Activists Want to Remove the Statue of Alaska’s First Russian Governor (1799-1818)
In what used to be Novo-Arkhangelsk, now Sitka
In Alaska, people advocate removing the statues of European colonists, because they represent the history of the colonization of the indigenous peoples of Alaska. This week in Sitka, about 90 people gathered around the monument to Alexander Baranov (Russian statesman, businessman, first Chief ruler of Russian settlements in North America 1790-1818) before the meeting of the city meeting. The monument to Baranov was donated to the city in 1989 and often attracts many tourists. Protesters ask the city to move the monument to a less visible place or replace it with a more unique monument.
According to opponents of the monument, “Baranov is a historical figure responsible for the murders, enslavement, rape and crimes of genocide. This story is still being felt by our indigenous communities today. The statistically highest number of missing and killed women in North America are among indigenous women. Our languages must be revitalized because they were forcibly taken from us. ”
Members of the family who donated the monument to the community learned about the controversy surrounding it, they said that their “family is saddened by the fact that the statue offends or makes any member of our community uncomfortable … The statue was a gift, and, like any gift, everything, what ultimately is done with it depends on the recipient, the city of Satka. ” They asked that if the statue be removed, so that it would not be defiled or destroyed, out of respect for the sculptor, KTOO.org reports .
Meanwhile, a petition from the Russian Community Council of the USA appeared on Change.org to demand the preservation of the statue of the first Russian governor of Alaska.
As reported on the website of the Coordinating Council of Organizations of Russian Compatriots in the United States (KSORS), it is required “to get 5000 votes to submit them to the City Council in the near future.”
“We believe that the demolition of the statue is an erasure of our Russian historical heritage.Sitka [Novo-Arhangelsk] was the capital of Russian America, and Alexander Baranov was the first Russian governor of Alaska. The statue is an important reminder of the history of intercultural interaction and diplomacy, ”says the KSORS website .
According to Russian compatriots, the statue of the sculptor Joan Bugby-Jackson was donated to the municipality in 1989 by one of the local American influential families – Hames – and was installed in the park opposite the city center.
Under Baranof’s leadership, over 200 settlements were built, including crucial infrastructure like shipyards, manufactured and agricultural production, and institutions such as public libraries, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. More than 60 churches and a seminary were also constructed under his watch.
“Under Baranof’s leadership, over 200 settlements were built, including crucial infrastructure like shipyards, manufactured and agricultural production, and institutions such as public libraries, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. More than 60 churches and a seminary were also constructed under his watch. … High-tech (for its time) shipyards and agricultural production, brick and iron foundries were opened. Modular wooden houses were made for transportation to the south in San Francisco, California, ”the compatriots council reports, citing the Russian Community Council petition.
Source: Russian News in California