Alaska Alive!-C. Weeks

Alaska history timeline for ASDN Alaska Alive course


Follows political and economic events as well as interactions between native Alaskans and others as presented in Ritter's "Alaska's History" and Haycox & Mangusso's "An Alaskan Anthology"

Native, pre-contact by others

1600 - 1741

Includes all time prior to 1741, 1600 entered as start to accommodate the timeline.
A 'true' start date is debated/unknown; estimates vary from 6000 to 30,000 years ago.

Russian Period

1741 - 1867

Early American Period

1867 - 1897

Begins with Purchase from Russia and ends when reindeer were brought in to aid the economy, but GOLD HIT!

Gold Rush Years

1897 - 1912

Territorial Period

1912 - 1959

Post Statehood

1959 - Present

The People

People from different regions will be in different colors

Yup'ik and Siberian Yupik*

1600 - Present

Yup'ik & Siberian Yupik have substantial differences, including language.
*Siberian Yupik are sometime grouped with the Inupiaq.
Yup'ik may be divided into two groups by dialect: Yup'ik and Cup'ik

Yup’ik & Cup’ik (real people)

Location Southwestern Alaska above the Aleutians to the southern portion of the Norton Sound just beyond the Yukon Delta. Includes Nunivak and St Matthew’s Islands. This area largely coincides with the current Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Wood-Tikchik State Park, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge and Nunivak Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Language The groups are named after the 2 main yup’ik dialects: yup’ik & cup’ik. Note-most Inuit ‘k’s are replaced with ‘q’ as in quspuq and qayaq.
Social Organization Survival based. Social rank linked to skill. Male group leaders were the successful hunters (nukalpiit). Women raised children, prepared food & sewed.

Housing Men quasgiq, also ceremonial center. Women ena, ½ the size of men’s house. Partly Subterranean entrance; may have sea mammal intestine window.

Beliefs Men lived together & women lived together to learn what they needed for their respective roles. Shamans had powers, either good or evil. Good shamans healed, sought spirits for help and asked for items needed.
Travel Moved with animal migration and seasonal plants. Most current ‘fixed’ villages were seasonal camps.

Contact with Europeans At first contact roughly 17,000 people.

Historic Change Still depend on subsistence hunting, fishing & gathering. Elders tell stories to pass on culture and knowledge & survival skills.

Clothing Skins of land, sea and air animals. Fish skin & mammal intestines used for waterproof gear. Grass used for insulation and thread.

Trade Seal oil main trade item. Herring & eggs also valued inland. Received moose, caribou, and furs-mink, marten, beaver & muskrat.

Tools & technology Geared toward marine and river use. Women: uluaq, stone seal oil lamp, sewing tools made of stone, bone and ivory. Men: spears, harpoons, ice cane, snow goggles, bow and arrows. Decorated with spiritual symbols for good fortune.

Traditions Ceremonies contained singing and dancing and focused on relationships between people, animals and the spirit world.

Other/general Many similarities to Inupiaq-also considered ‘eskimos’.

Siberian Yupik (real people)

Location St. Lawrence Island
Language Siberian Yupik

Social Organization Family connections respectful. Labor split by Gender
Housing As for Inupiaq except round.

Food & Diet Birds & eggs important. Whales & sea mammals hunted in coastal villages. Herring, crab & halibut caught. Salmon, cod, inconnu & whitefish caught when ice formed.

Beliefs Lives revolve around whale, walrus, seal, polar bear, caribou & fish. Reincarnation and recycling of all animal (including human) spirits. Connected to treatment of hunted animals and release of their spirit. Names of recently deceased given to newborn.

Travel Umiaq/Angyaq, large open skin boat. Kayak, small one person closed skin boat. A flat sled or small sleds attached in the bottom to move across ice. Interior or land travel-basket sled and snowshoes.

Contact with Europeans Numbered approx. 1500 prior to European contact. Increased the importance of trade.

Clothing Outer & inner pullover tops (parkas & kuspuks) and outer and inner pants, boots and socks (kamiks). Fur in on inner garment, out on outer garment, primarily caribou. Women do NOT carry baby in parka here. Various skin for gloves-fur in and connected with leather strap. Intestines for waterproof gear.

Trade Respectful & meaningful –integral with the culture.

Tools & technology Bow drill, tool kit with stone, wood, bone and ivory tools for butchering, tanning, carving etc. Hunting tools, kept separate: harpoons, lances, lines, bows, arrows, spears, spear throwers and seal bladder floats. Birds: bolas and snares. Fishing: nets, traps and hooks.

Traditions Competitive games for strength, singing duals and trading

Other/general Many similarities to Yup’ik, & Inupiaq, also considered ‘eskimos’. Often grouped with one or the other depending on the focus and intent of the categorization.

Southeast Natives including Tlingit

1600 - Present

Southeast Natives include Eyak, Haida, Tsimshian and Tlingit each had its own unique language and except for Eyak (no longer spoken) each has several dialects.

Location Northwest coast of North America from Northern Oregon to Prince William Sound. Most is covered with temperate rainforest. The Eyak were previously associated with interior athabascans but moved coastward with the Copper River from the 18th century onward. Haida: originally from islands in British Columbia, the “Alaska Haida” migrated to the Prince of Wales Island area. Tsimshian: Originally from Rivers in British Columbia there are villages at ports in Southeast Alaska. Currently, Alaska settlements are mainly on Annette Island (New Metakatla) where they were led by Anglican minister William Duncan in 1887. Tlingit: from Icy Bay to north to Dixon Entrance in south (also “Inland Tlingit” within Canada).

Language Each language is unique (isolate): Eyak-no longer spoken, Tlingit (4 main dialects), Haida (3 dialects), Tsimshian (4 main dialects)

Social Organization Complex structures ,compared with Aztec and Mayan civilizations, vary with tribe. Eyak, Tlingit and Haida divided into moieties (2 social or ritual groups) each with their related animal; Tsimshian divided into phratries (4 groups) they were in sets of 2 ‘opposite’ animal groups. Groups were made up of many clans. Villages contained 300-500 people. No central structure. Each village or group resolved issued through customs and practices. Culture was stratified, with high-ranking members, commoners and slaves who were generally members of tribes that were raided. All had a matrilineal clan system.

Housing Large rectangular structures made from wood timber and planks with cedar bark or spruce roofing. Central fire pit and smoke hole. Houses could hold 20-50 people and for winter villages were usually placed in a row, or two, with the front facing the water and back to mountains or muskegs. They were situated in protected areas along streams or beaches with access to streams for fish and drinking water. Eyak villages had 2 communal houses each with a totem pole. Tlingit homes-usually one per clan –often had a totem pole. Southern clans had taller totems and more common use than Northern clans.

Food & Diet Dependent on rivers and the ocean. Salmon and halibut were staples and tools developed to harvest them in different ways. Sea mammals and deep-sea fish were also harvested. Land food sources were berries and shoots as well as moose, mountain goat and deer. Hunting and gathering areas, including streams, were owned by the clan inhabiting them as long as they continued using them. Smoking and drying preserved food.

Travel Primarily by canoe. Haida canoes, dugout from a single cedar log, were prized. They could be up to 60 feet long!

Contact with Europeans Tlingit estimated to inhabit their land 10,000 years (and some –including them-say and much longer). After European contact ceremonial robes were often made from blankets (e.g. from the Hudson Bay trading company) adorned with glass beads, and shells.

Historic Change After contact with Europeans wool and cotton wes commonly used for clothing. Most acculturated group in early years.

Clothing Hats, capes, skirts shorts and blankets (shawls) made from tree bark. Tsimshian credited with originating the Chilkat weaving technique the region is known for. Clothing also made from animal fur and mountain goat wool.

Tools & Technology Wood is readily available in the rainforest and used for most everything-even clothing. Rocks, bones, beaver teeth and shells were made into tools to work the wood. Clamshells with seal oil and fat for a wick operated as lanterns. Dried hooligan (smelt or eulachon) fitted with wicks also. Tools for fishing: weirs (fences) and traps, dip nets, hooks, harpoons and spears. Holding ponds were built in inter-tidal areas. Parts of trees woven into baskets, mats, aprons, hats and other clothing.

Traditions Potlatches (formal) and feasts-less formal. During Haida feasts, debt was paid to the opposite clan. Potlatches raised status of the individual (or their children) giving them. They were held for funerals, memorials, naming of individuals, payment of a debt, completion of a house, wedding, completion and naming of clan regalia or totems, or to rid the host of shame. They could last days and included feasts, speeches, singing and dancing. Witnesses validated the events and were given gifts. Chilkat robes made of mountain goat wool and cedar wraps and Raven’s tail robes made of mountain goat wool were worn. Many other items, such as drums, rattles, staffs, ropes and masks were used. Clan regalia had to be named and validated before used in a potlatch.

Other/general Fierce warriors. Able to drive out first wave of Russians (1802), but not followers.

Interior natives - Athabascan

1600 - Present

Call themselves Dena (the people).

Location Interior from south of the Brooks Range to Current day Anchorage. Primarily inhabited river regions: Yukon, Tanana, Susitna, Kuskokwim and Copper Rivers.

Language Eleven linguistic groups part of the Na-Dene language group. Same language group as some non-Alaskan native Americans (e.g. Navajo).

Social Organization Matrilineal clans (except Holikachuk and Deg Hit’an). Clan elders make decisions for marriage and leadership. Clan core often woman & her brother with their families. Brother and sister’s husband to be lifelong hunting partners. New husbands lived with and worked for wife’s family the first year. Brothers also would accept the responsibility to train and socialize his sister’s children. Women did most of the sewing but both men & women skilled.

Housing Small groups of 20-40 moved with resources and house type depended on the season, cedar bark in summer and animal hide covered domes in winter. Winter locations were more regular and used as base camps by groups of families.

Food & Diet Expert hunters. Caribou-tactics used to corral them in hunts resulting in months of food.

Beliefs Sharing is (then & now) very important and traditional customs for sharing are expected to be followed. Strong and formalized reverence for animals shaped rituals. The spirit world was seen as pertaining to all things.
Travel Moved seasonally with the animals. Canoes of birch bark, moose hide and cottonwood. Snowshoes and sleds, some using dogs to pull them.

Clothing Primarily caribou and moose hide, especially important for boots and moccasins. Styles depended on conditions. Beaded jackets, tunics and women’s dancing boots varied by region. Shell necklaces traditionally worn by chiefs. Clothing prized by other tribes.

Trade Trading customs set by the elders. Prized clothing traded for goods/food.

Tools & technology Made of stone, wood, antlers and bone. Birch trees favored and used widely. Tools & resources used for housing, clothes, snowshoes, boats and cooking utensils.

Traditions Activities tied to moons named by natural occurrences. Community celebrations and potlatches held in winter, known as ‘the time we gather together’.

Other/general Ecosystems: tiaga, muskeg, & steppe. Harsh environment extreme winter cold and high summer temperatures.


1600 - Present

Unangax & Alutiiq (Western and Eastern Aleut, respectively)
Alutiiq separated into 3 groups: Chugachmiut (Chugach) – Prince William Sound area, Unegkumiut – lower Kenai Peninsula, Koniagmiut (Koniag) –
Kodiak Island and Alaska Peninsula.
Unangax & Sugpiaq (Western and Eastern Aleut/Alutiiq, respectively)

Language Indigenous: Unangax (estimated to have split from earlier languages about 4000 years ago), and Sugcestun.
Social Organization Settlements with defined boundaries for hunting and fishing and gathering. Kinship and family highly important. Sharing and helping each other expected. Village members would punish those breaking village rules; serious offenders would be banished.

Housing Unangax: an ulax, oblong pit with wood or whale bone ram covered with sod and entered by a pole ladder through ceiling. Aluetiiq: a ciqlluaq, single room of driftwood frame structure, in a pit, covered with sod having a low side door and roof vent over a central fire pit. Walls lined with benches usually covered with bear fur. Could have side rooms for multiple families to sleep or for food storage or sweat baths. Usually a one-room community house for ceremonies (qasgiq).

Food & Diet Heavily dependent on the sea, salmon, halibut, octopus, shellfish, seal and sea lion were and remain important. Caribou and deer also used substantially in mainland villages. Trade supplied variety.
Beliefs All areas of life defined by water and weather: Northern Atlantic, Bering Sea and village rivers. Deceased were wrapped and entombed in caves.

Travel Exceptional mariners. Kayaks (iqyax and qayaq) with split bow for stability used in hunting. Large open skin boats (igilax/angyaq) used for travel and trade. Travel was done either by sea or by foot.
Contact with Europeans Population estimated 12000-15000 at first contact and reduced to about 2000 within 60 years. Current population estimated at 8000. Heavily influenced by Russians in 18th century. Became forced labor particularly for hunting sea otters. Kayaks were adapted to allow control by Russian overseers.

Historic Change Russian words in language native foods in Russian dishes and prominent Russian Orthodox churches are now common.

Clothing Hunters wore bentwood visors with sea lion whiskers denoting successful hunts. Hats made from spruce roots and grass. Skins of sea mammals, bear, birds, squirrels and marmots used for clothing. Critical waterproof clothing made from skin and gut. Clothing was colorfully dyed and decorated with feathers and puffin beaks or carved ivory, bone, or wood. Elaborate clothes worn for ceremonies.

