Musher honored for blazing Iditarod trail
The Wasilla Musher’s Wall of Fame added a new face over the weekend. Jujiro Wada was considered by many to be a pioneer of the Iditarod trail and a legend in the dog mushing culture in Alaska.
Born in Japan, Wada stowed away on a boat headed for San Francisco where he was shanghighed and forced to sign a contract to work on a whaling ship.
From there, Wada made his way north to Alaska and became a successful fur trader, runner, miner and, of course, musher. He was a jack of all trades.
In 1906, Wada was honored with the title of king of the Inuit people for all the help he offered them. He was also celebrated for his ability to negotiate fair fur trade prices between the Inuit and visiting fur traders.
One of his many accomplishments was his efforts in blazing the Iditarod trail from Seward to the Iditarod in 1910.
“I think it’s time we recognized Jujiro for who he was,” said Fran Seager of the Mat-Su Borough. “He traveled about 45,000 miles in his lifetime, most of it in the Arctic. He spent a lot of time in the northwest territories. He was on Herschel Island. He assisted with the whaling ships when they got locked in the ice in the Arctic. He was everywhere.”