Episode 14: Enslavement of the Sugpiat

This episode features Dr. Sven Haakanson and was initially recorded for a film documentary titled “The Forgotten Slavery of Our Ancestors” that focuses on the enslavement of Indigenous peoples in what is now known as the United States. It is a project funded by a grant from the Southern Poverty Law Center through the Teaching Tolerance program and it was created in partnership with See Stories and Channel Films. "The Forgotten Slavery of Our Ancestors" will release later on this year (date TBA), so be sure to keep an eye out!



Coffee & Quaq is brought to you by Native Time, a collaborative media platform showcasing authentic experience of what it means to Alaska Native today. Our #Summer2020 theme is Stayin’ Alive. The widely accepted understanding about the first contact of Native people with Russian or European settlers is that the introduction of diseases is actually what decimated the populations. Most people don’t know that many Indigenous groups were also enslaved. The Sugpiat bore the brunt of Russian and European American colonization, but they’re still here today, Stayin' Alive to share the true history of their people.


"Use this knowledge so that we can show that our ancestors had that bulbous bow design that is now on all these big boats. We had this for over a thousand years...because of the heavy seas that we deal with, through years of learned experience. (They) needed a supercomputer, a dolphin, and they had billions of dollars to develop this technology and we already had it. This is brilliant. It superseded supercomputers and yet we're told we're primitive savages." - Dr. Sven Haakanson


Dr. Sven Haakanson is a Sugpiaq anthropologist from Old Harbor in Kodiak, Alaska. He is an Associate Professor & Curator at the University of Washington - Burke Museum in Seattle. Sven Haakanson received a B.A. (1992) from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and an M.A. (1996) and Ph.D. (2000) from Harvard University. He has served as the executive director of the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak, Alaska. He has also been an adjunct member of the faculty at the Kodiak College campus of the University of Alaska in Anchorage and the former chair of the Alaska State Council on the Arts.






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