Founded 8000 B.C.

The Native Village of Afognak

Post Contact Afognak History

Extracts from a Document on the History of Kodiak's Villages

(Early Draft)
     Afognak with Rubtsov
     Aleut Town (Rubtsovskais Village, Nashkuchalik)
     Katenai (Kattaq)
     Little Afognak (Igwik/Seleznevo)
     Mautaq-Danger Bay
     Afognak Artels - A Problem of Identification
     Northern Afognak/Shuyak Island Villages and Russian Magazin
     "Free" Russians and Creoles: Colonial Citizens and other Estates

Afognak Village with Rubtsov
Russian Period

     It is not clear whether references to "Afognak" refer to the island or to the village, or, perhaps, even to Selezneva (Little Afognak) or Katenai. There also are indications that the earliest settlement referred to as Afognak was Kaataq, an artel. Three miles across Afognak Bay there was also an odinochka (a small one-man post) called Rubtsovskaia around which Afognak Village, as known later, developed. Further ambiguity occurs when some sources refer to a single artel, others to more than one artel, usually without giving their name or exact location. What we do know is that there were several components of Afognak Village.

     A 1786 Izmailov map of Kodiak Island, published in 1787 and reproduced by Black (1992), has a "zhilische" off the entrance to Danger Bay, very approximate to the location of Afognak Village or Kataaq. It is open to interpretation whether zhilische refers to a single dwelling or a village of several dwellings, and whether Russian or Native. But by 1802, as stated by Davydov, zhilo meant "village" to local Russians. Lisianski later refered to "Zhilo Rubtza" at Afognak Village (1812 Atlas sheet from account of 1804-05 voyage).

     Exclusive of Shuyak Island, the first reference to an Afognak person, to a Native toion, appeared in 1794 (Pierce and Donnelly, eds, 1979, p.51). The exact village cannot be identified, but it is evident from this the Russians had been having contacts with Afognak Alutiit since before 1794. In fact, about 1785 Shelikov had set up a trading arrangement with a Shuyak chief, which ended up with two Russians being killed on Shuyak Island and, purportedly, the Shuyak Island village being destroyed in retaliation.

     In 1803 Davydov traveled to Afognak (1977:114). "In Afognak we called in at Rubtsov odinochka where a Russian "hut" had been built. In these parts an odinochka is a place where there was no original native settlement, but where a hunter now lives with several kaiurs." Elsewhere, Davydov (p. 192) refers to Igvetsk (Little Afognak) as being the Afognak artel. He apparently distinguished between the odinochka and artel. A month later Davydov made a second trip to Afognak, again stopping at Rubtsov odinochka. He clearly indicates that at least in season Rubtsov was the salmon catching and processing site, i.e., Letnik, at the Afognak River. Although he does not name Letnik, he reported setting a dragnet in the river and catching more than 2,000 fish, most of which were let go because that number could not be cleaned within 24 hours (p. 123). Up to 13 persons had been brought in to work at the fishery.

     Davydov also described gathering wild onions there for the trip back to Okhotsk. This gives some credibility to his narrative, as Back Bay at the head of Afognak Bay is known today as a locality for wild onions. To take his account literally, the work crew there was managed by the odinochka, not the artel. This may mean that Igvetsk artel or Igvik settlement was too far away at Little Afognak and that the closer Kataaq settlement or artel at Settlement Point had not yet been established. There is some problem interpreting Davydov as he seldom used proper names or described locations. The distance from Rubetz to Little Afognak is about 26 km, stated in one historical source as 16 miles, but Davydov stated that the distance from the artel to the odinochka was 16 versts (even though one verst, a Russian unit of distance, is approximately equal to one kilometer).

     The odinochka that was to become part of Afognak Village was Rubetz. The earliest reference by name appears in 1803 (in Davydov). "Rubetz" appears in a large number of spellings (The severe distortion "Ratkovsky" is preferred by L. Harvey, Moser in 1902, and two Geographical Dictionaries of Alaska). Huggin's account strongly suggests that there was a Russian village here several years before the town of Kodiak was established, which was in 1792/93. Huggins' information recorded in 1869 may be reliable. "A mile and a half from this native village [large village at Afognak] is a settlement of Russian half-breeds or 'free creoles,' which is several years older than the settlement on Kodiak, if not the oldest one in the territory." (Huggins 1981:23)

     Rubetz was identified as a settlement made up of retired Russian America Company (RAC) employees according to the 11th (1890) census. However, this settlement of superannuates began around 1830, later than Kodiak. In the "run-away sailors" version of the origins of Afognak village (below), Huggins points to 1823 as a milestone year in which a priest first visited Afognak, and marriages and baptisms in arrears were consummated, both at the Russian village and separately at the Native village. The numerous references to Rubtza not withstanding, we have been unable to locate any descriptions other than a reference to a hut (a mean translation of zhilische) and the statement that the odinochka oversaw salmon fishing at the Afognak River. There is the description of an Afognak artel, but it probably was located elsewhere, inasmuch as the distinction between Rubetz odinochka and any other odinochkas and artels on the island seems to be reasonably clear. Wrangell's 1830s remarks in Khlebnikov's notes state that as of Jan. 1, 1834, there were one bull and three cows at the Afognak odinochka. An 1832 church record cited by Sonja Luehrmann (p. 52) distinguishes between Afognak village, seemingly inhabited by Aleuts, and Rubtsovskoe, evidently in part inhabited by Creoles. Church lists separate "Creoles" and "Aleuts" and clergy. RAC communications list Meleshkin as Afognak odinochka baidarshchik in 1839.

     In 1844, after the smallpox epidemic, Natives from Kizhuyak, Malina, and Little Afognak were said to have been resettled at the Afognak odinochka (Tikhmenev 1978:200) but this actually did not occur for Selezneva (Little Afognak) and we have seen no documentation demonstrating resettlement of the other two places. Kizhuyak could have been vacated at that date, and Malina Creek was used mainly for trapping and fishing by Creoles.

     A Russian American Company map of 1849 shows the following components.

     1. Selenie Vol'nye Russkie i Kreolov (Settlement of Free Russians and Creoles, 12 structures). It is not known if marks on this map accurately portray the number of structures present. This is the furthest southwestern settlement in a series, close to Raspberry Strait and southwest of Afognak Point. The related designation S[eleniye] Volnyk Promylshlen had been used earlier by Muraschev in 1839 or 1840 according to Orth. Use of this designation indicates resettlement of retirees prior to the time that provisions of the 3d charter came into effect in 1844 but after Wrangell had given permission anticipating that. (Orth provides the translation "Village of free industry," an embellished interpretation of "vol'nye," and Harvey (19XX:21) assigns this definition to Ratkovsky.) The settlement is on the map south of Graveyard Point towards "Cape of the Settlement" (Afognak Point).

     One of the persons to settle in this community was Iakov Lekhtonin, a Finlander. He entered Russian American Company service in 1835. On April 9, 1841 he married the Creole Irina Lestenkov, widow of Iaroslav Lestenkov, manager of Amchitka Island. They had at least six children. In 1847 he moved to Sitka and in 1857 was given status of colonial citizen and settled on Afognak Island. He died March 2, 1870. The family name Laktonen became common on Kodiak (bio. from Pierce 1990:306). In 1845 Timofei Demidov was provided with fowl and stock and settled on Afognak (CS 1845 #66) where his family became prominent.

     Another earlier settler was Grigor'iev. The pater familias Grigor'ev and his Aleutian wife and family, then including son Maksim, together with Nekrasov and Prokof'ev, had come from a place farther west and retired to a hamlet they established on the coast opposite Unga. But they found living conditions there to be unsatisfactory and in 1849 were authorized to relocate to Afognak, Elovoi or Kenai. Maksim Grigor'ev was born in Atka in 1841. In 1871 he married Parascovia Yericalof (Erykalova) a resident of Uganik, when her father moved there from Karluk shortly after the American Purchase of Alaska. She died, at an old age, in 1940. His father, her father-in-law, Diomid, visited the family at Afognak (Harvey 1991:295) but may have retired elsewhere. Maksim was one of five Gregorioff brothers living on Afognak Island. He died about 1890. Parascovia's daughter born in 1882 was Eulavia Gregorioff who is mentioned frequently in Harvey's book. In 1897 Eulavia married Herman VonScheele. She died in 1920. Gladys Gregorioff, was the daughter of Senafont Gregorioff, whose father apparently was one of the five Gregorioff brothers. She married Hans Peter Olsen in 1932. Another early settler who appears in an 1859 reference was Nikolai Kotel'nikov (Pierce 1990 under Murgin entry).

     Excluding the odinochka, Afognak is stated to be a settlement of retired Russian American Co. employees. Retirees did not have to wait for the 3rd charter of 1844 to establish provisions for their retirement. In 1832 Wrangell issued orders to settle the growing number of old and disabled employees with families on Afognak Island. It is not known though whether or not they were settled at Selezneva (Little Afognak). This settlement is the object of a local legend that places its origin in the hands of a group of runaway sailors from a Russian trading ship, at a time even predating the town of Kodiak (1792 or 1793) or Three Saints (1784) (Huggins 1981:23). However, Huggins hints that the account, which he gives with considerable detail suggestive of elaboration, may not be totally reliable. "They...selected Afognak as their asylum, partly because the island is entirely destitute in harbors, and...can only be approached nearly by small ships." This is not totally legend. RAC communications from Chief Manager Etolin to the Main Office, in St. Petersburg, state that in 1844 two men from an American whaling ship were brought to Sitka from Kodiak. They had run away from the ship, probably from the Brahmin, that summer at Afognak Island, where they were found by Company employees. One may wonder if there were others who were not apprehended or who were allowed to stay because of special skills. Earlier, the vessel Zosima I Savvatii actually did unintentionally reach Afognak in 1797 and the crew wintered there, with the assistance of Baranov, at an unspecified locality (Khlebnikov 1994:133). Davydov (1977:29) gives the date as 1792 and states that there already was a settlement on Afognak left by Mr. Shelikhov. Pierce (1990:440) gives the date as 1797 and states that the landfall was at Shuyak Island where the crew met promyshlennik Eremin who notified Baranov in Kodiak. They probably had a shore station or odinochka which might have developed the storehouse or so-called fort built by Shelikhov in the vicinity of Perenosa Bay.

     There remains today a local belief that the site of Afognak Village was selected because of its difficult access, as earlier stated by Huggins, being surrounded by numerous reefs and rocks and with small landing beaches known only to locals. People living there would not have to fear raids from the sea. The location actually might have been the traditional choice of early Alutiiq inhabitants, already there when the Russians came.

     Retirees did not wait for the Charter of 1844 to settle out of town on Afognak Island In 1832 Chief Manager Wrangell issued orders to settle on Afognak the growing number of old and disabled employees with families (RAC Communications 1832, No. 188). It is not clear though who went to the site of Afognak Village and who went to Selezneva (Little Afognak).

     This Russian-Creole settlement was the core of the village, and essentially formed Afognak as we know it historically. A chapel dedicated to the Nativity of the Theotokos was built in l843. The chapel is thought to have been at the edge of a now-wooded area located a short distance north of Graveyard Point, at the end of a cemetery towards the last schoolhouse. The village was a place of Russian retirees and their Alaskan wives and children. Wives included Aleutian Islanders (true Aleuts), who came when their husbands were transferred to Kodiak, as well as Alutiiq women from Kodiak. Shelikhov also brought Unalaska men, but we have not determined if they had any part in establishing the village other than for one family. In 1849 there were 7 houses for 36 "Russians" here and 6 houses, probably in a different section of the village, for 145 Aleuts.

     2. Rubtzovskaya Odinochka, at the same location as No. 3 below. Teben'kov Chart XXIII, dated 1849, shows this odinochka with 2 building squares, at the NE end of the series of settlements. In the Atlas text (p. 44) Tebenkov states that "Rubets" is a permanent Russian settlement. (In addition, Teben'kov has a "poselen." portrayed by 3 building squares SE of the odinochka that probably represents the above settlement of retirees.) He describes it: "There are two fresh-water lakes from which two small streams flow into the sea. Northwest of the settlement is Afognak Bay." For 1854 Holmberg also shows the odinochka and to the southwest his map has a symbol identifying a Russian-Creole settlement. A map by Kashevarov shows the odinochka, there called odin. Afognakskaya, immediately south of the creek, which discharges in front of the school.

     3. .Selen. Malkinskoe. Nine structures are shown here on the RAC map inclusive of the odinochka. The location is immediately northeast of Afognak Point and coincides with the northern part of the main Afognak settlement of later decades. This may be a village of Afognak Creoles and Russians no longer staff of the odinochka. Malkin was a local RAC employee but we do not know that he gave his name to the settlement.

     4. Barabori Aleut (Aleut Barabaras). Two apparent structures are shown south of Otrubistoi Point ("Steep Cliff"). The location more or less agrees with the location of Aleut Village on later maps. Harvey creates a conversation stating that Aleut Town "was here long before Russian town, even before the odinochka" (1991:20), which may be the local perception of Afognak history.

     Thus, there were four settlements, each presumably of a different type: odinochka, Native village, village of retirees, and one more (Malkinskoe), for which we lack information. (See Aleut Village.)

     "Afognak" or "Afognakskoe" appears in church records as early as 1820. According to Orth, the name "Afognak" was associated with the historic Afognak Village location in 1849 in Russian Hydrographic chart 1425 through the term "Afognakskaya odinochka." Earlier, in 1803, Davydov (1977:192) had linked the term "Afognak" with Igvetsk (artel) located many miles eastward at Little Afognak; Khlebnikov described the "Afognakskaia Artel on Afognak Island" without otherwise clearly indicating where it was located; and Kashevarov (map based on Murashev 1840 survey) applied "Afognakskaya" (celen. or village in this case) to the Kataaq (Settlement Point) locality. "Afognakskaya odin." also appears on the same 1849 Kashevarov map. Thus, in 1840, or by an1849 publication date, "Afognak" had yet to apply exclusively to Afognak Village. By the beginning of the American period, though, earlier usages had dropped out of the accounts of the Americans.

