The Evolution of the Perception of the Aleuts in Russian Sources of the 18th –19th Centuries
[Еvoliutsiia vospriiatiia aleutov v rossiiskikh istochnikakh XVIII–XIX vv.]
Type of publication: Research Article
Aleuts, Alaska, Russian colonization, Russian America, interethnic contacts
Drawing on a review of several hundred documents, notes, memoirs and other materials (including archival sources), the author has traced the evolution of the assessment by Russian travelers, scientists, naval officers, representatives of the first administrative administrators of the colonial administration and missionaries of the indigenous population of the Aleutian Islands in the period from 1741 to 1867. As the research has shown, the initial negative opinion about Aleuts over the decades of ethnic contacts and their gradual acculturation changes to an increasingly positive one, which begins to dominate since the 1830s. This tendency manifests itself especially clearly in comparison with the characteristics of some groups of the indigenous population of Russian America, primarily the warlike Tlingit Indians, who retained their independence throughout the Russian period of Alaska’s history. Historical practice demonstraces it takes only two or three generations for the ethnic psychology and culture of an ethnic group to be significantly transformed under the influence of interethnic contacts. In parallel, there is a process of transformation of the idea of the people (despite the subjectivism of opinions), which has undergone acculturation, on the part of the representatives of the dominant ethnos. The evolution of Aleut perception, reflected in Russian sources of the 18 th –19 th centuries, can serve as a good illustration of such dynamics.
Grinёv, A.V. 2021. The Evolution of the Perception of the Aleuts in Russian Sources of the 18th –19th Centuries [Еvoliutsiia vospriiatiia aleutov v rossiiskikh istochnikakh XVIII–XIX vv.]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 3: 48–65. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150015494-3
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