Trade Traded with all adjacent native groups (Yup’ik, Athabascan and SE), which diversified their diet and enhanced their technology.
Tools & technology Finely woven baskets (2500 stitches per si.) with geometric patterns. Plant fiber and animal tissue woven into cords, cable and fish line.

Traditions Ceremonies generally took place in the winter after food was stored. Spiritual ceremonies promised successful hunting. Weddings and other social ceremonies took place also. Carved wooden masks, body paint and other decorative item were part of these ceremonies.
Other/general Climate- severe winds.


1600 - Present

Inupiaq (real or genuine people)

Location North/Northwest from Norton Sound’s Unalakleet River to the Arctic Ocean across Canada through Greenland.
4 main groups: Bering strait Inupiat, Kotzebue Sound Inupiat, North Coast Inupiat or Tareumiut (people of the sea) and Interior North Inupiat or Nunamiut (people of the land).

Language Inupiaq. Closely related to Inuit languages of Canada & Greenland.

Social Organization Family connections respectful. Labor split by Gender. Whale hunting and distribution was a community affair and social structure determined allotments.

Housing: Various materials but often sod over whale bone or driftwood. Dome shaped and rectangular about 12X8 or 15X 10. Held 8-12 people. Underground entrance tunnel. Semi-subterranean structure for ground insulation. Would flood with summer thaw but moved to summer camps. Qargis are community houses for work.

Food & Diet Birds & eggs important. Whales & sea mammals hunted in coastal villages. Herring, crab & halibut caught. Salmon, cod, inconnu & whitefish caught when ice formed.

Beliefs Lives revolve around whale, walrus, seal, polar bear, caribou & fish. Reincarnation and recycling of all animal (including human) spirits. Connected to treatment of hunted animals and release of their spirit. Names of recently deceased given to newborn.

Travel Umiaq/Angyaq, large open skin boat. Kayak, small one person closed skin boat. A flat sled or small sleds attached in the bottom to move across ice. Interior or land travel-basket sled and snowshoes.

Contact with Europeans Numbered approx. 8200 prior to European contact. Increased the importance of trade.

Clothing Outer & inner pullover tops (parkas & kuspuks) and outer and inner pants, boots and socks (kamiks). Fur in on inner garment, out on outer garment, primarily caribou. Large hoods for women to carry baby. Various skin for gloves-fur in and connected with leather strap. Intestines for waterproof gear.

Trade Respectful & meaningful –integral with the culture. Traded with inland tribes in areas where the geography allowed.

Tools & technology Bow drill, tool kit with stone, wood, bone and ivory tools for butchering, tanning, carving etc. Hunting tools, kept separate: harpoons, lances, lines, bows, arrows, spears, spear throwers and seal bladder floats. Birds: bolas and snares. Fishing: nets, traps and hooks.
Traditions Competitive games for strength, singing duals and trading

Other/general Many similarities to Yup’ik, also considered ‘eskimos’.

200 + native tribes grouped into 5 regions (color bars), See detail for start date clarification.

1600 - Present

The classifications used are recognized by the Alaska Native Knowledge Network (ANKN) of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
1600 entered as start to accommodate the timeline. A 'true' start date is debated/unknown; estimates vary from 6000 to 30,000 years ago.
Most agree that the number is at least 10,000 years. To put that in perspective, a more accurate 'timeline' indicating relative times in Alaska by Natives (N), Russians and Natives (R) and Americans, Russians and Natives (A) ,where a letter represents roughly 250 years (8000BCE-2000CE), would be:


(RA) Russians dominated the first 100 years of this time period.
This visual assumes a pre-contact history of 10,000 years and is quite telling- it is similar to Ritter's timeline for the Earth and mankind.

Earliest Russian Exploration


Dezhnev's discoveries have no immediate impact on Alaska.

Vitus Bering, Alaska explorations

1728 - 1741

Under employ of Peter the Great.
Initiated Russian fur trade in Alaska.
Bering died in the return voyage in 1741-on the island now bearing his name.
Ships returned with what was to become highly valuable sea otter pelts.

Aleut population loss

1741 - 1800

10,000 people is the estimated population loss among the Aluets from time of first contact (1741-Vitus Bering Claim) to early 1800s.
1764 sometimes given as an Aleut/Russian 'warring' date.



Possible historical connection to name 'Alaska".
Russian explorer Stephan Glotov hears natives refer to the land as Alyeska.

