Skip Navigation Links The Library of Congress >> Researchers
European Reading Room: European Division, Area Studies
  Home >> Special Projects >> Meeting of Frontiers Conference
Meeting of Frontiers Banner

"Meeting of Frontiers" Conference

HOME - Program and Presentations - Conference Participants - About Meeting of Frontiers

Fusion of Cultures and Meeting of the Frontiers: In Memory of Ordinary People

Lydia Black,
St. Herman's Theological Seminary, Kodiak

More than two hundred years ago citizens of the Russian Empire expanded their activities to the American continent. Their encounters with the Alaska Natives are customarily described in literature in terms of conflict, exploitation, compulsion, and destruction of cultures.1 Today, I shall propose a different point of view. I shall try to speak on behalf of the proverbial worm that dwells, as Robert Redfield once similarly remarked, at the capillary feeder roots of the tree of civilization - the ordinary rank-and-file promyshlennik and ordinary Alaskan Natives of the 18 - 19 centuries. As an American trained social anthropologist, I shall not discuss the documentary evidence pertaining to the policies of the empire, nor the documentation of the activities of the Russian American Company (1799-1867), subjects dear to historians' hearts. Neither will I cite the often superficial and biased observations by members of the Russian educated elite. Most of them visited Alaska briefly, did not know any Native languages, and obtained their information (with very few exceptions) not through observation and experience but second or third hand from unnamed informants. My focus will be on rarely used documents and field data and personal observations collected in the course of a quarter century that deal with rank-and-file individuals. I believe that these data can help us to understand the qualities of interpersonal relations that developed through day-to-day contact and social interactions of Russians who lived among Alaskans. I do not speak of hierarchical structures and chains of command, but about people who adapted to their new social environment and in so doing contributed to the cultural process of Native societies. I shall speak not of behaviors regulated by rules and regulations of an outside entity, the "official" structure, but of the organization of real life, lived by ordinary people.

The basic structural feature that informs my presentation is the fact that throughout the period of Russian sovereignty over Alaska the actual number of Russian citizens present on the ground was very small in relation to the Native population. Consequently, the basic Native cultural orientations remained intact. Mode of subsistence, Native skills, customs, dress, and even elements of religion survived the Russian impact.2 I shall stress again and again that intercultural relations develop in contact situations through encounters between ordinary people: men and men, women and men, women and women, and between adults and children. I shall examine the relations between men first, as data are most abundant in this area.

As we know from the early accounts about Russian and Kamchadal promyshlenniki in the Near Islands 1745-1746, the first contact was, indeed, one of conflict and conquest. Much has been written about brutality on the part of members of this first group, when captives, primarily women, were taken, children born to women captives allegedly killed, and men murdered. However, records pertaining to the criminal investigation of this and other instances of conflict and brutality, and judgements executed upon the guilty in Russia, preserved in the Archive of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire, have not been published to this day. We forget that not all were brutal rapists and murderers, as was the case with the Soviet soldiers when they took Berlin in the Second World War. Some, even many, promyshlenniki tried to interact with the Aleuts in such a manner that would lead to cooperation. I think I may term these efforts as attempts to establish "professional cooperation."

Perhaps the first documented instance of such "professional cooperation" was the taking by the first fur procuring party of a young Aleut (an Attuan who stated that the word "Aleut" was the autonym of the Near Islanders), to Bolsheretsk in Kamchatka where he was baptized Pavel Mikhailovich Nevodchikov. The aim was to improve his Russian language skills so that he could provide information about the Aleutian Chain.3 Survival of the crews of the fur procuring vessels depended on knowledge of the new environment, the social structure of the Native inhabitants, and political relations between tribal entities. Therefore, taking Aleuts of early teen age to the Russian mainland for Russian language training and in some cases education became a more or less standard practice. More often than not these youngsters were selected from among hostages (amanaty) taken to ensure non-aggression on the part of the Natives. Taking of young hostages involved some interaction between the promyshlenniki and Aleut men, especially local leaders. Often, their kinsmen visited the hostages in promyshlenniki camps. Food exchanges almost invariably were part of such visits (sharing food plays a role in structuring interactions). However, the Aleut custom of sending young men out to see and learn about the world, for educational purposes, probably played a role also. Close reading of the extant reports by skippers and foremen points to the fact that some of the promyshlenniki developed fatherly affection for the hostages, or developed relationships of teacher and pupil. The young men almost invariably were returned home. It appears that upon return they more often than not became middlemen and intercessors in many contact situations as well as culture brokers. The best known instances is the case of Ivan Stepanovich Glotov, born Mushkal' of Umnak Island who became a godson of Stepan Glotov. Stepan Glotov took the boy to Kamchatka. The newly baptized Ivan Glotov often served his godfather as an interpreter on subsequent voyages. Eventually, he became the headman, the toion, on Umnak, where he settled at the village now called Nikol'skoe. Ivan Glotov built the first Orthodox chapel in the Eastern Aleutians (dedicated to St. Nicholas, protector of sailors, fishermen, and hunters) and conducted laymen services there on regular basis.4

Armed alliances are another example of the cooperation between the promyshlenniki and the Aleuts. In the decades 1760s - 1780s, the Russians exploited local enmities and Natives exploited their Russian allies in attempts to settle scores with their ancient enemies. There are hints that Native members of the Russian fur procuring crews, or friendly allies of the Russians, provoked some so-called Russian-Native conflicts.5 We know several instances when fur procuring crews and Native leaders and their followers jointly engaged in conflicts with Native enemy groups. Afanasii Ocheredin made common cause with the Aleuts of Umnak against the Four Mountains' islanders in the late 1760s. In the 1770s, several Russian skippers united with Fox Islands Aleuts in a conflict against the Alutiiq of Alaska Peninsula. A pitched battle took place at Sanikliuk (modern Chankliut Island) off Chignik Bay.6 A chief from Akun Island was captured by the Alutiiq, tortured and killed.7 The allies vowed to avenge him. Aleut warriors participated in actions against the Alutiiq of Kodiak Archipelago and elsewhere. Alutiiq (as well as Aleut, Chugach, and Denaina, i.e. coastal Athabaskans) participation in Baranov's armed encounters with the Tlingit is well known. It is hard to imagine that no personal ties emerged between men who fought shoulder to shoulder against the common foe.

The employment of Natives as guides and interpreters continued throughout the promyshlenniki advance eastward. Skippers' and foremen reports attest this fact.8 What we do not know is how the Natives learned the Russian language (with the exception of the hostages as mentioned above). Surely, such learning process requires intimate and frequent contact.

By the time the Imperial government dispatched to Alaska naval expeditions, the practice was so well entrenched that the captains (except possibly Krenitsyn in 1768/69) adopted the use of Natives as a matter of course. The Billings/ Sarychev expedition of 1785-1792 followed this practice throughout.9 I cite here specifically as an example the voyage of Osip Khudiakov, a sergeant of hydrographic survey service under Captain Gavriil Sarychev's command. Khudiakov sailed from Unalaska Harbor eastward, in an Aleut baidara and then in a three-hatch baidarka, accompanied by two Aleuts. He surveyed the coasts of the Krenitzin Islands, Unimak, Alaska Peninsula and part of the Sanak Island. He always solicited information and advice from Aleut elders and followed their instructions without fail.10 Private companies, too, held to this practice. Baranov, chief manager of Shelikhov's interests in Alaska 1791-1818, relied heavily on Natives in various capacities, primarily as sea otter hunters and laborers, but also as members of his military force during expansion of his operation to Southeast Alaska. Later the management of Russian-American Company in Alaska utilized Natives and Creoles at all levels of their operation, except the top management positions. Participation of Natives in exploration and surveys of Alaska coasts is well documented by A.V. Postnikov in his recently published book.11

Less attention has been paid to economic cooperation. Native participation is habitually characterized in literature as that of involuntary servitude and unbridled exploitation. Employment of Natives for pay or as shareholders in the 18th-century fur procuring ventures remains an unexplored topic. Contracts concluded in Okhotsk or in Irkutsk do testify that such economic cooperation existed. I have found only one published contract.12 However, several contracts concluded between various companies organized by Shelikhov, Golikov and Polevoi with their labor force (valovye kontrakty)13 which are preserved in the Russian Historical Archive in St. Petersburg provide sufficient evidence to make the point. The Predtechenskaia Company contract concluded14 August 1790 in Okhotsk between Shelikhov and the labor force of the vessel Sv. Ioann Predtecha lists several Natives employed for yearly wages. Several continued in this company's employ to 1798. These were the newly baptized Kenaets [Dena'ina] Anton Ivanov syn Svin'in, for 60 rubles per year (in 1798 the company owed him 233 rubles); an Aleut from Alaska Peninsula, presumably an Alutiiq; the newly baptized Petr Dmitriev syn Pan'kov; and an Aleut from the Andreanof Islands, the newly baptized Petr Leontiev syn Druzhinin, for 50 rubles per year each. According to the contract concluded in Okhotsk in August (no date stated) of 1791 between the Unalashkinskaia Company (Shelikhov, Golikov and Polevoi) and the labor force that was to serve four years in the Fox Islands, the newly baptized Aleut Nikolai Mukhoplev was among the most important shareholders (such as the navigator, foreman, and blacksmith).

