Imagine the snow underfoot getting plowed through your path. Envision tall evergreen trees towering over you. Feel the soft, freezing snow on the ground. Listen to the sounds of birds calling, snow crunching, and the steady flow of your visible breath. Look at the light snow and the green trees. You can practically see the Native Americans that once roamed this land. Hundreds of years of ancient history is right underfoot. You can see and feel the exotic land formations of this arctic tundra. It’s climate is cold and dry, freezing you to the tip of your toes. Although this environment is unforgiving, animals and plants still live to thrive in this forever cold place. This, is Alaska.
Native Americans are part of our culture, they are the indegineous people of our land. Beginning with the five main tribes: the Inuipiat, the Inuit, the Haidi, the Yuit, and the Athascanban. The Inuipiat mostly lived in the Aluetian islands. The Inuit and Haidi tribes lived along the southeastern coast. The Yuit lived in the Northern part of Alaska. The Athascanban lived in the central part of Alaska.
These are pictures of the Native Americans.
Fun Fact! Did you know that 20.4% of Alaska's population is made of Native Americans? (2020 census)
All these tribes lived in villages made of mostly dirt. They also all hunted caribou, musk ox, bowhead whales, and even seals. To show respect to the animals they made masks in their shapes. They carved hunting charms out of seal tusks. Men hunted and maintained jobs, women did house work, and made clothes. Tribes play traditional games like knuckle hop. But, the foreigners didn’t care about these. Although Alaska’s history tells a lot, this is only a part of Alaska.
This is the type of houses the Natives lived in.
This is a Caribou.
Alaska has a long history through good and bad, it all starts from the Russians. To start, in 1741 a Russian fleet maintained by Vitus Bering(the Bering Strait was named after him) spotted the Alaska mainland. They settled on Kayak Island and claimed it for theirs. Though they just landed, they had to battle the Tlingit tribe and other native tribes there. The rest of them were either enslaved or diagnosed with smallpox brought by the foreigners.The Russians traveled there mostly for the abundant amount of animal life there and hunted for their furs. Because of this, more and more foreigners moved in and hunted for animals and other jobs they could do there. Eventually, the Americans saw this, they wanted this land for not only its animals and plants, but also for its mines. As a result, the Secretary of the State Willam Seward suggested buying the state though some people laughed at him saying Alaska was just a frozen wasteland. Though getting jeered at, in 1867 The US bought Alaska for $7.2 million.
Fun Fact! Did you know that there is an Alaska day that is celebrated every October 18th?
These are animal furs.
This was a turned out to be great deal for the US because it turned out that not only were there vast amounts of animals and plants, there were also huge quantities of gold in Alaska. At first they found gold in what was called Harrisburg then, but in 1881 it was renamed as Juneau (the state capital) because Joseph Juneau and Richard Harris were the first to find the gold there. Subsequently, gold rush had started, thousands of miners came and struck rich. A few decades later the World Wars started. World War I (1914-1918) wasn’t a big deal, but World War II (1939-1945) was a serious time for Alaska. When Japan (Axis) bombed Pearl Harbor, The US (Allies) declared war on Japan. They used Alaska as a military supply road. This was bad news for Alaska because Japan was very close to Alaska. As expected, in 1942 Japan captured the Attu and Kiska Islands. A year later, the US reclaimed their land. Soon after the war, Alaska (the 49th state)had finally officially became part of US territory in 1959, also the same year Hawaii became a state. But soon, they had found something more valuable than gold, it was “black gold!” It means petroleum or oil. It was found in Prudhoe Bay in 1968. An oil pipe opened in 1977. It carried millions of gallons of oil to the port of Valdez. Meanwhile, Alaksan Natives fought for their rights and claimed back millions of acres of land in 1971. Today most of Alaska is protected by the National WildLife Refuge. To conclude, Alaska has taken a long way to become our state.
Fun Fact! Alaska has no sales tax.
This is the Alaska oil pipeline.
1776 - British explorer Captain James Cook makes contact with Alaskan natives while searching for the Northwest passage.
1728 - Danish explorer Vitus Bering discovered the Bering Strait.
1867 - Alaska is purchased from Russia by the United States for $7.2 million.
1741 - Vitus Bering returns and explores the Alaskan coastline.
1784 - The Russians establish a permanent settlement on Kodiak Island.