The History of Education in Alaska

Education in Alaska

First Mission School for Alaskan Natives Nashuguk AK


Sheldon Jackson College Opens


John Green Brady Sheldon Jackson College as a school for educating/assimilating Alaska Natives. Later he would be appointed Governor for three terms.

Organic Act passed


Organic Act passed 1884 Providing government funding for education in Alaska

Organic Act


Organic Act passed providing government funding for education in Alaska

Dr. Sheldon Jackson

1885 - 1907

Presbyterian missionary to Alaska and former superintendent of the Rocky Mountain district of the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions, was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to be General Agent of Education in Alaska, serving under the immediate supervision and jurisdiction of the U.S. Commissioner of Education. Jackson's responsibility was to make provisions for the education of children in Alaska towns and villages "without regard to race." Under his tutelage, schools were established in most native villages, and separate schools for white and native children in Alaska's few "white" towns.

Roman Catholic missionaries

1889 - 1957

Roman Catholic missionaries start a mission and school at Holy Cross on the middle Yukon River.

Contracting with Missionary Groups Ends


The U.S. Bureau of Education ends its practice of contracting with missionary groups in Alaska to operate day schools and opens federal day schools. A number of new school buildings are constructed in Native villages.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Takes Control


Bureau of Indian Affairs took over operation of rural schools

Tobeluk v. Lind - Tobeluk Consent Decree


Tobeluk vs. Lind was a landmark case in Alaskan Native education. The 27 teenage plaintiffs brought suit against the State of Alaska, claiming that Native American boarding schools were discriminatory and unjust. The case is widely known as the "Molly Hootch Case" after the first plaintiff named. At the time of the case, Alaskan Native parents were forced to send their children away for schooling because of a lack of quality local educational facilities in their towns. Boarding schools had historically been used as a tactic of assimilating Native students into white culture. In October 1976, the signing of the Tobeluk Consent Decree committed the government to building local high schools in Alaska

People of Alaska

Russians Settle Alaska


when a Russian expedition led by Danish navigator Vitus Bering sighted the Alaskan mainland. Russian hunters were soon making incursions into Alaska, and the native Aleut population suffered greatly after being exposed to foreign diseases. 1786, Grigory Shelikhov, a Russian fur trader, the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska. In 1790 he returned to Russia and in 1790 dispatched Aleksandr Baranov to manage his affairs in Alaska. Baranov then established the Russian American Company and in 1799 was granted a monopoly over Alaska.

Father Ioann Veniaminov - Innocent of Alaska

1823 - 1850

Father Ioann Veniaminov volunteered to go and on May 7, 1823 he departed from Irkutsk, accompanied by his aging mother, his wife, and their sons, Stefan and Innocent, an infant. After a difficult yearlong journey by land and water, they arrived at Unalaska on July 29, 1824. Father Ioann's parish included the island of Unalaska and the neighboring groups of Fox and Pribilof islands, occupied by indigenous people who had been converted to Christianity before his arrival. In 1834, Father Ioann was transferred to Sitka Island. There he devoted himself body and soul to the illumination of the Tlingit people, having first assiduously studied their dialect, mores and customs.

Small Pox Among Native Population


Smallpox epidemic starts at Sitka and over the next five years spreads
throughout Alaska and kills many Native people. As a result, many Native
people accept vaccination.

Small Pox Fatalities

1835 - 1840

Small Pox kills between between 1/4 ans 2/3 of all people in villages. Survivors are left scarred and easy prey to secondary infections.

Smallpox, Measles, Chicken pox

1836 - 1839

Smallpox, measles, chicken pox, and whooping-cough epidemics reduce the
Unangan population.

Unanga{ (Aleut) Population is ¼ of what it was before contact.


Lincoln makes first official visit to Unalaska


September 6: U.S. Revenue Cutter Lincoln makes first official visit to Unalaska
during which the first ascent of Makushin volcano is made.

Tongass Timber Act


Alaskan Resources

U.S. purchases Alaska

April 4, 1867

October 18: U.S. “purchases” Alaska from Russia without consulting Unangan (Aleuts). Russia signs a treaty with the United States selling Alaska. American administration begins October 18. The treaty refers to “inhabitants of the ceded territory” and “uncivilized tribes”. The “inhabitants” are to be citizens. The treaty states, “The uncivilized tribes will be subject to such laws and regulations as the United States may, from time to time, adopt in regard to aboriginal tribes in that country”. No Alaska Natives are granted citizenship.

Alaska oil claims were filed under the Hardrock Mining Act of


Mining Act


Congress passes the Mining Act outlining provisions for staking claims. In
several Alaska mining camps, the law is interpreted to exclude Native people.