But there is more. The total of venture shares was originally 22. Most of the promyshlenniki sailed on half shares. However, when a toion and interpreter, in baptism Aleksei Grigor'iev Shelikhov, arrived in Okhotsk aboard a vessel sailing from the Aleutians, he was engaged "on unanimous request of all" and an additional, twenty third, full share was assigned to him. Two Aleuts, Nikolai Petrov syn Lagutin, from Unalashka, was engaged against 1/2 share held by Shelikhov for 50 rubles per year, and Petr Filipov syn Mukhoplev, also of Unalaska, was engaged against a full share held by Golikov. The Severo-Amerikanskaia Company (Shelikhov and Polevoi) executed a contract on July 31,1794 in Okhotsk. Fedor Afans'iev syn Ovsiannikov, an Aleut from the Fox Islands, sailed on half share (as did all the other promyshlenniki). Finally, on Kodiak, in 1798, the following Natives participated in the division of catch at half shares: American Il'ia Baranov and Fox Islands Aleuts Vasilii and Afanasii Kochesov.

Some Alutiiq were extremely well paid even in the darkest days of Baranov rule in goods valued by the Natives. The evidence comes from Ukamak (Chirikof) Island. In 1818, Tikhanov, staff painter aboard Golovnin's circumnavigating vessel, painted a young lady of rank in a marvelous beaded headdress. Today, such headdresses modeled on Tikhanov's picture are made for use in public events, as a wedding headdress, and are worn occasionally on great feast days in Church. Also on Ukamak archaeologists discovered a skeleton of an adult male whose upper torso reposed on a virtual cushion of beads. Beads were highly priced, and both, the young lady's father and the unknown Alutiiq man, must have become very rich trading ground squirrel furs to Baranov. Baranov paid high prices for ground squirrels, highly valued by Aleuts (and in short order by promyshlenniki also as most comfortable and warm clothing) before he established a special outpost on Ukamak for ground squirrel fur procurement.14 To my great regret, no one has left us any accounts, such as private letters for example, that could help us to understand the quality of the inter-personal relationships that must have existed between the Native professionals (guides and interpreters), economic partners (shareholders), trading partners, and eventually paid employees.

The friendship and kinship ties that eventually developed were interwoven with "professional cooperation" ties, especially in the early period. The earliest form of documented kinship is that of god parenthood established through lay baptism.15 Linked to it was the practice of naming the newly baptized persons. They received a Christian name, patronymic derived from the Christian name of the godfather, and godfather's surname.16 Sparsely documented, but no doubt existing since the earliest contact, was cohabitation between promyshlenniki and native women. Usually, this aspect of history is discussed in terms of rapine, wife stealing, wife buying, and compulsion. This "Question of Women" (Zhenskii vopros) as it pertains to Siberia has been discussed by several 19th century Russian scholars.17 Cohabitation, however, was often a matter of mutual consent. There are several instances when Russian skippers and foremen reported that Aleut women warned them of intended attacks by Aleut men. The inference that this happened in cases of voluntary cohabitation suggests itself. Voluntary cohabitation in the Aleutian Chain, with consent of women's kinsmen, is described by Lt. Christian Bering, member of the Billings/Sarychev expedition. Christian Bering also mentions that many promyshlenniki were in debt to the merchants who sent out fur procuring vessels for such items as silk kerchiefs, ear rings, rings and other "not needed" items that were clearly intended for their Aleut consorts.18 This aspect of the cohabitation problem to my knowledge has not been explored in literature, with the exception of a pioneering effort by Katherine L. Arndt in the context of an examination of the multifaceted, multi-strand relations between the Russians and Stikine Tlingit.19 Arndt rightly points out that the fathers claimed the children and Russian-American Company administrators feared that this might lead to conflict (matrilineal Tlingit could- and often did- claim the children of such unions as their own). In-laws relationships counted also. A classic example is the case of Plotnikov, survivor of the Old Sitka battle. The father of his then common-law wife tried to remove him from the redoubt by sending him to hunt deer in the mountains. When he saw the redoubt attacked he returned, was chased with great show of force by two warriors and (wonder of wonders!) he escaped. According to Tlingit oral tradition his brothers-in-law were the warriors chasing him.20

Though in the early contact period no legal marriages could be concluded and many promyshlenniki could not legitimize their marriages as they had wives in Russia,21 they often claimed the children and took them along when leaving Alaska. The Head of the First Spiritual Mission in Alaska, Archimandrite Ioasaf, protested this as early as 1795.22 No doubt, cohabitation persisted alongside legal matrimony throughout the Russian period but before the end of the 18th century formal and even legal marriages were concluded. The earliest record of legal matrimony dates to 1790. Vasilii Sivtsov, chaplain with the Billings/ Sarychev expedition performed several marriages between Russians and Native women, among them the marriage of Vasilii Merkuliev.23 His descendents today are important Aleut leaders. Priests of the First Mission performed a number of intercultural marriages beginning with 1794 on Kodiak Island and so did Hieromonk Makarii in the Eastern Aleutians, from Alaska Peninsula to Unalaska in 1796. However, the listings submitted to the Irkutsk Diocese and the Synod have not been so far located. We know, though, that before 1798 Fedor Ostrogin was married to the newly baptized maiden Matrena of Karluk village.24 On 1807, 5th of July, Hieromonk Gedeon en route from Kodiak to Kamchatka, married in the Unalaska Harbor (Iliuliuk) five couples. Among them were Egor Netsvetov, teamster of Tobol'sk and his wife Maria from Atka Island, parents of St. Iakov, Enlightener of Alaska Native Peoples, the first priest of Native descent to serve in Alaska and Ivan Arkhimandritov, teamster of Tiumen', whose son, a navigator and skipper, became very prominent in Alaska history. Their wives and children baptized by lay baptism were christened on the same day.25 Hieromonk Mikhail, Navy chaplain with the Vasil'iev/Shishmarev expedition, also celebrated marriages at Unalaska. In several cases, he married fathers and sons on the same day.

When priests were not available, many promyshlenniki formalized their marriages by resorting to a combination of Northern Russia folk customs and those of the Native communities. Such publicly concluded agreements were in many cases committed to writing. In all surviving documents of this kind, there is a mention that the women were marrying with consent and approval of their kinsmen. Several examples survive: Nikifor, syn Efimov Zakharov and Naanii, a newly baptized American, in baptism Pelageia, of Ogaki settlement [modern Eagle Harbor, 1800]; Abram Manisov and newly baptized Varvara, with consent of her kinsmen, 6 November 1800, on Atka; Konstantin Kobychev and Agaf'ia Iuvenal'ievna of Ezopkino, 15 April 1808, Kodiak; Fedor Ivanov syn Leshchinskii and Yakunna Irina of Kolpakovskoe zhilo, Kodiak, 30 October 1809; Teamster of Verkhotursk, Ivan Petrov syn and the maiden Kut, baptized Glafira, godfather Burgher of Tobol'sk Dmitrii Eremin, April 1816. There are four sworn agreements presented to Kiril T. Khlebnikov in 1827 on Bering Island. Vasilii Petrov Burdiukovskii and the foster daughter of Attuan toion Tikhon Dorofeiev syn Golodov, in baptism Melania, concluded their marriage by public declaration on Attu in 1812. Burdiukovskii came to Alaska in 1790 aboard the vessel Sv. Ioann Predtecha and was one of the Russian Robinson Crusoes marooned in the Commander Islands from 1805 to 1812. Descendents still reside in Alaska and in Kamchatka. Others were Iakov Paranchin and Anna, daughter of Fedor Shergin, married since 1 September 1825, Mikhail Lesten'kov and Irina, married since August 1826, both from Atka, and Grigorii Miakishev married to Ulita, daughter of Vasilii Zaikov, apparently at a much earlier date.26 Many men who married Native women entered their children (sons) in their estate at home, as peasants, burghers, merchants' sons etc. and took their families to Russia after their service in Alaska ended. Katherine L. Arndt had researched in detail the Serebrennikov family and we have documentary evidence that navigator Gerasim Izmailov took his family from Old Harbor to Okhotsk on his last voyage. A number, however, petitioned for permission to remain in Alaska.

We do not know if any women from Russia came to Alaska during the early period. If there were any, the records are silent and the only evidence that might suggest the presence of women is the record provided by Captain James Cook regarding food brought to him: pirog, now a Native dish marking a woman's identity as Aleut, Alutiiq, or other.27 In later times, Russian women were present but their identities and how they interacted with Native women has not been documented. We know a little about priests' wives and daughters and about midwives, but nothing at all about wives whom low level employees of the Russian-American Company or early promyshlenniki might have brought with them to Alaska. In the 19th century, a few Russian women, usually widows, are known to have married either Creoles or Natives. The topic of women from Russia in Alaska has attracted little attention (T.S. Fedorova excepted) and is poorly known. We may assume, however, that they influenced the Native cuisine, for in addition to the proverbial pirog, olad'i, studen', golubtsy, balyk, kulich and other Russian dishes constitute part of Alaska Native cuisine (among groups closely associated with the Russian establishment before 1867). Another area that points to women-to-women interaction is that of folk medicine (though men's role in this area, or in cooking, cannot be excluded), childbirth and neonatal care. This topic, too, is not well researched. I know that several plants are used in folk medicine in Russia as well as in former Russian Alaska. Some uses are identical, such as of yarrow (tysiachelistnik, Acillea millifolium, on Kodiak called "poleznaia trava," the "useful grass") or fireweed (kiprei, Epilobium angustifolium L.). Bogul'nik (Labrador tea, Ledum palustre L.), called on Kodiak mogulnik is used, as in Russia, for severe cough and tuberculosis. Others I was able to identify are kalina (highbush cranberry, Viburnum Lopulus, var. edale) and kutagarnik (Angelica) and puchki (Heracleum species). On Kodiak, both Alutiiq and Russian common names for many medicinal plants are current. Russian folk medicine notions are reflected in other manners also. Grated potatoes in a sock are applied in certain situations to a patient's feet, Russian type steam bath (banya) is used in many contexts when medical help is needed, and neonates are wrapped "like a mummy" (swaddled).28

The qualitative dimension of interpersonal relations, however, is illuminated by data from folklore, oral traditions, and traditional leisure pastime. Widespread throughout former Russian America are the tales about Ivan Durak. Other Russian folk tales have more limited distribution, and some are localized. One example is the Tlingit story based on Russian fairy tales about Vasilisa Prekrasnaia or Vasilisa Premudraia discussed by R.L. Dauenhauer.29 Dauenhauer also finds an echo of the byliny hero, Il'ia Muromets in the Tlingit folklore. How the tale about Vasilisa entered Tlingit folklore, he professes ignorance. But he hypothesizes that there is a possibility that these tales were "given" to a clan or clans of a wife or wives by their Russian husbands. Among the Tlingit, it is customary, that a father "gives" as a gift a traditional story of his own clan to his children who in Tlingit law belong legally to their mother's clan. To my knowledge, no research has been conducted on Kodiak or elsewhere with a view to determining if stories other than Ivan Durak ones are still current. However, in certain localities of Kodiak Archipelago, specifically on Afognak and in northern villages, it is reported to this day that there are water sprites, called rusalkas and house spirits called susedkas.30 The latter tradition is especially interesting because its origin can be determined. It comes from northeastern Russia and specifically from Vologda region.31 Such stories are also reported among the Chugach.32 Like songs, of which but a few survive, these traditions had to be transmitted through story telling and parental or more likely grandparental interaction with children. The same can be said about the now traditional Native games: ice skating, lapta (in Alutiiq laptaq), gorodki, palochka (palochka-stukalochka), miachiq (a ball game) and others. For example, there is a ring dance game being taught to children today on St. Paul Island based on the nursery rhyme ladushki. The transmission had to occur in a family and community setting with connotation of warmth and affection. Card games are suggestive of friendly interaction among adults. Marriage (a game no longer played in Russia but still current in 18th and early 19th century) is still remembered on Kodiak and durak (in two versions) is still current. Last summer (2000) I had the pleasure of playing this game in a very congenial setting, at an archaeological project on Afognak Island. Beside myself, the players were a young Alutiiq, Dr. Sven Haakenson, Jr., Executive Director of the Alutiiq Museum, a young woman from Moscow, and an Alutiiq couple, Denis and Iulia Knagin (Denis is a descendent of RAC employee Knage, of German extraction) of Kodiak but originally from Afognak village.

The evidence presented here suggests that it is time to rethink the quality of Russian-Native relations in terms other then stereotypical ones of mayhem, exploitation, and rapine that accords with the current political correctness standard.33 Let us instead think about the contexts in which such 18th century Russian features as the banya (steam bath), the nuzhnik (the outhouse), both in use to day, the annual feasts, such as the masked balls marking the "Russian New Year" and others become markers of Native identity. Let us think how child care practices are adopted, how the games are taught to children how cooking recipes become familial heirlooms, and songs, stories, and elements of dance are incorporated from one cultural tradition into another. Let us focus on human relationships that, when frontiers meet, cross the boundaries and bring about not destruction but fusion of cultures




1 In one sense my paper is aimed to contravene the recently emerging trend in Russian academic circles to characterize the Russian period in Alaska as comparable to Stalin's Soviet Union and even to a gulag . I particularly refer to recent work of A. Istomin and A. Grinev.

2 I am indebted to Dr. Sven Haakanson, Jr. for the suggestion that this point be stressed.

3 J.L.S., 1774; Narochnitskii, editor, 1989, documents ## 3 and 4.

4 Gideon, Hieromonk, The Round the World Voyage of Hieromonk Gideon 1803-1809. Translated with an Introduction and notes by Lydia T. Black, edited by Richard A. Pierce, Kingston, Ontario/Fairbanks, Alaska, The Limestone Press, 1989:122, 142.

5 Such was the claim made by the crew of the vessel Sv. Gavriil in 1762.

6 Katherine L. Arndt, personal communication May 4, 2001.

7 Polonskii, A. S., ms., "Perechen' puteshestvii russkikh promyshlennykh v Vostochnom okeane s 1743 po 1800 god." Archive of the Russian Geographic Society, Razriad 60, opis' 1, delo 3.

8 See examples in Russkie ekspeditsii po izucheniiu severnoi chasti Tikhogo okeana vo vtoroi polovine XVIII veka. A.L. Narochnitskii, editor-in-chief, Moscow, Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1989.

9 See Narochnitskii, editor, 1989, documents 98-110.

10 Zhurnal, vedenyi geodezii serzhantom Osipom Khudiakovym vo vremia sledovaniia na amerikanskoi baidare do ostrova Unimka, ot nego v troeliuchnoi baidarke do Olen'ego ostrova, opisaniiu ostrovov, lezhashchikh I mysa Aliaksy s 7-go sentiabria 1791-go goda ot seleniia Iliuliuk do 22 aprelia 1792 goda. RGAVMF, Fond 913, Opis' 1, Delo 280, Folios 1-25, autograph.

11 Postnikov, A. V., Russkaia Amerika v geograficheskikh opisaniiakh I na kartakh 1741-1867, St. Petersburg, Rossiiskaia Akademiia Nauk, Institut Istorii Estestvoznaniia I Tekhniki, 2000.

12 See Makarova, R.V., Russkie na Tikhom Okeane vo vtoroi polovine XVIII veka, Moscow, 1968.

13 Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Istoricheskii Arkhiv (St. Petersburg), Fond 1374, opis' #2, delo 1672.

14 Black, Lydia and Donald W. Clark, work in progress.

15I have touched on this topic in several publications, but see Black, Lydia, Orthodoxy in Alaska..., Distinguished Lecture Series, No.6, Berkley, California, Patriarch Athenogoras Orthodox Institute at the Graduate Theological Union, 1996:5-12.

16 See Black, Lydia, Aleut Names and naming Practices, Paper presented at the First International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, Universite Laval, Quebec City, Canada and Ancient Aleut personal Names. Kaadaangim Asangin/Asangis, Materials from Billings Expedition 1790-1792. Edited and Interpreted by Knut Bergsland. Fairbanks, Alaska, Alaska Native Language Center.

