Through Orthodox Eyes brings into English an important collection of translations of Russian missionary records that shed new light on the spread of Orthodox Christianity among the Athabaskan-speaking peoples of the Cook Inlet, Iliamna, Lake Clark, Stony River, and Copper River areas. These records provide unique insights into Russian perceptions of native societies in Alaska, and include new ethnographic information on Athabaskan seasonal hunting and fishing cycles, settlement patters, migration, demography, shamanism, marriage practices, relationships between Natives and miners, and alcohol abuse.
Andrei Znamenski offers a new and substantive interpretive chapter that places events into historical perspective. He describes nineteenth-century Athabaskan society and its interactions with Russians and Americans, looks into the biographies and intellectual backgrounds of Orthodox missionaries and native lay leaders, examines the texts of missionary journals, and shows how the Athabaskans turned Russian Orthodoxy into their native church.
Andrei A. Znamenski is associate professor of history at Alabama State University and resident scholar at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress.