"Community" Was The Keyword In The Copper Valley In This 1960s Local Paper

Looking Back  The Copper River Current  Newspaper: An Extraordinary Sense Of Community In The Years Before The Pipeline  The Current Was Pub...

Looking Back 

The Copper River Current Newspaper: An Extraordinary Sense Of Community In The Years Before The Pipeline 

The Current Was Published Between 1962 & 1967 

From June, 1962 to December, 1967, there was a small newspaper in the Copper River Valley. 

It was called the Copper River Current. It was staffed by volunteers. The original editor was Earl Barnard, the Texas-born son-in-law of Henra Sundt, a Norwegian immigrant, who owned Gakona Lodge. When the Current first began, there was a staff of "community reporters." These included Carol Neeley in Chistochina; Sally McMahan and Marguerite Barnard in Gakona; Eileen Ewan (later followed by Stella Ewan) in Gulkana; Dr. Jim Pinneo at Faith Hospital; "Mrs Webb" in Copper Center; Howard Kibble in Kenny Lake, and Adina Knutson in Kenny Lake. 

The need to unite into larger streams of force exists. Individuals only need to know neighbors to exchange progressive ideas and plans for the future. Communities need to join in common actions to obtain the maximum potentials from the vast oil, mineral, timber and water resources of the Copper River Basin…

The Copper River Current becomes another rivulet in the tremendous forces of man and nature.


 - Copper River Current 

It was a different time. But the problem of alienation due to the region's vast distances were obvious, even then. As was the need to address them directly. 

The Copper River Current was dedicated to "the need to unite". The Current threw itself into promoting "the need to know neighbors" and encouraged "united community action". It was non partisan. And it was crammed with everyday news of the comings and goings of people in the region. 

Back then, when someone drove to Anchorage it was an event – which the Current would dutifully report. 

The paper was decidedly homemade. It was typed on a typewriter. The ads were made with stenciled words and sketches.

But the spirit of the paper, which reflected a pre-Pipeline Copper Valley, was overwhelmingly inclusive, and reflected a unified view of what was important in our community – and who was important. 

Absolutely everybody was important. 

Businesses Of The 1960s 




News From Chistochina. By Carol Neeley 

All the hunters have left here with their sheep and caribou. So it’s getting back to normal again.

Red DeSpain is back from Alpine, via Chitina.

Howard Sanford and Harold Gene are making a trip to Anchorage for a new car. Maybe.

We are trying to get lines up to some of the houses to get power from the plant at Chistochina Lodge.

News is a little scarce…

News From Gulkana. By Stella Ewan

Mr. & Mrs. Oscar Ewan have gone to Ewan Lake to fish.

Ena Snell has been at the ANS Hospital. She is home now and feeling fine.

Lots of us got our moose this past two weeks but Stella is still looking. 

Brother and Sisterhood will have election meetings soon, October 8th at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall at Copper Center. Everyone please be there.

We also hope to have a council meeting soon here at Gulkana Village.

Fred & Stella Ewan In Car Wreck. 

Monday night as Mr. & Mrs. Fred Ewan were on their way to an Alaska Native Brotherhood meeting at Copper Center, they rammed into a 40’ trailer. The night was foggy and the trailer did not have flares out. Meeting a car directly behind the trailer blinded Mr. Ewan. Stella received one broken rib and cuts and bruises about the face and leg. Mrs. Snell and Mr. Jack Craig, passengers, received cuts and scratches. Mr. Ewan received bruises and is still shook up.


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