150 Years: Kenai Peninsula History Conference

DRAFT CONFERENCE AGENDA (as of March 14, 2017)




8:30 a.m.  Door opens - registration and snacks in the commons


Introductory remarks

9              Shana Loshbaugh – conference project director

KPB         Mayor Mike Navarre

KPC         Director Gary Turner

9:30         break


First session

9:40        Wayne Leman – Ninilchik Russian: Language Persistence on the Kenai Peninsula

10           Mira Bergelson – Ninilchik dictionary project

10:20      David Nordlander – Kenai Heritage within a Range of Web-based Primary Sources on                                                          Alaska History

10:40     break


Second session

11           Alan Boraas – The Battles of Kenai and the Fate of the Russian American Company

11:20      Tom Bundtzen – Mineral Resource Development in Alaska Prior to the 1867 Purchase

11:40      Shana Loshbaugh – Soft Gold: Sea Otters in Alaska and Kenai Peninsula History


Lunch break

noon – 1:30 p.m.  – live Russian folk music from trio “Moscow Nights”


Third session

1:30        James Kari – Stages in Dena'ina Place Names Research

1:50        Greg Weissenberg – What’s in a Name?

2:10        Roger Pearson – The Imprint of Imperial Russia on Alaska’s Landscape Today

2:30        Jeff Meyers – Russia’s Folly: The Reason for Russia’s Cession of Alaska

2:50        Mike Dunham – The Emancipators: Davis, Alexander, Koh’Klux, and Seward

3:10        break



3: 30 p.m.

Highlights of the 1974 Kenai Area History Conference

Kenai’s Russian Heritage

Archaeology and Memory: Ancestral Alutiiq Villages of the Outer Kenai Coast, Alaska

The Wreck of the Torrent




8:30 a.m. Door opens - registration and snacks in the commons

9              Book fair opens in the commons


Keynote talk

9              Andrei Znamenski – Cultural Brokers: A Story of People Who Shaped Popular Orthodoxy                                                      in the Kenai Area

9:50          break

First Session

10           Janet Klein – The Fort Kenai Collection

10:20      Joel Isaak – Dena’ina history – overview

10:40       break


Second Session

11           Debra Corbett – Stu’tlinint (the Dena’ina village at the Skilak Lake outflow)        

11:20      Dorothy Gray – Preservation of the Holy Assumption Russian Orthodox Church & National                                           Historic Landmark

11:40      Daria Safronova-Simeonoff - Celebrations of Civil and Church Holidays in Kenai Deanery,                                                                    Alaska after 1867


noon – 1:30 p.m.  “The Lure of Alaska” original poetry read by Kenai’s Dave Thompson


Third Session

1:30        Kris Farmen -- Fictionalizing the Heart:  Searching for Truth and Humanity in Alaska’s                                                   Russian Past through Literary Fiction

1:50        Brent Johnson – Joshua Slocum’s Kasilof Misadventure

2:10        Jackie Pels – Mary Forgal Lowell

2:30        Aron Crowell – Sugpiaq history – overview

2:50        break


Wrap-up Session

3              Panel discussion (panelists: Kris Farmen, McKibben Jackinsky, Tom Kizzia, Marge Mullen                                                 & others pending)

3:30        Panel Q&A

4             Audience discussion

4:30        Final remarks


6 p.m. – book fair closes

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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