Influenza in Alaska, 1918 Coyote Shook

Flu in the Arctic: Influenza in Alaska, 1918

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Read this post on the updated SHGAPE Blog website.

By Coyote Shook

June 9, 2020

This graphic essay leads off a new series on the SHGAPE blog exploring the lived experience of Americans during the 1918 influenza pandemic. Also be sure to check out the list of further readings below.

View the full PDF of “Flu in the Arctic” here.

Or read the text of “Flu in the Arctic” with image descriptions here.




“Five cases of influenza in the city.” The Alaska Daily Empire. October 14, 1918.

Ganley, Matt L. “The Dispersal of the 1918 Influenza Virus on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska: An Ethnohistoric Reconstruction.” International Journal of Circumpolar Health 57 (1998): 247-251. 

Hopfinger, Tony. “How the Alaska Eskimo village Wales was never the same after the 1918 Flu” Anchorage Daily News. May 27, 2012.

“Influenza spreading in many districts.” The Alaska Daily Empire. November 7, 1918. 

Keeling, Arlene W. “‘A Most Alarming Situation’: Responding to the 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Alaska.” Windows in Time 21, no. 2 (October 1, 2013).

“One Thousand Natives Victims of Influenza.” The Alaska Daily Empire. Dec 21, 1918.

Pinson, Elizabeth Bernhardt. Alaska’s Daughter: An Eskimo Memoir of the Early Twentieth Century. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2004.

“Public places closed to combat disease.” The Alaska Daily Empire. October 5, 1918.

“Why Influenza so frequently proves fatal.” Cordova Daily Times. December 27, 1918.


Further Readings

Disease Has Never Been Just Disease for Native Americans

Native Alaskan Villages, Once Devastated by Spanish Flu, Are Taking Action Against Covid-19 

For First Nations, These Are Precedented Times

Why Native Americans took Covid-19 seriously: ‘It’s our reality’

Precedents for a Pandemic

The federal government fiddles as covid-19 ravages Native Americans

Indian Country’s COVID-19 Syllabus

American Society for Ethnohistory Covid-19 Resources and Organizations



Coyote Shook is a PhD student in American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. Their research examines intersections between medicine, disability history, and agriculture science in Gilded Age and Progressive Era America, specifically the eugenics and euthenics movements and their use of agriculture editorials and state fairs to promote the “construction” of perfect bodies. Other essays have included an analysis of the influence of euthenics and the home economics movement in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s poultry farming editorials for The Missouri Ruralist, amputation and prosthetic limb fundraising in the wake of the 1888 Schoolhouse Blizzard, the overlapping rise of Better Babies/ Fitter Families contests and the dairy advertising through butter sculptures at midwestern state fairs, and the material history of the 4H Club on American Indian reservations, all of which they have written in graphic essay format. They have an MA in Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MS in English Education from Fordham University. They’re a Fulbright Scholar (Poland, 2014) and a State Fair of Texas blue ribbon-winning homecook.


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