn about their culture and ways. Several of the names Corbin recorded in A World Apart will be familiar to readers of Ice Window. A few elders had been students of Tom and Ellen. Many younger people were descendants of students from the earlier time, as both given and surnames indicate. Corbin also taught in Scammon Bay, and he wrote about his time there with his family, as well as their return to the "Lower Forty-eight."

Howard "Weyahok" Rock line drawings Š 2001 Kathleen Lopp Smith. Some appear in Neeluk.

Kathleen Lopp Smith

October 14, 1933 - September 29, 2003

Please direct inquiries and comments to Verbeck Smith at:

verbeck [at]


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Site revised 27 February 2008