I am a Tagish/Tlingit and a descendant of, and of the same clan as, Skookum Jim, who discovered gold and set off the Klondike gold rush in 1897 in Alaska and the Yukon. He was travelling with Tagish Charlie, who became known as Dawson Charlie after the gold rush, and his sister Kate, who would later marry the famous miner George Carmack. They were moving through the network of creeks and rivers by foot and carrying lots of gear when, one night, Skookum Jim had a dream about Wealth Woman.
The best-known story of Wealth Woman tells of hunters in the forest who could hear her child crying. They would focus on the sound and try to chase it, shedding their packs of clothes and following the voice before it became too faint. If she came into view they would try to touch her, knowing that she would grand them great wealth.
Skookum Jim awoke excited by her presence in his dream and continued on his quest for gold. They were walking a creek edge when they saw a deep hole with a frog in it, struggling to get out. They continued on their way, but after travelling several miles the fate of the frog continued to haunt Skookum, and he dropped his pack and ran back to rescue the frog. Frogs to our people are spiritual and second only to the land otter, so his respect for this creature is easy to understand. Soon after, they came to what is now known as Bonanza Creek, and the rest is history – they found gold!
Medium: Birch, gold leaf
Size: 9 × 5.75 × 3 inches