The books include a collection of Alutiiq language lessons, a look at the history of Kodiak Island’s most significant archaeological excavations, and a catalog of Alutiiq artifacts in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“It’s an effort of many people,” said museum deputy directory Amy Steffian.
The language book will be the first published, tentatively scheduled for September 2012. It will collect 14 years of lessons published weekly in the Daily Mirror and aired on public radio station KMXT-FM.
“There’s tons of great unpublished community information in there,” as well as the language lessons, Steffian said. “This is a great way to keep the information available to the public.”
The book is being produced with help from the Kodiak Island Borough School District and an $8,400 grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum.
Next on the publishing schedule is a University of Alaska Press translation of a St. Petersburg museum catalog. The museum’s collection contains thousands of artifacts related to Alaska history, and the catalog will help researchers looking into the early history of the state, Steffian said.
The museum’s biggest publishing splash will come in 2013 or 2014 with a history of the Karluk One archaeological site.
The excavation of Karluk One in the mid-1980s sparked a resurgence of interest in Alutiiq history as modern Kodiak Island residents got a first-hand look at artifacts dating from hundreds of years before Russian traders arrived on the island.
Things like baskets, leather and carved wood were preserved in the site’s bog-like conditions. In a decade of work, archaeologists recovered about 20,000 items before the shifting Karluk River eroded the site into the Pacific Ocean.
“There is no other collection like this that represents Alutiiq heritage,” Steffian said. “It really fueled the Alutiiq heritage movement by inspiring a generation of artists and educators to know more about Alutiiq heritage.”
Steffian said the goal of “Kal’unek — From Karluk” isn’t just to tell the history of the site, but also to show how it has affected people since its discovery.
“We’ve invited both teachers and students and artists and all sorts of people who were involved in the process of preserving this site and studying it … to tell their stories,” she said.
The two-year project is funded with a $50,000 grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the book will accompany a computerized Karluk One catalog being developed right now.
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at email@example.com.