Fort Ross
Alaska Native Day 2015

Alaska Native Day 2015

Fort Ross Conservancy is pleased to welcome the Alaska Native community to Fort Ross to teach their arts and crafts on the land they once shared with the Native Kashia and Russian communities. Click here for the program of the day. The day will include:

  • Reno Franklin, Chairman of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, welcomes the Alaska Natives to Metini (Fort Ross) to dance with Su Nu Nu Shinal,
  • Performances by Anchorage Unangax Dancers,
  • Dr. Gordon L. Pullar, associate professor emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a Kodiak Island Sugpiaq (Alutiiq), will be speaking on The Russian-Alaskan Creole, Then and Now. He has an intense interest in researching the ethno-history of Kodiak Island and his own family history that includes ancestry from indigenous people of Kodiak Island as well as Russians who worked in the fur trade in Russian America,
  • Traditional Russian Orthodox blessing of the boats, followed by Iqyan (kayak) race in Sandy Cove. See 2015 race map for rules — no plastic kayaks allowed),
  • A hands-on demonstration build of a Nigilax (baidara, or large open kayak),
  • Kids’ crafts: Face “tattooing,” language games, petroglyph rock painting, Chagudax (hunter’s hats), spear throwing,
  • Demonstrations—Beading, Chagudax carving,
  • Slow smoked BBQ with fresh coleslaw for sale from BBQ Smokehouse Bistro & Catering will be available, with vegetarian options. Click here for the menu of the day. Or pack a picnic lunch if you desire.
  • All that and dried fish!


10:00 Welcome — Reno Franklin, Chairman of the Kashia Band of
Pomo Indians, welcomes the Alaska Natives to Metini (Fort Ross) (Sandy Cove)

10:15 Su Nu Nu Shinal dances (Ocean Terrace)

11:00 Dr. Gordon L. Pullar — The Russian-Alaskan Creole, Then and Now (Visitor Center Auditorium)

12:00 Walk to bluff & Sandy Beach Cove

12:20 Iqyan race (Sandy Beach Cove & bluff)

1:00 Lunch (Fort Compound)

1:30 Crafts, baidar build and California sea otter interpretation (Fort Compound)

2:00 Fort Ross History Talk (Fort Compound)

2:30 Unangan dancers (Fort Compound)

4:30 Event Ends


This is a new event for us and sponsorship is needed – contributions Face Paintingtowards AND can be made at For event updates and more, please consider joining the Alaska Natives at Fort Ross Facebook group. Download our AND poster and spread the word!

Special event fees apply: $10 collected at the Visitor Center for the presentation, children free. California State Parks entrance fees also apply. Please carpool!

Alaska Native Day 2014 – Photos By Paul C. Miller


“It was a perfect day, and a really nice chance for everyone to connect and reconnect. I’ll definitely be looking forward to next year!”
— Marc Daniels, racer & founder of Make Access Iqyax Apprenticeship program in the Unangax villages of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands

“I think it was a great inaugural event and Doerte and I very much enjoyed the presentations. It seemed at one point that the whole conference room was a packed house!”
— David Littlejohn, racer

“It was great to see all the skinboat people and thanks for giving us an excuse to come up to this beautiful place on the coast. Also thanks for inviting the Alaska contingent. For so long their culture had been dismissed and officially suppressed. So it is good to have an event that celebrates and recognizes their culture”.
— Wolfgang Brinck, racer

“The ride up Highway 1 from San Francisco was awesome, but, not as awesome as arriving: My first impression of overlooking Fort Ross was, “Wow, this is where possibly my ancestors, the Aleuts were taken over 200 years ago!” They were here with their kayaks/iqyaxs and wearing their glorious Aleut Bentwood hats and visors while paddling on the great Pacific Ocean seeking the Sea Otter “Chagudax” (pronounced Chaa-kuu-the). Amazing adventure, then and, especially Now!!! This venture was done in hopes to continue where my ancestors had traveled, and, some may have even perished down in California, or, even, more importantly, their may still be some Aleut descendants in the area! But, to revive the art of my people, the Aleuts: iqyaks and chagudax!!! “Qagaaskaung/Thank You”
— Okalena Patricia “Patty” Lekanoff-Gregory



We would like to thank the Aleut Corporation, Agnes Larsen Darnell Scholarship, Ounalashka CorporationAleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Maria Tkachuk and our donors for sponsoring our 2015 Alaska Native Day.