A newsletter of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative
Alaska Federation of Natives / University of Alaska / National
Volume 1, Issue 1, February/March 1996
In This Issue:
Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative Gets Underway
Challenges in Alaska Native Education
Influences Learned in Behavior
Baidarkas, Booths, & Multi-Cultural
Adventures in Learning
UAF Cross-Cultural Orientation Program for
ANKN on the World Wide Web!
Athabascan Regional Events & Activities
Inupiaq Regional Report
Yup'ik/Cup'ik Regional Report
Southeast Regional Report
ARSI Staff Provide Strength and Support
Alaska Native Science Commission
Alaska RSI Contacts
the title chosen for this (ARSI) newsletter. Esther Ilutsik, of
the Ciulistet group, suggested the name and here is what she has
Sharing Our Pathways:All the participants involved
in the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative have a well-worn pathway
to share in their area of expertise. When we share and connect
all those pathways together, we will have established a strong
foundation in which to preserve our self-identity. We can then
pass on our cultural knowledge to future generations.
The Adventure Begins...Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative Gets Underway
by Dorothy Larson
An exciting and innovative joint cooperative effort between the
Alaska Federation of Natives, the University of Alaska Fairbanks
and the National Science Foundation has been awarded and is up
and running. The project is funded through the NSF Division of
Educational Systemic Reform with first year funding at 2.1 million
dollars. An annual plan must be submitted for approval and funding
for each of the next four years.
There are many questions about the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative
(ARSI). There are new acronyms to learn which we hope over the
next five years will become familiar to students, parents, school
boards, educators and many others in rural areas and across the
state. We hope this project will impact the students first in a
very positive way.
Just what does this educational reform initiative mean to Alaska
Native students living in rural Alaska? How will changes be initiated?
Who will be involved? How will we measure change? These are just
a few questions; more will be raised as we move ahead. First, I
will try to provide some background information for you so that
you will know how this initiative came about.
In 1992-93, the National Science Foundation funded two Alaska
Native Science Colloquia, jointly sponsored by AFN and UAF, as
a result of several meetings attended by educators and administrators
from public schools and universities, students, parents, community
members, scientists, Native organization representatives, elders,
the State Department of Education and others. Over thirty recommendations
concerning science and math education resulted from the Colloquia.
NSF then provided funding for a developmental award to AFN and
UAF to develop a plan to implement educational systemic changes
in rural Alaska with the assistance and the expertise of many of
the same participants at the Colloquia and others. This group became
the catalyst for the Alaska Native/Rural Education Consortium (AN/REC)
which will advise and play an integral part in the Implementation
plan which we now call ARSI.
ARSI is one of four funded by NSF in the United States. There
are state systemic initiatives and urban systemic initiatives.
The four rural systemic initiatives are charged with implementing
plans for science, math and technology improvement in rural areas.
Three of the initiatives will have a Native-American focus; the
fourth is in the Appalachian area. Though there are other NSF-funded
projects in the state, this is the only systemic initiative. Other
systemic initiatives are funded through the United States Department
of Education in which many districts are currently involved-Goals
2000. AFN is also involved in a Goals 2000 project which you will
hear more about soon.
The objectives of ARSI are
to increase the presence of Alaska Native people-their knowledge
and perspectives in all areas of science and education in rural
to integrate Native ways of knowing and teaching compatible
with the needs which can build a foundation for all learning;
to develop curriculum models responsive to the cultural makeup
of communities which are consistent with science education
standards at the state and national levels;
to document indigenous knowledge systems in the cultural regions
to serve as a basis on which culturally appropriate practices
can be built;
to create more appropriate learning environments for the integration
of Alaska Native Elders and traditional knowledge as resources
for all educational programs;
to demonstrate the everyday uses of science in village life;
to improve the quality and increase the quantity of Alaska
Native students pursuing careers in science and related fields;
to develop an infrastructure to make more effective use of
technology to expand learning opportunities in rural Alaska;
to increase Alaska Native parental involvement in all aspects
of their children's education;
to strengthen Alaska Native self-identity and to recognize
the contributions of Native people;
to improve Alaska Native students' academic performance in
to integrate the above objectives into the fabric of rural
education on a self-sustaining basis without NSF/RSI support
after the year 2000.
These objectives are lengthy and very ambitious. However, in order
to initiate change, there must be community involvement in the
process. These objectives were based on recommendations of many
local, regional and statewide community meetings over the years,
which were taken into consideration by the first Colloquia and
in the AN/REC meetings. There was a review of the many reports
such as the Alaska White House Conference on Indian Education,
the Alaska Native Commission Report, the legislative reports on
Native education, research and findings on Native education, national
reports such as the Indian Nations At Risk and many others. You
will see on the chart illustration that is included in this newsletter
(page 8) the five major initiatives: Native Ways of Knowing and
Teaching, Indigenous Science Knowledge Base, Elders and Cultural
Camps, Culturally Aligned Curriculum Adaptations, Village Science
Applications and Careers and the Educational Technology Infrastructure.
You will also see how they will be implemented in the five cultural
regions over the five-year period: Inupiaq, Athabaskan, Aleut,
Southeast and Yup'ik areas.
AFN is an advocacy organization and has not been involved in programs
per se for many years. With the support and encouragement of the
AFN Board of Directors, the administration and the University of
Alaska Fairbanks, the developmental and implementation phases were
successfully awarded to AFN receiving the highest ratings by reviewers.
The educational reform initiatives are special five-year funded
projects. Reform initiatives are meant to initiate reform from
a local level which will have long-lasting, far-reaching impacts
on the educational system-in this case for Alaska Native students.
