In this lecture, John Cloud, an independent historian of geography and cartography, talks about the partnerships between scientists and Alaska Natives that emerged in an effort to map Alaska after the United States acquired the state through the Treaty of Cession in 1867.
Alaska Natives have long disputed the federal government’s “purchase” of Alaska from Russia, arguing the indigenous people were the original owners and they did not consent to the sale. In his talk, Cloud notes that the Russians “pretended” to own Alaska and the United States “pretended” to buy it, and as a result, Alaska was constructed by many disparate participants through processes that continue today.
Cloud’s foundational research related to Alaska was largely funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The lecture was given in celebration of Native American Heritage Month.