Pacific Eskimo - History and Cultural Relations

The Pacific Eskimo were first sighted by Vitus Bering in 1741, which led to some forty years of limited and often hostile Contact until the Russians established trading posts beginning in 1784. By 1800, posts were established in various locales and the Pacific Eskimo were drawn into the fur trade as workers in procuring and processing salmon meat and furs. The Russian Orthodox church was also established during the Russian period and remains an important influence today. After the close of the Russian period, Americans moved into the region and by 1880 had established canneries that led to a consolidation of the Pacific Eskimo into cannery villages and made them economically dependent on salmon fishing and wage labor. Overfishing led to a demise of the canning industry after 1900. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 resulted in eligible villages being incorporated as landowning business corporations. In precontact times, the Pacific Eskimo traded with as well as fought with the Aleut, Tlingit, and Tanaina.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: