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Maria Gilson deValpine (2015)
Publisher: SAGE Publishing
Journal: SAGE Open
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: History of scholarship and learning. The humanities, AZ20-999, Social Sciences, H
The 1918 influenza pandemic has been blamed for as many as 50 million deaths worldwide. Like all major disasters, the full story of the pandemic includes smaller, less noted episodes that have not attracted historical attention. The story of the 1919 wave of the influenza pandemic in Bristol Bay Alaska is one such lost episode. It is an important story because the most accessible accounts—the Congressional Record and the Coast Guard Report—are inconsistent with reports made by employees, health care workers, and volunteers at the site of the disaster. Salmon fishing industry supervisors and medical officers recorded their efforts to save the region’s Native Alaskans in private company reports. The federal Bureau of Education physician retained wireless transmission, reports, and letters of events. The Coast Guard summarized its work in its Annual Report of 1920. The independent Bureau of Fisheries report to the Department of Commerce reveals the Coast Guard report at striking odds with others and reconciles only one account. This article explores the historical oversight, and attempts to tell the story of the 1919 wave of the pandemic which devastated the Native Alaskan population in this very remote place.
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