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Filipinos in Alaska: 1788-1958: 07/02/11

cover art

A year ago I began a concerted effort to read books off my wishlist. Being a list oriented person, I decided to start with the oldest wishes. Many of these early wishes go well beyond my memory as to why I had wanted to read them.

One of those mystery books is a bound book of mimeographed text and photocopied photographs called Filipinos in Alaska: 1788-1958 by Thelma Buchhold. Now I do have an interest in Alaska history and I did once write a paper on Filipino culture in college but I can't for the life of me remember either hearing about this book or wanting to read it.

That's not to say I didn't get anything out of reading it. It was actually fascinating in its own way. The earliest chapters track any potential Filipino shipmate who might have made a port of call in Alaska. Later it tracks known Filipino families as they settled. The final chapters read more like a phone book of Filipinos who were living in Alaska in the 1950s.

As a census (small c as it's not done by the Census) of a specific minority in Alaska it's an interesting and focused document. What's missing though is a secondary analysis of the data. What do the numbers mean? Why did they settle where they did? How did they contribute to Alaska culture? What is their legacy.

Three stars.

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Comment #1: Sunday, July, 3, 2011 at 11:49:38


it's pretty amazing how far filipinos have scattered across the world! i now for a fact that there is a filipino community in yellowknife!

Comment #2: Sunday, July 3, 2011 at 22:44:14


It was an interesting book but I wanted something a little more.

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