150 Years: Kenai Peninsula History Conference

In April, 2017, the Kenai Peninsula will host its first

local history conference in 43 years.  This event

coincides with statewide observances of the 150th

anniversary of the United States’ purchase of Alaska.

You are invited to submit ideas for presentations at

the main conference, to be held April 21 and 22,

2017 (the Friday and Saturday after Easter), at the

Kenai Peninsula College Kenai River Campus in






Contact us at KenaiPeninsulaHistory@gmail.com or (907) 460-7554.

150 Years:
kenai peninsula history

For the first time in a generation, friends and residents of the Kenai

Peninsula will come together to explore its unique history and cultural

diversity.  The 150th anniversary of the US purchase of Alaska from Russia

presents an opportunity to learn about the dramas of the past, their

legacies in the present, and their lessons for the future.

The conference will focus on the 1800s, particularly the period around 1867,

when rule of Alaska transferred from the Russian American Company to the

United States military.  It will examine the ongoing interactions among the area’s Alutiiq/Chugach, Dena’ina, Russian, and U.S. cultures.  Specific topics, to be determined by participants’ interest, may include: resource use and stewardship (such as fur trapping, mining, and salmon fisheries), the role of the Russian Orthodox Church, the story of the garrison of Fort Kenay, and preservation of traditional knowledge (such as indigenous languages, Russian foods, and local foods and medicines).

Scheduled for April 2017, the conference will include presentations about Alaska and local history, plus community activities for all ages.  The main conference presentations will be at Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna on Friday and Saturday April 21-22.  Tie-in activities are being planned for other communities and schools around the peninsula.


The nonprofit conference relies on volunteers.  Presenters are welcome, but so are people of all ages and background who can donate time to make the conference realize its potential.  Tasks may include: telling civic groups about the conference, sharing history and culture with school children, hosting field trips, helping participants with transportation, set up, take down, filming events, and serving refreshments during breaks.  Please contact us at the email below if you would like to be on our mailing list and get involved.

Stay tuned for updates.  This winter we will issue a call for speakers and for community activities linked to our themes of history and cultures.  At the beginning of 2017 we will firm up the agenda and set up registration.

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