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The Filipinos in Alaska



The Filipinos in Alaska
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   11.73

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bunkhouse, cableship, manilla, marital, slimer, sorters, adverse, regional, cannery, contractor, puller, whaling, tuition, unskilled, employment, currently
     content words:    Alaska Natives, These Filipino, Northwest Passage, Point Hope, Inupiat Eskimos, Great Depression, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act


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The Filipinos in Alaska
By Sheri Skelton
  

1     Connections between Alaska and Asia have existed for more than five thousand years when the first Asians crossed the Bering land bridge and made their homes in Alaska. Since that time Asians have continued to populate Alaska with people coming from the Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. The largest Asian ethnic group currently living in Alaska is the Filipinos.
 
2     In the late 1700s, Filipinos served as crew members on merchant ships that were exploring and also bartering with Alaska Natives for sea otter furs. These Filipino mariners were known as "Manilla men" and were characterized as courageous, loyal, and experienced seamen.
 
3     A Spanish expedition seeking the Northwest Passage in 1791 is also reported to have had Filipino seamen on board.
 
4     In the mid 1800s, Filipinos served as crew members on whaling ships. Although no actual records remain, Filipinos are believed to have spent several winters near Point Hope with the whaling ships. During that time, they made contact with Inupiat Eskimos.
 
5     In 1903, eighty Filipinos were part of the crew of the cableship Burnside. They helped to install underwater communication cables that linked Juneau, Alaska, with other southeastern Alaskan communities and also Seattle, Washington.

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