Teacher's Guide

Russia’s Colony: A Story of the Colony Through Primary Sources (Part 2)

Enduring Understandings

Beginning in the 15th century, western European countries developed new attitudes and technologies to sail to lands unknown to them, which they explored and mapped, and from which they took resources. Europeans viewed Natives as inferior, and did not honor their rights or sovereignty.

Exploiting Alaska’s resources led to creation of a Russian monopoly company. Russians were dependent on Native Alaskans for labor, supplies and other necessities.

The Russian Orthodox mission in Alaska helped to defend Alaska Native rights and established schools and orphanages.

Estimated Time:

Two class periods

Materials needed:

Course links: Russia’s Colony unit narrative, Russian American Reader
Other link:Alaska’s Heritage

Lesson Plan:

  1. From the Russian Reader, have students read: Epidemic Timeline and Confessional Lists from Katmai 1831 and 1845. Ask them to determine what events might have affected the increase in the number of conversions to Christianity.
  2. Then have students read: The Story of the Shaman Who Became a Christian, and the discussion piece which follows. Discuss this as a sample of a secondary source and as oral history.
  3. From the Russian Reader, look at one of the illustrations: New Russia etching (Yakutat) or Lisianskii’s drawing of Sitka. Ask students to analyze either of these two examples, completing a Photo Analysis Worksheet.
  4. Students should then construct a picture of life in Alaska during the Russian period by synthesizing the information from the documents and illustrations examined in this lesson and in A Story of the Colony Through Primary SourcesPart 1.
  5. Extension Activity: Read additional primary documents linked to the site: Native Population in Russian America: Russians in Russian America 1819; and Excerpts from Lt. Zagoskin’s Travels in Alaska 1842-1844 Complete written document worksheets.

Alaska Standards:

Culture: B, E
History: A, B, C, D
Geography: B, D, F

Assessment: Review Photo Analysis Worksheet

  Exceeds Meets In Progress Not Started
Content Body of work shows a thorough understanding of the Russian period of Alaska's history and the ability to analyze and interpret primary documents. (including photos) Work shows an understanding of Russia’s Colony and some ability to interpret primary document. (including photo) Work shows minimal understanding of historical period and of primary documents reviewed. No research has been completed or written work attempted.

*Lesson based on Alaska Studies course materials, Anchorage School District Curriculum