American Period

     In June 1869 Lt. Huggins, USA Fort Kodiak, visited Afognak and left an effusive description, short in facts (Huggins 1981:23-31). Nevertheless, his may be the only description of the village for the first 80 years of its existence. Kitchen gardens and 50-60 houses made of hewn logs were arrayed along a mile and a half of shoreline in the Creole village. "Most of the dwellings are neat and clean, but contain very little furniture. The floors are generally painted red, and many of the roofs, sashes and doors are of the same color.... In the best room of each house, and sometimes in each room is a picture of some saint, generally the Virgin and Child, painted on wood and framed, like all the church pictures, in tinsel. In front of this picture, in a socket, stands a piece of wax candle, which is lighted on important holydays. ...Most of the people can read, and each house contains one or more prayer books, besides which I did not see half a dozen books on the island." Huggins further stated that the houses were like those in the town of Kodiak, which he described on page 9: Boards for flooring and doors were sawed out by the old-fashioned pitsaw. Heavy sailcloth with a thick coat of paint was pasted over the inner walls of the house, and the walls of the better class were also papered. These details can still be seen in house ruins at Afognak, but remains of the Kodiak stoves have not survived there. Huggins wrote that the Kodiak houses were heated in Russian fashion by a brick furnace built on the ground in the centre of the house. This furnace was about five feet high…. Each dwelling of the better class in Kadiak had a bathhouse situated a few yards in the rear. There was also a public bathhouse, heated at least once a week, generally on Saturday. We do not know if there was a public bath at Afognak.

     Huggins reported agricultural plots and cattle. Milk was not utilized, except to make butter. Occupations of the inhabitants of Afognak are described further: "On the island of Afognak... there are several hundred free creoles who used to come to Kadiak several times a year..., bringing furs, produce, beef, etcetera, to sell or barter. They raised cattle, swine and chickens, and some of them planted large gardens [mainly potatoes and turnips], but most of them depend mainly on hunting and fishing.... No grain is raised for swine, so they are allowed to run lose and eat so much shellfish that the flesh has a detestable flavor, though it is eaten.... Some of the creoles kept a few goats but no sheep. Residents included a Polish trader who had worked for the RAC at Sitka and a retired sailor. Descriptions include construction of a new church, with iconostasy boards from its predecessor, cut from trees said to have been selected by Veniaminov [although there is no record of him on Kodiak]. The official date for the construction of this chapel is 1868. The last of three chapels and churches was built in 1902 but started earlier; the first one was located to the north at the north end of "Little Graveyard." The location of the church Huggins mentioned, presumably No. 2, needs researching. In the native village there were 18-20 houses, some occupied by multiple families. "Most of the people were several miles away fishing for salmon." (They would have been at Litnik.)

     Petroff stated that 100 acres of potatoes and turnips were under cultivation in 1880, which may be an overstatement even including Kattak and Little Afognak. He does not describe Afognak, but Bancroft has a brief description that probably was written by Petroff. By this date frame houses had replaced many log dwellings.

     Elliott (1886:106) has a description of Afognak Village and a generalized caricature of the Creoles and Natives of the Kodiak region, although he never was at Afognak. He reported boat building, gardens between the widely spaced houses and a large chapel that also was used as a schoolhouse. He states that there is more land under cultivation at Afognak than in all the rest of Alaska. The crops included potatoes, cabbages, turnips and salad produce, such as radishes. No plowing was done (except on Woody Island where horses plowed a small field to raise feed for the horses). The earth prepared for potatoes is, he states, "thrown with spades, picks, and hoes up as small ridges or tumuli into the surface of which the seed is planted. A few of those shaggy little bulls and cows, which we have noticed before at Wood Island and Kadiak, are also roaming about, and a great many domestic fowls, such as chickens and ducks, are raised by the women and children, who take the poultry into the attics or lofts of their living rooms during the inclemencies of winter."

     The first post office was in 1888, James A. Wirth postmaster. It was discontinued and reestablished at various times. An account for 1891 in the report on the 11th Census (Porter 1894), probably penned by Petroff, is especially detailed, though lacking in specifics and not totally reliable: "Afognak village, consolidated for enumerating purposes, really consists of a series of settlements lining the long curving beach. At the eastern mouth of Afognak straits and opposite Whale Island begins the creole village of Afognak, extending in a single row of dwellings, somewhat widely scattered, about three-fourths of a mile along the beach. This settlement was superannuated and pensioned employees of the Russian-American Company, who were encouraged to keep cattle and engage in agriculture upon a limited scale. Their descendants have always lived upon a plane of civilization somewhat higher than that of their neighbors. Their representatives could always be found among the local officials of the Russian company in various districts and among the petty officers of their numerous fleet. The Afognak mechanics were prominent in the company's shops, and even now we find several families that furnish competent carpenters and boatbuilders. The men of the village are much away from home hunting or trapping, or laboring at the canneries and employed on schooners or larger craft, or during the winter cutting cordwood and logs for the fishing and trading establishments; and in their absence the women and old men take care of the cattle and dig, plant, and weed their potato gardens, or cure the fish which are caught by the boys. Near the northern end of the creole village there is a neat chapel built by the people [it predates the last church for which construction started at the end of the 1890s] and a handsome school building erected by the United States government, and a trading store of the Alaska Commercial Company. A few white men, sea otter hunters married to Afognak women, have settled here also." In 1888 P. Chichenoff was ACC agent at Afognak, with 13 years experience with the company. The competition, the North American Trading Company was purchased by local resident Charles Pajomen in 1903.

     "Proceeding northward a few hundred yards...we find the native village of Afognak, inhabited by Kadiak Eskimo. In contrast with the well-constructed log and frame houses of the creoles we find here a large number of sod and log huts, all covered with earth and scattered irregularly over a piece of swampy ground, protected from inroads of the sea by a high ridge of bowlders and shingle."

     "Nearly all the men of this village are carried away every summer to distant sea-otter hunting grounds by the trading companies; a few are also scattered over the various winter stations, and the remainder trap on Afognak and adjoining islands for foxes and land otters...." However, the sea otter hunt soon would cease. "The [school] teacher, Mr. Duff, … had 20 pupils with an average attendance of 10 for 250 days. This school, was established in 1886... A very handsome building, combining schoolroom and teacher's residence, has been erected here by the United States Government" (Porter 1894:189) (Its replacement was built 40 years later.)

     Ten years later, Moser (US Fish Commission Vol. XXI, 1902: 239 ff.) described conditions at Afognak. He noted less than 100 inhabitants in the Native village located north of Graveyard Point, and about 175 persons in the other part of the village. His report is cast as an admonition and accusation of improvidence, very different from Porter's. Moser expressed the opinion that local resources are plentiful and easy to obtain but people are neglecting the opportunities they have at hand. "In our investigations in Alaska, we have come in contact with all the different phases of native life...and there are few places that can equal Afognak in natural resources for native life. None need suffer here.... Potatoes and the hardier vegetables of all kinds grow well and can be stored for winter use; hay can be made for cattle; the waters teem with fish, not only with salmon during the summer, which may be cured for winter in practically unlimited quantities, but all during the year cod may be taken in numbers on the adjacent banks. The furs are not all gone yet....There is a great demand for dried fish -ukala- in the mining regions to the north, principally for dog food. The stores, of which there are two in 2 cents a pound for ukala, and will purchase all brought to them. ..."

     "The women, assisted by the old men and children, usually prepare the ukala and do the garden work, so there is no excuse for the able men not seeking employment in other fields; but the latter fancy that they must hunt, and imagine that they can do nothing else, or rather, that it is degrading to work." Moser goes on to state that although some Afognak men hold skilled positions at the salmon canneries, the majority quit their jobs and buy alcohol after they have earned a few dollars. He notes the pay scale is $1 to $1.25 a day including room and board, and also that the canneries buy red salmon at $30 to $35 per thousand.

     "The village has a rather neat and thrifty appearance, the log and frame houses have a substantial air, there are many gardens growing potatoes and other truck, pigs and poultry seem to thrive, and several families have one or two cows."

     Moser reported: "The half-breeds and natives of Afognak, according to their own custom, have three recognized districts for hunting and fishing. The half breeds [Creoles] of the village fish and hunt the northwestern section of the island, drained by the streams named Malinof and Paramanof [confirmed in Pinart's 1872 description of Malina Creek]; the natives of the village have the southern end of the island, which includes the reservation stream [Afognak River] and extends to the western shore of Little Afognak Bay; the inhabitants of the latter place claim the island to the eastward of their settlement, and Marmot Island. These districts are again subdivided among the different families for hunting purposes, while the streams are open to all belonging to the district. These limits are accepted by all the inhabitants, and the intrusion of any alien is considered an abuse of their customs. It is natural, therefore, that they resent the fishing of the Afognak streams by the canneries, nor can they understand how these streams, which belong to them by tribal rights, can be closed by the Government. ...."

     "The village of Afognak contains a number of whites, nearly all Scandinavians, married to half-breeds or living with them, nearly all working in canneries during the summer and finding life rather easy during the winter. These people have organized themselves into an association under the name of the Brotherhood of Afognak Pioneers and have taken upon themselves the regulation of municipal affairs." As Breece stated it (Jacobs 1995:23): "...some dozen or so years before I arrived (i.e., about 1895) a party of about thirty men of European and American birth or ancestry came to the island and married women who were Aleut or part Aleut and part Russian. These men joined the Russian village and raised families there. It was they who had become sufficiently dissatisfied with Mrs. Pajoman's school to send complaints to Washington."

     At the end of 1905 a Brotherhood dedicated to Alexander Nevsky was formed, 31 Aleuts joining. The chairman was Petr K'iuvrn (Kewan). There also was a Russian Brotherhood with 58 creole members formed at this time, dedicated to protection of the All Holy Theotokis. The chairman was Ivan Derynev.

     An appeal had been made earlier to the Treasury Department to open closed streams on the Afognak Islands, lest the inhabitants of Afognak be unable to obtained a living. Moser found, though, that all 23 signers of the petition belonged to the brotherhood and surmised that the white (non-Native) population in the village was trying to gain exclusive use of the Afognak streams in order to sell fish to the canneries. One attraction of marriage into the community was the conveyance of rights to harvest natural resources and opportunities for entrepreneurship, such as the establishment of salteries, and, in particular, to hunt sea otters. The Europeans (mainly Scandinavians) and other men did not arrive as a "party," though one group did reach Kodiak together, and there was, to some degree, mutual support among the new arrivals. However, seen through the melding of historical events 110 years later, they did, in effect, reach Afognak en masse. Americans continued to join the Afognak community from that time to the present day. Madsen (2001) discusses this topic and provides numerous names of Alutiiq, Russian, Scandinavian and American progenitors, as does Mishler (2001) for Old Harbor and Ouzinkie.

     Households and village activities and attitudes at the beginning of the 20th century are described in teacher Hannah Breece's account as edited by Jane Jacobs. Further details of Afognak life from this time and onward, centered the history on one family, as narrated by Lola Harvey in Derevnia's Daughters. The dichotomy between Russian and Native sections of the town was still very much the case in 1905 when Breece arrived: "The Russians were part Russian...and part Aleut. They were regarded by themselves, and seemingly by the Aleuts, as the higher social class. They were also thought of as richer, but it seemed to me that the value of the boats, seines and hunting equipment I had noticed in the Aleut village represented at least as much investment as the Russians' houses and furnishing." (Jacobs 1995:17).

     From some time before about 1900, the date of Nikolai Kashevarov's pastoral visit reported in Vol. 11 of the Russian Orthodox Messenger, the half of the village where the creoles lived was called derevnia while the Aleut village was referred to as a zhilo, the two united by the parish church, which was situated between. At that time the Creole settlement was dominated by the Grigor'iev (Gregorioff) family, who maintained their Russianness.

     In 1896 the Afognak church was established as a separate parish (from Kodiak), in charge also of the chapels and congregations at Little Afognak, Ouzinkie, Karluk, Uganik and five villages on the Alaska Peninsula. The first resident priest was Father Nikolai P. Klashevarov.

     Construction of a new church is described in greatest detail in the Russian Orthodox American Messenger in 1907 (VI No.6:182-183 and 10 No.14). As was the case with its predecessor, this was a community effort. In December (unspecified year) the foundation stone was laid amid festivities for the new wooden temple to the honor of Nativity of the All Holy Theotokos as the existing church was completely decrepit and leaked badly during the rains. Arkamandrite Anatoli Kaminisky had made an 8-hour baidarka trip from Kodiak to Afognak in 1899 when the construction was just starting. He reported (RAOM V3 No.22:593-595) that a two-story log house had just been built for the clergy, then Father Kashevarov, and church school. The chapel, this house and the two cemeteries were surrounded by a fine fence, he stated, but the layout and distances involved probably required three separate fenced areas. Among other items of news in 1899, his year there, were more vegetable gardens than he had seen two years earlier, the people were poor but diligent, Matrona Salamatov had given $20 for the acquisition of a new communion vessel, and, as was their custom, the Aleuts saw visiting dignitaries off with volleys of gunfire (a trading party custom on mainland Alaska during the nineteenth century).

     The 1907 ROAM account of construction: The Diocesan Consistory gave $200 and His Grace, the Bishop, donated $25; Father Vasilii Martysh, under whom construction took place, the residents of Karluk, and Afognak residents Aleksandr Petelin, A. Kon, Derenve [Derenov?], and P. Chechenev [Chichinoff] gave, in that order $20, $13, $5, $5, $3, plus a keg of nails worth $5. Squared log timbers had been prepared by the Afognak parishioners by 1898. Construction of the basic structure measuring 52 feet long and 26 feet wide began in the winter of 1898-99. There was no work on the structure during summer months because the volunteer crew were out at paid jobs. It had siding, a cupola and belfry. The master carpenters were Sernefont and Peter Gregoriev. The Valaam Monestary and Kia Lavra gave six icons for the iconastasus. The value of its utensils was set at $3,000. The church was consecrated on October 14, 1905 by Bishop Innokenti (Pustynskii), Alexander Petellin priest, Tikhon Sharatin reader, R. Maliutin starosta (chief) in a service that lasted from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. A parish house for the resident priest also was built in 1906. The old church was to become a parish school.
This was the third and final Orthodox church. It collapsed, partially, in 2000 after the ground at one corner had been exposed by shoreline erosion following subsidence in 1964.

