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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Sharing Our Pathways

A newsletter of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative

Alaska Federation of Natives / University of Alaska / National Science Foundation

Volume 8, Issue 2, March/April 2003

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In This Issue:

Alaska Native Education: Past, Present and Future

Commentary on "Future Alaska Native Educators" (featured in Sharing Our Pathways, Vol. 8, Issue 1 by Cathy Rexford)

Fourth Annual ANSES State Science Fair

Alan Dick Begins New Venture

Youth Panel Workshop at 2003 Native Educators Conference

UAF Summer Program in Cross-Cultural Studies for Alaskan Educators

Indigenous Peoples and Justice Initiative



Alutiiq Region: Science Fair

Iñupiaq Region: Heritage, Love and Science

Observing Locally Connecting Globally
2003 Summer Institute for Educators

Southeast Region: Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian Relationships

Athabascan Region: Cultural Orientation Program for New Teachers

Yup’ik Region: Fifth Annual Calista Elders and Youth Convention

AKRSI Contacts

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Alaska Native Education: Past, Present and Future

by Doreen Andersen-Spear

The following article was the keynote presentation at the 2003 Native Educators Conference banquet. Doreen was born in Barrow and is a student at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

NEC Conference participants
Conference participants gather on stage at the NEC banquet in Anchorage

We Iñupiaq are a nation of people occupying the circumpolar Arctic from Siberia through Alaska, Canada and Greenland. We share common values, language, culture and economic systems. Our culture has enabled us to survive and flourish for thousands of years in the Arctic where no other man or culture could. Among our entire international Iñupiaq community, we of the North Slope are the first Iñupiaq who have achieved true self-government with the formation of the North Slope Borough. We have the greatest opportunity to direct our own destiny as we have for the past millennia.

Possibly the greatest significance of home rule is that it enables us to regain control of the education of our children. For thousands of years, our traditional method of socializing our youth was the responsibility of the family and community.

From the first, visitors of the Arctic universally commented on the warm disposition of our children. Corporal punishment was absolutely unknown. Boys and girls began their education with their parents and, by the time they reached their teenage years, they had mastered the skills necessary to survive on the land. From that time forward the youth–with their family and within their community–devoted their education to their intellectual and social growth.

For 87 years, the BIA tried to destroy our culture through the education of our children. Those who would destroy our culture did not succeed. However, it was not without cost. Many of our people have suffered. We all know the social ills we endure today. Recently, I heard a member of the school personnel say that many of our Iñupiaq children have poor self-concepts. Is it any wonder, when the school systems fail to provide the Iñupiaq student with experiences which would build positive self-concepts, and the Iñupiaq language and culture are almost totally excluded?

My children and yours spend many hours in school each day, 180 days each year for 12 years. We must have teachers who will reflect and transmit our ideals and values. We must have Iñupiat-centered orientation in all areas of instruction. I do not want my children to learn that we were "discovered" by Columbus or Vitus Bering. I do not want to hear that we were barbaric or uncivilized. I do not want our children to feel inferior because their language and culture are different from those of their teacher. I do not want to see school planning surveys which list hunting, fishing, whaling or trapping as "social" or "recreational" activities.

The land claims movement and the self-determination attitude of the Alaska Natives were largely responsible for the removal of the suppression of our Native languages and culture. Bilingual instruction became the new education policy. However, this has generally meant that we use English as our primary language of instruction and somehow integrate Iñupiat into the curriculum.

The North Slope Borough schools must implement a program that is bilingual and bicultural. Our children must be taught in our Iñupiat language, with English as the secondary language. To attain this goal, we must have teachers who are bilingual and bicultural, knowledgeable in our Iñupiat culture and values. This can be achieved either with instructors who are Iñupiat or who have been trained in Iñupiat.

What can we do about this problem?

  • We must develop a teacher recruitment and training program to satisfy our needs.

  • Foremost we must encourage and train our own Iñupiaq to become teachers.

  • Recruit responsive teachers who are willing to learn both the Iñupiat language and our cultural values.

  • Train teachers and offer financial incentives to those who become proficient in our language and culture, in addition to Iñupiat history and ideologies.

  • Evaluate current teachers to insure Iñupiat educational philosophies are being implemented.

Americans are beginning to assess their own values and finding them compatible with our own. We can now afford to be selective in our teachers. We should select teachers who are willing to become contributing members of the community. We must strive to break down the barrier between community and the school. Rather than being an integral part of the community, the schools and teacher housing resemble a colonial fort. We must end teacher segregation.

We must rid ourselves of these temporary residents who are here merely for financial gain. A number of teachers have already demonstrated their willingness to live among us as neighbors and friends. They have become permanent members of the community. They identify with us and share our concerns.

Our teachers are the highest paid teachers in the entire United States. What are we getting for our money? We should be able to hire the best bilingual-bicultural teachers in the world. We should have teachers who can teach well in Iñupiat schools. We should have the best schools in the nation, surpassing any of the elite prep schools in the east. We should have teachers who earn their keep by effectively teaching our children.

I feel certain that the school board members share my frustration and concerns. It is important to remember the lessons of the past. In addition, we must research and master the new changes if we are to continue to dominate the Arctic. We have demonstrated we can survive the trespasses which have been perpetrated upon us. We have been successful in establishing our own home-rule government. We have been able to achieve self-government. We must strive to insure that our borough, our city governments and our school systems reflect our Iñupiat ideals. We are Iñupiaq.

My name is Doreen Andersen Spear. My aaka, Rebecca Hopson, named me Maligian. My presentation this evening was a word-for-word recital of parts of a speech my aapa, Eben Hopson, Sr., gave on December 19, 1975 at the Teachers Affiliation Union’s contracting meeting in Barrow. His words still ring true today. They mean so much to me. They are part of my roots and I keep them strong and alive by remembering them.

My aapa was the founding mayor of the North Slope Borough. He was denied a high school education by the BIA, which only motivated him to build high schools and improve the educational system on the North Slope. Now there is a middle school in Barrow named after him and a life-size statue with an inscription that reads, "Education is the key to success. Do not let anything stand in your way in your pursuit of education."

I’m a product of a racially mixed marriage. My dad, Ralph Andersen, is Yupik and Danish. My mom, Flossie Hopson Andersen is Iñupiat and English. I don’t know much about my Yupik heritage, and I know nothing about my Danish and English roots. I claim my Alaska Native heritage. Barrow is the only home I know. I was born and raised there.

I have seen our Iñupiat culture start to lose its strength within the younger generations. Living among Iñupiat Elders is a life experience and to learn anything of my Iñupiat culture is dear to my heart. I do not speak Iñupiaq but this does not discourage me to learn more. As I grow older, my desire to acquire the knowledge of my Elders also grows. I only hope the younger generations also consider strengthening our culture–keeping our roots strong–as a priority.

From my earliest childhood memories my parents stressed the importance of education. They are both college graduates and are my role models. My mom and dad enrolled me in early childhood education when I was four years old. They also taught me the need to know my family, my culture and my roots. I know they are proud of me.

My mom and dad encouraged me to participate in bilingual and bicultural activities while I was growing up. Mom taught me some of my Iñupiaq language at home. I learned how to sing and motion dance in the Iñupiat way. But this does not make me any less proud of my other cultural roots.

I am only one person and I cannot represent those who chose not to learn about their Native traditions and Native heritage. I observed my peers who chose not to participate actively in bilingual and bicultural classes, dances and community activities. I was always curious why many parents did not encourage their children to learn their Native culture.

I like the theme for this conference–Keeping Our Roots Strong–because it made me really think hard about my roots and my generation in the context of education.

The formal education of Alaska Natives is a classic example of a clash between cultures. The values of the Western educational system of speaking, reading and writing in the English language and studying Western history, concepts and ideas, conflict with the values, beliefs and traditions of Alaska Natives. For generations, it was more important for our people to gather and harvest subsistence foods than it was to learn how to read and write English.