Russian expansion/exploration

1759 - 1840

Glotov landings in Unalaska & Kodiak Island mid 1700s.
1772-settlement at Unalaska.
1784-settlement on Kodiak Island. Russian Orthodox church-1795.
1799- Sitka fort & settlement.
1824-1840 exploration of mainland Alaska.

Spainish expeditions

1774 - 1793

Spanish explored to protect and gain control over pacific coastal areas as well as (like others) to look for a Northwest Passage.
Captain Malaspina while not successful in this endeavor spent 3 years charting and gathering information. He is largely the reason for the Spanish names remaining in Alaska. Malaspina glacier named in his honor.

Responsible for fine maps due to excellent cartographers.

Captain James Cook, British, Arctic exploration


Coastal exploration from roughly March through October 1778
Goal was to find a Northwest trade route from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
Failed to find the Northwest Passage.
Reports Russian settlements in Alaska.

Alexander Barinoff, Russian-Alaskan Manager

1791 - 1818

Manager (first in AK & longest serving) for fur trade for the Russian American Company.

Russian fur trade monopoly


Decreed by Czar Paul I.

Tlingits - Russians - Sitka


1802 Tlingits remove Russians from old Sitka
1804 Russians re-establish Sitka at new location (Baranov-key figure).

Ivan (John) Veniaminov

1823 - 1868

Russian Orthodox generally in Sitka-Unalaska
Developed written form of native languages-translated scripture into them.
(Seminary @ Sitka 1845-1858, curriculum included 6 years native language study.)
Promoted bilingual education & literacy.

St. Michaels (Norton Sound) heyday

1833 - 1910

Significant to my studies- I live on the island in nearby Stebbins.
Active as the farthest north Russian settlement, American-Russian Trading post established 1833.
Russians left in 1867.
The fort later became a US military operation and grew with the gold rush in 1897. It was a gateway to the interior via the Yukon delta to the south.
Estimated to have a large population (10,000) at it's peak, trade declined with introduction of the railroad in the early 1900s.
Also in early 1900s disease in other areas made it one of the centralization locations for the affected Yup'ik natives.
Stebbins (Tapraq in Yup'ik) is on the same island, 13 miles southwest. It's name was recorded in 1900. A dirt road connects the two villages.

Women Native Teachers

1877 - 1930

Dates span recorded events for 3 Tlingit women who came to work in Sitka &/or Wrangell as teachers & interpreters.
Different paths to career
Difficult choices reconciling some Native/Christian beliefs
- Shamanism
- Folk tales - legends
- Language use

Rev. Sheldon Jackson

1877 - 1905

Presbyterian from NY. Felt called to educate Natives and calm difficulties between natives & whites.
Mission in Wrangell 1877
1887 report puts US Government to task about providing adequate funds and teachers for education of 'citizens-by treaty of 1867'.
Federal education agent 1885-1905

John Muir-see the Land/Tourism




Conflicts in work/compensation/death policies in the fishing industry create ongoing confiicts.
Angoon bombed and Tlingit winter food stores destroyed. Tlingit died in attack and later from starvation.

Potlatch ban

1884 - 1934

*Start date for Canada is 1884. All sources documenting a US ban do not give a year, but state, "late 19th century". This coincides with Canada's ruling with an amendment to their Indian Act.
*Canada repealed the ban in 1951.
*The US lifted the ban in 1934.
*Potlatch ceremonies were seen as a squandering of material wealth and a waste of time.
*Potlatches served many purposes and in some cases acted as unwritten documentation of important events (personal and financial) much the way our current county courthouses do today.
*The ban drove many potlatches underground and affected social and cultural structures.

Tsimshian relocation


Anglican minister William Duncan moves a group of Tsimshians from British Columbia to Annette Island near Ketchikan.

ANB-Alaska Native Brotherhood


Organization of primarily acculturated Tlingits & Haida who work for Native rights using vehicles common to traditional US society (i.e. legislation, negotiation, boycotts etc.)
Key players in land claims though unsuccessful re: Tongass Act of 1947

First Native in Alaska Legislature


Tlingit, William Paul Sr.

AFN Alaska Federation of Natives formed


Oil based greed/corruption

1980 - 1988

Continuing an Alaska trend of Outsiders coming in to take what they can for profit, shysters in and near government bodies in North Slope Borough and state offices feed off oil revenues to take for themselves to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

The Land

Regions to coordinate with colors for the people if & when possible

Land (& sea) & Resources

1550 - Present

Impossible to include details of the history of the earth's land and life on the same timeline as human history due to the huge difference in scale.