17See for example Ogloblin, N., "Zhenskii vopros v Sibiri v XVII veke" in Istoricheskii vestnik, July 1890:194:207, Butsinskii, P.N., 1889, Zaselenie Sibiri I byt pervykh eia nasel'nikov....,and Slovtsov, 1886, Istoricheskoe obozrenie Sibiri.

18Journals of Christian Bering, RGAVMF, Fond 913, Opis' 1, delo 165, 88 Verso.

19 Arndt, Katherine L., "Russian Relations with the Stikine Tlingit, 1`833-1867," Alaska History, Spring 1988:3:1:27-43.

20Plotnikov's descendents still live in Sitka under the name Carpenter. Tlingit oral tradition, Nora and Richard L. Dauenhauer, work in progress and personal verbal communications.

21 However, I located one case when a promyshlennik, Dimitrii Klimovskii in 1788 sought and obtained divorce from his Russian wife. Irkutskii oblastnoi arkhiv, Fond 50, opis' 1, delo 457, sviazka 44.

22 Letter from Ioasaf to Grigorii Shelikhov of May 18, 1795, Ms., Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Yudin Collection, Box I, Folder 1.

23 RGAVMF, Sivtsov's report to Captain Billings...

24 "Neskol'ko pisem is arkhiva Kad'iakskoi Missii," in Amerikanskii Pravoslavnyi Vestnik, 15/28 1900:4:6:127, document # 6, Petition by Fedor Ostrogin addressed to Bishop Designate, Ioasaf, no date.

25Gideon, Hieromonk: The Round the World Voyage of Hieromonk Gideon 1803-1809, translated with an Introduction and notes, by Lydia T. Black, Kingston, Ontario:Fairbanks, Alaska, The Limestone Press, 1989:137-138 and 132.

26 Prisadskii, A., "Byloe I Nastoiashchee," Russko-Amerikanskii Pravoslvnyi Vestnik, July 1939:35:7:107-108, documents from the Kodiak Church archive. Document (Xerox copy) from the archive of the late A. Dolgopolov, April 1816, Na NWykh Amerikanskikh beregakh v Novo arkhangel'skom rossiiskom porte [sic]. Putevye zapiski na Brige Kiakhte po ostrovam Andreianovskago, Beringov, Blizhnego I Krys'iago otdelov Pravitelia Novoarkhangel'skoi kontory Khlebnikova 1827 goda (s Maia po 7 sentiabria) RPM BAN Razriad 99, opis' 1, # 34. Microfilm in Shur collection, roll6, MF 194, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

27 It is an accepted premise that male and female knowledge realms are different. However, the presence of food such as pirog and olad'i cannot be taken as firm evidence for the presence of women in Alaska in 1778 as Russian promyshlenniki apparently cooked for themselves when on voyages or hunting in the taiga.

28 For specific reference to mogulnik, potato use, and swaddling, see Joanne B. Mulcahy, Birth and Rebirth on an Alaskan Island, Athens and London, University of Georgia Press, 2001: 56, 57 and 108-109.

29 Dauenhauer, Richard L., Text and Context of Tlingit Oral Tradition, a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Doctor of Philosophy (Comparative Literature) at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1975.

30 Data are from oral tradition collections, on tape and in transcription, collected by various investigators, on file at the Alutiiq Museum, Kodiak and personal knowledge.

31Pomerantseva, E.V., Mifologicheskie personazhi v russkom folklore, Moscow, Nauka, 1075. For discussion of rusalka traditions, see pp. 68-90, "Rusalki v russkom folklore." On house spirits, domovye, see pp. 92-117, "Rasskazy o domovom." Susedka, see p.95. See also Tolkovyi slovar' velikorusskago iazyka Vladimira Dalia, 4th corrected and expanded edition by I.A. Boduen-de-Courtnay, St. Petersburg and Moscow, M. O. Wol'f, 1912, vol. 4.

32 Dr. Sven Haakenson Jr., Personal written communication, July 13, 2001.

33 For an earlier mention of the need for revision of our views, see Black, Lydia, "Promyshlenniki - Who Were They?," in Bering and Chirikov: The American Voyages and Their Impact, ed. J.O. Frost, Anchorage, Alaska, Alaska Historical Society, 1992:279-290. See also Black, Lydia, "The Creole Class in Russian America," Pacifica, 1990:2:2:142-155.

  Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Special Projects >> Meeting of Frontiers Conference
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  September 21, 2010
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian