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History Units
  - Geography
  - Alaska's Cultures
  - Russia's Colony
  - America's Territory
  - Governing Alaska
  - Modern Alaska

Related Stories
  - 40 Years of Statehood (video)
  - Adventures in the AK Economy

Field Trips
  - Tour the State Capitol (video)
  - Interview with a Historical Researcher (video)

In the News
  - Struggling to become an American

Teacher's Guide

Regional History
Teacher's Guide
Fish Traps Roundtable

Enduring Understandings

The absentee control of mining and fishing in Alaska was a major point of contention for decades in territorial Alaska. Alaska had no elected representation until 1906 when it gained a non-voting delegate to Congress. Alaska gained some self-government with the creation of the territorial legislature in 1912. The federal government had the most say about what happened until Alaska became a state.

Estimated Time:

Three class periods

Materials needed:

  • Governing Alaska unit narrative (Federal Influence in the Territory and Campaign for Statehood)
  • Other Link: Alaska’s Heritage

Lesson Plan:

  1. Have students read about the fish trap issue.
  2. Discuss why Alaskans had such a strong opposition to the traps.
  3. Have students prepare for a roundtable discussion after further research. Each student will prepare for the role of an individual who had a perspective on fish traps such as one of the following: commercial fisherman, Native Alaskan, fish and game employee, fish trap watchman, suppliers of materials for traps, cannery owner, cannery worker, small business owner, sports fisher, supplier of fishing gear, newspaper reporter, consumer in lower 48, employee of cannery offices in lower 48, U.S. Representative or Senator (WA and CA) or Territorial legislator.
  4. Students can dress for the part and earn extra points for the discussion.
  5. Discussion question: Despite the U.S. Government’s support of numerous projects that assisted economic development, why did many Alaskans continue to believe the federal government was “in the pocket” of big business interests?

Alaska Standards:

History: C, D
Government: E
Alaska History: AH. ICGP 4, AH. ICGP 8, AH. CPD 3, AH CC 4


Exceeds Meets In Progress Not Started
Discussion Clearly “in the moment” with persona of character. Sound facts back up point of view. Insightful remarks show sophisticated understanding of the issue. Good discussion participation. Facts back up the character point of view. Little participation in discussion and/or few facts to support the character’s point of view. No participation.


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