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Modern rendering of the Il’mena, the brig that brought Russians and also Alaska Natives to San Nicolas Island in 1814. Illustration by Elizabeth Chapin.

Karana, a 12-year-old indigenous girl, gathers roots for food in a canyon on her island also home. Nearby, Karana"s six-year-old brother, Ramo, watches the sea as a big ship sails towards the island also. Neither of the youngsters has actually seen a big ship prior to. The vessel—a "red ship with 2 red sails"—brings a Russian, Captain Orlov, and Aleut hunters.

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While Karana, Ramo, and also their entire community look on, Captain Orlov is rowed to shore. The Russian tells Chief Chowig, Karana and Ramo"s father, that he has actually 40 guys and also they wish to hunt sea otters. After a conversation, Karana"s father allows the hunt to take location yet insists on an equal share of the profit.

Karana and the aboriginal world on the island live in a town called Ghalas-at. Their island is twenty leagues from Santa Barbara (The golden state, USA).


Fact Check: Russians and also Aleuts

Did Russians and also Aleuts travel to the California Channel Islands to hunt sea otters? 

What carry out we know?Employees of the Russian American Company type of (RAC) carried Aleuts and various other Alaska Natives to the Channel Islands to hunt sea otters in the time of the early on to mid-1800s (nineteenth century). 

What is the evidence?Primary source: Read an excerpt from a letter I.A. Kuskov, a RAC manager, writes to the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Colonies in America. The letter tells about the arrival of the ship Il’mena at San Nicolas Island, with the objective of searching sea otters. 

Secondary source: In Voices from the Field, Dr. Glenn Farris discusses Russian and Alaska Native hunters coming to hunt sea otters in the 1800s (nineteenth century).

Secondary source: Dr. Glenn Farris defines, as component of a bigger research study write-up, the trip of the Il’mena to the Channel Islands, where Russian and Alaska Native hunters landed to hunt sea otters.


Voices from the Field

Jerry Lassos, a Gabrielino, talks around his tribe’s name for San Nicolas Island also. 

Dr. Glenn Farris, The golden state State Parks archeologist (retired), discusses why the Russians sailed to the Channel Islands during the first half of the 1800s (nineteenth century). 


Photos & MultimediaHistoric artwork: View of Fort Ross, 1828. Many type of ships coming to the Channel Islands to hunt sea otters stopped at Ft Ross, a colony in northern California controlled by Russia from 1812 to 1841. By A. B. Duhaut-Cilly. Courtesy of Fort Ross State Historic Park Photo Archives.

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See It Yourself!Find Out even more around the Russian history in North America at Fort Ross State Historic Park on the north shore of California.
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Last updated: December 11, 2018


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