Russian Fur Trade heyday

1743 - 1800

Russian fur trade continued well after 1800 but was significantly reduced by competition from US and British companies.
1805 begins Russians sending furs directly to China.
Shifts in demand, Russian economics and political conflicts with China severely reduced Russian activity in this market by the mid 1800s.
Fur trade company established by Grigori Shelikov 1781.

American & British Fur Trade Heyday

1780 - 1880

Start and end dates are approximate and reflect initial efforts to join the Russians in profiting from Alaskan furs as well as the Russian retreat from this market in the mid-1800s.

1st Alaska gold discovery


Minimal impact

American Arctic Whaling boom

1848 - 1907

Oil-seepage discovered


Oil leakage in Cook Inlet noticed by Russian explorers and trappers

Coal mining on Kenai Peninsula


Canneries established, growth of fishing industry

1878 - 1920

First in Sitka 1878, Herring in SE 1882 Halibut shipped south and large salmon canneries early 1900.
1908-first cold storage plant built-Ketchican.
Workers primarily from unions in lower 48 and cheap foreign labor, not Natives


1879 - Present

Thanks to John Muir and his fascination with glaciers, and to other explorers commissioned by the Smithsonian and other entities Alaska began being enjoyed not just exploited (though exploitation was certainly an element as those profited from cruise and tours, same as today).
This form of 'exploitation' works to encourage preservation : )

Alaska forest service begins


Gold rush peak

1896 - 1900

1887 return of first miners to the lower 48 sent many back north.
1898 discovery of gold in Nome (large and large amounts) fueled the frenzy.

Copper Discovery (major)


Natives had long known about copper and revered it but kept sources secret.
Discovery by 'whites' resulted in Kennecott mine & associated RR.

Fairbanks Settlement & Boom

1902 - 1908

In this time the 'town' went from wilderness to the busiest city in Alaska.
Gold discovered by Felix Pedro
Town growth attributed to profiteer Elbridge T. Barnette

Oil - first commercial well

1902 - 1933

Near Cordova

Novarupta Volcanic eruption


Largest eruption of the 20th century. Located on the Alaska peninsula. Now Katmai National park and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.

Oil - NPR-4 (NPR-A)

1923 - Present

Last of 4 petroleum reserves controlled by U.S. navy
Naval Petroleum Reserve -#4
1976- National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska under Dept of Interior
23 million acres in the North Slope area
Navy exploration 1943-1953 & 1974-1977

Tongass Timber Act


Vehemently fought against by land claim/Native rights advocates
encouraged by economic development advocates (those to profit and those looking to strengthen statehood chances)
Salmon industry had large impact in snuffing out native claims.
-Allowed the National Forest service to lease land to timber interests primarily in the contiguous Northwest. Product sought-pulp for newsprint.
-Mills, jobs and related economies did not materialize.

First major pulp mill opens


Oil-offshore Cook Inlet

1962 - Present

Oil discovered in Cook inlet 1957, production 1959, but,
First offshore oil 1962 (only 3 areas in US successful in offshore production).

1964 Earthquake


Largest US earthquake on record. 9.2 on Richter scale felt all the way to Antarctica. $311 Million in property damages in Alaska.

Fishing industry Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA)

1976 - Present

Extended US jurisdiction from 12 miles to 200 miles off shore.
provided for:
* Preventing Overfishing
* Rebuilding stock
* Increase economic & social benefit
*Ensure safe & substantial supply
Established 10 industry standards
2-main revisions
1996 revision (Sustainable Fisheries Act)-main points & focus
*adds 3 industry standards
* Focus on overfishing & rebuilding
2007 reauthorization-main points & focus
* Catch limits
* Accountabilty & management
* Science data

Natural gas-pipeline


Federal government authorizes gas pipeline.
Not realized due to cost of bringing gas to market

Alaska Oil pipeline complete


ANILCA & subsistence


Congress passes the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act. The act prioritizes and protects Native subsistence hunting and fishing rights.

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill


11 million gallons spilled into Prince William Sound.
Results in $5 Billion verdict in 1994.

Oil exploration activity increase

1995 - Present

1980's saw little interest from commercial oli companies
Mid-1990's to current increased interest, investment and exploration from variety of commercial companies as well as the dept. of the interior.

Oil Petroleum Profits tax (PPT)-now ACES


Encourages exploration & investment by taxing profits rather than gross revenues.

Natural Gas-pipeline


Legislation with incentives to promote realization of a gas pipeline from the North Slope

Natural Gas-pipeline


Alaska signs deal with China for gas pipeline.
Initial project forecasts 2024 completion.


