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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Native American
  • Language:English
  • Pages:250
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781483596488

The Battle of Shee Atika'

by Rodger Bolles

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The Battle for Shee Atiká Captain Alexsei Chirikov landed in Alaska on July 16, 1741. He was so rudely met by the Tlingit that it was fifty years before the Russians returned. When Alexander Baranov clawed his way ashore, seeking land and otter pelts he too was met with ferocious resistance in a bloodcurdling night attack. The struggle between Europeans and aboriginals animates Captain Yurii Lisianski’s quest for Russian wealth, power, and fame as he completes the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe. Enroute, he and his ship, the Neva, support Baranov in warfare against the Tlingit, led by Yaskadut, a shaman of the Kiksadi of Sitka. The story is told from two points of view: Russian and Tlingit. Chapters alternate between Lisianki’s circumnavigation and Yaskadut’s boyhood in the Alaskan rain forest. The ship’s log provides historical support for the Russian view. Tlingit anthropological studies and oral histories inform that of Yaskadut. Chapters stage and fall with the rhythm of the sea. Christian orthodoxy collides with Tlingit animisim. European “civilization” confronts aboriginal “savagery.” This clash of alien cultures threatens genetic extinction for the Kiksadi. Resist and die or join and be bred into oblivion. The story is based on historical fact. Liberties were taken to express the essence of the thing..
The prologue describes the First and fatal contact between Russians and the Tlingit. Chapter One introduces, Lisianski's rival, Yaskadut, a Tlingit shaman. Chapter Two describes the commencement of Lisianski circumnavigation. In chapter Three the magical birth and childhood of Yaskadut, a Kiks.adi Tlingit is revealed. Chapter Four describes the voyage from St. Petersberg to the Equator and an encounter with a French privateer. Here there are scenes of ships of war in combat. Chapter Five contains a fatal bear hunt, the death of Yaskadut's father, communion with nature, and Yaskadut's kidnap by the Koniag. By Chapter Six Lisianski, lazing at sea, recalls a battle of frigates. The apparition of a glowing whale and landfall on the coast of Brazil round out the chapter. Chapter Seven describes Yaskadut's sojourn in the land of the Koniag, Chugach and the Aleuts. There is a surreal ice floe survival scene. In Chapter Eight the war-sloop Neva round's The Horn and proceeds to Easter Island, and the women of the Marquises. The Tlingit goddess Tl'anaxe'eda'kw ascends to the Milky Way with Yaskadut in Chapter Nine. Aataagliga, the Aleut, takes Yaskadut to the Island of Atka. While in the Sandwich Islands, Lisianski receives a report of atrocities at the Russian fort in Sitka, A landfall at Kodiak Island closes Chapter Ten with descriptions of the coastline of Alaska rivaling the fjords of Norway. Kakuas-Geti, the "cannibal-lover", is introduced in Chapter Eleven. Yaskadut encounters the "Rooskies" on Atka, witnesses an otter kill and discovers an aquatic grotto. Alexander Alexandrovich Baranov appears in Sitka amidst rumors of war with the Kiks.adi Tlingit. In Chapter 13 Yaskadut surfs his kayak. Torture and murder drive Yaskadut on a 1640-mile paddle along the Aleutian Chain to Shee Atika. Yaskadut dances a reprise of his life. There is a description of a volcano's birth at sea. Russian-Tlingit contacts, Christian fire and brimstone, pervade Chapter Fourteen. By Chapter 15, parlay, assassination, and a night attack lead to Natook's punitive expedition, the burning of Eagle's Nest, and guerrilla warfare. There are scenes of battle in a northern rain forest among giant trees and ferns on a carpet of moss. Dr. Liband objects to Russian colonial policy in 16 and Yakwan betrays the Kiksadi at Eagle's Roost requiring the Tlingit to escape through the bowels of a glacier of blue ice and silver water falls in 17. Chapter 18. features a gathering of forces, ambush, hostages, terms, and perfidy. Chapter 19 reveals Russian cruelty in the name of Honor, God, and Country. In 20 we see the infamous Russian knout at work and witness a miraculous escape. There is a gun barge bombardment and an ultimatum in 21. Chapter 22 provides the Red Man's answer; no quarter given―none asked. A hellish night reveals an Indian version of the Masada in the final chapter. An Afterword and an Epilogue provides epitaphs for Lisianski, Yaskadut, and the war sloop Neva.
About the author
I am a sailor uniquely qualified to tell the story of the battle for Shee Atika. I crewed on everything from a top gallant schooner to a Russian ice breaker. I spent my childhood in the forests of Alaska. I conducted original research at the scene of the battle and translated the ship’s log of Captain Yuri Lisianski who fought the Kiks.ádi Tlingit in this historical conflict for dominion over Alaska. I am a Russian linguist, past editor of the English-Russian quarterly titled, The Dancing Bear and a student of Tlingit history.
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