More Than God Demands

Politics and Influence of Christian Missions in Northwest Alaska, 1897-1918

Anthony Urvina with Sally Urvina

More Than God Demands

Anthony Urvina with Sally Urvina

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

328 pages | 7 halftones, 1 map | 6 x 9 | © 2016
Paper $50.00 ISBN: 9781602232938 Published March 2016
E-book $7.00 to $50.00 ISBN: 9781602232945 Published March 2016
Near the turn of the twentieth century, the territorial government of Alaska put its support behind a project led by Christian missionaries to convert Alaska Native peoples—and, along the way, bring them into “civilized” American citizenship. Establishing missions in a number of areas inhabited by Alaska Natives, the program was an explicit attempt to erase ten thousand years of Native culture and replace it with Christianity and an American frontier ethic.
            Anthony Urvina, whose mother was an orphan raised at one of the missions established as part of this program, draws on details from her life in order to present the first full history of this missionary effort. Smoothly combining personal and regional history, he tells the story of his mother’s experience amid a fascinating account of Alaska Native life and of the men and women who came to Alaska to spread the word of Christ, confident in their belief and unable to see the power of the ancient traditions they aimed to supplant.

Part I Peculiar Work
Chapter 1 The Bureau of Education in Alaska
Chapter 2 Sectarianism, Human Hierarchy, and the Decades of Change

Part II The White Man’s Window
Chapter 3 A Matter of Perspective
Chapter 4 A Strategy for Change

Part III The Children of Conflict
Chapter 5 Trouble Comes in Threes

Part IV The Reindeer Files
Chapter 6 A Perception of Progress
Chapter 7 The Exodus to Noorvik

Appendix 1 Missionaries and Bureau of Education Teachers in Northwestern and Northern Alaska 1890-1918
Appendix 2 Village Population Data Chart, Winter 1909-1910
Review Quotes
Alaska History
“Brings much needed research to the history of Northwest Alaska. . . . In a rare piece of historical writing, Urvina is both a former Bureau of Indian Affairs administrator and an Alaska Native whose mother lived some of the times and settings. . . . Thoughtful, while critical, seeking not just to expose but also to understand.”
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