Based on my reading of the primary, secondary and tertiary sources about the Klondike gold rush,I believe that Skookum Jim deserves the credit for being the original discoverer of the Klondike gold.The three most important pieces of evidence that support my thesis are Billy Johnson’s interview, Kitty Smith’s interview, and Charlene Porsild’s Text.
Billy Johnson’s interview claims that Skookum Jim was the first to discover Klondike gold. He claims that Skookum went to down to the river to get water and ended up stumbling upon gold. Skookum didn’t quite understand that he stumbled upon gold until someone told him, “gee whiz it just plenty shine, gee whiz, that’s a gold” I think that this piece of evidence is fairly strong considering there are a few similar stories that end up supporting each other.
Kitty Smith also claims that it was Jim who came across Klondike gold before anyone else. Her interview is fairly detailed yet it supports Billy Johnson’s interview they basically have the same story of what happened. For example Kitty Smith tells how Skookum didn’t know much about gold he didn’t even know he had gold until he asks, “I found something,” Jim tells him.” Later on in the text they ask George what he has because from that point they realized that it was gold. George knows gold the most out of all of them so they end up waking him up and he says “That’s gold!”
Charlene Porsild wrote a text about who was the first to discover Klondike gold. She didn’t give many details or even write who she thought did it of the three but she did say when they went off on their journey. Her timeline lines up with the two other interviews claiming Skookum Jim found the gold. She wrote, ” In mid August 1896 they discovered gold on Rabbit (Bonanza) Creek.” This gives the time of the year and the year it all happened while in the other stories you don’t get a direct date but you get an idea of when it all went down.
The main piece of evidence that contradicts my thesis is Warton’s text. David Wharton’s claims that George Washington Carmack discovered the gold when he was fishing. He gives several reasons for which someone could believe his story. In this text there are several witnesses mentioned. Charlene Porsild’s text mentions that it all happened in 1896 and so does this text which supports a part of this evidence. However i don’t find this piece of evidence very strong because It’s very unlikely that a man from California could’ve just floated upon gold. Also there is only one piece of evidence pointing towards Carmack discovering gold and there are three pieces of evidence pointing towards skookum which makes it more believable Skookum discovered the gold. The first interviews i read are also very similar in favour of Skookum. In addition The writer who claims Carmack discovered klondike gold doesn’t even sound like he believes it, writing “at least,this is the popularly accepted story” He sounds like hes just saying Carmack found it because it sounds like a more interesting story.
Therefore, I am justified in concluding that Skookum Jim was the original discoverer of Klondike gold.