Gualala Arts logo


Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Kashaya / Fort Ross Russia Delegation Trip

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
at the Gualala Arts Center

A delegation of 22 individuals set out on an adventure that would become a historic journey completing a circle that started out 200 years ago.

Trip to Russia The Kashaya People, Coastal Miwok Elder, California State Park staff, Fort Ross Conservancy staff, Gualala Arts staff, County of Sonoma official, San Francisco Presidio staff, experienced travelers, volunteers of these organizations, partners to Fort Ross, and Russian Orthodox Church representatives were all a part of this delegation commemorating the shared history of Fort Ross.

They left on September 6 returning September 21, 2012, for a trip that included visits to St. Petersburg, Moscow and Tot'ma, home town of Ivan Kuskov, the founder of Fort Ross. Fort Ross State Park Interpreter, Robin Joy Wellman and other delegates will share their experiences with photos during a lecture on Friday, January 11, 2013 starting at 7:00 p.m.

The group traveled first to St. Petersburg where they visited twice the Kunstkamera Museum, viewing the Pomo artifacts collected by Ilya Voznesenski 170 years ago from Fort Ross area, which proved to be one of the most emotional moments of their adventure. The curators of the collection removed about 40 pieces of the 400 plus artifacts that had not been show to the public prior. The Kashaya & Coastal Miwok commented on the history and purpose of the items in the collection. The care of these objects was clear, but now too, these objects have a life of their own, a story that will be told, and a name.

They were then hosted by the City of St. Petersburg with a meeting, and at the American Embassy hosted by the American Consul General Bruce Turner. They enjoyed this beautiful city touring St. Isaac's, Peter and Paul Fortress (where they heard the cannon at noon go off), Pushkin Tasarkoye Selo, Catherine's Palace, Peterhof, Hermitage Museum and a showing of Swan Lake at the Mikailovsky Theater.

The journey continued to Moscow to participate in a conference hosted by the Russian Academy of Sciences with speakers from the delegation as well as the Director of World History, Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Orthodox Church representatives, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, with reports from several academics. They also meet with the Russian Association of Indigenous People of the North, historic visit to the Duma (Russian version of Congress), a press conference to share their stories with Russian State Newspaper, Moscow Times, and other various news media. The group was featured on the front page of the Moscow Times and various other media.

After an eight-hour train ride and a hundred mile bus trip, the visit to Vologda and Tot'ma was short-lived but memorable. The people of Tot'ma opened their homes and hearts to the delegates by rolling out the red carpet in hospitality. They prepared amazing local foods, took banyas (Russian steam baths), sang and danced. They were hosted by the City of Tot'ma, the Museum of Sea Farers, Museum of Ivan Kuskov, and made an emotional visit to the tomb of Ivan Kuskov, founder of Fort Ross. They were entertained by Russian folk singers, who also shared a costume for one of the delegates to wear and met the city officials including the Mayor who joined them the entire time while in Tot'ma.

Returning to Moscow the group visited Red Square, St. Basil's, the Kremlin, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offices, toured museums, and attended a last reception at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mansion, greeted by many staff members and the Russian Ambassador to the US.

Come hear Fort Ross State Park Interpreter, Robin Joy Wellman and other delegates share their experiences with photos during a lecture on Friday, January 11, 2013 starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Gualala Arts Center. Donations welcomed.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.