Ron Scollon, Suzie Scollon, Gary Snyder, Nanao Sakaki at the summit of Mt Ripinsky, Haines, Alaska.  

Photo by Dick Dauenhauer

Ron and Suzanne Scollon first proposed The Axe Handle Academy to Richard and Nora Dauenhauer, then of the Sealaska Heritage Foundation in Juneau, Alaska in 1986.  Gary Snyder's collection of poems Axe Handles, published right around then, was the inspiration for the name.

The sequence of documents and activities goes something like this:

1986, The Axe Handle Academy, proposal to Sealaska Heritage Foundation.  The substance of that proposal is this website.

1986, Responsive Communication, a book which we used in conducting workshops in communication for a variety of agencies in the State of Alaska and elsewhere.

1986, Community Roundtable Talks on 'Literacy, Exploration, and the Humanities in Alaska'.  In the first set Deborah Tannen, CA Bowers, and Ellen Hope Hays, led community discussions on the theme: 'Education and Literacy'.  In the second set Shirley Brice Heath, Elsie Mather, and Gary Snyder led discussions on the theme: 'Workplace, Homeplace in a Changing Alaskan Economy'.  Ron Scollon was the coordinator and Gary Holthaus the moderator of the discussion which visited 8 Alaskan towns and villages.

1987, The Problem of Power, an essay and reading list--the first of a series of reading programs as curriculum for the Axe Handle Academy's Comparative Culture Studies.

1987, How to Teach Thematic Comparative Literature.  This was our first piece of model curriculum as such.  It contained four units on the four themes:  Alienation, Pride and Arrogance, Conflict of Loyalty, and Revenge, Obsession, and Compassion using works of literature from Ancient Greek classics, classics of Chinese literature and classics of Tlingit and other native American literatures as well as contemporary authors such as Okada, Hong-Kingston, and Achebe.

1987, The Axe Handle Academy: A Conversation with Ron Scollon.  This little essay used the vehicle of a mock conversation to introduce readings of Snyder, Mencius, Wendell Berry, and CA Bowers.

1987, Time and the Media, a reading-discussion guide by Ron Scollon for a series of community discussions supported by the Alaska Humanities forum.

1988, The Incredible Shrinking Man, a final report to the Alaska Humanities Forum on the project 'Print, Palaver, and Prime Time:  Public Discourse in Transition'.

Obviously that was a busy two years.  In 1988 we moved to Taiwan in part to begin to try to understand these questions from a different cultural and bioregional point of view.  So many other questions have arisen in the interval of some 12 years that we are only now returning to try to integrate them.  



the academy

the curriculum


life of the land

comparative culture studies

responsive communication