     A collection was taken in 1907 for a Church bell to proclaim the memory of Inocent on the one-hundreth anniversasry of his birth. Family names on the subscription list include Kashevaroff, McDonnell, Chichinoff, Fredolin, Pavloff, Carlson, Jenson, Fredolin, Metropolsky, Salamatoff, Alexandroff, Sharatin, Von Schelle (Scheele), Charemon, Johnson, Malone, and Kanojan.

     The church's predecessor, shaped like a house, which had served for about 34 years, also had been built by the parishioners, as described by Huggins. "At the time of my visit to Afognak [1869], the people were engaged in building a new church, the one in use [a chapel] being too small, as well as badly decayed and out of repair. The site was about midway between the creole and native villages, so as to serve them both; for although the Russians and creoles in other respects assume a haughty tone with the natives, they would think it unchristian to make them worship in a separate church, or even a separate part of the church.… The church was being built by the voluntary labor of the congregation, no money being required, except for glass and nails. The boards required for floors, et cetera, were sawed with the pit saw, which I here saw in operation for the first time. The walls of the church were already up, built of beautiful straight logs, hewed and matched with marvelous precision. The men were at work on the floors and partitions, the priest assisting; and, in fact, he seemed to be the master workman as well as architect. No Orthodox church can be built without relics of the saints which are placed somewhere in the foundations. Feeling curious...I questioned the priest on the subject. 'These old boards' said he, after a moment's hesitation, caressing the boards lovingly with his hands, 'are as precious to me as anything we have, for the trees were selected in the forest and blessed by Father Inakenti [not Veniaminov]. That was many years ago...when I was a little boy. ...' The boards referred to had been taken from the old church and were to be used about the altar of the new one" (Huggins: 1981:28-29). This church was finished in 1869 but it lacked a cupola and parish house.

     The first chapel had been erected in 1843 by the RAC, as was the case for each of the post-flu epidemic consolidated villages. It had been visited first by Kodiak Parish priest Il'ia Petelin in the late 1840s (unrelated to the later Petellin at Afognak). The first priest to reside at Afognak was Hiermonk Afanasii who lived there until his departure for Valaam Monastery, Russia, in 1824. Korsakovskiy, who was assembling an expedition to regions north of the Alaska Peninsula, visited Afanasii in 1818. Afanasii was living separately from the artel or odinochka but was able to supply Korsavovskiy with potatoes, cow's butter, bread and salt (VanStone 1988:8).


     Population figures for Afognak include Katenai and in some years, after about 1870, Church lists also include Little Afognak.

     Population 1843: 113 (93 Aleut, 20 Russian)
     Population 1844: 164 (143 Aleut, 21 Russian) (138 Aleuts are listed by household)
     Population 1847: 167 (133 Aleut, 34 Russian)
     Population 1848: 173 (17 Aleut, 36 Russian)
     Population 1849: 181 (145 Aleut, 36 Russian)
     Population 1853: 291 (142 Aleut, 90 Creole, 35 Russian)
     Population 1879: 347 (135 Native, 212 Creole and Russian)
     Population 1880: 339
     Population 1891 US Census: 407, exclude 137 "Mongolian" cannery workers, to arrive at 270.
     Population 1898: 278 (94 Aleuts)
     Population 1899: 294 (91 Aleut)
     Population 1902: 296: (85 Aleut)

     Figures below are from US Censuses:
     Population 1900: 307 in 67 dwellings
     Population 1910: 318 (338 with nearby places) 229 mixed, 52 Alutiiq, including two Kuskowims.
     Population 1915: 359
     Population 1920: 168 (199 with nearby places) 105 mixed, 74 Aleuts with nearby places, 20 whites + 9 at hatchery. Compared      with 1915 and 1930, this figure appears to be defective, but there might have been some impact from the flu pandemic.
     Population 1930: 298
     Population 1940: 197
     Population 1950: 158
     Population 1960: 190
     Relocated to Port Lions after the impact of tidal waves and subsidence in 1964. The establishment of Port Lions in late 1964 is      described by Chaffin (1967:133). A few persons went to Ouzinkie and, in the years immediately preceding 1964, many had moved      to Kodiak. Population 1970 at Port Lions: 227.

1964 Earthquake and Tsunami

     Afognak Village was destroyed in 1964 by the combined effects of seismic sea waves, which destroyed or damaged 23 of 38 structures, roads and automobiles and subsidence of approximately 5.5 feet, causing severe shoreline erosion, blockage of drainage and ponds to expand over low areas (Kachadoorian and Plafker 1967:F31). "By this time [of the highest wave about 9:30 p.m.], the residents had evacuated their homes and fled to the hills behind the village; from there they saw, by moonlight, most of the structures floating away on the highest wave" (1967:F33). A personal account of the end of Afognak is given by Tina Rowland (Alaska Magazine, October 1973: 30-31, 54).

     "On March 26, 1964, the evening before Good Friday, a neighbor and I took our children and went clam digging because there was a good minus tide. I left my smallest ones, 1-year-old Grip and Julie, 2, at Mama's. For some reason there wasn't a minus tide after all. We dug among the rocks and filled our buckets anyway, but we wondered why the tide acted so funny.

     "I was in my kitchen around 5:30 the next afternoon, just finishing cleaning the clams for supper. I heard a big loud noise. "Boom." Then the earthquake started, not too bad at first, but it kept getting worse. I grabbed Grippy and told Olga, who was 9, and Liz, who was 6, to go outside. We stood on the porch. The shaking got worse. I was fearful the gas pipe from the butane tank to my stove would break, with the pilot light on. I ran around the house and turned the gas off. It was hard running and when I got back the children could tell I was afraid.

     "The earth looked like four-foot waves were passing through. A wind had been blowing that day but had died down completely about an hour before the earthquake. Still, the big spruce trees were shaking so bad it sounded like a wind was blowing 100 miles an hour. The lakes were frozen about eight inches thick. Now they were cracking loudly and shooting water up some 30 feet in the air. The ocean, which had been dead calm, looked like it had gone berserk, boiling furiously. After what seemed like hours, the quake finally quit.

     "My neighbors, who were standing on their front porch, yelled to me, 'Boy, that sure was a bad one. Let's go watch the tide. Old timers always said to watch the tide after a bad earthquake.' The tide, which was low, kept falling still lower, it was like a giant vacuum sucking all the water out. We stood there and marveled at the new rocks and reefs that were exposed. I've never in my life seen anything so strange, the whole ocean floor was exposed. After 15 minutes, all of a sudden we heard a loud whoosh and the tide started coming in. It was coming fast. We said to each other, all at the same time, 'There's going to be a tidal wave! We better hurry to the mountain!'

     "While I waited [for a neighbor to bring brother Johnny's truck], I turned the radio on. The first thing I heard was my brother Johnny. He said very excitedly, "What the hell is going on? I just went through a big wall of green and there's a bigger one coming. I don't know if I'll make it."

     "My neighbors were heading for their truck so I ran with my gunnysack and two blankets and Liz and Grip and we jumped on. I asked them to drive over and pick up Mama and my other two children. We met them on the road.

     "The tide was way up by now and the quick-thinking driver decided to go to the sawmill mountain at the west end of town. Never have I ridden in a car going so fast on such a small road, it seemed like 100 miles an hour, and there were five or six other cars going just as fast. Right behind us the tide was reaching the road. We made it to the mountain and only then did we have time to talk.

     Somebody had brought an ax and the men started a big fire. We sat around it and talked and worried about what happened to the rest who were in the village. Some of the ladies wore dresses and nylon stockings, coats and low walking shoes. They were the ones who were getting ready for the movie. Some people had their [shortwave] radios along. All night there were fishermen calling each other. There was no answer from [Johnny's] Spruce Cape.

     "Up on the mountain that night it was clear, calm and cold. We could hear the ocean boiling or sounding like a giant waterfall. Nobody said a word about it; we just kept looking at each other. We wondered when it was going to reach us, but about 12:30 it started getting quiet and we began to relax.

     "All of a sudden it went "boom!" again, another earthquake, but it didn't last too long.

     "I stayed awake all night. My children slept in a friend's station wagon. Mama sat in a truck and might have dozed. Early in the morning the babies started waking up, wanting their milk. In the morning we all went down, heading for home. Trucks and cars had to be left at the sawmill because the road was washed out or trees were blocking the way. The village elders decided that Mama was too old and my little ones too small for the three-mile walk so they took us from the beach, around on a dory with a kicker.

     "When we got home we kept asking each other, where's this house, where's that house? Where there used to be one there was nothing. The community hall was gone, the store was moved all the way across the swamp. We went up to Mama's place first because it was still there, but the garage was gone and so was the shop. The old woodshed was smashed with Mama's house sitting right on top of it. To top it off, a neighbor's truck was standing upside down blocking one of Mama's doors. We got the door opened, looked inside and saw we could never live in there again.

     "Then somebody yelled, 'Hurry, run for the mountain, the radio says there's another 70-foot tidal wave coming!' I knew I could never make it to the mill mountain with my two babies and Mama so we headed for Afognak Mountain on the east end. We half ran, half walked about three miles and did get to Afognak Mountain. We found out there wasn't anyone from our town who got lost or drowned that night, which was a relief, but everyone was real sad. We stayed up on the mountain all day and all night and nothing happened. We could see each time the tide went out; our community hall would float out and come back in with the next tide.

     "The next morning we all headed down again. But where could we go? The head teacher invited Mama and me to come stay in the school [just at the edge of the wave runup] and eat all we wanted. We just got there and started opening cans and heating them when somebody shouted, 'There's a 90-footer coming, head for the hills!'

     "There we went again. I hadn't slept or eaten anything for two days. We stayed up on the mountain all day. It was snowing and bitterly cold. All I had on was a pair of thin hand made pants and a sweater, bandanna and boots. My two babies were crying from the cold. Somebody had managed to bring along a jug of homemade wine. Whoever it was tapped me on the shoulder and handed me the jug, saying, 'Here, have a drink, you really need it.' The drink warmed my stomach, then I sat down and looked. So my brave family went down with me to face death all together into the fire and thought, if we stayed up here we'd either freeze or catch pneumonia. I gathered Mama and my children and held a family conference. I told them if we stayed where we were we'd die. That 90-footer never got there. I finally bedded down my family. When they said all was clear I got to sleep. I had a corned beef sandwich and a glass of canned milk, first food in three days."

Afognak Logging Camp

     Afognak Logging Camp began about 1975 when mobile trailer units and wannagins were installed at Danger Bay. The location appears to be that of the World War II Army sawmill and camp, and later a fish processing operation, although none of the old camp remains. An early photograph of the camp shows 12 mobile trailers arranged in a fan layout at the top of the bank, along the shore, four wannagins not in place, three (at least) other buildings and a prefabricated shop (Freeman 1977). In 2001 the camp had essentially the same layout.

     Operations started with a 23-man crew building roads for access to 12,000 acres of spruce that formed the Perenosa timber sale. Logging soon began. Plans to install a sawmill were stopped. The product thus is exported as raw timber. A portion of the timber lands are controlled by the Afognak Native Corporation, which has an interest in the sale of logs, but the camp and its operations are a separate business.

Aleut Town, Aleut Village
(Nashkuchalik, Rubtsovskaia Village)

     The northeastern part of Afognak Village was home to a group of Alutiiq people. Racially, socially and linguistically, and probably in settlement plan, their suburb was distinct from "Russian Town." Today the 1796-1804 (census) Alutiiq Village, Naschkuchalik, is remembered by Afognak Islanders as part of the Aleut Town locality. There are few documentary references to Naschkuchalik, in part because the village evidently also was known by the name of the adjacent Rubtsovskoe odinochka, i.e. as Rubtsovskoe Village. Naschkuchalik probably continued to be occupied to 1849, when "barbori Aleut" are indicated on a map near Otrubistoi Point, not far from the end of Afognak Village, and then into the period of later Aleut Village. However the Russian period is poorly preserved in the surviving archaeological record of this site.

     In 1834 Afognak toyon Ivan Krupenin Kashkygak was selected to be leader of a group of Aleuts sent to the Kurile Islands because of his good qualities (correspondence, 4 Oct 1832). He went with a party of 29 Aleuts plus wives in 1834.

     When Lt. Huggins visited in 1869 he noted that in the native village there were (only) 18-20 houses, each occupied by several families. This would account for a population of between 100 and 200 persons. The houses are not described, suffice to say that at least the chief had a samovar and the inhabitants of the village had a passion for cheap clocks, of which each house had between two to six, and pictures of the saints (icons). Parts of two clocks and a samovar were recovered from the 1999 Dig Afognak excavation at the site of this village. Huggins reported: "Most of the people were several miles away fishing for salmon." That would have been at Litnik.

     The 1890 Census (taken 1891?) reported that, "Proceeding northward a few hundred yards...we find the native village of Afognak, inhabited by Kadiak Eskimo. In contrast with the well-constructed log and frame houses of the creoles we find here a large number of sod and log huts, all covered with earth and scattered irregularly over a piece of swampy ground, protected from inroads of the sea by a high ridge of bowlders and shingle.

     "Nearly all the men of this village are carried away every summer to distant sea-otter hunting grounds by the trading companies; a few are also scattered over the various winter stations, and the remainder trap on Afognak and adjoining islands for foxes and land otters...."

     From some time before 1900, the date of one of Nikolai Kashevarov's pastoral visits, the half of the village where the Creoles lived was called derevnia while the Aleut village was referred to as a zhilo, the two united by the parish church which was situated between. The Creole or so-called Russian settlement was dominated by the Grigor'iev family who maintained their Russianness. The distinction between communities even extended to resource or territorial rights. Moser reported that, "The half-breeds and natives of Afognak, according to their own custom, have three recognized districts for hunting and fishing. The half breeds [Creoles or "Russians"] of the village fish and hunt the northwestern section of the island, drained by the streams named Malinof and Paramanof [confirmed in Pinart's 1872 description of Malina Creek]; the natives of the village have the southern end of the island, which includes the reservation stream [Afognak River] and extends to the western shore of Little Afognak Bay."