Communities will be involved in ways that will provide for participation
in creating change which will impact student learning and achievement
in science and math and all other areas in culturally appropriate
This is just an overview of the project. We will report on regional
activities in the future. The sixth initiative is the technology
infrastructure which all regions will be involved in concurrently.
Regional coordinators are hired in four of the regions. We are
entering into memorandum of agreements with school districts, the
State of Alaska Department of Education, rural campuses, cultural
organizations and others for the first year of the implementation
The project has three co-directors: Dorothy M. Larson, who is
the Executive Vice President of the Alaska Federation of Natives;
Dr. Oscar Kawagley of the Interior Campus at UAF; and Dr. Ray Barnhardt
Dorothy Larson at AFN will be responsible for the overall administration
of the project serving as a link between AN/REC and AFN. Larson
is a recent UAF graduate with many years involvement in educational
initiatives-as a school board member, advisory member of many university
boards and committees, involved in Native affairs at a local, regional,
state and federal levels and in many different arenas other than
education. She has served on the State Commission for Human Rights,
Board of Regents for the Haskell Indian Nations University, Governor's
Education Task Force, regional corporation board of directors for
Bristol Bay Native Corporation, BBNC Education Foundation vice
chair and founding member as well as being involved in her family
and community. She was raised in Dillingham and continues to maintain
a close link with rural Alaska. Larson worked as a legislative
information officer for the state for ten years prior to her work
at AFN, where she has been for five years.
Dr. Oscar Kawagley will be responsible for coordinating the three
regional initiatives under the Alaska Native Knowledge Network
in the cultural regions and will serve as the link to Elders and
other cultural resources essential to the success of the project.
He teaches university courses that are related to the project.
Most recently he taught the successful statewide television course Native
Ways of Knowing. Dr. Kawagley is a key resource person for
the project-many of the principles and concepts come from his book: A
Yupiaq World View, Pathways to Ecology and Spirit. Dr. Kawagley
has also taught in the public schools, worked in the corporate
world as the CEO for the Calista Corporation and serves on a number
of national and international organizations. He is an excellent
ambassador and advocate for the integration of Native knowledge
with equal validity and recognition as Western scientific knowledge
in the curriculum of rural schools. Dr. Kawagley received his Ph.D.
from the University of British Columbia in 1994. His own personal
knowledge and experience will provide the necessary leadership
in guiding this systemic reform initiative.
Dr. Ray Barnhardt of the University of Alaska Fairbanks was instrumental
in the ARSI project's development leading up to its implementation.
He has lived in Alaska for over twenty-five years and his work
at the university has focused on rural and Native education. He
has been active in encouraging Alaska Natives to become teachers
and administrators and has sought to introduce innovation into
teaching practices. He has extensive experience working with the
Native community and has received special recognition for his efforts
to improve rural and Native education. He serves in a variety of
roles in state, national and international organizations, and recently
served on the Alaska Natives Commission Education Task Force. Dr.
Barnhardt will be responsible for coordinating the various regional
initiatives as they are implemented in each cultural region. He
will serve as a link to the University of Alaska to provide training
and research support for the project. He will continue to teach
courses at the University and serve a portion of his time on ARSI.
Challenges in Alaska Native Education Today
by Rachel Craig
The following is a presentation given by Rachel Craig to the Alaska
Native Education Council, October 16, 1995 Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. It is a real
honor to stand before an assemblage such as yourselves-a group
that is involved in molding the lives of our children through education,
a group expected to set wise priorities and do the right thing
in the face of dwindling available monetary resources.
We fondly look back on the days of our grandparents and great
grandparents, and time and distance make their time seem an idyllic
life. In some ways it was; but every generation has their challenges.
Theirs was physical survival. Always gathering and hunting for
food for themselves and their dogs to amass enough storage to last
them another year to sustain life. They taught and lived the subsistence
way of life which was their sole way of living. They had no other
options. They celebrated their good fortunes with feasts and dancing,
sharing the good times and helping to temper the bad.
The inventive mind of mankind has given our generation new technologies
to make our day-to-day life easier with more leisure time to pursue
our interests. If that's all it was, we'd really have it made.
But our challenges in life are varied and have drastically increased
since our great-grandparents' days. Alcohol and drugs and the abuse
of them is prevalent in our society, influencing the making of
sound judgments. Child and sexual abuse of minors fill the court
calendars-children that we adults are responsible to protect and
raise to upstanding adulthood. Very young adolescents are having
children that they don't quite know how to raise, adding more responsibilities
to the grandparents, not to mention the psychological burden placed
on these children. Better jobs require training and education and
stick-to-it-iveness, and the percentage of our own people in positions
of responsibility and trust seem nil or absent. I know we were
blessed with just as much intelligence as any other people, and
I think it is worth examining what we are doing today.
Let me direct your attention to our federal and state governments.
The federal debt is much larger than some of us can count to. In
trying to address solving that issue, many familiar programs are
being questioned, down-sized, or not funded. The state revenues
are dwindling, following falling prices of crude oil. In order
to keep some of our own regional projects viable, we in the NANA
region have had to get innovative with our own fund raising efforts
because funding from the state legislature is no longer reliable.
The economic belt is getting tighter and tighter all around.
Let me tell you a little of what we are doing in the NANA region.
We are by no means perfect, but we are trying to do something about
our problems together.
We have a program in our region that addresses the one-sided education
system. All of the studies in our schools were of the Western culture
as they are in most of our State. In order to balance the curriculum
and to send a message to our youth that our own culture is OK,
that to identify with us older generations is honorable, we have
done several things.
We developed curriculum and are teaching our language and culture
in the schools. I don't know that it has helped the Native language
fluency of the students, but at least it is there. We have also
instituted five Inupiaq Days during the school year-in September,
October, January, February, and April. Our Inupiaq experts are
all volunteers from the community. This program is so good for
our youth; they are so proud to have their grandmothers and grandfathers
teaching in the classroom. After Inupiaq Day, the students have
more pride in themselves, their family, and their community. There
is less truancy and vandalism, and the grades go up. Our elders
are so proud to volunteer their knowledge and pass it on to the
youth. They love the elementary grades because the students are
so open and interested.
These Inupiaq Days are then fortified with a camp experience of
a week in the summer. We did not get funding for this camp from
the state last year, so our coordinators held biathlons and sock
hops to make enough money to buy T-shirts that our children love
to wear. All the instructors at the camp are elders and they volunteer
their time and skills, from the camp director on down. I love their
commitment! Organizations and businesses donate what they could
in response to solicitations.
Children from ages seven through high school are given the privilege
to experience summer camp at Camp Sivunniugvik along the Northern
delta of the Kobuk River, and we are now requesting payment of
a camp fee from the parents to help defray expenses. For families
who cannot pay the camp fee, we seek donations from the local businesses.
The Upper Kobuk people have also established Camp llisagvik for
the Upper Kobuk villages. This will free up more space for the
other children at Camp Sivu. We share our camping manual with the
Upper Kobuk people so they could be thinking about all the personnel
who will work at the camp and also about the topics that will be
taught to the youth.
The Kotzebue Elders Council is also working with our local IRA
to establish a coastal camp where seal hunting and food preservation
and preparation will be taught to young people who never had an
opportunity to learn these skills because their parents had to
work in town. We are also sponsoring a skin-sewing class once a
week this year for the benefit of the community and our elder women
are the instructors. We also will offer to teach fishnet making
and mending. Even some of our elders say that that is one skill
that they would like to learn, too. I would also like us to respond
to the need of our middle generation to learn the nuances of the
culture and have some place to go at least one night a month. But
we feel that the middle generation has to make a commitment if
that's what they want. The elders will respond, as they say, whatever
good thing the younger generation wants to know of us we are duty-bound
to teach them.
This economic squeeze has caused our regional organizations to
cooperate more closely and pool their resources and do what they
have to do in their realm of influence and responsibility. This
means the NANA Regional Corporation, Maniilaq Association, the
Northwest Arctic Borough, and the School District all work together.
It's really great to see our bosses cooperating and those of us
who do the actual work don't have to tread the floors hesitantly
or lightly when we are on their premises. We feel more confident
because we see our bosses working with each other and we are enjoying
working with each other, too, pooling our skills together and sharing
our outside contacts.
Many times the community expects the school to teach everything,
including our Native language and culture, to the students. I personally
think that the school needs to reinforce these subjects in school
because our students feel anything taught in school is culturally
accepted. But those subjects are best taught by the parents and
the community if they still know how. We have all experienced the
attack of our language and culture by well-meaning teachers in
our growing up years. Some regions almost lost the language and
really do need help.
In our region, I feel that the only way that the language will
stay with the people is for the community to become involved. Those
who know the language must speak it publicly, make it an accepted
cultural practice. I know how difficult it is to raise a child
when the parents of the child's peers have not made a commitment
to do otherwise. It is easier for our children to bow to group
peer pressure. We are so lenient with the TV programs that our
children watch that we don't take them to church or week-day religious
classes like our grandparents did with their children. For us,
group teaching is strong. Then the other children know the expectations
of the parent generation upon their children. There is nothing
as strong as peer pressure. I think parents know this.
In my observation of each succeeding generation, there is a marked
influence toward the westernization of each succeeding generation.
Western civilization is swallowing us up, and more so our grandchildren.
Those generations that have not benefited from the wise and continuous
counseling of their grandparent generations are preoccupied with
the here and now. They want expediency. They have not learned to
care about tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year,
and much less about their connections with the eternities. I think
they are ignorant about individual sacrifices for the benefit of
the group and want their individual benefits right now because
that's what they are being taught in school. I think our educators
need to bone up on the philosophies of their Native heritage so
they can teach about the contrasting cultures. Neither is bad,
but they are markedly different. Teach correct principles and let
the individual learn to think and make his own choices as he matures.
Then he will be responsible for his choices.
Today, I am supposed to be talking about the Wisdom of the
Elders, Power of the Parents and Strength of the Students. If
the elders or parents don't exert their prerogatives early and
strongly, we will have raised a generation of spoiled children.
In the western culture, you let your children go when they are
eighteen or twenty-one. My son is thirty and occasionally I still
have to exert my influence over him to do the right thing in
the strongest possible ways. Maybe that's the Native way. We
never stop caring or loving. We always expect the best. We give
the best. When we find that the youth are listening to us and
are doing the right thing, it is worth it. It makes us so proud
we wonder why other people can't see our wings.
My title in the Northwest Arctic Borough is the Inupiat Ilitqusiat
Coordinator. As some of you know, Inupiat is our collective name
for ourselves as Native people in North and Northwest Alaska. Ilitqusiat
has to do with our spirit-that power which motivates us. Some mistake
the program to mean that we are trying to get them back to using
the old Inupiaq technologies and clothing. If that's what they
want to do, more power to them. There's nothing wrong with learning
to use them. But when you learn the spirit of our forefathers,
you have to learn the philosophy-why they tell us not to make fun
of others, why they help the helpless, why they share, why they
don't boast about animals, why they live the way they do, why the
mothers make sure we know our family trees, etc. It is the spiritual
part of you that becomes the daily lifetime habit of your attitude
toward others and the environment around you.
Thank you for asking me to speak to you today. May God bless you
and yours as you strive to do your best.
Rachel Craig is the Inupiat Ilitqusiat coordinator for the
Northwest Arctic Borough in Kotzebue, Alaska. In that position,
she is centrally involved with the culture and language of the
Inupiat in her region. She was president of the Kotzebue Elders'
Council for the past five years and vice president and secretary
for the NANA Regional Elders' Council. She currently is president
of the Inuit Elders' International Conference within the international
body of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference.
