Cultural Change in the King Island Community

The photographs in this exhibit come from the archives of the Oregon Province of Jesuits housed at Gonzaga University.  Information for this exhibit has been drawn from letters and journals of Father Bellarmine Lafortune, S.J. who lived amongst the King Islander community.  His main goal was to bring Catholicism to the indigenous community.  King Islanders had been isolated from white culture prior to the Nome Gold Rush of 1898 and this collection captures images of the period of transition that ensued.   

This exhibit highlights photographs that reveal the tension formed by the Jesuits entering the King Island community and bringing entirely new religious and cultural ideas with them.  The documents cited in this exhibit are written from a Jesuit perspective and reveal the inherent biases that the white people had against these indigenous peoples.    

Special Collections at Santa Clara University have also digitized photographs of the King Islanders. For images taken by Bernard Hubbard, S.J. see: 
Much of those photographs are from mid-twentieth century. Thus the Treca collection here are some of the earliest archival photographs of the King Island community.   


Kiah Drongesen and Megan Lantsberger