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Fort Ross Celebration of Russian America 1812-1841

Date: 07/28/2011 03:47

From 1812 to 1841 Russian American Company Settlement Ross was home to a unique blend of cultural groups—Russians, Creoles, Native Alaskans, and Kashaya and Coast Miwok Native Californians. On Cultural Heritage Day we celebrate this cultural diversity and the arts, crafts and traditional activities of the inhabitants of Fort Ross.

Historical Introduction
The surrounding environment of Settlement Ross (1812-1841) was remarkably like it is today, but you would find cattle pens, agricultural fields and gardens, and many structures that no longer exist outside the stockade (two windmills to the west and north of the fort, and in Sandy Cove a shipyard, forge, blacksmith shop, tannery, cooperage and bathhouse). On the bluff in front of the fort there was a Native Alaskan village, and just west of the fort were the wooden houses where most of the Russian-American Company personnel lived with their families. There was a large warehouse in the fort located on the west wall, a barracks on the east wall, and a storehouse on the south wall.

   Population of the settlement varied over the years. The term “Creole” designated a social class comprised mainly of citizens descended from Russians married to Native Alaskans and Californians. This group formed a large part of the colony’s inhabitants.  In 1836 Father Ioann Veniaminov recorded: “Fort Ross contains 260 people: 154 male and 106 female. There are 120 Russians, 51 Creoles, 50 Kodiak Aleuts, and 39 baptized Indians.”

Schedule Of Events In The Fort
(all times approximate)

10:00    Gates open to the fort.

10:00    St. Nicholas Cathedral performs a liturgy

10:30 Slavyanka Choir performs Russian secular music

11:00 Russian Folk Music & Dance

12:00    Musket and cannon demonstration

1:00      Russian Folk Music & Dance

2:00      Slavyanka Choir performs Russian liturgical music

3:30      Musket and cannon demonstration

5:00      Gates close

  Activities Ongoing All Day

(1) Fort Ross Compound View costumed participants in a day of traditional activities and demonstrations. Activities might include Russian singing and dancing, blacksmithing, weaving, spinning, needlework, storytelling, metalworking, woodworking, rope making, knot tying, historic firearm interpretation, and Russian food preparation. Create your own basket, candle, or rope at our activities area.

(2) Fort Ross Visitor Center—Local Kashaya Natives share traditional language and culture. The rich history of Fort Ross begins with the Native Californian Kashaya Pomo who have inhabited this area for centuries. Descendants of these first inhabitants will tell you about their history.         

(3) On the bluff in front of the fort—Hudson’s Bay Camp. The Hudson Bay Bonaventura Brigade filed past Fort Ross in 1833 and camped 5 miles north, but on this day they will be closer to the fort to share their story.

(4) Fort Ross Sandy Cove—Native Alaskan baidarkas (kayaks) and a Russian camp. Watch Native Alaskan employees of the Russian-American Company demonstrate their hunting skills in their Native kayak, the baidarka, and hear about how baidarkas are constructed. Visit a Russian scientific expedition at their shore camp at Sandy Beach.  

(5) Food for the public is available in the Call Garden Picnic Area.

(No dogs please)

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