In 1880, Chief Kaawaa’ee, a Tlingit of the Aak’w Kwáan, led Joe Juneau and Dick Harris to gold. Prior to the gold find, the non-Native population in Alaska was less than 400. After the discovery, thousands of miners and settlers arrived. This put pressure on Tlingit land. The Organic Act of 1884 established a land district (a type of administrative land division) and branches of government in Alaska. The law gave title to land held by non-Native people in the new territory, but did not allow Alaska Natives to acquire title to their land. The first duty of the new land office was to give legal title to mining claims. A number of Tlingit people attempted to file mining claims, but were denied because they were not United States citizens. Although the Tlingit still owned southeast Alaska under aboriginal title (a common law doctrine that the land rights on indigenous people persist even after settler colonialism), they did not benefit from wealth generated by the mineral resources
The Organic Act of 1884 established schools in Alaska for all children. The schools were set up “for the education of children of school age in the Territory of Alaska, without reference to race.” Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian missionary, was the general agent of education in Alaska. He used $25,000
provided by Congress to pay for mission schools set up for Native children. Federal subsidies for church-run schools continued until 1895, when the Bureau of Education assumed control of many Alaskan schools. The United States educational policy was to “civilize” Native children. In school, there were many rules in place that prevented Native children from speaking their traditional language. Often times, corporal punishment was used to discourage Native children from practicing their traditional culture. In 1905, the Nelson Act passed which also established two separate systems of education. The federal government was responsible for Native education, while the territorial government controlled white education.
Alaska History Timeline Narrative
Writing pieces from: The Coming of the First White Man by George R. Betts. (Dauenhauer, Nora Marks, and Richard Dauenhauer. Haa Shuká, Our Ancestors: Tlingit Oral Narratives), and J.F. La Pérouse Visit to Lituya Bay, 1786 (Excerpts from journal. Dauenhauer, Nora, Richard Dauenhauer, and Lydia Black. Anóoshi Lingít Aaní Ká,Russians in Tlingit America: the Battles of Sitka, 1802 and 1804).
Tlingit Migration Story (Based on Glacier Bay history) Told by Susie James (Kaasgéiy of the Chookaneidí clan), translated by Nora Dauenhauer. Excerpted from Haa Shuká, Our Ancestors. Sealaska Heritage Institute, Juneau, and University of Washington Pre ss, Seattle, 1987.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act: Relationship with the Environment
How Raven Stole the Sun by Maria Williams, published by the National Museum of the American Indian
Haida Creation Story adapted from Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History, volume X, book II—Haida Texts—Masset Dialect. By John R. Swanton, 1908, p. 307-31
Yup’ik Creation Story from In The Beginning— Creation Stories from Around the World, Virginia Hamilton, 2007
Yuma Creation Story from Geoglyphs, Rock Alignments, and Ground Figures, Gerald A Smith, UCLA Insitute of Archaeology, Los Angeles, 1983
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