Date

6-2-2020

Description

In the years leading up to the creation of Glacier Bay National Monument in 1925, white scientists and explorers from the contiguous US began describing Alaska as a beautiful and awe-inspiring place - a change from its previous depiction as an empty expanse of land. They began lobbying for the Glacier Bay area to be preserved based on its value as a laboratory for scientific inquiry and as a place to be set aside for future generations to appreciate. However, the Tlingit people who lived in the area were not informed about the creation of the park, or even that Alaska had been sold by Russia to the United States. From the writings of people like John Muir and William S. Cooper, the value of Glacier Bay is apparent from a European-American scientific, cultural, and religious perspective. In this paper, I will be analyzing narratives about the value of Glacier Bay from Tlingit, Judeo-Christian, and Western Scientific perspectives to understand how the area that became Glacier Bay National Park was managed and controlled in the early 20th century. As Alaska became the "Last Frontier" the US sought out its last chance to establish control on the North American continent. Conservation, as inspired by new specialized fields of science, Judeo-Christian religion, and patriotism, served as a way to police stolen land in the name of scientific inquiry and white, colonial control.

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Jun 2nd, 12:00 AM

For the Sake of the Environment?: Policing and Control in Glacier Bay National Park

In the years leading up to the creation of Glacier Bay National Monument in 1925, white scientists and explorers from the contiguous US began describing Alaska as a beautiful and awe-inspiring place - a change from its previous depiction as an empty expanse of land. They began lobbying for the Glacier Bay area to be preserved based on its value as a laboratory for scientific inquiry and as a place to be set aside for future generations to appreciate. However, the Tlingit people who lived in the area were not informed about the creation of the park, or even that Alaska had been sold by Russia to the United States. From the writings of people like John Muir and William S. Cooper, the value of Glacier Bay is apparent from a European-American scientific, cultural, and religious perspective. In this paper, I will be analyzing narratives about the value of Glacier Bay from Tlingit, Judeo-Christian, and Western Scientific perspectives to understand how the area that became Glacier Bay National Park was managed and controlled in the early 20th century. As Alaska became the "Last Frontier" the US sought out its last chance to establish control on the North American continent. Conservation, as inspired by new specialized fields of science, Judeo-Christian religion, and patriotism, served as a way to police stolen land in the name of scientific inquiry and white, colonial control.