     School teacher Breece (Jacobs 1995:16) found in 1905 that the Russians "were regarded by themselves and seemingly by the Aleuts as the higher social class. They were also thought of as richer, but it seemed to me that the value of the boats, seines and hunting equipment I had noticed in the Aleut village represented at least as much investment as the Russians' houses and furnishings." She continues, "The pupils came from both villages. But the Aleut children were a ragged, unkempt lot and the Russian village children treated them shamefully." (Breece made efforts to improve relationships and the condition of the 20 Aleut children.) Thirty-seven years earlier Huggins had observed "one thing that struck me as rather strange was that, although the natives and creoles often lived in villages very near together and are so nearly related [through earlier marriages] there is very little intercourse between them, and one of the latter with a native wife is rarely seen, so that at present [1869] nearly all the creoles are the children of creoles on both sides, or of Russians and creoles" (Huggins 1981:9). Although the separation of "Russian" and Alutiiq communities gradually broke down and the newest Afognak school was built at Aleut Town, the term "Aleut Town" along with its connotations remained in use, perhaps to the date when tidal waves and relocation realigned neighborhoods. Nevertheless, some Afognak families who identified themselves as Russians also lived on the Aleut Town side. Aleut-Russian distinction was maintained to a degree through differences in lifestyles.

Kattak (Katenai)

     Kattak was a possible artel and village near Settlement Point, east side of Afognak Bay. There is a report that when Saint Herman died in 1836 a sign appeared in the sky over Spruce Island, seen by the inhabitants of Kataaq. This information was provided to Constantine Larionoff in 1867 by Anna Nytsmyshkinak, Aleut or Alutiiq widow of Creole Gerasim Vlogdin, who was at Katani when this occurred (Oleksa 1987:78). Presently, this is the earliest documentary date that we have to associate with the Kataak settlement by name, but indications of Russian settlement in the Afognak Bay area appear on maps as early as 1786 (Black 1992:Fig. 6). The zhilischa indicated there appears to be on an islet in the vicinity of the mouth of Kazakof Bay, but the map details are imprecise and the map does not match actual topography. Possibly a promontory was mistaken by early mapmakers as an islet. The location is roughly between Rubetz or Kattak and Selezneva (Little Afognak) and could represent any one or none of those places. But this evidence does show a Russian presence on Afognak Bay within two years of Shelikhov's arrival at Three Saints harbor. The zhilischa is not likely to be an Alutiiq village as it is the only settlement identified in this manner among scores of Allutiiq villages.

     Kattak is not in the 1795 and 1804 censuses and probably was founded at a later date. But as it was a Russian post it would not have been in that census. Katharine Woodhouse-Beyer's excavations (2001) have not brought up evidence of a pre-contact occupation at the site though there are late pre-contact Koniag or Alutiiq houses within a mile or two of it. She recovered the foundations or floors of six Russian period structures and miscellaneous feature pits together with an artifact assemblage which convincingly demonstrates a settlement occupied by Creoles (or Russians) together with Native persons as would be the case for an artel. She suggests that this is the settlement usually identified simply as the Afognak artel. There is reasonably firm evidence, however, that the Afognak artel was located at the site later called Little Afognak. This evidence comes as a "Company settlement" label on Lisianskii's 1812 map (for 1805), Davydov's naming the Afognak artel Igvetsk, by which we understand Little Afognak from Afognak elders, and an unpublished statement by Pinart that the Russians were at Selezneva (Little Afognak) first before Rubetz (Afognak Village), and, further, that Selezneva had an artel while Rubetz had only an odinochka; and that there used to be a large Alutiiq settlement at Seleznevo, which had disappeared by 1871 (information on Pinart manuscript from Dominique Desson email to Clark). We attach considerable weight to Pinart's statement, as in another report on a trip around Afognak Island he states that he met Selezens at this village. His information thus would have come from the sons of a person, Makar Selezen, who undoubtedly had observed the artel in its operating years and had seen the Native settlement. As there are pitifully few references to either Kataak or Igwik-Igvetsk, and there is no information demonstrating continuity from the artel to the settlement of Seleznof and his sons at Little Afognak, we cannot exclude the possibility that the artel was moved from its original site to Kattak. In addition to the 1836 published reference to Kataak there are tree ring dates of the early 1820s for foundation posts from the managers' house (Woodhouse Beyer 2001). Various reports refer to an Afognak artel but do not indicate which site it occupied.

     In 1826 five Aleut hunters were returned to Afognak settlement. They were Taduka Ivan, Shugana Petr, Paniman Roman, Unneguk Pavel and Ag'iaaguzhi Vaselii (CS 1826 #273). Two years later Aleuts Annakhalak Ivan and Pan'iuiak Ivan and Shuk'iak Ivan also were returned to Afognak settlement. As well, in 1828 three Rubtsovskoe Settlement Aleuts also were sent to Kodiak. There appears to be a distinction between Afognak and Rubtsovskoe, which also appears in 1832 records.

     In 1832, priest Mordovskii baptized five and married three Alutiiq persons at Afognakskoe selenie. This settlement probably was Kattak as none of the names given by Mordovskii match Seleznevo (Little Afognak) persons and Rubtsovskoe has its own separate entry in Mordovskii's schedule. On the basis of the lack of Russian names, Rubtsovskoe appears also to have been an Alutiiq settlement. If that is the case, the three hunters returned to Afognakskoe settlement in 1827 probably went to Katenai. The Rubtsovskoe settlement is referred to separately from Afognakskoe.

     An 1849 Kashevarov map based on 1839 and 1840 Murashev surveys labels this settlement "selen. Afognakskaya" or Afognakskoe and portrays it also by seven structure marks. This calls into question the practice of applying the same name to the settlement 3 kilometers across the bay that later became Afognak village. According to Orth, Murashev also applied the same designation to Selezneva (Little Afognak). The identification as a village (celene) suggests that it was not an artel, and the Afognakskaia artel earlier was identified for the site of Igwiq (later Selezneva). Three kilometers across the bay the small town that later became known as Afognak consisted of Rubetz odinochka, Malkinskoe, a group of "Aleut" barabaras, and homes of retired Russian American Company (RAC) employees.

     The 1849 RAC map has eight rectangles at the "Aleut" village Kattagmyut. This should serve to indicate that the settlement was not relocated to Afognak at the beginning of the 1840s after the smallpox epidemic, as the RAC map consistently leaves off the settlements that had been closed out.

     Tebenkov's Atlas (1852:44) states that because of the prolific salmon run at the head of Afognak Bay, two settlements were established here [Kattak and Rubtza]. Without naming the former, his text states that "on the opposite side of which [Afognak Bay], on the outer cape, is another Russian settlement three miles NE by N of the settlement of Rubets." That accurately pinpoints Kattak.

     Holmberg refers to this settlement as "Eingebornen No. 7" in 1856 map (possibly incorporating information earlier published by the RAC), thus classifying it as a Native village. The "mut" suffix on the RAC map also indicates classification as Native, but this is at variance with our understanding that the settlement was in a certain measure Creole. Judging from the house architecture and features uncovered by the excavations of Woodhouse-Beyer we have reservations about identifying the settlement as Aleut (Alutiiq) and prefer a mixed Creole designation.

     There is a gap in the records of about 20 years, until Pinart collected masks here, around 1871. And then there is another gap of 17 years. In a March 1888 notation the village was identified as Little Afognak on a map from composite sources including Petroff, signed by Davidson (copy seen by Clark at Univ. of Alaska-Fairbanks). This undoubtedly was an error for Selezneva or Mali Afognak is located a considerable distance to the east. The 1891 census states that "Catanee" is included in the count for Afognak, as it was most other years except in 1910 when the U.S. census enumerated a Nekrasoff family of five persons. Occupation by this family continued at least until 1935 when it is listed in a BIA census (Woodhouse-Beyer 2001). The Russian and Tlingit Nekrasoff family came to Kodiak in the mid 1850s according to Church records (or 1849 for retirement, according to RAC correspondence) and it is tempting to speculate that they lived continuously at Katenai during times bridging the Russian and American periods. Woodhouse-Beyer states that one of the numerous Naumov families also had a "homestead" at Katenai close to the time that it was depopulated. The locality was not abandoned. In 1951 there were still two small single-room modified barabaras in the woods between the stream and the bay, huts where trappers or gill-netters stayed.

     (Kattani, Katenai, Catanee, Kattag, Qat'at and variations in modern Alutiiq, also selen. Afognakskaya. Kattani can be translated as "at Kattak.")


     Letnik is a generic Russian term for a summer, salmon fishing place, in this case the seasonal salmon fishing settlement at the mouth of the Afognak River. For a description of the locality see Workman and Clark 1979.

     Early references to Letnik are uncommon. The name translated "crying" is derived from an account of a battle there in which invaders, usually identified as Tlingit, were defeated, leaving only one or two persons alive to carry the news home. The survivors cried, hence the name "place where you cry." (Some accounts place the battle outside Quataq village at the driftwood collector beach.) The Alutiiq name appears on a 1786 map for a stream at inner Afognak Bay, probably the stream at Back Bay, thus the fight appears to date from pre-contact time and has been remembered locally for more than 215 years.

     In June 1803 Davydov was at Afognak (1977:122). As the Rubtsov odinochka is not located near a salmon stream, the fishing activities he recounts may have been taking place at Letnik. The crew was sent by the odinochka. "There [Rubtsov] we picked wild onion so as to salt it and store it for the voyage to Okhotsk [the stream going into the head of Back Bay is known as a place to get wild onion]. ...We spent all day at Rubtsov odinochka where they were laying in stocks of fish, for gutting, cleaning and preparation, for which up to thirteen women and kaiurs had been brought. Iukola was being prepared in the same way as in Okhotsk, with the difference that in the beginning when the fish is going up the river and is very fat, the fat itself is cut off. Otherwise it will not dry with the other parts and will simply go bitter.

     "At that time there were great numbers of red salmon going up the river. Out of sheer curiosity I ordered a dragnet to be cast and pulled in the morning, and at one time more than two thousand fish were caught, most of which were, however, thrown back." This obviously took place at the mouth of the Afognak River. Fresh salmon were sent early in the season to Kodiak as the run started here earlier than in streams close to the town of Kodiak.

     Atlas sheets and maps of 1849 do not show any settlement at this locality. Apparently the summer fishing site did not warrant notice although 65 years earlier the Russians were very interested in discovering the resources that Kodiak Island had to offer, shown, for instance, by the attention given to red salmon spawning lakes.

     In 1889, the Fish Commission visited Litnik (Bean 1891:188 quoting account by Booth) "At the upper end of the bay, and along the east bank of the estuary, is an Aleut village of about 40 barbaras, called...Litnik.... The natives are attracted here by the facilities for obtaining an abundant supply of salmon and berries for winter use. At the time of our visit [near end of August, when silver salmon were starting to run] nearly all the barabaras were occupied."

     There may be a cemetery here but its location has not been discovered. A small post-Russian era Orthodox cemetery at the mouth of the river opposite the outer end of Winter Island is more than a mile below the barabaras that Booth saw and may have a different origin. Physical traces of it remain but we have not found it in any documentary record.

     Two canneries were built at the mouth of the river and had a modest pack of 10,000 to 15,000 cases annually during the years just preceding 1890. This was deemed insufficient for modern canneries but the runs apparently could not support larger packs and the canneries were closed. Fish continued to be taken at Litnik but were hauled by tender to distant canneries. We do not know if they employed any of the Alutiiqs who were living about 2 kilometers farther up the river at the head of the estuary.

     There has been a moderate amount of archaeological exploration at Litnik (Clark 1979, 2001). Two areas are pertinent to the historic occupation. One small area located near the former site of the covered bridge yielded a number of Russian-period type glass beads when it was tested in 1997. No surface features like house outlines are visible there. The other area is located at the head of the lagoon, immediately downstream from the site of the fish counting weir. Several large, multi-room Koniag-style house pits are visible from the surface. A test pit in one revealed the presence of Russian period-type glass beads. A second test pit placed outside the house on the adjacent riverbank yielded only a slate ulu blade. The zapor of the 1880s was located adjacent to this site.

     ("Letnik" would be a better spelling), Qiawik "crying" (Alutiiq), name applies to head of Afognak Bay inclusive of Letnik (Nadia Mullen oral communication to Clark, July 2000, or Keealiiq as pronounced by John Pestrikof).

Igvetsk Artel

     For the year 1802 Davidov (1977:) states that "on Afognak there are two artels: the Igvetskaia or Afognakskaia, and Malinovskaia [at Malina Creek]." On April 23, 1803 Davydov made a second trip to Afognak. "In the artel on the island there are eight to ten hunters and a large number of kaiurs. It is only here that iukola is prepared from halibut. I parted with my companions here and traveled on to Rubtsov odinochka, 16 versts away." (p. 120) A verst is 1.07 km or 2/3 mile. Lisianskii's 1812 map for 1804 shows a company settlement at the historic site of Little Afognak (Igwiq), which we identify as the location of the artel. "Company settlement" was the term Lisianski used for artels. The 1849 Tebenkov atlas sheet shows a "pocelenie" (see Preface explanation) on the east side of the stream here, but does not give its name, which at that time would have been Selezneva. A strict reading of Davydov indicates that the original Afognak settlement was at Selezen Bay (Duck Bay) and not in the vicinity later associated with the village of Afognak.

(Igvak, Afognak artel, Afognak village (translated from Russ.) but probably in error, also Little Afognak, probably Igwik or Ighviq (its Alutiiq name). "Igvetsk" can be translated as "at Igvet" or "at Igvak.")

Little Afognak (see Selezneva)

     Little Afognak (Mali Afognak in Russian) has been the common 20th Century designation for Selezneva. Little Afognak has been identified by Afognak elders as the Alutiiq village Igwik (Igviq). One late-dating source states that two settlements were called Little Afognak but does not further identify them.

     Population of Igwik:
     1796: 98
     1804: 56
     1880 & later: Included with Afognak Village in US Censuses, but often reported in church records, where it is listed as Selezneva.


