As Heard on Morning Line: The Sesquicentennial of the Treaty of Session
Today, March 30th, is the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Cession, between the US and Russia,
It's the basis of Seward's Day, an official State of Alaska holiday, observed the last Monday in March.
It seems that some Alaskans, if they are even aware of Seward's Day, may view it as a time to celebrate a shrewd bargain accomplished by a figure in history, others recall choices derided by others that ended up as a success.
Tonight at six, Professor Hensley is scheduled to speak at an event at the Mountain View Public Library in Anchorage, entitled: The Alaska Sesquicentennial: Two Views
According to Willie Hensley, noted leader, scholar and author, the Treaty of Cession was one of the most significant moments in Native history.
Hensley has recently been published in an international journal, The Conversation, with an article titled "Why Russia gave up Alaska, America's gateway to the Arctic."
Hensley points out that while Native people fared worse under Russian occupation, the relationship of Alaska Tribes and the federal government was shaped in part by the Treaty of Cession.
As written in textbook on the topic, Alaska Natives and American Laws, Second Edition,
"...The legal questions surrounding aboriginal title in Alaska begin with the 1867 Treaty of Cession between the United States and Russia. The courts have interpreted articles III and VI of the treaty alternately both to confirm and to deny Alaska Native aboriginal title. "
Yesterday's Congressional Record shows that this event is not merely an historical footnote, as Senator Murkowski spent some time illuminating the topic to the Senate and addressing President Trump while tiptoeing around current issues in her presentation introduction:
"Mr. President, I have come to the floor this evening in celebration of an important milestone, but speaking about it actually presents a little bit of a challenge. In our current environment, how do you give a statement about a Secretary of State, a Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, a Russian Ambassador, and an exchange of millions of dollars without making sensational headlines?"
Full copy of Murkowski's speech can be found here: https://www.congress.gov/crec/2017/03/29/CREC-2017-03-29.pdf
Professor Hensley's article can be found here: http://bit.ly/2nBzMH8