Educating Alaska Natives in the ways of Western society is a continuing problem today. Contributing factors include the lack of Alaska Native teachers, inadequate criteria and delivery of bilingual and bicultural curricula and students who are not taught their Alaska Native cultures at home.

Many of our people suffered physically and emotionally from being forced to not practice their cultures in school. They suffered corporal punishment for speaking their Native language and personal humiliation and embarrassment for not being able to speak the English language fluently and write it correctly.

Some Native students also had to leave their homes to attend BIA boarding schools when they were only small children in their middle school years. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like. At the boarding schools, attempts were made to integrate them into the American mainstream with military living conditions and military rules. Many slowly lost touch with important parts of their traditional ways and beliefs and many lost their Native language.

Natives who were fortunate enough to complete their education returned home and had children of their own. Their situation was a frustrating dilemma. On one hand, they were not fully accepted by their people because they no longer spoke their language or were able to practice their cultural ways. On the other hand, they were not accepted by Western society because of their skin color. While many wanted to teach their children the ways and traditions of their ancestors, they simply could not.

My generation is facing a similar dilemma and problems with cultural identity. We feel pressures to advance and succeed in Western ways, yet keep solid footing in and strengthen our cultural roots. We face cultural identity issues and hard decisions.

Many, like me, are from mixed cultures. Which culture are we supposed to choose for the foundation of our lives? Is it wrong to choose one over another? Which roots do we keep strong without neglecting others? Will we be accused of favoring one culture over another when, in fact, combined together they make us who we are? Those are not new questions and there are no easy solutions. Your challenge as educators is to broaden our minds and vision to help us find answers.

The main barrier between the younger generations and our traditional cultures is an educational system that completely satisfies our cultural well being. I was involved in bilingual and bicultural studies and activities throughout elementary and high school. My formal education has led me to college, but I still lack the cultural knowledge of my ancestors.

In order for the younger generations to be great leaders, we must strive to be flexible enough to live in two worlds. We need to seriously consider our cultures to be the most important parts of our lives. We need the security to make important decisions to build the foundation for our lives. We need to pursue our educational dreams not only in the Western way, but to also gain the cultural knowledge and understanding of who we are and where we came from. We need to know what our roots are and we need to keep them alive so they can grow stronger. We need your help.

Thank you very much for inviting me to speak here this evening. Thank you, quyanakpak!

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Commentary on "Future Alaska Native Educators"

(featured in Sharing Our Pathways, Vol. 8, Issue 1 by Cathy Rexford)

by Nels Anderson, Jr.

My name is Nels Anderson, Jr. of Dillingham. I read the article, "Future Alaska Native Educators," by Cathy Rexford, in the Jan/Feb 2003 issue of Sharing Our Pathways. I enjoyed the article and it prompted me to comment and ask some questions that I think people throughout Alaska should be considering.

The article says that 459 out of a total of 8,206 public school teachers are of Alaska Native or American Indian descent. If my math serves me correctly, that is about 5.59%. That is a very sad statistic. That leads me to ask how many Alaska Natives we have working in the university system? I have always felt, to the greatest extent legally possible, that our institutions should reflect the makeup of the population served. One of many places where we, Alaska Natives, exceed our percentage of the total Alaska population is in our jails. Another place where we exceed our percentage of the total population is in our dropout statistics in our schools and university.

What is the teacher retention rate in our Regional Educational Attendance Areas (REAAs) and rural and remote schools as compared to urban schools? How many of our schools’ aides, cooks, janitors and maintenance personnel are Alaska Natives? How many Alaska Native professors and administrators do we have at the University of Alaska? How many of our schools across the state, especially our REAAs and rural and remote schools, have Alaska Native principals, financial managers or superintendents? How many Alaska Natives are there on the University of Alaska Board of Regents at this time? How many of our REAAs are locally controlled by Native school board members?


If what I suspect is true–that most of the REAAs are locally controlled by predominantly Alaska Native school board members, then–why are we not using that power to achieve the goals and objectives identified by the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative? Shouldn’t we be making sure that our REAAs are using their power to move toward academic excellence as envisioned by AKRSI?