     (Seleznevskoe selenie in Orth's Dictionary of Alaska Place Names, spelled as Selezneva) was established in 1830s as a settlement dominated by the family of an early Russian resident of the former Afognakskaia. By the late 19th Century this settlement became known as Malyi Afognak or Little Afognak.

     Its location was at Duck Bay, off modern Marmot Bay (Russian Zaliv Evrashichei). Chart 1425, issued by the Hydrographic Department of the Russian Navy, based on a survey by Ens. Murashev in 1840 and probably in part from Aleksandr F. Kashevarov's Atlas, indicates an S. [Selenie] at this location. Chart XXIII in Teben'kov Atlas (1852, chart dated 1849), already names this settlement at the head of Z. (zaliv) Selezneva as Selezneva. In his explanation, Teben'kov describes it as a Creole village, and his description of the locality fits very well the location as known later. An 1849 Kashevarov chart (different from the one discussed above) shows a church symbol at Seleznevskaia. In 1831/1832 Makar Seleznev had helped to build a chapel here.

     This settlement (former artel) was established in the vicinity of the ancient Alutiiq settlement Igwiq, so identified even today by Alutiiq elders. The native village existed well into the Russian period and is identified by name Igvik in Baranov's censuses of 1796 and 1804. In 1803, Davydov, who visited the Afognak artel repeatedly, named it Igvetskaia (Igwiq) artel'. Early references to the Afognak artel refer to this place. The locality today usually identified as Afognak village was the odinochka located near the Rubets (Bluff) now known as Graveyard Point. Although there is no map by Davydov pinpointing the location of Igwetskaia, the map for 1805 published by Lisianskii in 1812 shows a 'Company Settlement' (meaning artel) at the location or vicinity we nave recorded for Seleznevo.

     The name "Duck Bay" was invented by Baker (1906:227) who translated the middle 19th Century appellation of the Bay as Zaliv Selezneva (Tebenkov Atlas, 1852. Chart XXIII) as "drake [wild duck] bay" from the Russian word for a male duck selezen'. Orth (1967:287) followed that designation. In reality, the bay and the locality were named for descendents of one of the original Russian settlers at the old (first) Russian artel on Afognak Island. Our data indicate that this was one of the cases where Russians with Native and Creole families were able to settle in Alaska by special permission prior to the official policy implemented in 1844-1845 that created Colonial Citizen settlements such as on Spruce Island and on Afognak near Rubets (Arndt).

     In 1830, the Confessional Lists of the Orthodox Church of Kodiak lists the settlement as Afognakskaia artel. Its manager (baidarshchik) was Elisei Meleshkin, a Russian. (In 1839 Meleshkin also was manager of the Afognak odinochka, thus it is possible that the records or our interpretation of them confuse more than one place.) There were six other Russians living there (one of them, Golyshev, aged 73). Among the Russians is listed Makar Seleznev, then age 55, with his wife Anna, and a number of married and adolescent sons and one daughter (Khristofor 23, his wife Irina; Nikolai 19, his wife Polegaia; Efim 16; Ivan 6; Matrona 13). The population also included three Creole families, among them two Vozbriukhov brothers, a Merkuliev, and two sons and one daughter of the deceased Creole Chernikov. A few Aleuts lived there, too: Toion Ivan Krupinin and his family, Epifan Agisehaa and his family, Feodor Tanatak and family, and a widow with a 14-year-old son. Makar Selezen left the settlement for Sitka sometime after 1830, but he returned in April 1836 to this place, where he and his three sons were, to "live on his own subsistence" (retired). Makar and one son, and Creole Ivan Stepan, were sent that winter to live on a trial basis at a retirement settlement that was in the process of being established on the Kenai Peninsula, but the father Makar died there that winter (CS 1836 #79, 1837 #156). Son Christopher came back to Seleznevo and reported that Kenai was not very suitable for settlement.

     Almost 15 years later, in 1844, when Kodiak area was recovering from the devastating smallpox epidemic of 1837, the Seleznev family dominated it numerically, even though several new settlers had come. The Seleznev family was at that time represented by Anna Seleznev, a 70-year-old widow, and her sons Makarii, a Creole, (age 44, married to a native, with whom he by then had three sons and three daughters; Nikolai, age 36, married to a Native with whom by then he had five sons; and Efim, age 32, married to a Native, no children listed; the other two brothers at the odinochka had the children Konstantin, Leonti, Petr, Prokopii, Mikhail, Ioakhim, Ioan and Polikarp). Other residents of the settlement were the families of the aged Afansii Klimovskii, well known explorer of Alaska Interior, who had an Indian (Athabaskan) wife, Chernikovs, Vozbriukhovs, Kotel'nikovs, Derinovs, Ganins, a Rostovtsev, Mal'kins, Ganins, Yakushev, widow Vologdin, and apparently the odinochka's headman, Egor Meleshkin, a childless widower. The population at Seleznevo was 83 Creoles.

     Local Afognak tradition holds that the residents of Seleznevo were whalers and shamans - occupations that would be associated with Alutiit Natives. However, correspondence confirms that the Selezens were whalers. In 1842 the RAC gave a bonus to the Selezen brothers for "zeal in obtaining furs and success in whaling" (CS 1842 #450). In 1842, cattle were made available to the Selezens and it was announced that all reliable Creoles and Russians living on their own also could have cattle. This policy may already have been in effect for more than a decade. Erofei (Ralph) Demidov, narrator of the so-called "Whaler's Story," whose family in the 19th Century lived at Little Afognak (Timofei Demidov settled in 1845-46) was a descendent of a whaling family. In the 11th census of the US, it is stated that the Afognak people engaged in a primitive mode of whaling. We note that Pinart, indeed, collected here many ethnographic specimens that, according to Desson, support this. There also is a popular tradition, still current, that there were many medicine men on Afognak and that as the settlement was waning and people no longer believed in the sorcerers, the remaining medicine men moved to legendary Devil's Inlet on northern Afognak Island. These aspects of Little Afognak life are especially interesting, considering that the inhabitants were almost exclusively Creoles. They evoke significant questions about "meetings of the frontiers and blending of cultures." It seems that here is a case where the presumably "subordinate" cultural complexes (i.e. Alutiiq culture) gained upper hand over the presumably "dominant" (Russian) culture of the ethnic Russians and Creoles.

     In 1847 Khristofor Makar, the eldest son, was appointed supervisor responsible for all Creole settlements on Kodiak. This probably would have comprised Seleznevo, Afognak, and two localities on Spruce Island. In this capacity he had a role in deciding where retirees would settle (CS 1842 #438). Chief Manager Teben'kov stated in 1848 that the most important Creole settlement in Alaska was Seleznevskoe. But because of limited space there and because Elovoi (Spruce) Island was getting settled up, for further settlelment on Kad'iak Afognak (other than at Seleznevo) should be considered (CS 1848 #218).

     During the next half century, many prominent Kodiak and Afognak families lived at Seleznevo. Although land at Seleznevo was limited, Khristofer tried to find space for retired Creole Zakhar Chechenev (Chichinoff) and his family of six children. Zakhar recently had been sent to Kodiak from Sitka. His father, Petr, came to Kodiak in Shelikhov's time. Though he was not among the personnel on the first voyage of the Three Saints (Shelikhov 1981:114; Pierce 1990), he is one of the signers of a 1795 petition protesting Shelikhov's apportionment of charges and profits that refers to signing on with the company in 1783. His is one of the earliest founding Russian families in Alaska. Pierce states that Zakhar's mother was a Tlingit woman. If that is correct, her union with Petr must have been consummated during intensive Tlingit hostilities at Old Sitka, inasmuch as Zakhar was born about 1802.

     Zakarii was sent to St. Petersburg for education and was stationed at various Alaskan localities and at Fort Ross in California. In 1829, he married 17-year-old Lukeria, the Aleutian Creole daughter of Petelin, at Unalaska. Meanwhile, father Petr had returned to Kodiak where he died in 1828. He left a widow, 37-year-old Varvara, who probably was a later wife, not Zakhar's mother, inasmuch as Varvara was only 11 years older than Zakhar. Petr was buried at Igatskaia artel' (Ugak Bay) and undoubtedly died in that vicinity. We do not know what he was doing there, but at age 78 he should have been retired. His widow still had four children to look after (Petr had at least four male and four female children, including Varvara Glazunov and Aleksandra Kashevarov).

     Zakhar returned to Sitka from Ross in 1841, worked as an accountant, and was retired (or dismissed) at age 45 or so, and sent to Seleznevo around 1847 or 1848. Apparently he just touched ground there, then moved across the bay to Rubtsa where he remained for a decade before moving to St. Paul Harbor in 1857. However, by 1833 he already had sons Prokopii and Il'ia and daughter Katerina Kychkova. In 1857, he was rehired by the Company office in Kodiak, and, with the help of son Afanasii, moved to the Harbor. Two sons, including Afanasii, also had entered Company service. Zakhar died of old age in Kodiak in 1879; Lukiia predeceased him in 1875.

     Zhukov was a short-term resident of Selevno. Essentially, he had been expelled from Sitka for bad behavior and sent off to retirement, with a warning to Selezen to watch him (CS 1851 #700). Selezen welcomed Zhukov, who had a very engaging manner. Zhukov repaid him by running off with Selezen's daughter. To this, the Company replied that Selezen was at fault for not heeding its warning.

     The Knagins of Seleznevo and Afognak can be traced directly to Aleksei Knagin and Iakov Knage. Iakov Knage, from Vyborg, said to have been born in 1794, had worked for the RAC at Sitka and then at Kodiak. Upon retirement in 1847 he was sent to the Ninilchik settlement. But he died in 1851 not long after arriving there. Son Aleksei was born on the Kenai Peninsula (Ninilchik or Kenai) 2 ½ months before his father's death. When Aleksei (who had many siblings) was 11 years old, in 1862, his mother Elena, Creole daughter of Efim Rostovtsov, 27 years Iakov's junior, sent him to Seleznevo to live with his mother's sister Paraskeva and his uncle Efim Markarov Seleznev. In 1869, not long after Efim died, he married Ulianiia (Chernikov?, possibly b. 1837 at Seleznevo, possibly daughter of Nektarii Chernikov and Evdokiia, d 1887 at Afognak). We have not seen the record of their move to Afognak Village.

     Excepting Chechenev, none of these persons - Rostovtsov, Seleznev , Knage, Zhukov - were among the promyshlenniks that Shelikhov took to Three Saints, departing Siberia in 1783, or were petitioners in 1795 protesting their financial exploitation by Shelekhov. They evidently came later. One of Shelikhov's original staff, Platon Bushkovskii, did retire on Afognak, though probably not at Seleznevo. He retired in 1848,

     In 1863, the settlement was headed by Khristofor Makar'iev Seleznev, age 67. Two of his brothers, Nikolai Makar'iev Seleznev, age 56, and Efim Makar'iev Seleznev, age 45, lived there too. Each had a number of sons and grandsons. Of the total population of 72, the Seleznev family accounted for 17 males and females of all ages. The Chernikov family (which in the 20th Century became dominant in Little Afognak) numbered second, with 16 members, males and females, of all ages. The remaining 39 persons belonged to seven different families. The latest record we have of Seleznev families living here is in 1899: Mikhail, age 35, with small family.

In 1866 residents of the village numbered 69 persons including the following residents plus visitors from Chiniak (Diocesan archive Box 4, Folio 7).
(1) Konstantin Seleznev, wife Tatiana, and sons Leontii, Petr and Ioann
(Efim Selezen had died in 1863 or 1864)
(2) Leontii and Konstantin Chernikov
(3) Roman Iakushev
(4) The Vozbriukhov family of Stepan, wife Ekaterina, and sons Fedor, Ivan, Egor, Mikhail
(5) Widow Balyshev
(6) Rostovtsev (long-standing resident, Rostovtsev's also at Uganik)
(7) Fedor Slobockhikov (settled there in 1847)
(8) Matrona Tugil'ne (Alutiiq
(9) Erykalov (An Erykalov family also lived at Karluk and after 1868 at Uganik)

     We have yet to determine how this settlement of Russians, then Creoles, and their descendents, was integrated with the artel and whether it was on the same grounds, contiguous, or slightly removed. Desirable terrain at Duck (Selezen) Bay would not have permitted separation without the intervention of headlands, i.e., they would have to have been in separate coves. A close examination of the Arkhimandritov survey of 1863 (Records of Russian-American Company, National Archives, Washington, D.C., Microfilm Group 11, Roll 77) will help to clarify this point.

     Gardening was a significant enterprise at Seleznevo in the 1830s and subsequent decades. Wrangell (in Khlebnikov 1994) records that in 1831 and again in 1833, 30 barrels of potatoes were produced here. This apparently was by private individuals as Wrangell mentions that the residents sold the agricultural surplus to people in St. Paul Harbor and to the Company. In 1836 it was planned to send surplus potatoes to Sitka. Horticulture, at least for local consumption, continued into the American period. The 11th Census of 1890 (enumeration probably was in 1891) states that there are two small settlements of two or three log houses, each inhabited by Creoles, under the designation Little Afognak. The description states that "The people live very much in the same manner as those of the main [Afognak] settlement, raising a sufficient quantity of potatoes for their own consumption, and also laying in large stores of cranberries and cloudberries." When Clark visited the site in 1964 and 1998 he did not see traces of garden plots, but they may have been located elsewhere in a nearby cove as limited space for both buildings and gardens is available at Little Afognak

     The settlement was visited in 1871 by the French explorer-linguist Louis Alphonse Pinart. Reportedly (Dominique Desson, personal communication to Clark) Pinart learned that this was the first place settled by the Russians on Afognak [the short lived "magazine" on the north side presumably excepted or not known to Pinart]. Pinart also remarked that there had been a large settlement of "Aleuts" here [presumably Igwiq] but that it did not exist anymore at the time of his visit in 1871.

