July 23, 2009
We went to a musk ox farm outside of Palmer – a non-profit farm established to provide musk ox fiber (qiviut) to Native people in remote Alaskan villages. The women from these villages knit beautiful qiviut items by hand to supplement their subsistence lifestyle. Qiviut is 8 times warmer than sheep’s wool, does not itch, and does not shrink. It is a very rare fiber and the knitted items are very expensive.
A few miles up the road we stopped at the Alpine Historical Park in Sutton. In 1920 the US Navy appropriated one million dollars for development of the Wishbone Hill Coal Mining District. This included the construction of the massive coal washery located at the site of the park. The washery cleaned the coal mined in the area. By 1925 the Navy determined that the coal was deficient and shut down the mine and washery. The washery, which cost $400,000 to build, only operated 6 months. There was also displays on the Native people and on the building of the Glenn Highway.