AHS Blog

2022 Annual Conference

Date Posted: July 7, 2022       Categories: News

Conflicting Visions in Alaska History
Alaska Historical Society Annual Conference
October 6-8 and 13-15, 2022

Alaskans burn President Jimmy Carter in effigy during the Alaska lands battle, circa 1978. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Collection. Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Alaska Historical Society will be hosting their 2022 annual conference on October 6-8 and 13-15, 2022, in collaboration with the Cook Inlet Historical Society. An in-person reception and keynote presentation by environmental historian Bathsheba Demuth (“History from a Dogsled: The Yukon and the Stakes of Telling the Past”) will occur at the Anchorage Museum on October 6 at 7pm and will be live streamed. The rest of the conference presentations and panel discussions will be virtual through the Crowdcast streaming application. Some in-person tours may also be available in Anchorage.

Conference Theme: Conflicting Visions in Alaska History

Alaska history provides numerous examples of conflicting visions. Russian colonizers coerced Native labor to pursue sea otters for a profitable commercial trade, disrupting the Native subsistence economy and decimating populations. Following the U.S. purchase of Alaska, conflicts arose as fortune-seekers reaped profits from this resource-rich territory, often with disastrous consequences to the indigenous people already occupying Alaska. The discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay and the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act set the stage for legal battles over land and resource use.

Other conflicting visions in our history revolved around education. For example, the practice of removing Alaska Native children from their communities and taking them to boarding schools, intended to educate and “civilize” them, harshly curtailed the transmission of Native language and culture. The conference will include a panel on Alaskan boarding schools, featuring former students at Mount Edgecumbe and other schools.

The conference also highlights the importance of recent history. Panels are planned on the rollout of ANCSA and preparations for the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, both of which occurred within the last 50 years. We plan to offer mini- workshops in methods of studying, archiving, interpreting and teaching recent history.

Stay tuned for more conference information as it becomes available, including a full program schedule. Conference registration is $50 and opens August 1.

For more information about Bathsheba Demuth and her presentation, see the Alaska Historical Society’s July 7, 2022 News Release: “National Author, Environmental Historian to Open Fall History Conference.”

For more information or questions, contact: Rachel Mason, Program Chair, rachel_mason@nps.gov