Richard Harris and Joseph Juneau First Gold Strike


Two men made Alaska's first important gold strike. The discovery site was located several miles up Gold Creek. Harris and Juneau staked claims for themselves and their backers. News of the discovery brought a rush of prospectors to the area. A frontier mining town sprang up on the beach. It was first named Harrisburg, then Rockwell, and finally Juneau.

Gold is found in Southcentral and Interior Alaska


Klondike Gold Found


Chickaloon Coal Field Reserve

1898 - Present

During the winter of 1913-1914, the navy tested 800 tons of coal hauled from the Chickaloon River down the frozen Matanuska River and then to Seward. The tests showed that the coal had good burning properties and would be acceptable fuel for ships. Congress created the Chickaloon coal field reserve. In 1919, more than 4,000 tons of coal were mined by Chickaloon's 35 employees. Two years later, the navy began building a million dollar coal washing plant at Sutton.

First Productive Oil Drilling Operation

Approx. 1900

Alaska's first productive oil drilling operation was at Katalla, on the Gulf of Alaska, south of the Copper River delta. Seepages had been reported around the shore of Controller Bay for many years.

Gold in Fairbanks


A gold strike leads to the founding of Fairbanks. It becomes the largest
community in Interior Alaska. A number of Athabaskan people move to
Fairbanks for jobs.

Gold in Fairbanks


A gold strike leads to the founding of Fairbanks. It becomes the largest
community in Interior Alaska. A number of Athabaskan people move to
Fairbanks for jobs.

Large-Scale Mining Operations Take Over


After the initial strikes, mining companies organized to recover gold on a large scale. The operations were often financed by wealthy absentee owners. In a typical large-scale operation.

Mineral Leasing Act


In 1920 congress adopted the Mineral Leasing Act, which established a leasing plan for coal, oil and natural gas. Most states soon followed with leasing acts of their own. At the same time Congress provided for the creation of several strategic oil reserves. The largest, Petroleum Reserve No. 4 (Pet. 4), was established on Alaska's Arctic coast.

Additional Minerals Discovered


Prospectors also sought and found other minerals in Alaska. Deposits of copper, coal, silver, mercury, platinum, and tin were among the others found and mined in Alaska.

Platinum Mined at Goodnews Bay


in 1927 Claims were staked and placer mining operations began shortly after. The Goodnews Bay Mining Company organized and purchased a number of placer platinum claims. In 1934, it began hydraulic operations and a few years later moved in a dredge. The Goodnews Bay mine was the only platinum mine operating in the U.S. After 1980, mining at the site was sporadic.

Kenai Peninsula Oil Discovery


Kenai Peninsula in 1957 caused even more interest from potential oil investors like the Richfield Oil Company of California... Others included Phillips, Marathon, and Unocal, as well as Shell, Sunray, Mobil, Chevron and Texaco. Richfield was the first to drill. They struck oil with their first well. The discovery, reported on July 15, 1957, tested at 900 barrels a day, the first major, commercial discovery in Alaska .Other companies quickly began drilling programs in the area, and in 1959, Unocal discovered a major natural gas field, near the Swanson River oil field.

Sterling gas field discovered in Cook Inlet


Middle Ground Shoal, the first offshore field in Cook Inlet, discovered


Cook Inlet natural gas becomes the major fuel source for power generation to Southcentral Alaska communities.

Prudhoe Bay, First Natural Gas Discovery


More Oil and Gas Discoveries


State receives a record $900 million from North Slope lease sale.
Congress passes National Environmental Policy Act; U.S. enters new era of environmental awareness.
Tesoro Refinery comes on-line.
Liquefied Natural Gas Plant in Nikiski, only one of its type in North America, begins exporting to Japan.
America’s second largest oil field, Kuparuk, discovered (production begins 1981).
Milne Point discovered (production begins 1985).

Trans-Alaska oil pipeline


Trans-Alaska oil pipeline in 1974, and production in the field in 1977. Since that time smaller, connected fields have added to the production on the North Slope. For three decades, Alaska's North Slope has produced about 20% of the domestic oil used in the United States. In 1994 a ban on the export of Alaska oil was lifted allowing oil to be sold on the world market. To date, about 10 billion barrels of oil have been pumped from the North Slope.

Recent Mineral Discoveries


n 1974, U.S. Borax discovered deposits of an estimated 1.5 billion tons of molybdenum at Quartz Hill in Southeast Alaska. To transport the metal, the company began construction of an access road and dock facilities. Development of the deposits were to follow. Zinc and lead deposits found in Northwest Alaska also held promise of being profitably developed.

North Slope production peaks


North Slope production falls by nearly 40%