It would appear to be an ideal strategy to utilize the resources of the state of Alaska to move toward good learning principles. Rather than trying to reinvent the Alaska education wheel, we should mainstream our values and ideas of what is good learning into the school districts we now have at our disposal. We should be working very closely with the University of Alaska to adopt and implement sound policies that improve our delivery of education, increase teacher retention rates and reduce our dropout numbers in our schools and university.


If indeed Alaska Natives control many of the boards of our REAAs and rural and remote school districts, then why can’t those boards assert their power and authority and adopt the necessary policies that will move them toward training AND hiring more Alaska Native and American Indian teachers and administrators? Can’t our school boards collectively develop a "memorandum of understanding" with the University of Alaska to join forces to make sure that our future teacher and administrative personnel are recruited, trained and hired from our Alaska Native teacher aide and substitute teaching pool in our REAAs and rural and remote school districts?


We should support any existing university programs that are taking our teacher aides and substitute teachers and moving them into our classrooms as full-time accredited teachers. If necessary, those programs should be expanded to move ALL of our teacher aides, tutors, mentors and substitutes into a certified training program that will allow them to become accredited, certified associate teachers with a higher pay scale. We should then encourage these associate teachers to continue their education to get them full accreditation and become full-time certified teachers. This strategy should be encouraged and pushed aggressively. Most of this can be done by our university distance education delivery system. In addition, our university and school boards should be grooming and training future administrators in a similar program.


Are our school boards and the university insisting on teaching the basics and adopting a teaching plan that will help our students excel academically, understand who they are, learn about how they fit into our overall Alaska society and reduce their drop out rates?


I believe that our REAAs and rural and remote school boards have the necessary legal authority needed to assert their power to make sure that we have a public school system that is teaching our students the basics–that is learning to read at the end of the second grade; reading to learn by the end of the fourth grade; mastering math basics of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing by the end of the fifth grade; having a fundamental understanding of basic scientific principles by the end of the eighth grade and, in addition, having a rudimentary understanding of Alaska Native history and

Native cultures within the context of Alaska history by the end of the eighth grade. Finally, we should be developing the necessary strategies that will reduce the number of dropouts in our schools and university.

In summary, I think that the article "Future Alaska Native Educators" is very good and should be expanded to include the following: It should examine the statistics on dropout and teacher retention rates in our schools. It should also look at how many Native principals, superintendents, financial officers, teacher aides, tutors, mentors and substitute teachers we have in our REAA, rural and remote village school districts. It should look at what the University of Alaska dropout rates are for Native students and see how many Alaska Native university professors and administrators we have.

It should review the existing teacher training program we have at the University of Alaska to see if improvements can be made that will increase the number of Alaska Natives being trained from the teacher aide and substitute teaching pool found in our REAAs and rural and remote school districts.

And finally, after that is done, we should make sure that all educators and news media across the state get a copy of this article to wake people up so that we can exert the power we have to make the changes we need to have our students excel in our schools, university and university rural campuses.

Thank you for that great article and giving me a chance to express some of my views about education in Alaska.

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Fourth Annual ANSES State Science Fair

by Alan Dick

The fourth annual ANSES State Science Fair, hosted by AKRSI, was held at Camp Carlquist on the weekend of January 31 to February 2. Projects arrived from every corner of the state and a total of 21 competed intensely for the right to move on to AISES Nationals.

On Saturday, before Sunday’s ANSES State Fair, students and chaperones scurried around Anchorage and Eagle River in the second year of the "Junkyard Wars of Science Fairs." At 9 a.m. teams of participants were given maps, $50, the set of rules and an assignment: plan and carry out a science project having to do with "campfires." The excitement level was high and by 6 p.m., eight teams had poster boards and a completed experiment ready for the judges. This lighthearted event gave the students a chance to interact with the judges and each other before the big event on Sunday. It also forced them to utilize science skills, map skills, team building skills and ingenuity in developing a project in less than nine hours. Students also had to spend time at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

Two of the ANSES State Fair projects have been nominated for an International Science Fair in Beijing, China. There is no assurance that they will go, but students worked in schools until midnight preparing their projects for consideration. It represents an opportunity of a lifetime for the young people involved. AKRSI folks are holding their breath, hoping we can send students to carry our model of relevant, village-based science projects to other nations.