Influences Learned in Behavior
by Martha Stackhouse
As a child, I learned many Inupiaq values that were taught to
me by my grandparents. They were the ones who seemed to have the
most time to spend in teaching.
My aaka (grandmother), Pamiilaq Lucy Aiken, was a widow.
Her husband Johnny had long been dead before I was born. My aaka Lucy
would sew Eskimo yo-yo's to make some money and send me out to
sell her goods to the tourists. If I was successful in selling
them, she would pay me my commission for each item. Like the whalers
who whale for their shares, I received a share of the commission
that was just for my efforts. She was deeply religious and was
very active in church. She would tell us to be kind to each other,
especially to be compassionate to those who are less fortunate
than we are. We should not join in with the crowd who make fun
of them. Instead, we should talk to them and try to be friends.
The one thing I remember her for is her robust laughter as the
extended family gathered around to eat Sunday lunches of maktak
and frozen whale and fish after church. She died when I was in
the third grade.
My grandparents from my mother's side lived in Wainwright. I would
go see them every summer after whaling celebrations. My aaka Kunnaan
was extremely patient with her "city granddaughter from Barrow" who
did not know much about washing clothes by hand (because we had
electricity and washers), whose sewing was never tight like hers
as I attempted to sew with her, and did not know how to cut up
meat or skins-all of which she was required to know about since
she had become an orphan at a very young age. She was taken in
by the Charles Brower family when she was about seven years old
and they raised her until she was of marrying age. Patience is
what she taught me. I was a tomboy and had better luck with my aapa (grandfather),
Michael Kayutak. Qayutak was his Inupiaq name and he was given
a Westernized last name of Kayutak. Because of the Western concept
of last names, each of my grandfather's brothers carry different
last names since they used their own Inupiaq names. My aapa
The concept of not boasting was so imbedded in me that I had problems
when I interviewed for jobs. I found out that in the Western world,
I had to talk about my accomplishments in order to land jobs. This
was not regarded as being boastful. In addition, I had to practice
speaking up as I was extremely shy around those whom I did not
know very well.
Today I require my students to give oral reports
after accomplishing their research papers. I also talk to them
about job interviews. Another thing I had to practice was to
say "no" as I found that
too many people were starting to take advantage of me because they
knew that I would get the task done. I was starting to bum out.
I was thinking of the community rather than myself. We are taught
that we should better ourselves to serve the community. However,
I realized that I needed to take care of myself and my family in
order to serve the community better.
Lastly, I was taught by two Native teachers. My first teacher
was Flossie Panigeo Connery in the kindergarten class. She would
interpret Inupiaq into English and vice versa. Whenever I look
back to those days, I am amazed at her accomplishments. We were
students who did not know a word of English and by the end of the
year, she had us reading the Dick, Jane and Sally books. The only
reason I remember this accomplishment is because when we entered
the first grade, the newly hired teacher was absolutely amazed
that we could read. Her husband, who was the principal, came down
to hear us read. All of her students stood up to read orally, one
right after the other. The other Native teacher I had was Fred
Ipalook in the second grade. He would have math up front on the
board that we had to do first thing in the morning while we ate
our government subsidized breakfast of peanut butter and honey
on crackers with powdered milk. He also taught us how to read music
and play the plastic flutes. Both teachers had taught for many,
many years. My father had both of them as teachers when he went
to school. Both teachers were extremely strict and demanded our
attention as they taught.
I do not profess to say we should be selective in hiring only
Native teachers. However, Alaska Natives have been through a tremendous
change in a short period of time. They say we have gone through
two hundred years of change within a twenty-year span. I believe
that the Native teachers or those non-Natives who have grown up
in the rural areas of Alaska would know how to communicate with
the students better. There is a desperate need to hire certified
Inupiaq teachers as there are only a handful of them who teach
in the villages. They are capable of teaching Inupiaq values since
these values were taught to them by their parents and grandparents.
We need to start graduating our young with efficient skills to
succeed in the working world. The students need to learn about
modern living as well as living their cultural heritage. They need
to learn their cultural values to survive in the modern world.
Martha Stackhouse was born in Barrow, Alaska. Ikayuaq is her
Inupiaq name. She grew up knowing how to run dog teams since
there were no cars. She went to Wrangel Institute when she was
in the seventh grade and then to Mt. Edgecumbe High School-both
of which are located in Southeast Alaska, hundreds of miles away
from Barrow. She went to college but left before acquiring a
degree. She and her husband became interested in counseling and
worked as homeparents in the group homes and receiving homes
for a total of five years. The turning point in her life to become
a teacher was when she witnessed a school play offered by a reading
enrichment program which was geared for above average readers.
All of the participants were non-Inupiaq students who had lead
roles such as doctors and lawyers. The only Inupiaq student was
given the role as a patient. She has taught for twelve years
in the North Slope Borough School District and encourages her
students to become leaders. The last two of those years were
spent teaching Alaska Studies and Inupiaq Studies through Distance
Delivery-a satellite communications class from Barrow to the
outlying villages. Ikayuaq is currently on sabbatical leave to
work on her masters in education in the field of curriculum development
for secondary education in Inupiaq studies.
Baidarkas, Booths, & Multi-Cultural Adventures
by Fred Deussing
The students of Nanwalek Elementary/High School are exploring
new learning ventures in their picturesque seaside village of 170
Sugpiaq Native people nestled among the southern Kenai Peninsula's
Upon returning from their Russian Orthodox
Christmas vacation the end of January, the nineteen, eighth through
twelfth grade students will begin constructing three Native baidarkas
of the type used by their ancestors in the past as a vital part
of their everyday subsistence culture. With funding provided
by the English Bay Corporation and guided by Nanwalek's social
science teacher, Dan Harbison, community volunteers will join
students in this "hands
on" Alaska Studies curriculum project to share their expertise
in keeping with Nanwalek's school and community belief, "It takes
a whole village to educate a child".
