AHS Blog

2022 Conference Call for Papers

Date Posted: March 31, 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, with the Cook Inlet Historical Society, invites presentations for its 2022 annual conference whose theme is: “Conflicting Visions in Alaska History.” It is currently scheduled primarily online but with some in-person events in Anchorage, October 6-8 and 13-15. Environmental historian Bathsheba Demuth, whose 2019 book, Floating Coast, An Environmental History of the Bering Strait, received numerous awards, is the keynote speaker.

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.

Papers on all topics related to Alaska history are welcome. Presentations are limited to 20 minutes. All presenters must register for the conference.

To submit a proposal, please send presentation title, an abstract of 100 words or fewer, and two sentences about yourself to Rachel Mason, Program Chair, rachel_mason@nps.gov.

Proposals are due June 15, 2022.



Guide to Primary Sources on the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

Date Posted: December 17, 2021       Categories: News

December 18, 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the landmark Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) by President Richard Nixon. The Alaska Historical Society wanted to recognize the movement that led to ANCSA and its evolving significance, and provide an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments and struggles of those who made this happen. The result is the “Guide to Sources for the Study of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act“ (edited by Karen Brewster), which presents primary archival, published and on-line sources that will be useful to anyone interested in learning about ANCSA.

The guide is presented in three-volumes and the current draft (as of 12/15/21) can be downloaded at the Resources for the Study of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act webpage in the Discover Alaska’s History section of the Alaska Historical Society website.

Volume 1: “Guide to Sources for the Study of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act”

  • Introduction to the Guide by William Schneider, Karen Brewster, Joan Antonson
  • Brief Interpretive History of ANCSA by William Schneider
  • Description of Collections By Location and Detailed Inventories of Collections by Karen Brewster
  • ANCSA Timeline by Joan Antonson
  • List of Key Participants in ANCSA by Sue Sherif and Ron Inouye

Volume 2: ANCSA Bibliography by Sue Sherif and Joan Antonson

Volume 3: Resources For Teaching ANCSA at 50 by Michael Hawfield (PDF’s of items mentioned in this list of resources is available at the PDF Resources for Teaching ANCSA at 50 webpage in the Discover Alaska’s History section of the Alaska Historical Society website)

The three volumes are also available through the University of Alaska’s Scholarworks database at: https://scholarworks.alaska.edu/handle/11122/12594

This project was supported by a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, and contributions from  the following Native corporations: Doyon Limited, Sealaska, Bering Straits, Calista, and
Koniag. Additional support was provided by the Atwood Foundation through a grant to
the UAA Consortium Library.

Denaina Place Names Project

Date Posted: May 5, 2022       Categories: News

Chanshtnu place name marker designed by Ahtna artist Melissa Shaginoff. Photo courtesy of Anchorage Park Foundation.

The Alaska Historical Society is honored to endorse an effort to introduce Native place names to parks and trails in Alaska to expose more Alaskans and visitors to the invaluable contributions of Native people to our state.

The Denaina Place Names Project in Anchorage recently installed a sign at downtown Anchorage’s Westchester Lagoon. The “Chanshtnu” sign shares the Dena’ina place name for nearby Chester Creek, which means “Grass Creek.” Support for this project has been provided by the Anchorage Park Foundation and the Rasmuson Foundation.

To learn more about the Chanshtnu sign project, watch the Indigenous Place Names Project video by Alyssa Yax Adi Yadi London for Culture Stories.

Alaskana Collection at Loussac Library

Date Posted: April 22, 2022       Categories: News

As part of its continuing efforts to advocate for the preservation and public access of Alaska historical materials, the Alaska Historical Society has partnered with the Cook Inlet Historical Society to request Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson to proceed expeditiously to create new space in the Anchorage Loussac Library to protect and display the library’s historical collection. “Without timely action by your administration on this issue, Anchorage could lose federal grant funds and an opportunity to renovate space for this collection, an effort to which community members have dedicated significant time and creative energy over the past several years,” the societies wrote.

View full letter.

Student and Emerging Professional Awards 2022

Date Posted: April 14, 2022       Categories: News

Student and Emerging Professional Awards
for the
Alaska Historical Society Annual Meeting and Conference
Conflicting Visions in Alaska History

Virtual / Anchorage, October 6-9 and 13-15, 2022

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

The Alaska Historical Society offers two scholarship awards to attend its annual meeting and conference.  One award is for a post-secondary student who is researching an Alaska history topic, and the other is for an emerging professional in a related field. Awards consist of an honorarium and a conference registration package.


  • Applicant must be a member of the Alaska Historical Society at the time of applying.
  • Student applicants must be a graduate student or upper-division undergraduate in Fall 2022 with a course of study related to Alaska history.
  • Emerging professional applicants must be engaged in Alaska history or cultural work and have been so employed fewer than five years.
  • Applicants are required to attend the meeting in its entirety and make a presentation.
  • Information about the meeting and the call for papers can be found at: https://alaskahistoricalsociety.org/

Application process: Each applicant must submit: 1) letter with a statement of eligibility and an explanation of how attending the meeting will enhance your academic or professional development, 2) title and abstract of proposed presentation, and 3) a résumé. Applicants will be judged on the applicant’s achievement in Alaska history relative to current status and the likely benefit of the meeting to the applicant.

The application deadline is June 15.  Electronic submission is preferred.  Applications should be submitted to members@alaskahistoricalsociety.org or via regular mail to: AHS Awards, P.O. Box 100299, Anchorage, AK 99510.

1950 Census Records

Date Posted: April 6, 2022       Categories: News

On April 1, 2022, the National Archives released the 1950 census records. They have created a website (https://1950census.archives.gov/) that provides full access to the 1950 census images, including population schedules, enumeration district maps, and enumeration district descriptions.

The searchable website includes:

  • Approximately 6.57 million population schedules
  • 33,360 Indian Reservation schedules
  • 9,634 enumeration district maps images
  • 234,447 enumeration district descriptions
  • Location and name-based search capabilities. Explore the records by State, County/City, Name, Reservation, and Enumeration District.
  • Name transcription capabilities. Use the built-in transcription feature to correct and add names to the name index. You can help make the 1950 Census population schedules more discoverable for everyone.

Digitized U.S. Navy Logs, 1801-1940

Date Posted: March 31, 2022       Categories: News

On February 8, 2002 the National Archives announced the availability of digitized U.S. Navy logbooks dating from 1801 to 1940 (https://text-message.blogs.archives.gov/2022/02/08/new-web-page-for-digitized-us-navy-logs-through-1940/).

1,987 file units of Logbooks of US Navy Ships, ca. 1801-1940 (NAID 581208) from the National Archives in Washington, DC, have been imaged and are now available to view and download in the National Archives Catalog. To make it as easy as possible to find and access those digitized logbooks, the National Archives recently published a new web page: Navy Logbooks: Catalog Links to Logs Through 1940.

There are currently 113 Navy ship names listed alphabetically on the web page, and under each ship name, you can find the links to corresponding logbooks listed chronologically. As additional logbooks from the National Archives in Washington, D.C., are imaged and uploaded to the Catalog, new links will be added to the web page to keep it up to date. (Navy logs for years 1941 and later are housed at the National Archives at College Park, MD. For a list of post-1941 logs in the Catalog, please see this page.)