     In 1898 Church records listed the population of Little Afognak as 34 persons. Moser (1902:247) states that, according to hearsay, nearly all inhabitants of Little Afognak succumbed to some kind of grippe (flu) in winter of 1899 or 1900. In 1901 the settlement Malyi Afognak [Little Afognak] had five houses or cabins "located on a small clearing near a stream" and the chapel dedicated to Dormition of the All Holy Theotokos [Uspeniia Presviatyia Bogoroditsy]: The chapel is small but cleanly maintained. Martin, in 1912, reporting on the Katmai eruption, published a photograph of the chapel in the National Geographic Magazine. A chapel was built at Little Afognak in 1830/1831 though a prayer house may have existed earlier. A new one was built in 1870 and the latter repaired (or rebuilt) in 1879. Photographs taken about 1912, shortly before the abandonment, show some houses of substantial size, clad with boards.

     The population, however, was dwindling. In 1901, the settlement numbered 26 souls, all Creoles; they speak Russian (Fr. Vasilii Martysh, Priest of Afognak Parish, excerpts from travel journal, American Russian Orthodox Messenger 6:20:433, November 1902). Next year, in 1902, Martysh visited Little Afognak once again. He mentions that only 18 persons came to the communion and that the chapel was neglected, the roof badly leaking. He mentions that during the winter the residents of Little Afognak suffered great privation. He ascribes this situation to "drunkenness, laziness and incontinence." If they come into possession of money, they buy a small amount of provision and spend the rest on drink and subsequently suffer semi-starvation. When I arrived, no one had any flour, tea, or sugar. They subsisted only on fish (American Russian Orthodox Messenger, 8:1:12-13, January 1904).

     The settlement was adversely affected by the Katmai eruption of 1912. Bears, lacking salmon and berries that year were killing the livestock. The livestock was also short on fodder because of the ash, and this was a factor in some of the last residents moving to Ouzinkie (Sven Haakenson Sr, personal communication to Clark). Harvey (1991:113) also reported this circumstance. The ultimate blow seems to have been the "swine flu" epidemic that reportedly killed whole households at Little Afognak and at Ouzinkie. The date of the settlement's abandonment has not been pinpointed with precision, but the last people moved out after the 1919 flu epidemic. Reportedly, one person and his daughter, members of the Chernikov family, remained at Little Afognak until about 1930.

     Archaeological survey shows that there was Koniag (precontact Alutiiq) occupation here. Deposits from this occupation eroded away after 1964. Collections of stone artifacts made from the shore that year are published by Clark (1974b:Fig; 10B, Plate 29). Substantial traces of old historic house foundations, including cellars or barabara pits, were seen here in 1964. By 1998 a portion of the structure traces remained, though it had been reduced by erosion. In 1964 foundation stones, apparently from the church, were visible, consisting of small pillars of slate slabs. Behind, in the woods, were traces of crosses - the graveyard. In 1998, none of these traces were visible. Erosion had reached that far into the site, reducing it to half its 1964 extent.

     Clark visited the locality in 1964 and 1998. In 1964, a sheet of refuse extended along the western side of Selezen Bay from just inside the outcrop of bedrock up the creek for 121 meters. Artifacts collected at the erosion exposure and along the shore indicate that this was a late pre-contact Koniag (ancestral Alutiiq) settlement. The surface was devoid of features: there were neither traditional house pits nor the outlines of historic structures nor the nettles and other lush vegetation that usually grow on archaeological sites. At this date the creek swung westward to the base of the hillside and the shore was farther out into the bay than it is today. Towards the lake there were deep pools in the stream. One pool contained two Alutiiq skulls that had been washed out of adjacent banks (any other bones once present had been carried away by the waters). Now storms have cut the shore back, largely destroying the site on the west side and filling in the stream with beach gravel up to and into the outlet of the lake.

     East of the creek, centered at the head of the bay, there was a 2-meter-deep shell mound. It was a 68-meter-long remnant, which did not survive for long under continuing wave erosion (Clark 1974b:Fig.10B, Pl. 29b). Artifacts recovered from the beach place the site in the Koniag tradition, possibly early Koniag.

     A hummocky deposit heavily overgrown with stinging nettles, elderberry bushes and salmonberries extended from the creek eastward and from the shell midden mound inland to the tidal lake, a distance that averaged about 150 meters to the lake and 100 meters parallel to the shore. This distance was measured by an optical range finder in 1998 and was found to be only 70 meters, more or less, from the bank at the lake to the shore of the bay. The other dimension again was in the order of 100 meters. Although half of the site has been lost to erosion, the shore no longer is eroding except at the east corner in an area off the site. Enough remains to test for indicators of the Igwiq artel. There are surface depressions in this area, either storage pits or part of house architecture, but they were not seen clearly because of the dense vegetation at the time of our visits. Under foot, the depressions appeared to be irregular. No testing was done and no historic artifacts were collected.

1843: 80 Creoles
1844: 83 Creoles
1847: 126 Creoles
1848: 143 Creoles
1849: 150 Creoles
1853: 92 (88 Creoles, 1 Russian, 3 Aleuts)
1866: 69, including visitors
1897: 23
1898: 34
1900?: 26
1902: 27
1904: 26
1906: 28
1907: 27
1908: 25
1910: 20 Creole (US Census), 24 (Church list)
1911: 22
1913: 22
1914: 19
1915: 19 (11 male, 8 female)
1920: 8 (US Census)

Seleznoffsky, Seleznevskoe, u (at) Selezneva (Little Afognak, Igwik, Kalagak. Baker (1906) states that Kalagak or Kalagin is the Aleutian word for the duck called selezen by the Russians. We suspect that its application to Seleznevo is an artful exercise in retrofitting.

Afognak Artels - A Problem of Identification

     The problem of identifying the location of the earliest Russian artels on Afognak, as well as the dates of their establishment is complicated by possible changes in location and changes in status from artel to odinochka and vice versa. An artel was a rather large station dealing with several subordinate outposts and Native villages and had a certain administrative structure; an odinochka was a small outpost of specific function or dealing rarely with more than one Native village. An odinochka could be expanded to become an artel, and an artel reduced to an odinochka. Incorrect use of these terms in some reports may complicate the study further. An alleged outpost of the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company on Marmot Island off Afognak said to have been reported to Vancouver by a Russian party (Solovjova and Vovnyanko DATE ) is excluded from consideration for lack of information. Historical information derived from records and maps, along with contradictions and inconsistencies, are presented here in chronological order.

     A Shelikhov outpost was established on northern Afognak shortly after the conquest of the Allutiiq southwestern "alliance" in 1784 (Black 1992). According to Shelikhov, it was a fortified palisaded structure to be named in honor of the Three Saintly Church Teachers Vasilii the Great, Gregory the Theologian and Johy Chrysostom. Shelikhov submitted a plan of the Afognak establishment in his report to the Governor of Siberia Iakobi in 1787 (Shelikhov nd; Andreeev 1948:256; Black 1992:176), by which time the outpost had been completed. It is highly probable that the fort was not of such grandeur as portrayed by Shelekhov. Its location is shown on three charts and maps produced by Shelikhov's navigators in 1785-87. Although details of the coastline are inaccurate on these maps, they appear to show it at Discoverer Bay, an arm of Perenosa Bay. On one map it is identified as a magazin (roughly, supply depot). The post may have been projected to serve as a springboard for expansion northeastward. But there is no record of its having served that purpose. In fact, other than Shelikhov's account and maps, there are no further substantive records of the magazin. It was short-lived and evidently was abandoned before the turn of the century, probably before 1790.

     Fedorova, citing Spanish scholar Vila Velar states that in 1788 a Russian establishment existed on Cape Rada (so named by Martinez in 1788, not identified) near the entrance to Cook Inlet, probably on northern Afognak Island (Fedorova 1971:110-111, 1973:117). It was manned by 37 Russians, as reported by Delarov on the occasion of the Spaniard's visit to Three Saints. This probably was a transitory encampment of a sea otter hunting party led by Russians.

     Archimandrite Iosaf, Bishop Designate, in his answer to a questionnaire submitted to him by the Synod of the Orthodox Church in 1798, states that there is a Russian establishment on Afognak Island where barracks [kazarmy] for the promyshlenniks serving in the artel' were built (Ioasaf 1798). The context indicates that Iosaf speaks of only one establishment. However shortly thereafter there were two documented Russian artels and an odinochka on Afognak Island. Iosaf presently provides the earliest date that we can assign to any Russian Afognak post of the decade following the elusive "magazin" and Cape Rada.

     Separately, Davydov, for 1803, and Lisianski, for 1805, documented the Rubtsovskaia odinochka and the Igvetskaia and Malinovaskaia artels. In late March 1803 Gavriil Davydov, a young Navy officer then in the service of the Russian-American Company visited "Rubtsovskaia odinochka where a Russian izba has been built" (Davydov 1810-1812:220) near modern Graveyard Point on Afognak. In late April the same year he visited Afognak Island again, this time stopping at the "main artel where live eight or ten promyshlenniki" and the Rubtsovii odinochka. He gave the distance between the two establishments as 16 versts (approximately 17 km, but the distance actually is about 16 miles). The third time he visited Afognak was on 17-18 June1803, shortly before he sailed for Russia. Once again he names Rubtsovskaia odinochka from which he participated in harvesting wild onions and witnessed the fishery at the mouth of the Afognak River (Davydov 1810-12 Part I: 220, 233, 239-240). Davydov states (Part II:117) that there are two artels on Afognak, Igvetskaia or Afognakskaia and Malinovskaia. An 1849 map shows two odinochkas with similar names: Malinovskii Letnik at Malina Creek, by then downgraded from an artel; and Malinovo or Malinovaia odinochka on Malinovyi (Raspberry) Island. His reference probably is to the Malina creek facility. Lisianskii, on Kodiak 1804-1805, on one of his charts published in 1812 shows two Afognak locations marked "Komp. Stroeniia" (Company structures, which from the context can be read as 'artel'). One is located at Malina Creek, the other at Little Afognak or Igwiq (not named on map), Davydov's Igvetskaia artel'. Lisianskii also identifies "zhilo Rubtza." Further information is given in the Katenai entry.

     Gedeon, on Kodiak 1804-1807, also mentions two artels on Afognak but does not state their location, nor names, nor provides any description. He does not mention any odinochkas there (1989:39).

     At this point we have three Russian establishments on Afognak but they are not always identified by name or accompanied by descriptions, thus sometimes it is not clear to which terms such as "the Afognak artel" refers.

     The development of horticulture in the Kodiak area is a possible marker of an artel. Some facilities on the main island existed specifically for raising stock. However, Russians tended to plant potatoes and other root vegetables wherever they were stationed. Therefore these data are not clear-cut. Nevertheless, the clergy began agricultural experiments in 1795 (Gedeon 1989:88-89), having discovered that the best soil was at abandoned Alutiiq villages, and Baranov had sown seeds three years earlier at Three Saints.

     After the outbreak of war between Russia and England (1807-1812), Hieromonk Afanasii, then the only priest at St. Paul Harbor on Kodiak, was moved by Banner to the Afognak district in charge of the vestry and other church treasures, out of safety considerations (and possibly other considerations). The vestry remained there until 1821 (CS 1821 #147, #203). Afanasii was a thorn in Baranov's flesh; he fiercly defended the Natives. He also was noted for bad behavior, laid in part to drunkenness from the products of his own still (CS 1823 #32). Reportedly, Baranov feared a British attack by sea on major Russian Pacific Coast settlements. Afanasii arrived on Kodiak in 1794 and had been working with growing vegetables though he also brought on the wrath of Baranov (Pierce 1990). Further, but apparently erroneous, details of Afanasii on Afognak as some kind of farmer are presented in F.P. Wrangell's remarks on Khlebnikov's materials about Russian Alaska up to 1832. Context indicates that Wrangell based his annotations of the Khlebnikov manuscript on his recollections of a visit to Kodiak Island in 1834 when Afanasii was long gone. According to Wrangell (Khlebnikov 1994:356; 1979:246), Rezanov, who was on Kodiak for about two weeks in August 1805, ordered establishment of an agricultural school. Twenty boys were taken from among 80 at the school maintained by the Spiritual Mission and sent to Afognak under Father Afanasii to learn agriculture where fathers [Afanasii and Herman] were engaged in agriculture. Wrangell further states that in later years these boys scattered in part, but a few remained on Afognak until 1825 - the year Afanasii was repatriated to Russia. In view of the fact that Father Herman never lived on Afognak and that Hieromonk Gedeon, an inspector of missions in Alaska on behalf of the Synod, then on Kodiak, does not mention such an event, Wrangell's remarks are judged to be in error. If applied to Spruce Island and Herman alone they might be correct. Even that is uncertain though, as Herman did not move permanently to Spruce Island (New Valaam) until about 1811.

     We do, however, have confirmation about Father Afanasii's agricultural activities on Afognak for the year 1818. In that year, Petr Korsakovskii, leader of an expedition to west-central Alaska, stopped at the Afognakskaia artel (the artel was called an odinochka by others) on his outbound journey. At that time the artel was managed by baidarshchik Artemiev. (Artemiev was visiting Malinovskoe zaselenie, which Korsakovskii also calls an artel. The term 'zaselenie' denotes that this was a relatively new post, though it has been reported as an artel 15 years earlier.) While he was at the Afognak artel Korsakovskii visited Father Afanasii who lived not at the artel' but at an easily covered distance from it in a hut [khizhina]. Otherwise, there is scant description of Afanasii's establishment.

     Afanasii supplied Korsakovski with potatoes, cow's butter and salt for his upcoming expedition to the north of the Alaska Peninsula (VanStone, ed., 1988:17). It appears thus that Afanasii stayed on at Afognak after the conflict with England ended and from some time before 1818 he was engaged in horticulture to a significant degree and kept cattle. We do not know if he had any persons to assist him, either Native nor Creole. Korsakovski reported that he added one member to his crew, an Alutiiq whaler who was or had appeared at Afanasii's, which may indicate that he had some kind of "establishment." Cattle were also on hand at the artel. The baidarschik (manager) Artemiev had a bull killed to supply the expedition with beef, apparently from stock separate from Afanasii's.

