Sugpiaq/Alutiiq History and Community Archaeology in Old Harbor, Kodiak Island, Alaska

Author(s): Hollis Miller

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Russian colonial expansion into Alaska dramatically altered indigenous communities and landscapes. Motivated by valuable pelts and the desire to compete with other European powers, Russian fur traders crossed the North Pacific, constructing their first American settlement in 1784 near the modern village of Old Harbor on the Kodiak archipelago. Lacking the knowledge and technology to hunt sea otters, Russians relied on the conscripted labor of indigenous Sugpiaq/Alutiiq men to gather these furs. Similarly, Russians depended on Sugpiaq/Alutiiq women for their knowledge of local resources, fur processing, and qayaq cover production. Sugpiaq/Alutiiq people responded to the changes in politics, economics and environment strategically and situationally. In this talk, I consider current understandings of these changes based on ethnohistoric and archaeological evidence and present the results of a pilot archaeological survey of historic Sugpiaq/Alutiiq sites from throughout the period of Russian colonization (1784-1867 CE) in the region around Old Harbor. I discuss expectations for how research at these sites can illuminate daily negotiations of subsistence, gender and labor within a landscape of pervasive but shifting Russian power and interests, and Sugpiaq/Alutiiq resistance and persistence. I also discuss plans for a community archaeology project as integral to the investigation of these changing relationships.

Cite this Record

Sugpiaq/Alutiiq History and Community Archaeology in Old Harbor, Kodiak Island, Alaska. Hollis Miller. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449723)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.453; min lat: 50.513 ; max long: -49.043; max lat: 72.712 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24252