On a 2011 trip up Alaska’s “inland passage,” I picked up one of those free, ad-filled tour guides for the region. There were brief profiles of several towns in that coastal region formally known as the Alexander Archipeligo. For the town of Sitka, the book noted the remnants of Russian influence, including Orthodox churches. The book summarizes the town's history as "a unique blend of Tlingit (a native Alaskan nation) culture, Russian imperialism and, ultimately, American expansionism." It's those dirty Ruskies who want empire. Us? We just expand. — Ken Sehested