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2020 Annual Conference — Call for Papers

Date Posted: April 2, 2020       Categories: News

2020 Alaska Historical Society Annual Conference
October 14 to 17, 2020
 Sitka, Alaska
“Place and Power”

Sitka from water, showing the Three Sisters in the background. Sitka Harbor-7, Alaska State Library Photo Collection.

Call for Papers
“Place and Power” is the theme for the 2020 Alaska Historical Society Conference to be held in Sitka, October 14-17.  Gathering in Sitka while the community commemorates the 1867 transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States provides a fitting location for exploring larger questions of power relations over time, such as how governmental laws and policies impact Alaskans and shape our understanding of history and identity.

 Millennia of Tlingit history are marked in clan houses, place names and clan histories intimately connected with specific places. The power relationship between the Russian American Company colony at Sitka and the Tlingit people is represented in the Fort Site from the Battle of 1804, now the Sitka National Historical Park, and in surviving structures such as the Russian Bishop’s House and St Michael’s Orthodox Cathedral. The struggle between Alaska Native people and the U.S. government is also represented in the history of the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, Sheldon Jackson School, and Mt. Edgecumbe High School.

Conference sessions are being planned on Women’s Suffrage, the 50th Anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), and the Legacy of Richard Nelson.  The West, including Alaska, was ahead of the nation in recognizing the rights of women, thereby challenging us to ask how place influenced attitudes and what effect the Progressive Movement had on Alaskans and their views on women’s rights. Next year, 2021, marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of ANCSA, a major political settlement with profound consequences for Native sovereignty, subsistence rights, and governmental regulations on land use. The death of noted anthropologist and nature writer Richard Nelson provides a chance to examine a legacy of recording Native relationships to place and discuss how spiritual lessons learned from elders influenced his own understanding of place.

In addition to the planned sessions, papers on all topics related to Alaska history are welcome.

Presentations are limited to 20 minutes, and all presenters must register 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, rachel_mason@nps.govProposals are due May 31, 2020.

Click here for pdf of the Call for Papers





2020 Conference Location

Date Posted: February 14, 2020       Categories: News

AHS is pleased to announce that the Sitka Historical Society and Museum will be our hosts for the 2020 conference in Sitka from Wednesday, October 14 through Saturday, October 17. Sitka’s annual Alaska Day Festival will be held on Sunday, October 18, so AHS members have the opportunity to stay to enjoy the event.

AHS Program Chair is Rachel Mason.  Conference theme expected to be determined by the end of February.  Suggestions of theme, possible keynote speaker, and session topics are welcome—they should be sent to members@alaskahistoricalsociety.org

Visit the Conference Website to find information about the 2020 conference, location, schedule, travel, and local accommodations.





Immediate Action Required: Proposed Closure of National Archives in Seattle

Date Posted: January 21, 2020       Categories: News

NATIONAL ARCHIVES IN SEATTLE PROPOSED TO BE CLOSED

The Alaska Historical Society is sounding the alarm.  There is a proposal to close the Seattle National Archives and Records Center.  Please consider speaking up—every comment matters!

The Alaska Historical Society is recommending the National Archives continue to have a branch facility in the Pacific Northwest. 

The Federal Public Buildings Reform Board, created by Congress in 2016 to identify and dispose of high-value Federal real estate, is recommending the sale of the building that houses the National Archives in Seattle.  The report, only submitted December 27, 2019, can be found at https://www.pbrb.gov/   The Office of Management and Budget is expected to approve or reject the recommendations by the end of January 2020.

For over 50 years the National Archives has operated the Seattle archives and records center.  The records from the National Archives center in Anchorage were moved there when it closed in 2014.  If the Seattle facility is closed, the closest NARA facility for Alaskans will be in San Francisco.  The report indicates the archival records at Seattle will be moved near Riverside, California, and the federal agency records will be moved to Kansas City, Missouri.  Alaska materials will not only be farther out of reach for researchers, students, attorneys, and government agencies, but the closure of the Seattle facility likely will delay the digitization of Alaska records promised by NARA when it closed the facility in Anchorage.

The Society is contacting Alaska’s Congressional delegation and those in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.  It is seeking to collaborate with their state historical societies to advocate for continuing to have a National Archives and Records Center in the Pacific Northwest.