The ANSES State Science Fair participants and winners were honored in the noon luncheon at the Native Educators Conference banquet in the Sheraton Hotel on Monday, February 3. Several of the winners were interviewed by Channel 2 News. The broadcast that evening was inspiring.

The Imaginarium played an important part in the operation this year. Students handled reptiles and participated in liquid nitrogen experiments while other projects were being judged. There wasn’t an idle moment the whole weekend. Staff watched genuine friendships being made and strengthened, personal transformation taking place and science becoming a deeper part of young peoples’ lives. To observe the process makes the hundreds of hours of preparation worthwhile. The Imaginarium folks will likely oversee the operation next year as AKRSI intentionally fades out, but the event will continue to create an arena where the students are the show and science the theme.

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Alan Dick Begins New Venture

After seven years of writing books, curriculum materials and SOP articles for AKRSI, Alan Dick has started his own small publishing business operating out of Lime Village. The intent of the business is to enable other Alaskans to get their message or story into the hands of the public.

This business is geared towards the first-time author who knows little or nothing about publishing. Alan says he can step into and out of the sequence required to print books, giving the author the opportunity to save money by doing some of the tasks, yet Alan will help the new authors cross the hurdles that have kept hundreds of wonderful Alaskan stories from the public eye. Alan has been a successful author and now wants to share the experience with other Alaskans, particularly those from villages.

For more information, email him at and check the SV Publishing website The website describes all the options available to first time authors. The AKRSI staff wish to express our appreciation to Alan for his dedicated efforts on behalf of village science, camps and fairs over the past seven years. His ability to bring science alive for students in just about any setting has been an inspiration to teachers throughout Alaska, and his Village Science and Village Math curriculum resources are some of the most popular items in the ANKN curriculum collection. We wish Alan the best in his new ventures and hope to find ways to keep him involved in his "calling" as the Science Wizard of Alaska.

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Youth Panel Workshop at 2003 Native Educators Conference

On February 3, 2003 a workshop entitled Youth Perspectives on Education sparked the interest and enthusiasm of Elders and educators of all ages. A small group from the Future Alaska Native Educator Network presented ideas, concerns and solutions on Native education issues. These young college students are Ava Vent, Crystal Swetzof, Quentin Simeon and Mariah Sakeagak. In response to the requests of many conference participants, here are the youth comments and collective ideas for action.

Presented by Ava Vent

Hello my name is Ava Vent and I am a Koyukon Athabascan from Huslia. My parents are Warner and Alberta Vent. My grandparents are Robert and Mary Vent of Huslia, and Joseph and Celia Beetus of Hughes.

In the fall of 1999 I graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe High school in Sitka, Alaska and then moved to Phoenix, Arizona to attend Grand Canyon University. In the spring of 2001 I transferred to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado for one semester. Then I finally decided that attending UAF would better help me in becoming a successful elementary teacher in Alaska’s diverse society. This is my junior year in college. I will graduate with my bachelor of arts degree in the spring of 2005 and then I plan to further my studies with a master’s degree in education.

There are many different ideas on what can be done to improve the success rates in the education of Alaska Native students. Over the last two years I have heard so many excellent ideas on how to better educate the students in both rural and urban areas of Alaska. Some of those alternatives are that parents need to take part in their children’s education. Teachers need to come up with exciting new ways to combine the class curriculum with our cultural values. We all need to come together and be positive role models for our younger generation. We need to lower our village and urban substance abuse problems so that the Alaska Native dropout rate as well as the suicide rate will go down. Most importantly teachers, parents, tutors and school employees should get to know the students inside the class as well as outside.

