2021 Conference Presentations

2021 Conference Program      Abstracts and Presenter Biographies


Keynote Speaker

Tom Kizzia is an award-winning Alaskan author and journalist, who traveled widely in rural Alaska during a 25-year career as a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He is the author of the bestseller Pilgrim’s Wilderness and the Alaska village travel narrative The Wake of the Unseen Object, recently re-issued in the Alaska classics series of the University of Alaska Press. His journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, and in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2017. He received an Artist Fellowship from the Rasmuson Foundation and was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. A graduate of Hampshire College, he lives in Homer, Alaska, and has a place in the Wrangell Mountains outside McCarthy. His latest book, Cold Mountain Path: The Ghost Town Decades of McCarthy-Kennecott, Alaska, 1938-1983 (Fall 2021) covers a period in McCarthy’s history when the town was nearly abandoned.


Presentations

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7, 10-11:30am: CONFERENCE OPENING & KEYNOTE ADDRESS

  • Welcome: William Schneider & Rachel Mason
  • Keynote Speaker: Tom Kizzia – The Impermanent Past: Living in the Space Between
    The ghost town story provides an essential counterbalance to the boom narrative of the frontier. We visit these places in the American West, haunted by a beguiling absence, and a mortal question hovers: Is this where we’ve been, or where we’re going? The story of the “lost decades” in Alaska’s iconic ghost town, McCarthy-Kennecott, carries special power, given the state’s engrained historical fear of becoming a ghost state.


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1:30-3pm: THE GHOSTS OF FORMER MINES

Chris Allan, Moderator

  • Trish Hackett Nicola – The History of the Lost River Tin Mining Company
  • Laury Scandling – Treadwell, The Impermanent Town with a Permanent Impact: How a Big Mine on a Little Island Launched Alaska’s Development and Had Worldwide Significance (presented by Rich Mattson)
  • Karen Brewster and Angela Schmidt – Walking with Ghosts: Two Historians Hike the Chilkoot Trail


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7, 3:30-5pm: MYTH AND DELUSION IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA

Anastasia Tarmann, Moderator

  • Rebecca Poulson – Alexander Baranov, the Man, the Myth: Reality, Distortion, and Why it Matters
  • Niko Sanguinetti – Centennial Delusion: The Carving of the Juneau Centennial Totem Poles


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 10-11:30am: SOUTHCENTRAL ALASKA

Ian Hartman, Moderator

  • Doug Capra – The Last Homesteaders: John and Carolyn Davidson at Driftwood Bay
  • Tabitha Gregory – Valdez Rises: One Town’s Struggle for Survival After the Great Alaska Earthquake
  • Laura Koenig – “New York or London will have nothing on Anchorage”: Music in Anchorage, 1915-1930


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1:30-3pm: BRISTOL BAY

Katie Ringsmuth, Moderator

  • Tim Troll – Images of Nushagak – Gone, But Not Forgotten
  • John Branson – Ivan Petroff’s “Malchatna Villages” c. 1880-1888
  • Bob King – Where the Hell was Hallerville? And Why No Canneries Survived on the Kvichak, Bristol Bay’s Most Productive Salmon River


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 3:30-5pm: FOOD AND DRINK IN ALASKA

Pennelope Goforth, Moderator

  • Yoko Kugo, Kazuyuki Saito, Yu Hirasawa, Michael Koskey, Go Iwahana and Shirow Tatsuzawa – Food Life History in the Arctic Communities: Usages of Underground Cache and Food Preservation Practices
  • Douglas L. Vandegraft – Bars of Alaska’s Past: Gone, But Forever Notorious


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9, 10-11:30am: WORKSHOP

Karen Brewster, Moderator

  • Melissa Barker – Techniques of History


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1:30-3pm: CROSSING INTERNATIONAL BORDERS

David Ramseur, Moderator

  • Chris Allan – Flag Wars: George M. Miller and the Battle over the U.S-Canada Border in Southeast Alaska
  • Melissa Chapin – Forging an International Community: A Path to Friendship Across the Taiga


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9, 3:30-5pm: FORUM ON TEACHING AMERICAN HISTORY

Ian Hartman, Moderator

  • Songho Ha, University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Katie Ringsmuth, Alaska State Historian
  • Michael Hoyt, Nome-Beltz Middle High School and University of Alaska Fairbanks Northwest Campus
  • Perry Lewis, Eagle River High School


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 10-11:30am: ANCSA: A CONVERSATION ON NATIVE HISTORY

Meghan Sullivan, Moderator

  • Panelists: Emil Notti and Sam Kito


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1:30-3pm: ANCSA AT 50: LOOKING BACK

Patuk Glenn, Moderator

  • Panelists: Willie Hensley, Kotzebue/Anchorage; and Oliver Leavitt, Utqiaġvik


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 3:30-5pm: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ANCSA

Bill Schneider, Moderator

  • Philip Wight – Right of Way: The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
  • Daniel Monteith – William and Frederick Paul and their Contributions to Alaska Native Land Claims
  • Stephen Haycox – Shock and Awe: Understanding Early Perceptions of the Passage of ANCSA


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 10-11:30am: ALEUTIANS

Ray Hudson, Moderator

  • Michael Livingston – Aleutian Ghost Towns? Call OpenStreetMap!
  • Leslie McCartney – Preserving the Unangax (Alaska Aleut) Cuttlefish Project Recordings
  • Lauren Peters – Sophia’s Return


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1:30-3pm: COMING TO WORK IN ALASKA

Tim Troll, Moderator

  • Carol Hoefler – Northern VISTAs: A Retrospective of the Volunteers in Service to America Program in Rural Alaska 1965-1971
  • Heather Feil – Civilian Conservation Corps in the Arctic – 1937-1940


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16, 10-11:30am: INTERIOR ALASKA

Angela Schmidt, Moderator

  • Rachel Cohen – The Alaskan Capital that Never Was: The Willow Capital Project
  • Erik Johnson – McKinley Park Station in 1921: The Centennial of Mount McKinley National Park’s First Headquarters
  • Keely O’Connell – Looking for Caro


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1:30-3pm: THE CHENA TOWNSITE

Erik Johnson, moderator

  • Martin Gutoski – Digging for the Lost Town of Chena (presented by Josh Reuther)
  • Scott Shirrar, Josh Reuther, and Justin Cramb – Historic Archaeology at the Chena Townsite