AHS Blog | News
Honoring Our Past, Celebrating Our Present, Igniting Our Future
Wasilla Centennial Kick Off Celebration
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Menard Center at 1001 S. Clapp Street in Wasilla
11:00 am to 2:00 pm: Family Free Skate
12:00 pm: Centennial Bake Off Competition
7:00 to 10:00 pm: Centennial Ball and City Families Presentation; Music and Food
Please join the Dorothy G. Page Museum at 323 N. Main Street, Wasilla in celebrating the City of Wasilla’s one hundred year anniversary. Enjoy various events throughout the day. Don’t miss an evening of memories, good food, good music, good company and good times. Come honor those in our community who have seen Wasilla throughout the years.
For more information: www.cityofwasilla.com/centennial
University of Alaska Press announces the release of
Sewards’ Folly: A New Look at the Alaska Purchase
By Lee A. Farrow
Available December 2016
Paper Price: $25.95
About the Book:
The Alaska Purchase—denounced at the time as “Seward’s Folly” but now seen as a masterstroke—is well known as a key moment in American history. But few know the whole story.
This book aims to correct that. Lee A. Farrow offers here a detailed account of just what the Alaska Purchase was, how it came about, its impact at the time, and more. Farrow shows why both America and Russia had plenty of good reasons to want the sale to occur, including Russia’s desire to let go of an unprofitable, hard-to-manage colony and the belief in the United States that securing Alaska could help the nation facilitate control of the continent and, many believed, eventually lead to the absorption of British Columbia. Farrow also delves into the implications of the deal for foreign policy and international diplomacy far beyond Russia and the United States at a moment when the global balance of power was in question.
A thorough, readable retelling of a story we only think we know, Seward’s Folly will become the standard book on the Alaska Purchase.
Lee A. Farrow is distinguished teaching professor in the Department of History at Auburn University at Montgomery and director of Auburn’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.
150 Years: Kenai Peninsula History Conference
In April, 2017, the Kenai Peninsula will host its first local history conference in 43 years. This event coincides with statewide observances of the 150th anniversary of the United States’ purchase of Alaska. You are invited to submit ideas for presentations at the main conference, to be held April 21 and 22, 2017 (the Friday and Saturday after Easter) at the Kenai Peninsula College Kenai River Campus in Soldotna.
We are seeking people to read or present talks on the conference themes of:
- The transition from Russian to US rule in Southcentral Alaska;
- The Kenai Peninsula in the mid to late 1800s (society, economy, history, religion, culture, resource use);
- Interactions among the region’s Sugpiaq, Dena’ina, Russian, and US cultures; and
- Modern legacies and issues tracing back to the transfer
Below is a more detailed list of potential topics.
Talks should be a maximum of 15 minutes long, suitable for high-school students and older audiences, and based on either original research or sources that can be cited. Team presentations are fine. We ask presenters to grant permission for recording their talks, and to submit written versions to be included in the conference proceedings book afterwards.
You are also encouraged to submit proposals for posters, panel discussions, field trips, or other activities compatible with the conference. And volunteers are always welcome.
If you want to do a presentation, please submit a title and abstract (summary of what you want to talk about) no longer that 250 words. Email it to Shana Loshbaugh at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The submission deadline is January 15, 2017. If you have questions or want to brainstorm ideas, call her at 907-460-7554.
Presenters are required to register for the conference and will receive a 20% discount. Registration will not open until January, and we do not yet know the cost but intend to keep it modest. We will provide editorial assistance in preparing talks for the published proceedings.
List of Possible Topics
Whose history? Issues of fairness, accuracy, inclusion, and power
What was the Treaty of Cession: origin and content
Exclusions of Alaskans from the decisions, then and now
Myths about the sale
Lingering legal questions about the treaty (Native and Russian)
Dena’ina role in controlling land-based furs
Sea mammal hunting in Chugach society
Sea otters in Alaska history; their near extinction
Changes in the fur trade associated with the early US period
Traditional trapping activities
Fur trading posts on the Kenai Peninsula
Ecosystem changes related to the fur trade
Other economic activities of the mid-1800s
Doroshin’s gold discoveries
Coal operations at Port Graham
Early fishing (subsistence & saltries?)
Lasting legacies of the Russian period
Role of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian language: Ninilchik dialect; loan words in Dena’ina and Sugt’stun
How do modern Russian immigrants and tourists see the Kenai Peninsula?
Community portraits: Kenai, Ninilchik, Nanwalek, Seldovia
Genealogy of original families
Diverse Native groups on the Kenai Peninsula
Diverse Russian ethnicities on the Kenai Peninsula – old and new
How historical forces relocated people and mixed diverse ethnicities
Native, Russian-American, or Sourdough?
What has it meant to be Creole?
Modern Creole views of Russian and Native cultures
Possible panel discussion on ethnic identities
Transmitting traditional values and cultures
Epidemics and population decline
Lost villages of the peninsula (such as the history of Kalifornsky Village)
Roles of indigenous women as leaders, slaves, workers, wives, and mothers
Findings from early historic archaeology sites
Changing livelihoods and resource uses
The transfer from Russian to US control
US presence in the region during the Russian period
What was the Russian presence in 1867?
How was news of the sale spread and received?
Arrival of US officials
First US descriptions/assessments of the Kenai Peninsula
The wreck of the Torrent
Kenai Peninsula life in the decades after the purchase
Time of US neglect?
Changes for Natives and Creoles
Russians who remained in the area
Changing role of the Russian Orthodox Church
First US citizens: traders? missionaries?
American use of Native and Russian information
Suppression of indigenous languages & traditions (such as potlatches)
US management of “Indians”
Discovery of the area’s natural bounty (first prospectors, explorers)
Personalities such as V. Stafeev, Mary Forgal Lowell, Chief Afanasii, Orthodox clergy, founders of Ninilchik
Adventurers such as Ivan Petroff, Joshua Slocum & George Holt
Revival of Native cultures?
What is special about the Kenai Peninsula?
How have attitudes changed?
What have we learned in 150 years?
Where should we be going in the future?
How can knowing our history help us create a better future?
Anchorage historian John Haile Cloe’s latest book, “Mission to the Kurils” has just been released (Todd Communications, $40).
The book is the first history written of the United States’ battle where American bombers spent two yeas after the Battle of Attu raiding Japanese strongholds in the chain of Kuril Islands. It remains largely unstudied and unrecognized, even by World War II buffs.
For a great article about the book and its contents, see The War After Attu: Anchorage Historian Writes the First History of Air Battle Launched from Alaska written by Mike Dunham and published in the Alaska Dispatch News on November 5, 2016.
JOHN CLOE will take part in a writers symposium on military topics at the Living Room Writers Group meeting sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Jitters Coffee Shop in Eagle River. He presents a talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at theAnchorage Museum, 625 C St. (enter by the door on Seventh Avenue) and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Veteran’s Day, at the Alaska Veterans Museum. The Veterans Museum also will have free admission 10 a.m.-5 p.m. that day. It is located at 333 W. Fourth Ave. behind the bronze statue of a soldier of the Alaska Territorial Guard. Cloe will also have a presentation at the UAA Campus Bookstore at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21.
Alaskans are invited to contribute a brief essay (150 words or less) to “150 Reasons We Love Alaska,” a publication to be distributed in early 2017 during Alaska’s sesquicentennial year.
Alaska Dispatch News in Anchorage will publish and distribute a booklet that will include all the contributions. Each contribution may be edited and then published with the author’s permission. Also, if a photo and caption tells the story, send that.
Your thoughts about Alaska music, art, books, science, food, relationships, adventures are welcomed; whatever describes who we are as Alaskans and what we want to be.
This project is modeled on the cover story of Time Magazine in July — “240 Reasons to Celebrate America.” http://time.com/topic/reasons-to-celebrate-america/
This project is being coordinated by the office of Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallot, and they are not just soliciting affirmations, but also overlooked history, the things we as a state can improve in the future, or humorous anecdotes about failure — all are a welcome. You may write about your occupation or specialty, but please don’t limit yourself. For example, in the Time Magazine issue the great jazz musician Wynton Marsalis celebrated Route 66, and many others gave shout-outs to their favorite regional foods or restaurants.
All points of view will all be honored – whatever your heritage or background might be – the more diverse the better. This event was a turning point for Alaska Native, Russian and American cultures.
The 150-word essay should be submitted no later than January 30th, 2017 to email@example.com.
If you have questions, you want to submit an essay, or recommend that someone specific be included, please reach out.