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The Alaska Historical Society Lecture and Discussion Series: Americanization of Alaska

November 16, 2023

Join the Alaska Historical Society and Cook Inlet Historical Society for the second of a four-part lecture and panel series about major public policy issues facing Alaska to create a more productive environment in which to arrive at sound public policy.
Beginning with the 1867 transfer of Alaska from Russian to American control, the federal government extended its administration over the territory. Was this “Americanization” positive, with new government services, or an unwelcome colonization? Americanization had both enormously positive and negative impacts which continue today. The unsettled relationship between the federal government, the state and Native groups deserves closer discussion as Alaskans consider ideas such as resource management and policies relating to Alaska Natives under the federal trust.
Panelists Ross Cohen, Mary Ehrlander, Ian Hartman and Charles Wohlforth weigh in before taking questions from a live and online audience. Free. Use the museum’s 7th Avenue entrance to enter.
The AHS is Alaska’s largest statewide organization dedicated to the informed exchange of ideas through a factual appreciation of Alaska’s history. It is partnering with the Cook Inlet Historical Society and the Anchorage Museum on the series. The Atwood Foundation has provided a generous grant to cover costs. Other supporting organizations include the League of Women Voters, the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolf Debate Program and OLE!, an Anchorage-based nonprofit which offers educational classes.
Image: Sitka from the governor’s garden; St. Michael’s Cathedral on left, 1868-1869. Eadweard James Muybridge Photograph Collection, Alaska State Library, ASL-P15-07.
About the Panelists
Ross Cohen is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Washington. He is also editor of Alaska History (AHS Journal), the semi-annual journal of the Alaska Historical Society.
Mary Ehlander is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and former director of the Arctic and Northern Studies Program at UAF. She is the author of numerous books and publications, including Walter Harper, Alaska’s Native Sun, and Equal Educational Opportunity: Brown’s Elusive Mandate.
Ian Hartman is a professor and chair of the history department at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He teaches modern American history with an emphasis on issues related to economic and racial inequality.
Charles Wohlforth was an Anchorage Daily News reporter from 1988 to 1992 and wrote a regular opinion column from 2015 until 2019. He served two terms on the Anchorage Assembly. He is the author of a dozen books about Alaska, science, history and the environment.

Alaska Historical Society

Anchorage, AK, 99510

The Alaska Historical Society is a volunteer-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Alaska history by the exchange of ideas and information, the preservation and interpretation of resources, and the education of Alaskans about their heritage. Governed by a 15-member board of directors, the Society provides a forum and a vehicle to achieve these goals. AHS is a membership organization with 480+ members.