     It is not clear exactly where Korsakovski stopped on Afognak Island. One possible interpretation is that he was at the odinochka Rubetz, Graveyard Point area, and not at the Afognak artel which was many km away at the later site of Selezneva. We do know that Afanasii's establishment was nearby. Although there may be some question as to where that was, there was a whale hunter at Afanasii's, Artemiev was manager, and livestock was being raised in sufficient numbers by Artemiev that one head could be spared. Where Korsakovskii stopped there were girls to sew kayak covers. This suggests proximity to a Native village. The Russians established their outposts near, but not within, Native settlements, especially where fish provisions were constant. Also, from here a person was sent to Kizhuyak settlement, at or near Anton Larson Bay, to find another crewmember. That travel would have been effected with less difficulty from Rubetz, and also from Katanai, than from Igwiq. Nevertheless, the data do not conclusively indicate where Korsavkovskii, and Afanasii, were in the Afognak Bay area.

     The analysis is complicated by the fact that beginning early in 1818, the new general manager of the Russian Colonies in America, Hagemeister, carried through a reduction of artels in the Kodiak District (Pierce ed, 1984:docs.125, 133). The process continued through December 1818, when Ianovskii was in charge of the Company. The instructions issued to, Potorochin, the district manager at Kodiak, are of a very general nature. Most specific, though, is a passage in a letter from Ianovskii to Potorochin (Pierce ed. 1984:166 no. 289). The letter states: Mr. Former [chief] manager Leonid Andreianovich Hagemeister ordered the Kadiak office to reduce the number of artels. I take it as my duty to repeat the order, that the Kad'iak office, upon consideration of which of the artels get the least animals or [produce] less than the cost of their upkeep, must abandon such artels at once, transfer the people to Pavlovskaia Gavan [Paul's Harbor/] or other places where reinforcements are needed, and report to me.

     The reduction in the number of artels in the Kodiak District in 1818 certainly explains why Fedorova lists only one artel' on Afognak Island for 1821 (Fedorova 1971:179-183). Her data are from an alleged Khlebnikov 1821 manuscript Kolonii Rossiiskoi-Amerikanskoi kompanii. The one at Malina Creed may have been downgraded to an odinochka. The Afognak artel then consisted of five Russians with a house, a barracks [kazarma], barns [ambary], steam bath [bania], etc. Here they (i.e. mostly Alutiiq temporaries) whaled, put up fish, and trapped foxes. Cattle also were kept. This might be the post visited by Korsakovskii.

     Information for the one Afognak artel in 1824 is more detailed. Khlebnikov (1994:17) reported that the Afognakskaia artel produced 27 otters (not a remarkable figure) and 109 fox, strongly silver, which is rather low compared with other artels. The Afognak artel had no livestock (1994:18), which for Kodiak were reported at Igak artel and Chiniatskaia odinochka (Sapozhnikova) and Pavlovskaia Harbor, but only in 1824. The artel produced 27,400 dried salmon in 1824 (p. 18). That is low compared with Three Saints and Karluk artrels but higher than Igak and Alitak. "Here the run of fish begins earlier than on Kad'iak, so upon its first appearance the fish are caught by net and sent fresh in baidarkas to Pavlovskaia Harbor [Davydov noted the same, apparently in reference to Afognak River]. A small quantity is made into iukola. Whales are cast ashore every year, sometimes quite a few, sometimes less depending on the winds at the time the whales are hunted [from Afognak, Seleznevo and the forerunner of Ouzinkie at the Narrows]. If the wind blows from the sea, they are blown in" (1994: 38). The artel location within Marmot Bay would have been well suited for this technique, as struck whales would tend to stay within the bay]. Khlebnikov's Table 5, p. 18, reports 8 ½ whales for the Afognak artel. "The artel has a barracks and a storage shed for keeping supplies, vegetables are grown, and there are pigs and chickens" (p. 38). (This information is at variance with that presented by Khlebnikov in tables for 1824 that do not cite any stock on Afognak). Staff consisted of one Russian, 6 Aleuts and 9 persons released from service consisting of 6 Russians with their families and 3 Aleuts for a total of 16 persons not including the families of the Russians (date not specified, probably late 1820s). The dismissed Russians secure their own subsistence through fishing, gathering berries and wild roots, breeding chickens and pigs and growing potatoes and turnips. They sell their surplus to promyshlenniki living at Kodiak

     Again, Khlebnikov provides no proper name, geographical description or map location for the artel thus we are not completely certain that it was not at Igwiq (Igvetskaia) or Little Afognak, at Rubetz, or at Katenai or that he had not merged several localities in his description. One of the last two is likely, as the nearby Afognak River was noted earlier by Davydov, for providing early-run red salmon for Kodiak. Probably, by this date (1824?) the Igvetskaia artel had ceased to function, except in a minor way though it soon would become a Creole village, Selevneva. The main operation had been switched to an upgraded Rubets or nearby Kataaq. These two may have been paired given their proximity. The nearby Alutiiq village of Rubtsovskoe (Nashkuchalik) could have provided Alutiiq laborers for either location. However, the substantial number of Russian retirees with families strongly suggests that Seleznevo was involved. Moreover, the produce provided Kodiak soon would be recorded as coming specifically from Seleznevo (see below)

     In 1831 at Selechnoe [a modern editors' misreading of Seleznevo in handscript] private gardeners harvested 30 barrels of potatoes, in 1833 another 30 barrels was harvested (Khlebnikov 1994:344). This leads us to suspect that data cited in reports for the Afognak artel may sometimes refer to Seleznevo or Davydov's Igvetsk artel. During 1834 the company obtained 220 vedros (buckets) of whale blubber from Afognak (compare with 1000 from Three Saints artel, 153 from Igak and 70 from Karluk odinochka) plus a quantity of dried whale belly (1994:361).

     In ca.1833 longtime (1830-1839) Kodiak District manager Vasilii I. Kashevarov reported on a single Afognakskaia odinochka [not artel] to Chief Manager Wrangell. The staff of one Russian and four "Aleuts." took care of business relating to the settlements Afognak, Rubtsovskoe, Kizhuyak and Malinovskoe, with an estimated aggregate population of 200 persons. Malinovskoe apparently had been reduced from its former status as an artel. Rubtsov, near Graveyard Point, was identified above as the odinochka but Kashevarov can be read as identifying it as a separate Alutiiq village. In 1832 priest Mordovskii baptized four Alutiit and married one Alutiiq couple there, but no Russians. This supports identification of Rubtsovskoe as an Alutiiq settlement (as well as the nearby odinochka). For that we can suggest the Native village located adjacent to the odinochka site, known in later years as Aleut Town and earlier by its Alutiiq name Nashkuchalik. There is some question as to what settlement "Afognak" referred. Was it the Native village Igwiq (once near an artel) at this time being reestablished as Seleznevo, or a (new?) settlement across from Graveyard Point, Kataaq. Either is possible. An 1849 Alexsandr F. Kashevarov map actually places "selen Afognakskaya" at the location of Kataaq. Space and names may not always have been correctl. For instance, the Karluk artel's tannery actually was located at Uyak Bay. Thus it is possible that the Afognak artel (or odinochka) included facilities at various locations.

     The settlements under this odinochka prepared 15,000 yukola (in addition to locally consumed salmon) and 50 buckets of wild onions. Up to 300 kleptsy fox traps were issued, resulting in a take of about 200 fox pelts and 80 river otters. In addition to fox trapping, the Afognak settlements supplied six or seven baidarkas with hunters to join the sea otter hunting party. In the winter two or three baidarkas went to Kodiak to fish for salt-water provisions, halibut for instance. As well, two or three baidarka crews engaged in whaling, producing an annual harvest of 50 buckets of whale oil and 20 pounds of whale blubber (kitovina). The odinochka had for its own use two baidarkas of the 4-oar and 5-oar-bench format, and also two three-hatch and one two-hatch baidaarkas. These are activities that one would ascribe to an expanded odinochka or an artel.

     According to Wrangell (table, for January 1, 1834, Remarks in Khlebnikov 1994:346), there was at Afognakskaia (artel, not odinochka?) one bull, and three cows or heifers and 11 calves..

     During the 1990s Katharine Woodhouse-Beyer (2001) excavated a site Kattaq or Katenai, located near Settlement Point, 3 km from the odinochka at Graveyard Point. She recovered the foundations or floors of six Russian period structures and various feature pits together with an artifact assemblage which convincingly demonstrates a small settlement occupied by Creoles or Russians together with Native persons. She suggests that this is the settlement usually identified as the Afognak artel. We believe that the explanation is more complex than that, although the assemblage does meet expectations for the remains from an artel.

     There is firm evidence that at first, from some time before 1802 and possibly as early as 1786, the artel was located at Little Afognak, formerly called Seleznevo and Igwiq. Then, by 1803 there was the Rubetz odinochka which judging from its activities described by Davydov was more like an artel. There is no record of the establishment of Katenai, but Woodhouse-Beyer cites dating of the main Russian structure to the early 1820s on the basis of tree ring dating of foundation posts. With only partial records, it is suggested that soon after 1818 or 1819, when the number of artels on Kodiak was reduced, Little Afognak's status was diminished. The odinochka at Rubets may have become more important, and the small artel-like establishment at Katenai probably developed at this time. The relationship between Katenai and Rubetz is totally unclear now. Records may fail to differentiate them because they are separated by only three miles [km?] of water. The one large (multifamily?) Russian house, one Creole or Native house, presumed multi-family Native "barracks" and three other structures described by Woodhouse-Beyer could have accommodated the very small staff noted above for the Afognak artel. Any further information that may be discovered can be interpreted in the light of this discussion.

     By 1834 the original artel' at Little Afognak had become a Creole settlement occupied mostly by the families of Makarii Seleznev and his adult sons. It became known as Seleznevo (Selechnoe in a misreading of Wrangell's ms.). Seleznevo apparently operated outside the artel system and management though its products were sold to the Russians at Kodiak.

Opasnie Bay (Danger Bay, Kazakof Bay)

     There is a compound house pit site on elevated sandy beach ridges on the east side near the entrance, at a locality known locally (in 1998) as Big Sandy, near the Silver Logging Camp. Structure outlines are of simple rectangular format and compound Alutiiq format. Sponge-stamped and painted ceramics have been found in two areas of the site, as well as traces of iron artifacts (Steffian 1998 "Archaeological Survey on Central Afognak Island, Alaska"). The ceramics indicate occupation late in the Russian period and/or early in the American period. This small settlement is not indicated on any map or in any record we have examined. However, there is a well-known local tradition that two persons from here died under uncertain circumstances, foul play was suspected, and the remaining people moved away. This place probably is Mautaq recorded by the Native Village of Afognak place names project in 2001.

     Danger Bay is a translation of Russian Opasnie, a name officially given in the 1840s. In 1935 the USC&GS renamed the bay Kazakof to conform with local usage (Orth 1967:505). "Kozakofskii" is the name of a headland at the western entrance to the bay on an 1849 RAC map. The name may refer to the former presence of Russians in general or to artel manager Kazakov who served in the 1820s (location not determined).

Northern Afognak/Shuyak Island Villages
and Russian Magazin

     Northern Afognak has good sea mammal habitat, including a virtual bowl full of whales at Shuyak Strait, and there is a good salmon stream, Portage Creek. Numerous archaeological sites indicate that the area was heavily utilized by ancestors of the Alutiit. But there are no recorded contact and early historic settlements other than those on the 1786 Zaikov map and statements that Shelikhov destroyed a Shuyak village. One of the reasons for this may be early Russian intervention. Furthermore, anything that area could provide the Russians (salmon, whales, timber, sea mammal hides) was available from more accessible locations, furs excepted. For sea otter and fox furs the Russians did send hunters or trappers out to scattered points, sometimes called odinochkas, on Shuyak and Afognak Island. Here we draw together the limited information on population history (but not the trappers' odinochkas) and the elusive Russian fort on northern Afognak and Shuyak.

     "Towards the end of December [1785] I sent two of my men with and interpreter to Kinai Bay, under the guise of traders, to gather information", so wrote Shelikhov. "I gave them some trade goods to exchange and entrusted their safety to the toion or kaskak hostage from Shueh Island" (Shelikhov 1981: 47). Later, in 1786 Shelikhov learned by way of two men from the Chingatsk settlement "that the toen of Shuekh had turned traitor and had killed the workmen and interpreter I had entrusted to his care" (Shelikhov 19 48). "[They] asked me for men to help defend themselves against up to 1,000 Kinaitsy, who had come from the American coast to Shuekh. [Not as invaders, it seems, but as allies of the Shuyak villagers.] ...I sent out from the harbor [Three Saints] two parties, the first consisting of 30 Russian workmen with one man in charge, the second [size not specified] with a special [manager] consisting of Koniag and Fox Aleuts who were serving us voluntarily, instructing them to occupy a position suitable for a harbor on Afagnak opposite Shuekh Island and build a fort according to a given plan" (p. 48). Shelikhov also instructed them to counter the purported Kiinaitsy threat and avenge the deaths of the two Russians and Native interpreter.

     "On May 19th I received information from Afagnak and Shuekh Islands that...the fort on Afagnak was begun." On May 22 Shelikhov left Kodiak for Siberia and his account does not give any completion date. A drawing of this "fortified outpost" dated 1787 was placed on file (Black 1992:Fig 5) but it is doubtful if the "magazin" was nearly as large or elaborate as portrayed (Izmailov map from survey of 1786, "Magazin sukrepleniem" --magazin or storehouse with fortification). Its location is indicated on a 1787 map (Black 1992:Figs. 4b, 6). We fail to find any subsequent records of this facility except one by Shelikov himself written as he was leaving America.

     With regard to the other matter, the following additional detail is from the introduction to the Limestone Press Shelikhov volume (1981:15). In December 1785 the Russians Stepan Kosmin Serkerin and Labanov and Native interpreter Efrem Shelikhov were killed by the Shuiakh chief, who had been held (at Three Saints?) as a hostage, and his relatives. The goods were divided between the Afognak and Chiniak chiefs. In revenge for this, according to Britiukov, "Shelikhov sent three baidaras of Russians and natives to Shuiakyh and Afognak. Britukov heard later that the party wiped out one village and the inhabitants of another had fled." (Miron Britukov [Bratikov] in report to Iakobi on Shelekhov's activities; also Shelikhov 1981:125.). Izmailov later was questioned about Bratikov's report and noted that Samoilov and Malakhov executed the leaders of the mutiny against the Russian party on Afognak and Shuiak islands (p 131). Izmailov did not comment on the reported destruction of a Shuyak village, of which he had no direct knowledge, but he indicated that several of Britukov's claims were overstated. Samoilov, however, claimed that only those who had murdered the traders were killed (Black 1992:175). The matter thus is obscure. It remains that in the Shelikhov years there were at least two Native villages on Shuyak and northern Afognak (the Izmailov map shows two on Shuyak and three on northern Afognak), but by the time of the 1796 census there is no record of any villages in that region.

