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Call for Submissions

Date Posted: December 8, 2016       Categories: News

150 Years: Kenai Peninsula History ConferenceAlaska-150-logo

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: kenaipeninsulahistory@gmail.com. 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.

For more information about the plans, see our website at: http://kenaipeninsulahist.wixsite.com/conference.

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)

Fur trade

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?)

Ship building

Lasting legacies of the Russian period

Role of the Russian Orthodox Church

Russian schools

Russian foods

Kitchen gardens

Place names

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

Ethnic identity

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

Social aspects

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

Fort Kenay

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

Americanization efforts

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

Summing up

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?


New Book by John Cloe

Date Posted: November 7, 2016       Categories: News

Anchorage historian John Haile Cloe’s latest book, “Mission to the Kurils” has just been released (Todd Communications, $40).

A B-25J from the Aleutians approaches Japanese targets in the Kuril Islands. (Army Air Force, 613ABW Hist. Office.)

A B-25J from the Aleutians approaches Japanese targets in the Kuril Islands. (Army Air Force, 613ABW Hist. Office.)

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.

150 Reasons We Love Alaska

Date Posted: November 7, 2016       Categories: News

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-150th-logoAlaska 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 gov.alaska150@alaska.gov.

If you have questions, you want to submit an essay, or recommend that someone specific be included, please reach out.

Alaska Sesquicentennial Commemorative Exhibit

Date Posted: November 7, 2016       Categories: News

Call for Artwork Proposals for Alaska Sesquicentennial Commemorative Exhibit at Sitka National Historical Park

Artists are invited to submit proposals to create artwork responding to the theme of, Alaska Native perspectives on the sale of Alaska to the United States and its long-term impacts today. Art created by selected artists will be on display at Sitka National Historical Park during 2017 in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Cession. Artwork will be displayed with statements by the artists, and the exhibit will be highlighted on the park website and through social media.

This opportunity is being offered as a result of a partnership between Sitka National Historical Park and University of Alaska Museum of the North, with the goal of developing a commemorative exhibit that celebrates Alaska Native cultures and acknowledges how transformative the last 150 years has been for the people of Alaska.

Proposal requirements and submission instructions may be found on the call detail entitled “Alaska Sesquicentennial Commemorative Exhibit at Sitka National Historical Park” on CaFÉ – CallForEntry.org (accessible via bitly link: http://bit.ly/150artcall). Interested artists should submit a proposal through CaFÉ by November 30, 2016. Submissions will be reviewed by University of Alaska Museum of the North and National Park Service project personnel. Proposals that best fit the theme, intent and physical parameters of the exhibit space will be accepted.

For more information please contact Museum of the North Curatorial Assistant Karinna Gomez at (907) 474-1828 or krgomez@alaska.edu.

Alaska Year of History and Heritage

Date Posted: October 31, 2016       Categories: News

proclamation-ak-year-of-history-and-heritageOn October 17, 2016, Alaska Governor Bill Walker declared 2017 the Alaska Year of History and Heritage. The proclamation is intended to celebrate the 15oth anniversary of the signing of the treaty of cession when Alaska was transferred from Russia to America. The hope is to encourage Alaskans to study, teach and reflect upon our state’s past and apply its lessons to a brighter and more inclusive future. Click here to read the governor’s Alaska Year of History and Heritage Proclamation.