Upon completion, the baidarkas and other Native crafts made by
Nanwalek's students and community members will be taken, along
with their neighbors' in Port Graham, to the 1996 Alaska State
Fair. The students will gain first-hand experience employing their
entrepreneurial business skills in marketing their Native crafts
to the estimated 300,000 visitors expected to visit the fair this
summer. Nanwalek's students would like to extend the opportunity
to any of their peers who would like to participate in this school
fund raising enterprise by marketing their Native crafts at our
fair booth on a consignment basis. Interested schools can contact
Nanwalek's principal, Fred Deussing, for details at 281-2210.
Finally, Nanwalek's students would like to
begin utilizing their technology skills with other Native students
across Alaska by engaging in joint, multi-cultural projects via
cyberspace. Project STUDENT (Students Together Understanding
Different Endemic Native Traditions) envisions a variety of cultural
awareness and reinforcing educational experiences whereby students
communicate via e-mail in sharing their respective Native languages,
customs, history and beliefs in joint learning projects. STUDENT's
goal is to promote cultural appreciation and respect among new
cyberpals along the way. Although presently limited to a single
e-mail account, the students are ready to launch out on such
a venture, and are looking for some STPs (STUDENT Technie Pioneers)
to join them. They can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com,
or by calling Fred at the phone number listed above. Any "brave" STPs
Fred and the Sugpiaq students of Nanwalek Elementary/High School
Fred Deussing is originally from Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania and entered the teaching profession in 1970 after
serving four years in the United States Marine Corps Air Wing.
Except for a six-year hiatus from the teaching profession,
when he was employed as a manager/stockbroker, he has been
an educator in Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Colorado and
Alaska for the past twenty years. Prior to his appointment
as the principal/teacher at Nanwalek, he enjoyed teaching science
to students in Galena. Fred, his wife Lori and their three-year-old
son Grant thoroughly enjoy spectacular surroundings, and all
the many new friends they have made in their "Camelot by the Sea".
University of Alaska Fairbanks Cross-Cultural Orientation Program
June 24-July 12, 1996
Fairbanks Campus/Old Minto Cultural Camp
The Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks
will be offering the annual Cross-Cultural Orientation Program
(X-COP) for teachers, beginning on June 24, 1996 and running through
July 12, 1996, including ten days (July 1-10) out at the Old Minto
Cultural Camp on the Tanana River with the Athabascan Elders of
the village of Minto. The program is designed for teachers and
others who wish to gain some background familiarity with the cultural
environment and educational history that makes teaching in Alaska,
particularly in rural communities, unique, challenging and rewarding.
In addition to readings, films, guest speakers and seminars during
the first and third weeks of the program, participants will spend
ten days in a traditional summer fish camp under the tutelage of
Athabascan Elders who will share their insights and perspectives
on the role of education in contemporary rural Native communities.
Those who complete the program will be prepared to enter a new
cultural and community environment and build on the educational
foundation that is already in place in the hearts and minds of
the people who live there.
Course, Credit and Instructor
The X-COP program is offered for three semester hours of academic
credit and is designated as ED 610, Education and Cultural Processes.
The credit is applicable toward the UAF M.Ed. degree, as well as
the Alaska certification renewal requirement of three semester
hours in multicultural education. The course may also be followed
with two on-site graduate courses offered during the fall and spring
semesters to help integrate what is learned in the summer into
teaching practice. The instructor for the course is Ray Barnhardt,
Ph.D., who has over twenty-five years of rural and Native education
experience in Alaska.
Information on housing rates and applications may be obtained
from the UAF Summer Sessions office (474-7021) or the Housing Office
Anyone wishing to enroll in the X-COP program should contact one
of the UAF College of Rural Alaska campuses (in Kotzebue, Nome,
Bethel, Dillingham, Barrow and Interior), the Center for Cross-Cultural
Studies (474-6431), or the Summer Sessions office in Fairbanks
(474-7021) for enrollment forms. For further information, call
474-6431, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANKN on the World Wide Web!
The Alaska Native Knowledge Network is happy to provide you with
up-to-the-minute information on current projects, resources, and
other information pertaining to the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative.
Just open up your Web browser and type in our URL (no spaces):
Take a peek and then share your ideas and opinions with us. You
can respond directly from the page or send an e-mail to: email@example.com. Thank
Athabascan Regional Events & Activities
by Amy Van Hatten
I know time is of the essence, so I am trying to make it count
the best way I can, as time allows.
For starters, I am honored to be here working with a diverse group
of intellectual people who enhance and share the same interest.
An exciting adventure I have familiarized myself with, too, is
the e-mail system. It provides an easy way to notify national and
state 4-H associations and rural Alaskans of my transition in the
My work areas consist of a shared office with
Lolly, Nastasia and Paula. We are "cozy friends." The other site
is my home computer center. A personal collection of books on
my Athabascan culture give my ARSI library source a good start.
My list of contacts is on the up side since I will be working
with most of the same resourceful people I had come in contact
with through 4-H. Other tasks include gathering data, reading ARSI
handouts (I am behind), organizing a new filing system (using a
laundry detergent box right now) and keeping a mental log of contacts
I made during the holiday season. Informing rural people about
my new roles and responsibilities was fun. Their response was delightful,
which pleased me in knowing I would have their support in the future.
