Episode 14 - Indigenous Peoples and Russian America
Updated: Apr 6
This episode steps back to the 1700s to look at the experience of Indigenous peoples as the first Europeans -- the Russians -- arrived in Alaska. Originally this was going to be a short section of our upcoming episode on Indigenous peoples and the gold rush but, as anyone who's been to the Alaska State Museum in Juneau will know, the deep and often troubling story of Indigenous-Russian relations is critical to understanding the impact of the stampede on Alaska and the Yukon.
In recent years, new accounts and history books have shed dramatic new light on the period from Indigenous points of view. We have links to a few of them below and we encourage you to check them out.
Book: Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka 1802 and 1804.
Sources, maps & reading
A map from 1776 showing Russian exploration voyages to North America
Map from shortly after US purchase of Alaska showing major Russian settlements
National Parks Service page on 1804 Battle of Sitka
Guide to Old Sitka State Historical Park
Anchorage Daily News article on traditional Tlingit armour used at Sitka
Russians in Tlingit America, edited by Nora Marks Dauenhauer, Richard Dauenhauer, Lydia Black
Russians in Alaska: 1732-1867 by Lydia Black of University of Alaska Fairbanks