Religion

Alaska's Native peoples historically practiced their own religions and some continue to do so. The Russian Orthodox Church was introduced into Alaska during the Russian colonial period. Much of this church's missionary work was done among the Aleut as well as the Tlingit of the southeast region. The first archdiocese for Kamchatka and America was headquartered in New Archangel (later called Sitka) in 1858. The first American church to begin missionary work in Alaska was the Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterian missionary Sheldon Jackson arrived in 1877, and in addition to the work of conversion also began to address the economic problems of Alaska Natives. The Church of England missionary William Duncan moved from British Columbia, Canada, into southeast Alaska along with a group of 1000 Tsimshian people, establishing a community at Metlakatla on Annette Island. Other missionary groups of historical importance in Alaska include the American Episcopal Church, the Society of Friends (Quakers), and the Methodist Church. Today all branches of Christianity are present, with a Protestant majority, although the Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of adherents of any single denomination. Small numbers of adherents to other religions are also present.

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