I have packaged the Village 4-H Clubs/Camps videotape on to the
Inupiaq regional coordinator with instructions to forward it to
the next person on the list, which is Barbara Liu. Hopefully, by
the time we meet in Anchorage, everyone that is interested in viewing
it would have done so already.
Even though phone conversations have taken place with the Denakkanaaga
Elders' program director and the cultural heritage camp director,
letters and more meetings will follow.
I had to postpone the Jan. 4-5 regional meeting dates to an undetermined
date. Everyone's calendar is filling up. (Transition is slow for
me, from one unfinished job to a new position, 'course I don't
intend to use that as an on-going excuse.)
I will attend the Bilingual/Multi-Cultural conference in February
for the first time ever. I once passed through their display tables
when my mother was a Native Education instructor and she attended
I am hoping to have most of my "ducks" in a
row by the time our annual Athabascan Month (March) approaches.
In tow, I will have to partake in the Tanana Chiefs Conference
and the Doyon Limited Convention.
I have agreed to hold a workshop on the characteristics of young
adults likened to our elders-on giving comparable information on
what makes us different, insightful, critical thinkers, etc. or,
on the other hand, unconventional, short term goal oriented, noncommittal
and such that we'd like to get away from. I am sure you have ideas
to add to the list for discussion or as a way to produce an awareness
program, or even ways to become more inclusive instead of exclusive.
Nastasia and I are still in the planning stage. This concludes
my report for now.
I am honored to be selected as the new Athabascan Regional
Coordinator, a position I am sure I will enjoy for the next five
years. (What a great way for me to start the new year.)
My husband and I have three children living at home. I have
many blessings to be thankful for, beginning with how fortunate
I feel to have my adoptive father, Ralph Nelson, and biological
mother, Lillian Olin, to call on for advise, enthusiasm and to
answer to my cravings for more interactive learning and sharing
of Alaska Native knowledge. The pride and self-confidence they
have instilled in me has enriched my life as well as my children's
along with the hope of giving back to others.
Through my new job I will thrive in being around our most
precious resource-our Elders. Together we will interactively
document our Native life skills and practices that predates Western
contact and have a chance to share with Indigenous people from
all over the world.
Commitment to my heritage and Elders has been a front runner
my whole life. I come to you as a highly motivated and committed
worker with the hopes of gaining more understanding for many
other cultures. Almost nine years ago, Tanana Chiefs Conference
4-H office, National 4-H Council, and our state 4-H association,
as youth organizations, gave me the beginning, which I am thankful
You may contact me at this phone number: (907) 474-1902. My
address is: Amy Van Hatten, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska
Native Knowledge Network/ARSI, P.O. Box 756730, Fairbanks, Alaska
Until we meet again, or for the first time, happy trails to
you and your family.
Iñupiaq Regional Report
by Elmer M. Jackson
I see my job, per the memorandum of agreement, as assisting school
districts in the Inupiaq Regions and providing support for documentation
of Village Science activities. This documentation will serve as
the basis for teaching science and math in the schools.
I will assist in establishing a high school chapter of the American
Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) in each of the districts.
Through this society, village science applications and careers
will be implemented and Alaska Native science fairs will be planned.
Involvement of our Elders in the various projects is important.
Others include parents, math and science teachers, Native studies
teachers and other resource people.
We feel that teacher training is critical for the Village Science
Initiative. I will be working with Alan Dick and Sidney Stephens
of the Alaska Science Consortium to develop a publication for Inupiat
One of the ideas is to develop the Inupiat
village science curriculum-textbooks, workbooks, and teacher
guides-for use in the classroom. Elders, teachers and other resource
people will be involved in planning and developing the curriculum.
Oscar Kawagley stated that "the
Yupiaq people are doing science when involved in subsistence activities.
So we must utilize the indigenous knowledge in the development
of the village science curriculum." On page six of Native Pathways
to Education (Dr. Kawagley's book) is a list of indigenous knowledge
systems that will be considered in the implementation of the curriculum
project. This project will involve the documentation of science
used in village life. We will develop ways to utilize the local
environment to teach science. One of our benchmarks is to have
scientists and practitioners contribute to the educational program
at each school in the district, similar to the Artists in Residence
I will also assist already formed Elders' Councils and help others
get started in communities where councils do not already exist.
I was born August 11, 1951 at Kiana, located on the Kobuk
River. I attended Kiana Elementary, Chemawa Indian School and
Hartford High at White River Jct., Vermont. In 1971, after graduating
from high school, I attended UAF and received my B.Ed. in elementary
education. My first job was as a principal/teacher at Kobuk Northwest
Arctic School District. I taught grades 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 until
1984. After teaching, I worked as a manager for Kiana Traditional
Council, Kiana Elders Council Coordinator and Administration
for Native Americans Coordinator.
I enjoy fishing, hunting and trapping. My favorite hobby is
traveling. Questions can be directed to me at P.O. Box 134, Kiana,
Yup'ik/Cup'ik Regional Report
by Barbara Liu
The Yup'ik cultural region I will help coordinate,
under the NSF/RSI project, covers a large geographic area approximately
twenty-five thousand square miles southwest of Alaska. It is
still home to it's original people, the "Yupiit" and in a small area, "Cupiit." Many
permanent communities are now situated along rivers such as the
Yukon, Kuskokwim, Nushagak, or Kvichak and tributaries as well
as along the Bering Sea coast.
From the mouth of the Yukon, where it spills out to the Bering
Sea, Yukon communities stretch inland to Russian Mission. Two school
districts serve about twelve communities on the Yukon.
Along the Kuskokwim that spills out to the Kuskokwim Bay, communities
stretch inland to Chauthbaluk. Three school districts serve about
thirty communities on the Kuskokwim and it's tributaries including
Nunivak Island community in the Bering Sea. Another isolated Yup'ik
community in the eastern part within the Kuskokwim Mountains is
served by an interior school district.
On the Nushagak and it's tributaries, communities stretch inland
to Koliganek from Nushagak Bay. Two school districts serve more
than eight communities including Togiak Bay communities.
From Kvichak Bay which connects to Illiamna Lake, communities
spread inland to Igiugig and to Nondalton beyond Illiamna Lake.
Two school districts serve about fifteen communities including
some Alaska Peninsula communities.
One school district serves a coastal community near Hooper Bay
and all the others are served by other districts I mentioned.
More than sixty southwest communities are served by ten public
school districts. This large area is also served by two Native
health organizations, regional Native corporations, and the University
of Alaska Fairbanks' rural campus. It is home to a large wetland
reserve and rural communications network.
This year, a region-wide effort to develop Yup'ik/Cup'ik math
and science curricula will begin. Some documentation of Native
oral history and relevant curricula have already begun within the
area. In addition, relevant staff training models will be developed
with two of the largest school districts-Lower Kuskokwim and Lake
and Peninsula School District and Kuskokwim and Bristol Bay Campus.
Charles Kashatok, Larry Hill, Cecelia Martz and Esthur Ilutsik
represented Lower Kuskokwim School District, Lake and Peninsula,
Kuskokwim Community College and BBC at the December consortium
meeting in Anchorage.
In the next few weeks I plan to get in touch with all the school
districts, health organizations, corporations, media and area federal
agencies in an effort to find out what's available and assess what
we can focus on future collections.
Thank you for your help with this project. Tua-ingunrituq! My
home office mailing address is Barbara Liu, Yup'ik Regional Coordinator,
Box 2262, Bethel, Alaska 99559.
My name is Barbara (Nick) Liu. I recently joined the ARSI
team as the Yup'ik Regional Coordinator. I am from the Kuskokwim
and grew up between Nunapitchuk (forty air miles northwest of
Bethel) and Bethel. My immediate family is well known throughout
the delta and likewise have many extended relatives from the
Kuskokwim and southwest coastal villages. Camai and hello to
In my formal schooling, I completed studies to become a certified
elementary teacher and after that taught in K-12 schools for
five years. I am married with three children living in Bethel
for eight years now. Several years ago, I resigned from teaching
to be home with my two small children. On a part-time basis I
continued to teach Positive Yup'ik Parenting for adults.
I am honored to be back in the work force with wonderful and
exciting people and projects. My office is located at 231 Akiak
Drive with a mailing address of P.O. Box 2262, Bethel, Alaska,
99559. I'd like to hear from anyone willing to collaborate with
Southeast Regional Report
by Andrew Hope
I have been spending time learning as much as I can about the
Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative (ARSI) project. I was unable to
attend the December staff meeting due to a medical emergency. My
final day at my former job at the Bureau of Indian Affairs turned
out to be December 22, 1995, the day before my birthday. My first
day on the job for the ARSI project was Christmas day. I finally
met the ARSI staff on January 2 and 3 in Fairbanks and have slowly
been tying names to faces.
On January 11, I met with Peggy Cowan and Nancy Spear of the State
Department of Education; Sidney Stephens of the Alaska Science
Coalition and Richard Dauenhauer of Sealaska Heritage Foundation.
We agreed to schedule the first regional council meeting for late
March, in conjunction with the third Tlingit clan conference. We
discussed the fact that some details have to be worked out on the
memorandums of agreement with the schools in this region. We will
contact the schools once these details have been worked out.
I met with Marshall Lind, Chancellor of University of Alaska Southeast
(UAS), on January 9 and 12. Chancellor Lind has graciously agreed
to provide me with an office at UAS. I am very grateful to Chancellor
Lind and UAS. My phone number at UAS will be 465-6263, the fax
number is 465-6383. My home phone number is 790-2164, and my home
fax number is 790-5509.
I am looking forward to working in this exciting program.
February 15-16, 1996. Juneau. A meeting of village heritage
organizations, hosted by Sealaska Heritage Foundation.
A Tlingit "payoff" memorial for Daisy Fox
Guanzon Hanson will take place in Juneau in February
March 28-30, 1996. Ketchikan and Saxman, the Third Conference
of Tlingit Tribes and Clans
Andrew Hope was born in Sitka, Alaska to the Tlingit tribe
with a clan affiliation to Sik'nax.a'di (Grindstone people).
His Tlingit name is Xaastanch and his moiety is the wolf. His
clan house is X'aan Hit (Red Clay); his Father's clan is Kiks.a'di
and tribal affiliation is Sitka Tribe of Alaska.
Andrew received his B.Ed. in Cross-Cultural Education from
the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1979. He has served as
a board member of the Before Columbus Foundation from 1988 to
the present. The following are selected publications Andrew has
had the opportunity to work on:
Founders of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, 1975, David
Howard Memorial Fund
Raven's Bones, a collection of writings on the tribal
cultures of southeast Alaska, 1983, Sitka Tribe of Alaska
Editor: Raven's Bones Journal, news of the Native community
(two issues per year have been published since 1993), 1986-present
Conference Chair: The Conference of Tlingit Tribes and
Clans, Haines and Klukwan, 1993
The Second Conference of Tlingit Tribes and Clans, Sitka,
ARSI Staff Provide Strength and Support
As well as the three co-directors working on this new project,
we have an extended staff working out of both the Alaska Federation
of Natives' offices in Anchorage and the University of Alaska Fairbanks'
Harper Building in Fairbanks. We'd like to introduce them to you:
Gail is the daughter of John and Shirley Stelling of Dillingham,
Alaska. She graduated from Indiana University, with a bachelor
of science degree in business administration, and a minor in finance.
She completed an internship with KPMG Peat Marwick LLP, which was
sponsored in part by Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation
As Gail states, she is very excited to be a part of ARSI and working
with this project. She was a Native Youth Leadership awardee, and
hopes that the Youth are involved with this project inasmuch as
the elders, with all respect.
Gail holds the administrative assistant position based in the
AFN office in Anchorage. She is responsible for the reimbursements
of funds, arranging travel for meetings, providing information
and support for Regional Coordinators and ordering equipment and
supplies. She is responsible for the accounting and budget control
of the grant as well as other administrative tasks that arise.
Hello, my name is Lolly Carpluk. I am from Mountain Village along
the Lower Yukon. My family (husband and three children) and I moved
to Fairbanks three years ago, so that both my husband and I could
attend the university.
I recently began my job as a project assistant. My main responsibilities
will be to gather articles for this newsletter that the ARSI project
will be publishing (so far the plan is bi-monthly). I am excited
about what people will be sharing with each other via the newsletter-especially
in the area of rural and Native education. Hopefully, this newsletter
will connect rural and Native educators on what each is doing in
the area of incorporating indigenous knowledge into the school
Please feel free to contact our office on potential articles for
the newsletter. I can be reached at the Fairbanks office at 474-1902. Quyana.
Hi, everyone! It's great to be working with highly motivated people
who have the same interests in helping our people. My husband's
name is Kevin and we have two children: Teresa and Flossie. We
moved to Fairbanks so I could finish my B.A. in English, minor
in Alaska Native Studies. In the past three years I have been fortunate
to provide translation for the Ciulistet Yup'ik Math and Science
project. I have previously worked in various capacities from clerical
to professional positions in the health field, community college,
native organizations, pipeline, federal government and, more importantly,
as a subsistence gatherer and commerical fisherman/helper.
Upon realizing the need for more hands-on workshops to supplement
our training, Ray, Dorothy, Oscar, and I are styling our statewide
meetings to have time for conducting both business and training.
At our February ARSI staff meeting in Anchorage, we will spend
the first day meeting and the second day in training. During the
first half of the day, Rachel Craig will train us on property rights
and gathering and documenting Elders' knowledge. The next half
will be with Paula Elmes who will train us on the Internet and
our computers. The Interior Campus will host our April 12-13 ARSI
Staff Retreat/Consortium meeting with a focus on Interior Elders
My responsibilities are to assist in the regional coordinators
in their daily activities. A concern for the start-up phase of
this project is to provide orientation and training for the RC's
and that they begin to establish a rapport with the community members
they will be working with. We hope to keep the projects small and
manageable in order to accomplish our goals. The Regional Coordinators
will be our eyes and ears. They will also coordinate with those
holding Memorandum of Agreements with us as well as attempting
to meet the needs of our people. Consequently, the rest of us need
to pull for them and with them. Call me any time. Tua-i, Quyana.
Hello, my name is Paula Elmes. I will be working on this project
as a graphic designer and production assistant. I live in Fairbanks
with my husband and two children. We have lived here for the past
seventeen years and are still in awe of the beauty and the wonder
of this state.
I am pleased and honored to be a part of this project. Over the
course of the next five years I will be helping, in a visual way,
to present the information gathered on this project. That information
will become available to you in many different ways including newsletters,
books, monographs, the World Wide Web, multimedia CDs, and other
ways we haven't even thought of yet! I'll also provide computer
support for our regional coordinators as they familiarize themselves
with their computer systems.
I'm currently working part-time with much of my time spent working
on my computer at home. However, I do have an office located in
the Harper Building (UAF) that I share with Lolly, Nastasia, Amy,
and Ray. Please feel free to call me at 474-1902. I'll be happy
to talk with you and share what's coming up in the future.
Alaska Native Science Commission
In October 1993, the Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention
passed a unanimous resolution to support the creation of an Alaska
Native Science Commission (ANSC). During 1994, a series of workshops
were held with community leaders, elders, scientists and researchers,
to discuss the formation of the ANSC. Recently, the AFN received
a three-year project funding from the National Science Foundation
to establish the ANSC.
Patricia Longley Cochran, an Inupiat from Nome, was hired as Executive
Director of the Alaska Native Science Commission. The ANSC is a
jointly sponsored project of the Alaska Federation of Natives and
the University of Alaska Anchorage. The ANSC office is currently
located on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage.
The mission of the ANSC is to endorse and support scientific research
that enhances and perpetuates Alaska Native culture, and ensures
the protection of indigenous cultures and intellectual property.
The goals of the ANSC are to
facilitate the integration of traditional knowledge into research
participate in and influence priorities for research,
mandate participation of Alaska Natives at all levels of science,
provide a mechanism for feedback on results and other scientific
promote science to young people,
encourage Native people to enter scientific disciplines and
ensure that Native people share in economic benefits derived
from their intellectual property.
The ANSC is currently reviewing existing programs and gathering
information from resources involved in Alaska Native research.
The ANSC will be seeking nominations for a seven-member board of
commissioners to direct the organization.
For further information regarding the ANSC, please contact:
Patricia Longley Cochran
Alaska Native Science Commission
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
phone: (907) 786-1368
fax: (907) 786-1426
Alaska RSI Contacts
The Alaska RSI Regional Coordinators are located in five regions
within the state of Alaska. They are listed below to help you identify
the correct contact.
Amy Van Hatten
Athabascan Regional Coordinator
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-6730
(907) 474-0275 phone
Inupiaq Regional Coordinator
PO Box 134
Kiana, Alaska 99749
Southeast Regional Coordinator
University of Alaska Southeast
School of Business/PR
11120 Glacier Highway
Juneau, Alaska 99801
Yup'ik Regional Coordinator
Bethel, Alaska 99559
Aleutians Regional Coordinator
Alaska Federation of Natives
1577 C Street, Suite 201
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
to the contents