It is vital that individuals comment to the Public Buildings Reform Board and to our elected representatives.

Comments on the recommendations can be made to the Public Buildings Reform Board by sending an email to fastainfo@pbrb.gov

Comments on the recommendations are encouraged to be sent to Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Representative Don Young.  They should be sent by email through their webpages: murkowski.senate.gov; sullivan.senate.gov; donyoung.house.gov

The Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, also needs to hear there needs to be a National Archives and Records Center in the Pacific Northwest.  Comments can be sent to him at david.ferriero@nara.gov or through the webpage archives.gov

Please send your comments this week.  Thank you!





Job Opportunity: Assistant Archivist at UAF

Date Posted: January 14, 2020       Categories: News

The Alaska Polar Regions Collection and Archives at UAF is hiring for an Assistant Archivist to work with our patrons directly in public services.

Have you ever been the person at a party talking about the cool 1905 photograph you found in a thrift store? Does the phrase “history immersion” excite you? Do you love people and helping them? Does creating order make you happy? If so, then you may be the perfect candidate for the Public Services Assistant Archivist position at the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives! The University of Alaska Fairbanks seeks engaging, team-oriented applicants for the position of Assistant Archivist.

More information is available at: https://careers.alaska.edu/en-us/job/514234/assistant-archivist

This is a great entry level position for someone interested in archives and special collections work. The posting closes on January 28th, 2020.





KTVA FRONTIERS PROGRAM — Dick Proenneke: At Home in the Wilderness

Date Posted: December 20, 2019       Categories: News

Dick Proenneke eating fresh blueberries in a spot along the Chilikadrotna River. © MAGGIE YURICK. Courtesy of National Parks and Conservation Association.

After two years of research and production, Rhonda McBride & Will Mader are pleased to announce completion of their film about Dick Proenneke, a self-educated naturalist who lived alone for nearly thirty years in the mountains of Alaska in a log cabin that he constructed by hand near the shore of Twin Lakes in what is now Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

Rhonda says, “Will Mader and I have been working on this show, off and on, for more than two years — and have turned to many of you for help. We want to thank you for your patience and support.  We hope this show raises awareness about a great Alaskan, who is probably better known outside our state. Somehow, that just shouldn’t be. So here’s our attempt to change that.”

There are two versions of the program. The half hour show has these elements:

-Dick Proenneke’s Personal Frontier: The story of how Dick Proenneke became a wilderness icon.
-Handmade Home: Efforts to restore Dick’s Cabin.
-Keepers of the Legacy, the Journals: John Branson talks about editing more than 90 pounds of notebooks.
-Keepers of the Legacy, the Archive: Katie Myers shows us the Dick Proenneke collection at the NPS archives in Anchorage.

The one hour version of the show includes these additional elements:

-Friends and Neighbors: With help from the NPS and the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association, a look at friendships Dick had with his nearest neighbors — Jay and Bella Hammond and the Alsworth Family.
-Wilderness Princess: Former NPS Ranger Patty Brown talks about her friendship with Dick, who she said made her feel like “royalty” and how she came to hop off a float plane, landing at Twin Lakes, in a black evening gown.
-Friends of Dick Proenneke and Lake Clark: Fred Hirschmann shares his memories of Dick and talks about the need to protect and preserve the Proenneke homestead.

Here’s how you can watch the KTVA Frontiers program, Dick Proenneke: At Home in the Wilderness:

Sunday, December 22nd:  30 min Version 
KTVA, Channel 11, 5:00pm
GCI Cable Channel 907, 8:30 a.m., 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 28th: 1 Hour Version 
KTVA, Channel 11, 3:00pm
ARCS TV, 3:00pm
ONLINE:  Sometimes KTVA streams its on air signal, so you might check online. We will post the full one-hour online version of the show on Sunday, December 22nd. It will also be live on Youtube. Just search KTVA Frontiers Episode 194.

For more information about the program, contact:
Rhonda McBride
KTVA Channel 11, Rural Projects Manager/Host of Frontiers
Cell:  (907) 903-4800      Email: ktvafrontiers@gmail.com

For more about Dick Proenneke and his legacy, see “Reflections on a Man in his Wilderness” in the Spring 2017 edition of the National Parks and Conservation Association Magazine.