“The Russians settled here, finding the fishing and furs fine things for trade, and driving the Indians, who would not yield to them, farther and farther inland. In 1790 the Czar made Alexander Baranoff manager of the trading company. Baranoff established trading-posts in various places, and settled at Sitka, where you can see the ruins of the splendid castle he built. The Russians also sent missionaries to convert the Indians to the Greek Church, which is the church of Russia. The Indians, however, never learned to care for the Russians, and often were cruelly treated by them. The Russians, however, tried to do something for their education, and established several schools. One as early as 1775, on Kadiak Island, had thirty pupils, who studied arithmetic, reading, navigation, and four of the mechanical trades, and this is a better record than the American purchasers can show, I am sorry to say.
“One of the recent travellers in Alaska says that he met in the country ’American citizens who never in their lives heard a prayer for the President of the United States, nor of the Fourth of July, nor the name of the capital of the nation, but who have been taught to pray for the Emperor of Russia, to celebrate his birthday, and to commemorate the victories of ancient Greece.’ In March, 1867, the Russians sold Alaska to the United States for $7,200,000 in gold. It was bought for a song almost, when we consider the immense amount of money made for the government by the seal fisheries, the cod and salmon industries, and the opening of the gold fields. The resources of the country are not half-known, and the government is beginning to see this. That is one of the reasons they have sent me here, with the other men, to find out what the earth holds for those who do not know how to look for its treasures. Gold is not the best thing the earth produces. There is land in Alaska little known full of coal and other useful minerals. Other land is covered with magnificent timber which could be shipped to all parts of the world. There are pasture-lands where stock will fatten like pigs without any other feeding; there are fertile soils which will raise almost any crops, and there are intelligent Indians who can be taught to work and be useful members of society. I do not mean dragged off to the United States to learn things they could never use in their home lives, but who should be educated here to make the best of their talents in their home surroundings.
[Footnote 6: Dr. Sheldon Jackson, General Agent of Education in the Territory.]
“That is one crying shame to our government, that they have neglected the Alaskan citizens. Forty years have been wasted, but we are beginning to wake up now, and twenty years more will see the Indians of Kalitan’s generation industrious men and women, not only clever hunters and fishermen, but lumbermen, coopers, furniture makers, farmers, miners, and stock-raisers.”