Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Last Great Race for Gold
January 17, 2014
There’s one Alaska history book I am really looking forward to reading this year. You may be aware of Kate Carmack (Shaaw Tláa). Her husband George Carmack allegedly found the gold that started the Klondike Gold Rush. I’ve written about her on the History page on this website, and she’s been featured in several other stories and books. Deb Vanasse has been working on what may be the definitive book about her, Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Last Great Race for Gold. Vanasse has found information that rounds out the previously sketchy parts of Kate’s life, including unfounded reports that she may have been the person who really discovered that gold.
According to Deb Vanasse’s research, George Carmack filed the “Discovery Claim” and the Yukon Order of Pioneers and others gave him full credit for the find. But an unpublished report shows George Carmack admitting that Kate’s brother made the find, and other information suggests that Kate herself may have found the first nugget.
To make things even worse, George Carmack treated Kate badly, eventually abandoning her in California and denigrating her character. As Deb Vanasse puts it, “It’s like a country song. ‘Somebody done somebody wrong.'” Vanasse’s book will tell the real story, including the indigenous perspective that is all too often left out of our history.
Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Last Great Race for Gold will be released in 2014. More about the book:
•Illuminates the social, cultural, and economic tensions along the frontier.
•A counterpoint to the usual Klondike narrative of intrepid adventurers driven by gold
• 97,000-word manuscript includes ten black and white archival photographs, two maps, endnotes, a bibliography, an index, and an author’s note
•The author has lived and traveled for thirty-five years in the North. Her previous books are with Penguin/Puffin, Houghton Mifflin, Sasquatch, Globe-Pequot, and the University of Alaska Press.