ALASKA LOCALISMS (Historic Information)
Bedrock. Generally this means the solid rock of the earth's bed. In the "North" it means no pay until " cleanup."
Below. Used by the residents of the Alaska coast towns to indicate they are going to Seattle or Vancouver.
Cache. Locally pronounced cash. In Alaska structures are built in trees and on posts far enough above ground to protect the contents from storms, dogs, bears, and other wild animals, and out of reach of fires. These are "caches," places of safety. In--everyday affairs the word is in frequent use as thus: '' Cache this" (take care of this), and the place of safety may be a man's pocket or the kitchen cupboard.
Chechacko. A new arrival in Alaska, previously termed a tenderfoot. The word is from the Chinook language and it is freely applied to everything shipped into, and not raised in, Alaska.
Chinook wind. Warm wind from the south.
Cleanup. The final process in placer mining; the cleaning up of the sluice boxes, removing the gold, drying and removing the black sand by magnet.
Dust. Small grains of gold. In mining camps where gold dust is used as a medium of exchange, when purchasing an article the question is asked, "Will you pay in dust or in chechacko money?" This latter means gold, silver, and paper money coming from the States. At the store you will hear, "Are these 'chechacko' spuds or 'sourdough'?"
Interior. Used by Alaskans to mean north of the Alaska range of mountains.
Limit. A local expression which newcomers should know the meaning of. It is used in giving directions for travel or designating the locality of a place. Looking down a stream, the right-hand side is the "right limit"; the left-hand side the "left limit" of the stream.
Using the form "fork" when facing up a stream, all streams coming into it on the left are called "left forks"; those coming in on the right are "right forks."
Mucklucks. Water boots made by the Eskimos.
Mush. This is the "sourdough" word for walk. They never use the term "walk." "I mushed" means "I walked." When driving dogs, '' mush on'' means start;'' mush'' means go.
Niggerheads. Grass clumps growing as tall as three feet and located from one to three feet apart.
"North" The. Means north of the Alaska range of mountains.
Outside. This word, as used, means the States. In common language one hears this question, "Are you going 'outside,' " or "Do you intend remaining in the 'interior'?"
Overflow. Water flowing; over the top of ice.
Parkay. Is used in the !Sorth in place of an overcoat. A slip-on having no opening front or back except at neck for putting on over head. It has a hood with only a face opening sewed on to the neck opening. The openings at face and arms have light fur trimmings and draw strings to close up as. weather demands. They are made of various materials but those most easily obtained aremade of denim or duck.
Placer. A mineral deposit, usually gold, not a vein; the name derived from the Spanish word meaning pleasure.
Quartz. Crystal rock.
Sluice box. A trough used in separating gold from the dirt and gravel in which it is found. This is accomplished by setting troughs on a grade (determined by the kind of gold) and turning on a flow of- water which carries off the sand, etc., and leaves the gold.
Siwashing. Camping without shelter of any kind except what can be constructed of brush, small trees, etc., or when lying beside a camp fire, unprotected by the weather.
Sourdough. Any one who has lived in Alaska a long time and who has seen the ice go out of the Yukon. Presumably derived from the dough used by the pioneers in making bread. It is sometimes used in reference to things grown, or which were originated, in the territory.
Tundra. Open timberless country covered with moss and niggerheads.
White Pass & Yukon R. R. Near Summit of White Pass, Alaska
Juneau, the Capital of Alaska