Missionary schools

1867 - 1884

Missionary schools continued after 1884; during this time there was no school funding by the government. Funding was provided for in the Organic Act.

US school segregation

1880 - 1940

Dates roughly align with practices due to pressures & legislation regarding school & public space (government controlled) racial segregation.
Noteworthy, Nelson Act of 1905 made funds available for schools in unincorporated areas of AK, but they could only be attended by whites and "civilized mixed races".

Federal $ for schools


Sheldon Jackson requests $50,000 to fund education in Alaska
-relieves burden from solely missionary funding
-paves the way for boarding schools

Bureau of Ed/BIA schools

1888 - 1986

BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) took over for the Bureau of Education within the department of the interior.
Some schools were also 'contracted out' to religious organizations. Thus, missionary schools were not necessarily replaced.
In secular, parochial and blended schools -especially early on-assimilation was the goal.

US Compulsory Education takes hold

1900 - 1918

State compulsory education laws began with Massachusetts in 1852.
By 1900, 34 states had them.
By 1918 all states had compulsory education laws for education through 8th grade.

UAF is born


UAF began as a land grant college named the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines.

Mt. Edgecumbe HS opens


Boarding school for Native Alaskan high school students. Run by the Department of Indian Affairs until 1983.



Elementary & Secondary Education Act
- Part of L.B. Johnson's "war on Poverty"
- rooted in civil rights
- generally reauthorized every 5 years since inception.
- special grants & funding through Title I - VII programs

Molly Hootch/Tobeluk vs. Lind consent decree

1972 - 1976

Case for State of Alaska to take responsibility for educating students, through HS, in their villages.
Decree held that the state will provide HS in any village with at least 15 students.

Educators Alaska History & Culture Ed requirement


State legislature passed a law requiring educators to know and understand history and cultures of Alaska believing that knowledgeable educators will help students learn


1992 - 1996

Alaska's initial major school reform known as Alaska 2000
10 committees comprised of over 100 Alaskans within and outside of education

AK Quality Schools Initiative

1996 - Present

Reform that built on & replaced AK2K
Built by Commissioner Shirley Holloway
4 major areas, annual 4 million in grant $ to districts must go to at least one
*High Student Academic Standards & Assessments
*Quality Professional Standards
*Family, School, Business & Community Network
*School Excellence Standards

Student Cultural Standards Adopted




Bush Administration update to 1965 ESEA
Increased federal government's role in public education
Increases ties between accountability and government funding

HS exit exams

2004 - 2016

HSGQE, Enacted into law 1997 & Implemented 2004
Tested began Sophomore year had to pass by Senior or no diploma
Replaced in 2014 with requirement to 'sit for' SAT, ACT or Work Keys exam
2014 requirement dropped in 2016 for 2017 graduates.



Every Student Succeeds Act, reauthorizes ESEA of 1965
shifts more control to states and requires plans for:
- Standards & Assessment
- School, district & state accountability systems
- School support & improvement
Replaces NCLB

Alaska Education Challenge

2016 - Present

Commissioner Michael Johnson & state board rework the department's mission & vision statements in Sept 2016 & launch the challenge in 2017.
Appears to replace the Alaska Education Plan of 2008/2012
5 key areas as below with report and actions to be submitted to the Governor's office by Dec 29, 2017.
*Amplify Student Learning
*Ensure Excellent Educators
*Modernize the Education Sysytem
*Inspire Tribal and Community Ownership of Educational Excellence
*Promote Safety and Well-being

House bill 610

January 2017

Bill introduced to repeal ESEA of 1965-includes
- Substantial change in federal government education funding structure.
- Shift in education authority from federal to state governments.
- Appears to have lost steam, no recent action
- Known as 'School Choice Act'

Purely Political

Events not necessarily related to specifically to the people, the land or education.

American Revolutionary War

1775 - 1783

1776-US declared independence
1783- Britain recognized US independence with the Treaty of Paris

Louisiana Purchase


Florida purchase


America Western Expansion

1845 - 1853

Texas annexed 1845
Oregon country British Claims removed 1846
Mexican cession 1848
Gadsden Purchase 1853

American Civil War

1861 - 1865

No Civil Government in Alaska

1867 - 1884

Area policed by several hundred soldiers & sailors.

Canada independence, self-rule


Canada gains ability to self-govern as part of the British empire

Purchase of Alaska by US from Russia


Negotiated by Secretary of State William Seward for $7.2 million

Alaska Navy Rule

1879 - 1884

Warship stationed offshore at Sitka

First Organic Act


Provided for:
District governor (presidential appointment)
public education
prohibition (until gold rush)

US-Canada boundary survey


Canada is still part of the British Empire though self-giverning.

