Story last updated at 9/12/2012 - 2:19 pm
The Alaska State Library in Juneau will host a presentation by John Cloud on the Alaska Native contribution to 19th century cartography. The event will be held in the Historical Collections Reading Room on the 8th floor of the State Office Building at noon on Sept. 12. Cloud is a contract historian at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.
Today's understanding of the contours and outlines of the Alaskan coast and interior evolved from a body of work in the 19th and early 20th centuries that is generally credited to the European explorers, Russian colonizers, American geographers, district administrators and naval officers. What is less well known is that some of this knowledge of the land and seacoast was passed along directly from Tlingit and Inupiat leaders to American cartographers and geographers, including George Davidson.
The exchanges between the Native Alaskans and the American map and chart-makers occurred over a period of more than 50 years, beginning in 1867 and involved a number of important figures in the history of Alaska - among them Chief Kohklux (Shotridge) of the Tlingit Nation and Davidson during a three-year period at the time of the transfer, and then a further exchange that included Joe Kakaryook of the Inupiat people on the Lower Yukon, Sheldon Jackson of the Presbyterian Church, District Governor John W. Brady, and Kokhlux's grandson Louis Shotridge, as well as eminent scientists and Coast Survey figures Thomas C. Mendenhall, Marcus Baker and William Dall.