     No less elusive is the establishment of 38 Russians in 1788 at Cape Rada (as designated by the Spaniard Martinez) at the entrance to Cook Inlet on Afognak Island reported by Delarof on the occasion of a Spanish visit to Three Saints (Fedorova 1973:117). A post on Marmot Island said to have been reported to Vancouver by a Russian party might be the same place.

     The vessel Zosima I Savvatii unintentionally reached Afognak in 1797 and the crew wintered there, with the assistance of Baranov, at an unspecified locality (Khlebnikov 1994:133). Davydov (1977:29) gives the date as 1792 and states that there already was a settlement on Afognak left by Mr. Shelikhov. Pierce (1990:440) gives the date as 1797 and states that the landfall was at Shuyak Island where the crew met promyshlennik Eremin who notified Baranov in Kodiak. Eremin evidently was there with a party of Alutiiq hunters, and thus was able to dispatch a baidarka to Kodiak. They probably had a shore station or odinochka on the island, for which, as Davydov implies, there is the possibility of continuity with the storehouse or so-called fort built by Shelikhov in the vicinity of Perenosa Bay.

Settlements of "Free" Russians and Creoles: Colonial Citizens and Other Estates

     On an 1849 map two localities on Afognak (Afognak village and next to Seleznevo) and one on Spruce Island bear the designation "free Russians and Creoles." The terminology tells something of the establishment, nature and composition of these settlements. This topic is discussed here because Afognak was one of those settlements. Svetlana Fedorova (1975, see also 1973) thus explained the situation "...when the petitioners (and others like them) [for permission to remain in Alaska] -- old men and invalids -- became a burden not only to the Company but the State as well, the government lost interest in them as taxable individuals and decreed on April 2nd, 1835, the creation of so called "colonial citizenship" [for former Russian employees]. The right to settle in the colonies was given only to those hunters who had served the company "irreproachably" for a period of no less than 15 years. The approved charter of the Russian-American company of...1844, established a special estate of "colonial citizens." From the 80 men discharged because of old age, 57 -- single and with families -- remained in the colonies to the end of their life. ... In 1858 colonial citizens with families numbered 240 persons [including families]. However, n 1861 there remained only 94 (54 men and 40 women, ten of which lived in Novo-Arkhangelsk, 74 in Kadiak [and adjacent places] and 10 in the section of Atka [children not included?]."

     Some kind of accommodation had been reached earlier. At least as early as 1823 retired Russian prolmyshlenniks with families were being settled near fishing streams or advantageous places (CS 1823 #395). Reports of pensioneers living on their own subsistence" (Yakut Gregorii Pavlov for instance, appear as early as 1820. In describing the Afognak artel as it was about 1830, Khlebnikov (1994:38) lists seven employees stationed there (1 Russian, 6 Aleuts) but notes also the presence of 9 persons released from service: 6 Russians with their families and 3 Aleuts. He states that "Russians dismissed and left to their own subsistence occupy themselves gathering and preparing fish, berries, etc. for their own use, breed chickens and pigs, plant potatoes and turnips and sell the surplus of their produce to promyshlenniki living in the harbor [Kodiak].

     While the practicalities of retirement and settlement were being met in Kodiak and at places like Spruce Island, Seleznevo, Kenai and Ninilchik, and the place later to be called Afognak village, the office in Sitka was becoming involved at the administrative and policy level. Policies and procedures appear to have been worked out over the years prior to formal establishment of "settlements" about 1842. Seleznevo already had become the main Creole settlement and was perceived as exercising a good influence. Thus, in 1823 the chief manager could write that "after the example of retired Russians some of the Aleuts also have taken up gardening." The Company decided and repeatedly stated that Russian and Creoles should not settle in Native villages, and Natives should not build their barabaras close to the Russian and Creole dwellings. This was in part to maintain the Native hunters way of life and also to protect them from exploitation by a socially higher group. After designated settlements were established, a rule was formulated that retirees without families could not settle in those places. But they could locate at the artels. Creoles were settled on the same terms (provisions of support) as Russians, a policy stated as early as 1831 (CS #351).

     Prior to 1835 and 1844 some thought also had been given to the domiciliary and domestic affairs of the various classes of persons living in Alaska. In proposed rules drafted by Khlebnikov (1994:71-73) about 1825 and presented to chief Manager Chistiakov in January 1828, it was suggested that Russian promyshlenniki should not be permitted to marry Creole or Aleut women. This fit reality poorly and the rules added that "Russians who have married and wish to remain in the colonies until they die, become through their families, though not personally, citizens of the colony and so should receive the same benefits that are proposed to Creoles." (Some historians have stated that "creole" should not be capitalized inasmuch as its meaning in Alaska is not identical to its use in the Caribbean area, however, we have elected for capitalization). He proposed that Creoles be married to other Creoles or Aleuts, but not to Russians, which again fit reality poorly, though, as there became fewer Russian men, that most frequently was the case. At that time separate settlements were not under consideration but the following was proposed "with company aid, establish them [Creoles] at the main factory [Kodiak town] with houses and vegetable gardens. Do not settle them among Aleuts in their habitations [villages]. To get them interested in husbandry give them cattle on the condition that they are able to get hay for them with their own effort, but they cannot keep more than two milk cows and one bull.... With assistance from the company give them the opportunity to breed pigs, goats and chickens. Creoles are mechanically minded. Therefore, it is essential to see that each one in this estate should learn some trade..." Regarding the Aleuts, who were Native Kodiaks, the rules entreated "To settle the Aleuts in their native habitations [villages] and not keep them in Pavlovskaia Harbor when there is no special need. Give them a taste for building houses or yurts similar to those of the Iakuts and to develop vegetable gardens with company assistance. The toions and the keener and more hardworking Aleuts should be given cattle and other domestic animals on the same conditions as mentioned for the creoles. In all the principal Aleut settlements, leaders should be elected from among them to supervise the personal behavior of everyone and their achievements in husbandry. They must be under the supervision of Russian leaders who can from time to time go around all the settlements, assist by giving advice on the economy, gather information and report to the authorities. Several boys in each settlement should be taught to read and write and should be kept in school until they come of age and then be returned to their native conditions. Having developed good habits, they will gradually eradicate the savage disposition inherited from their ancestors." The Alutiiq did not take as well to animal husbandry and gardening as Khlebnikov had hoped, probably because it did not fit well with any aspect of their life ways and was incompatible with transhumance to fishing camps and hunting localities. Now, we return consideration to the later period when settlements for retired Russians and Creoles were being established.

     The ukase recommended that special settlements be established for Russian retirees and that similar settlements also be formed for the Creoles (Fedorova 1973:145). Two places where Creoles were permitted to settle had been established earlier, by 1821. These were Kodiak and Unalaska. A Creole had to register with either one of these offices. This does not necessarily mean that one had to live in the main settlements, but Fedorova goes on to state (1973:212) that later Creoles were permitted to settle on Afognak and Spruce Island, and also at Ninilchik and certain other places. The company was required to select suitable land, build comfortable dwellings for them, supply agricultural implements, seed, cattle, chickens and a year's provisions" (Higginson 1908: 344-345). We have reservations about these provisions, though Tikhmenev (1978:346) does state that a house for ill and aged employees was built at Company expense and "everything necessary for housekeeping was provided in order to give them a start."

     Tikhmenev stated further that "the children of colonial citizens were considered as belonging to the creole estate (class). The colonial citizens and their children had no obligations as far as the Company was concerned and could be hired only upon their own wish. [hence, presumably, the designation "free"]. "The Creoles...served as the link between the Russians and the aborigines. In 1821 when there were about 300 of them (approximately 180 men and 120 women), the Creoles were raised to a special status and as Russian citizens were made equal to the class of townsmen. This allowed them to advance themselves on equal terms with Russians in government service and obtain officer's ranks. The Creoles were not taxable in any way and were freed of government assessments and duties.... Creoles who were educated in the colonies themselves at the cost of the Company, were obligated to serve there no less than 15 years... At the end of these terms the Creoles...could be considered colonial citizens. The Creoles who received their education at the cost of the Company were included in the group of "bound" Creoles. All the other "free" Creoles did not have any obligations as far as the Company was concerned. The "bound" Creoles, after having served their term, were included with their offspring among "free" Creoles.... Few Creoles remained in [the Company's] service; most of them strove to settle on the islands in places which were set aside for them" (Tikhmenev 1978: ).

     The special social class (estate) enjoyed by the Creoles contributed to class prejudices. P.N. Golovnin remarked, as quoted by Fedorova "this colonial population is constantly eaten away by class prejudices.... On the one hand, the Creole, feeling European blood in himself, thinks that he is above the Aleut and does not want to live and work together with him;: in spite of all the inducements on the part of the colonial administration, the Creoles do not go out on hunting parties or send their children, thus depriving themselves of income. On the other hand, the Russians as well as the Aleuts themselves remember even now the initial origin of the Creoles from illegitimate relationships with the native women, and demonstrate disrespect and even contempt on every occasion."

     "The children of the Creoles remained Creole, regardless of how much their blood was mixed.... However, children from marriages of the "colonial citizens" and Creoles acquired the status of "colonial settlers.... [yet another status]" which evidently was not unique to this group. As Kostlivtsev stated (Fedorova 1975:15) "The formation of a new category of people under the name of settlers demonstrates the failure of the attempt to separate the Creoles from the 'colonial citizens' into some sort of special class, whereas all three can be united without hindrance into one under the common name of 'colonial settlers.'"

     A further estate or class was that of "islander," hear read as "Alutiiq." Fedorova states that "in 1821 the aboriginal tribes of Alaska which were 'ruled by the Company.' were assigned to the special category of 'islanders.' and recognized 'on the level of other Russian subjects.' To this group belonged the Aleuts and original Kodiak Islanders. However, there is little mention of this estate.

     Although three separate classes have been noted, in addition to Natives, they tended to group together in single communities as Russians usually married Creole women, and Creoles otherwise married other Creoles, though some also married Natives.

     Separation of Natives from Creoles and Russians reportedly was brought about so the Creoles would not lord it over the Natives, but the Company had more pragmatic reasons. The rationale for the Company policy was expressed by Kupreianov in 1837 (RAC Communications 1837 No. 250) on the occasion of finding three Alutiiq children enrolled in the Kodiak school. To paraphrase, it would be better if the three Aleut children were not deflected from the Aleut life and their native practices. He put the Kodiak office on notice that Aleut children should not in any way be deflected from their Native life and thereby deprive the Company of hunters, the number of whom had declined considerably due to mortality among the Aleuts. This policy is amplified in Tebenkov 1846 to the Kodiak office regarding the request of retired Creole Rysev to settle into the Aleut Village of Chiniatskoe (Woody Island) where his father-in-law lived. Tebenkov authorized this but stressed that it should be considered an exception. Creoles should never be combined in the same settlement with Aleuts.

     It may be instructive to see how one outsider interpreted the Creole status. Lt. Huggins thus described conditions in 1869 (1981:8-9). "Most of the creole population of the village of Kadiak were servants of the Russian American company. ... There were other creoles called "free people" who lived by fishing, hunting, and farming. The "free people" were at the mercy of the company and its agents and could not sell whatever furs they might take or any of their produce, to anyone except the company. ...the servants of the company were descendants of Russians who had been there in the same service. The latter piqued themselves upon their birth and many of them belonged to the elite of Alaskan society."

     "A good many of the "free people" engaged from time to time to the service of the company...but the "company creoles" were obliged to serve constantly in whatever capacity or place assigned them. In return the company was bound to provide for them sick or well, and in old age gave them small pensions. ... None of the company creoles could own houses or cattle, but lived in houses belonging to the company."

     In 1845 Chief Manager Etolin listed personnel whose contracts were not going to be renewed for various reasons. He assigned them pensions and asked the Kodiak office to determine if they wished to be settled on Elovoi Island and become colonial citizens of leave the colonies with forgiveness to debts and be delivered at company expense to their homeland (CS March 1845 #76). By that date some persons on the list already had settled. The list is a cornerstone of Kodiak and Afognak Island society.

Trofim Akat'ev (went to Elovoi, then was deported for bad behavior)
Stepan Dyrinov (already at Seleznevo)
Fedor Kipriushin
Iakov Maliutin
Andrei Mikhailov
Stepan Rikhterov
Fedor Pestriakov (already on Elovoi Island)
Afonasii Klimovskii (already at Seleznevo)
Filip Kotel'nikov
Widow Natal'ia Kolmakova
Widow Dar'ia Kolmakova
Gavril An'kovykh
Matvei Riuppe (had tended chapel at New Valaam)
Osip Susarenko
Andrei Sharatin
Ivan Terent'ev
Nikolai Feteev (Fadaoff?)
Mikhaila Sorokovikov
Widow Anis'ia Zharova
Il'ia Nepogod'ev
Efim Abyshev
Vasilii kBalashev
Matvei Kostylev
Vasilii Kostygin
Savelii Kiselev
Petr Ovchinnikov
Andrei Poleshaev

Six Creoles and ten Aleuts (not listed here) were released to live on their own subsistence (some were spouses, some listed above also are Creoles). The women were cownerds (and milkmaids) who worked summers and were not to be kept on staff year round.

Ivan Susarenko
Dar'ia Balasheva
Mar'ia Egorova
Elena Knage (spouse of Iakov Knage whose family was being settled at Ninilchik)
Elena Lopaatina
Fiona Shelekhova

A product of the Afognak Data Recovery Project

To embrace, protect, develop, and enhance Alutiiq culture, protect our traditional use areas and encourage unity among the Alutiiq of the Kodiak Archipelago