Liquor Licensing Sysytem


Juneau become Capital


AK becomes US Territory


Reform of 1912 (to Organic Act) gives AK its own legislature

World War I

1914 - 1918

Alaska Natives given US citizenship


A bit backward. People given 'citizenship' to a land they have been in for 10,000 years!

Meriam Report


"The Problem of Indian Administration"
Commissioned in 1926 by Secretary of the Interior Hubert Work
-completed in 1928
-Chapter 9 addresses education
-reports deplorable conditions in boarding schools, "The survey staff finds itself obligated to say frankly and unequivocally that the provisions for the care of the Indian children in the boarding schools is grossly inadequate."
-does NOT speak against goal of assimilation.

Canada full independence from Britain


Statute of Westminster, in 1931, gave Canada complete independence from Britain.

FDR New Deal Programs

1933 - 1937

Indian Reorganization Act amended to include AK


World War II

1939 - 1945

Japan Bombs Dutch Harbor


Alaska Equal Rights Act


Largely due to efforts of ANB and Governor Gruening
Fueled by incident in theater in Nome.

Alaska becomes 49th State


Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act


Direct impact/relation to People & Land

Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Established


The Alaska Permanent Fund was established in 1976, initially to receive 25% of oil royalties and related income.

ANILCA & subsistence


Congress passes the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act. The act prioritizes and protects Native subsistence hunting and fishing rights.

Subsistence law conflicts peak

1986 - 1992

Disagreements on State and Federal levels regarding how to handle subsistence hunting and fishing heightens during this period.
The Federal 1971 ANCSA removed aboriginal rights.
State regulations set in 1978 restored these but apparently lacked clarity. Both State and Federal agencies floundered with regulations.
1992 saw the Federal government manage regulations for Federal Public Lands.
In 2012 the Federal subsistence board adopts a tribal consultation policy and two public members are appointed to represent rural subsistence users.

Other events & technology



Preparation for telegraph (Western Union) in Alaska and Siberia.
Telegraph was initially important in Alaska for military operations in conjunction with policing activities associated with the Gold Rush.

Steamships on the Yukon

1869 - 1940

The first Steam paddlewheel to run the Yukon was 1869
Close to home for me here in Stebbins, just 13 mi from the trading post at St. Michaels.
Last ship built in 1930.
Airplane and snow machines as well as waning of gold fever led to minimal usage by 1940.
Last steamer decommissioned in 1950.

Railroads permitted in Alaska


White Pass-Yukon Railway complete


Connects Skagway and Whitehorse is the Yukon primarily to support the gold rush. Used during WWII for supplies.

Wright Brothers flight




Valdez to Sitka & Sitka to Seattle connecting Alaska to the rest of the country.
Connection to Fairbanks to Follow in 1905.

Alaska Road Commission (ARC) established


Under US Army control

Copper River & Northwestern RR operation

1911 - 1938

Copper spike driven to complete the rail from Cordova to Copper mines near Kennicott Glacier. Largely funded by the Guggenheims and J.P.Morgan and business associates.
Shut down with closing of mine. Portions of track used intermittently since.

Alaska Railroad built

1912 - 1923

Under operation of the federal government until Alaska purchases it in 1985

First Alaska Flight


In Fairbanks, primarily for demonstration by James and Lily Martin.
1920s saw growth in commercial flights.
1928 a flight school opened in Fairbanks.

Alaska Airmail service begins


Serum Run -Nome


Indicative of Alaska's and Alaska Natives struggle with disease Nome diptheria outbreak sparked heroic delivery of serum via dogled relay.
The trail revisited annually with the Iditarod.

The Great Depression

1929 - 1939

Radio Communication


Established in Juneau, Ketchikan and Nome

ACR moves to Department of the interior until statehood

1933 - 1959

Formerly under the US Army. Allows for broader range of financing for road projects and maintenance. Roads also built in forest land by the Department of Agriculture.
3100 miles of existing road (1800 connected) by 1959 turned over to the new 'State of Alaska'.

Television in AK


First Alaska Broadcast

Alaska's Marine Highway system

1963 - Present

Begun with 4 vessels in 1963, a key element of Alaska's transportation system today (10 vessels 2018).
The vessels connect Alaska's numerous islands and ports (Aluetians and east and southeast) as well as connect to the lower 48 (Bellingham Washington).
Important for tourism, trade and routine transportation for many.

First AK live Satellite telecast


Statewide Satellite Communication funding