2020 Conference Presentations

Conference Schedule
Presentation Abstracts and Presenter Biographies

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Tom Thornton is the Dean of Arts & Sciences and Vice-Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) in Juneau, Alaska. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Swarthmore College and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Washington. He has taught anthropology at UAS and is interested in historical ecology and cultural development in and stewardship of places. He has worked on numerous anthropology and human ecology projects where he has collaborated with a number of Southeast Alaska tribes and organizations, including Sealaska Heritage Institute, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and the Southeast Native Subsistence Commission. He has published over 70 works in his fields of study, and his book, Haa Léelk’w Hás Aaní Saax’u: Our Grandparents’ Names on the Land, won a 2012 Alaska Historical Association award. Tom has worked with a number of Tlingit elders, including Herman Kitka Sr and his son, Harvey, from Sitka whose collective sense of place has informed a good part of his perspective and projects as an anthropologist.

Harvey Kitka was born in Sitka in 1941. His parents were Herman and Martha Kitka. He is Tlingit, of the Kaagwaantaan clan, and his real name is Yanshkaowoo. He is retired from fishing and electrical work, and now takes part in tribal needs. Over the past fifteen years, he has worked and published with Tom Thornton on a variety of traditional place name and cultural documentation projects.


Thursday, October 8, 10-11:30am: Conference Welcome and Keynote Speech

  • Keynote Speaker: Thomas Thornton – Senses of Place and History in the “Toponymic Hotspot” of Sitka Sound
  • Keynote Speaker: Harvey Kitka – Reflections on Place and History in Sitka Sound
  • Moderator: Rachel Mason

Thursday, October 8, 2-3:30pm: Remembering Richard Nelson

  • Debbie Miller – Loving Alaska and the Joy of Listening
  • George Gmelch and Sharon Gmelch – The Legacy of Richard King Nelson (1941-2019):  An Anthropological Perspective
  • Hank Lentfer – Anthropologist to Artist: The Literary Legacy of Richard Nelson
  • Moderator: Bill Schneider

Friday, October 9, 10-11:30am: Women’s Suffrage

  • Sue Sherif – Before and After the 19th Amendment: An Overview of Woman’s Suffrage in Honor of Beverly Beeton
  • Anne Elise Pollnow – The Sitka Woman’s Club: Sitka’s Connection to the Woman’s Suffrage Movement
  • Moderator and Honoring Beverly Beeton: Anjuli Grantham

Friday, October 9, 2-3:30pm: Topics in Alaska History

  • Shana Loshbaugh – The Brief, Awkward History of Fort Kenay
  • Leanna Prax Williams – Missing from the Northern Sky: An Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of the Merrill and Eielson Searches, 1929-1930
  • Tia Tidwell – Christine Storm, Main Character in Edna Ferber’s Ice Palace
  • Philip Wight – Roadblock: The Origins of the Anti-Roads Movement in Alaska, 1960-1980
  • Moderator: Tom Bundtzen

Saturday, October 10, 10-11:30am: 1918 Influenza Epidemic

  • Tim Troll – The Spanish Flu in SW Alaska: Bristol Bay and Unalaska
  • Aaron Leggett – A Dena’ina Perspective on the 1918 Flu Epidemic
  • Moderator: Michael Hawfield

Thursday, October 15, 10-11:30am: Sitka – A Powerful Place

  • Angela Schmidt – Historical Scenes of Sitka (films)
  • Anne Elise Pollnow – Tlingit Placenames on the Katlian Bay Road Project
  • Rebecca Poulson – Sitka in the 1880s: Small-Town Politics and Personalities that Shaped Alaska
  • Moderator: Erik Johnson

Thursday, October 15, 2-3:30pm: Sitka’s History

  • Daniel Monteith – Sheldon Jackson Boarding School and Its Impact on Language and Culture
  • Fred Woods – The Rise of the Sitka Saints: A Century of Sitka Later-day Saint History
  • Doug Vandegraft – Historic Bars of Sitka
  • Moderator: Rebecca Poulson

Friday, October 16, 10-11:30am: The History of ANCSA

  • Stephen Haycox – Complex Circumstances, and Unforeseen Consequences: The End of Treaty-Making and ANCSA
  • Grand Chief Peter Johnston – The Yukon Land Claims Process: Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow
  • Paul Ongtooguk – ANCSA: The Whitewater of Indigenous Land Claims
  • William Schneider – ANCSA: Aboriginal Title to the Land and Aboriginal Hunting and Fishing Rights
  • Moderator: Patuk Glenn

Friday, October 16, 2-3:30pm: Monuments and History in the Public Square Discussion

  • Panelists: Aaron Leggett, Mary Ehrlander, and Ross Coen
  • Moderator: Ian Hartman

Saturday, October 17, 10-11:30am: Russian America

  • Stephen Haycox – “Longue durée”: Russia’s Half-Hearted Approach to North America
  • Dawn Black – The Interactions of the Russian American Trading / Hunting Companies and Priests with the Alaskan Artels on Marmot, Hinchinbrook and Sitka (Baranov) Islands
  • Moderator: David Ramseur

Saturday, October 17, 2-3:30pm: Alaska Canneries

  • Bob King – The Journals of Ole Mathison
  • Anjuli Grantham  – New Analysis of the Alaska Packers Association’s China Contracts
  • Katie Ringsmuth – A Project for the Moment
  • Moderator: Averil Lerman