The Original Arctic Brotherhood Had Some Competition

The Arctic Brotherhood was not the first of its kind in the North. Several organizations formed in the early gold rush and pioneer days to meet the civic and social needs of the growing population. At that time there was a notable lack of government and an absence of a viable court system. The affairs of people and their community were handled by themselves, often through miners meetings. These organizations provided physical help–food, shelter, medical, and other assistance, while also promoting civic order–government, courts, and education.

Social and moral needs were met by hosting church services and school activities, and providing dances, dinners, holiday celebrations, and gathering places for conversation for those who spent many lonely days and months out in the Alaska bush. Rituals and ceremonies of these fraternal organizations were established and were very entertaining in keeping with the characteristics of life in the country.

Early organizations included:

  • Sons of the Northwest – founded in Sitka in 1887.
  • Alaska Pioneers – founded in Kodiak in 1887.
  • 87 Pioneers Association – founded in Juneau in 1887.
  • Yukon Order of the Pioneers – established at Forty-Mile on the Yukon River in 1894, and became the largest and most prominent in the area—Lodge No. 1 was at Dawson, Yukon Territory.  YOOP still exists today in Dawson & Whitehorse.
  • Order of the Alaska Moose – (not associated with the Loyal Order of Moose) was established in Valdez in 1899—”Tent No. 1″ was at Valdez.
  • Arctic Brotherhood – established in 1899 on the Steamboat Seattle bound for the Klondike in 189.  “Camp No. 1” was in Skagway and the driftwood facade building still stands.  “No boundary line here” was the official motto.
  • Pioneers of Alaska – established in 1908 and is still in existence today with 12 active “Igloos.”*

* above article was from the Pioneers of Alaska website and was slightly modified

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