One of the two main reasons the Russian American Company (RAC) established Colony Ross was to conduct fur trading; this meant hunting sea otters and other marine mammals for their pelts. These desirable pelts could ultimately be traded with China, for Chinese goods that were desired in Russia. Trade was frequently conducted via third parties such as the British or American merchants. Russian hunters roamed over much of Northern California. One Russian hunter is even recorded to have worked the Snake River of Idaho for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The hunters served as foremen when hunting sea otter, and overseeing the activities of Alaska Natives brought to Ross from Alaska.
Many of the hunters at Colony Ross were Alaska Natives. Unlike the Russians who often hunted on land, Alaska Natives are incredibly skilled at hunting in the ocean, a cultural tradition and way of life that has sustained them for thousands of years. Alaska Natives were brought to Colony Ross by the Russian American Company to hunt marine mammals for their valuable furs — especially the sea otters who have the thickest fur of any animal on the planet! Since the trading of these furs was one of the RAC’s prime objectives, there were often more Alaska Natives at Colony Ross than Russians or any other group of people. Click here to read more about Alaska Natives at Colony Ross.
As Hunters, it is your function to hunt, fish, and trade in order to gather furs, foods, and other goods.
Hunters Classroom Preparation –
- Learn about sea otter and other animals hunted by the Russians and Alaska Natives
- Research – where can you see a Sea Otter today?
- Learn safety rules in preparation for fishing at Fort Ross Cove. What fishing laws apply to your group?
- Make a group banner
Hunters Classroom Preparation and Onsite Activities –
General Information, Rules and Expectations – Please read through this carefully
Hunters Role Play Characters – Use this list to select your role play characters
Hunters Classroom Projects – From making a Hunter’s hat to sharpening your skills with darts, check out these fun Hunter projects! Be sure to read through to see which ones can be included in your onsite ELP
Hunters Onsite Task List – An essential list of your tasks and responsibilities
Hunters Onsite Activities – Fishing and hiking are the main Hunter activities at Fort Ross. Please read through this information carefully to prepare!
Hunters Going Easy in the Intertidal – Required reading for Hunters!
Night Watch – Night Watch is mandatory, read all about it!
Items to Bring – A list of items to bring…Check it twice!
Russian American Company Travel Permit – Don’t forget your papers, to gain entrance to the Fort
Hunters Additional Information –
Brief History and Walking Tour – Learn about the history, buildings and grounds of Fort Ross
Hunters Historic Regulations – Read this to learn about the RAC’s historic regulations regarding Alaska Native Hunters — often incorrectly called “Aleuts” at the time
Creole Privileges – Read this to learn about the RAC’s historic regulations and privileges regarding Creoles
Hunters Songs – Explore these songs to get a better sense of the Alaska Native Hunters’ culture