Glossary of Terms
Unique to the Klondike/Yukon Goldrush (1898), and the Alaska
by: Jack L. McSherry, III
Burning a hole - The process of digging down to paydirt,
which tends to be in a layer just
above the bedrock. A fire is built on the permafrost, and as the ground
it is removed, followed by building another fire. This continues until
depth is achieved.
Cheechako - A person on their first trip to Alaska, or the
Yukon. Or a person who is in Alaska, or
the Yukon, for less than a year. Primarily used as a word meaning
novice or "green-horn."
Golden stairs - Another name for the Chilkoot Pass, along
the trail from Dyea, Alaska to Lake
Bennett, British Columbia. The pass at one time during the 1898 goldrush
had ice steps cut into the mountain.
Outside - Anywhere but Alaska and the gold regions of the
Pay-dirt - The dirt, gravel, and gold dug from a mine
prior to being washed to remove the gold.
Siwash - An Indian word for Native. (Said to be derogatory)
Skookum - An Indian word meaning strong.
Sluice - A man made wooden channel, having ribs or slats
on the bottom. Water is diverted through
the sluice, and pay-dirt shoveld in. The gold is caught in the slats, and
the dirt and gravel is
Sourdough - A person haveing been on more than one trip to
Alaska, or the Yukon. A person that
has been in Alaska, or the Yukon, for more than one year. A person that
a seasoned expert.
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