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Northern light. : (Unalakleet, Alaska) 1913-1917
Place of publication:
Unalakleet, Alaska
Geographic coverage:
  • Saint Michael, Alaska  |  View more titles from this: City State
  • Unalakleet, Alaska  |  View more titles from this: City State
Unalakleet Native School
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Sept. 1913)-v. 4, no. 36 (May 1917).
Monthly during school year
  • English
  • Alaska--Saint Michael.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01223049
  • Alaska--Unalakleet.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212922
  • Alaska.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204480
  • Eskimos--Alaska--Newspapers.
  • Eskimos.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00915242
  • Saint Michael (Alaska)--Newspapers.
  • Unalakleet (Alaska)--Newspapers.
  • Complimentary first issue published in St. Michael, Aug. 1913.
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 preceded by complimentary issue also called v. 1, no. 1, but dated Aug. 1913.
sn 96060047
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Northern light. August 1, 1913 , Image 1


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Northern light

The Northern Light was a monthly newspaper published from the Unalakleet Eskimo School by E. E. Van Ness who was a teacher, and later principal, at the school. The first publication was in August of 1913, but it was considered a preliminary work, and so the September 1913 issue is labeled as the first issue also. The type setting and print work was done by the students at the school, but the writing was principally by and for other teachers. The first issue encouraged other teachers to contribute news or share teaching methods "particularly suited to the Eskimo school room." One teacher wrote to complain that they were unable to "arouse the enthusiasm I wish to see" in their pupils.

The Northern light reported on school news and local news around Unalakleet, including information about the Alaskan natives there. Sickness was a recurring problem at the school, and articles advised on treatments for colds and rheumatism, as well as tuberculosis prevention; the subject of ventilation's role in preventing tuberculosis outbreaks was a frequent topic. Other topics included Alaskan Native stories and folklore that had been contributed by students to the newspaper.

The Northern light also featured many articles on the role of education and industrialization in the "progress" of Alaskan Natives. The February 1915 issue raised the question of whether Native Alaskans were allowed to vote and solicited feedback from readers then printed the responses in the March issue. Unalakleet superintendent, and former The Midnight Sun publisher, A. N. Evans also contributed to the May 1, 1915, issue of the Northern light and wrote on the topic of reindeer herding.

The paper ended in May of 1917 when Van Ness left Unalakleet. It was reported in Alaskan papers that he left Unalakleet to accept the position of president of Trevecca College in Nashville, Tennessee: however, there is no record that this position was ever held by him.

Provided by: Alaska State Library Historical Collections