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Canadian Illustrated News, Aug.7, 1880
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Discovering Gold in the Klondike, 1896

It was mid August in the year 1896, at a salmon fishing camp in the Yukon. George Carmack, his wife Shaaw Tlaa (also known as Kate) and their daughter had been joined by some relatives: Kate's brother Skookum Jim and her nephew Dawson Charlie. One day, along Rabbit Creek, gold was discovered by one or more of the family. Who was it?

Kate Carmack
Kate Carmack, 1898 (Yukon Archives, James Albert Johnson Collection 82/341 #21)
George Carmack is widely credited with finding the gold, but could it have been Kate?

"...while Carmack was resting, his wife in wandering around, found a bit of bedrock exposed and, taking a pan of dirt, washed it and found that she had some four dollars in coarse gold."
Fred N. Atwood, ed., The Alaska-Yukon Gold Book (Seattle: Sourdough Stampede Association, Inc., 1930), 30.

Another fellow, Nevill Armstrong, who knew George Carmack insisted that the three men were napping while Kate was out panning for gold and made the discovery that set off the Klondike Gold Rush.

More about Kate Carmack (Shaaw Tlaa):

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