03.24.1906/1940/1976/1978/1989–This Day in Alaskan History

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1904–A fire destroys much of the business district of Wrangell. Although the population of Wrangell is largely non-Native, historically a large Stikine Indian village known as Kotzlitzna was located 13 miles south of the area where Russians first began fur trading with Tlingits in 1811. According to the Alaska Department of community and Economic Development, the Russians built a stockade named Redoubt Saint Dionysius in 1834. The British of Hudson Bay Company leased the fort in 1840 and named the stockade Fort Stikine. The Tlingits protested when the Hudson Bay Company began to use their trade routes, but two epidemics of smallpox in 1836 and 1840 reduced their population by half. In 1868, A U.S. military post called Fort Wrangell was established, named for the island.

Barrow, Alaska

1940–Indian Reorganization Act constitution and bylaws are ratified for the Native Village of Barrow. Barrow, the northernmost community in North America, is located on the Chukchi Sea coast, 725 miles from Anchorage. The population is about 4,500 people. Archaeological sites in the area indicate habitation from 500 to 900 A.D. Barrow’s Eskimo name is known as Ukpeagvik–‘place where owls are hunted.’

1976–A lawsuit is filed by J. R. Lewis and Harold Galliet contesting the Cook Inlet Land Trade. The Alaska Superior Court ruled in favor of Lewis and Galliet, but CIRI immediately appealed the decision and took it to the Alaska Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of CIRI. The Cook Inlet Land Trade was an agreement which allowed CIRI to fulfill its land entitlement with out-of-regions lands. This agreement was the first of several agreements between CIRI and state and federal governments needed because only 7 percent of the eligible federal land within CIRI’s region was below 1,500 feet.

Ninilchik, Alaska

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1978–Ninilchik Village Council, the council for the Russian-Aleut village of Ninilchik in the Cook Inlet Region, becomes officially incorporated. Ninilchik lies on the west coast of the Kenai Peninsula on the Sterling Highway, 38 miles southwest of Kenai. Its population is about 700 people. The village has a very strong Russian background. In 1847, Grigorii and Mavra Kvasnikoff moved their large family from Kodiak to Ninilchik. Grigorii was a Russian Orthodox missionary from Moscow, and Mavra was a Russian-Sugpiaq from Kodiak. She was the daughter of Efim Rastorguev, a Russian shipbuilder, and Agrafena Petrovna, a Sugpiaq from Kodiak.


1989–The Exxon Valdez runs aground on Bligh Reef in Valdez Narrows, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil in the waters of Prince William Sound, creating the largest oil spill in North America. The spill has devastating effects on subsistence resources of a number of Native villages, as well as commercial fishing. Several Native corporations become instrumental in the oil spill cleanup and benefited greatly from the financial terms of the effort.

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Cited From: A Reference in Time, Alaska Native History Day by Day. Edited by Alexandra J. McClanhan and Published by the CIRI Foundation, 2001.

A Reference in Time


One response to “03.24.1906/1940/1976/1978/1989–This Day in Alaskan History

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