Many of the events subjected to historical inquiry may be interpreted in very different ways. While some historians may represent them as positive events to be celebrated, to others they involve conflict, domination, and destruction. The history of Kodiak Island involves many such events, including the subjugation of Alutiiq people in the Russian colonial period, the American military rule prior to statehood, the effects of the Aleutian Campaign of World War II, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill’s impact on fisheries. This year’s theme also recognizes the historian’s difficult task of documenting and interpreting past events objectively and openly, while recognizing that the resulting narrative may spark conflict with other people. Our goal must be to find cause for inspiration and learning in even the most disturbing history.
Our keynote speaker this year is Dr. Sven Haakanson, Jr. of the Burke Museum in Seattle, formerly of Kodiak’s Alutiiq Museum. Dr. Haakanson’s work includes uncovering the history of Awa’uq or Refuge Rock, the site of a 1784 massacre of perhaps thousands of Alutiiq people on the south end of Kodiak Island at the hands of Russian fur trader Grigory Shelikov’s armed men. Dr. Haakanson also directed the project that led to publication of Giinaquq, Like a Face: Sugpiaq Masks of the Kodiak Archipelago.
Please join us in Kodiak this September. As always, we welcome presentations on all Alaska history topics. Presentations are limited to 20 minutes, and all presenters must be registered for the conference. To submit a proposal, please send your presentation title, an abstract of no more than 100 words, and two sentences about yourself to Rachel Mason, Program Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals are due May 15, 2019.