First of all, Alaska Native students’ success relies heavily on the home environment. Parental interaction is very crucial in the development of a child’s moral and traditional values. Parents need to show love and support for their child all the way until they graduate with their degree. Parents need to spend more time helping their children with their homework and appreciating their accomplishments as well as helping them fix their mistakes. Parents need to find an effective way of teaching their children to be responsible early in a child’s life. Something as easy as helping them make cookies or letting them do simple tasks on their own can help them learn to be responsible.

Another idea to improve success rates of Alaska Native students is for teachers to find effective ways to correlate the class curriculum with traditional values so that the students can find more ways to relate to and better understand their schoolwork. Moreover, there are many curriculums already in our schools that involve traditional cultural values. By listening to my mother, grandparents and my Aunt Catherine Attla, I’ve heard hundreds of old stories about our ancestors and how it used to be in the villages long ago. My grandpa Joe often tells stories of when he was younger, and a lot of them ended with a certain moral point which effects the choices people make. These sorts of stories later effect children’s moral values all through adulthood.

Other ways to include cultural activities in the curriculum that I can think of include: making traditional fish traps, building sleds or snow shoes, making birch baskets, sewing with beads and moose hide, picking berries, ice fishing, camping and many other cultural activities.

A negative factor that affects Alaska Native students is alcohol and substance abuse. Alcohol and substance abuse is very high in Alaska, and we need to come together and try to end this problem by coming up with alternatives. As long as the alcoholism rate among Alaska Natives is high, the dropout and suicide rates will also increase. I have lost many friends and family to alcohol and suicide and this motivates me to try to find ways to give the Native youth alternatives other than alcohol and drugs. Most importantly we, as students, teachers and community members, need to get to know each other.

I went to elementary and middle school in Huslia until the eighth grade. Therefore, I can think of some ways to bring a community together in order to gain students trust and respect. If you plan to teach or are teaching in a village with people you don’t know, then get to know them. Participate in fun activities with the students during your free time. For example you can go fishing, sledding, check snares or traps, go for a snowmachine trip or even go on a picnic. By doing these activities and getting to know the students as well as the people of the community, the students will feel comfortable talking to you and you can gain their trust and respect. Moreover, the teacher will feel like less of an outcast and feel comfortable with the people of the community.

There are teachers in the past who have gained my respect and helped me understand my schoolwork to the fullest. These teachers include Velma Schaffer from Allakaket, Gertie Esmailka of Huslia and Sharon Strick from Ruby. Helpful educators at Mt. Edgecumbe High School included my algebra teacher, Gary Jarvill, and the school counselor, Bob Love.

Velma Schaffer used to bring some of my friends and me out for a snowmachine ride to check her rabbit snares. We used to stand on the back of her Yukon dog sled and see how long we could drag and then pull ourselves back up. She taught us how to set up rabbit snares and how often to check on them.

Gertie Esmailka used to work so hard with our class when we practiced for Christmas plays. She also used to bring us out on lots of field trips for schoolwork. We used to go out and pick cranberries for cranberry-orange bread. We made the bread for the parents when they came in to pick up our mid-term grades.

Sharon Strick brought out my artistic side by showing me how to make different but interesting arts and crafts–for example she showed us how to make natural paper. She also taught us how to make beads with Fimo clay that we cooked in the oven. Gary Jarvill had a very amusing personality that helped us understand algebra in a fun way. Mr. Bob Love was a big help with my future plans after high school.

All these teachers had something in common, which was their involvement in our daily lives as well as in our education. I stated just a few of the unlimited solutions that we can practice in order to help our Native students succeed in Alaska’s changing economy and society.

The government also has a big impact on the education of our Native students. Politics and power have a heavy influence on the education of Alaska Native students. When it comes right down to it, the education of Alaska Native youth depends on the government who has the power to decide how much funding should be spent on Alaska’s education system. Therefore, the government has the resources which are crucial in pulling together Alaska’s education system.

I like to think education is like knowledge, it only gets stronger and more powerful as it grows over time. Think about it, we have come so far in developing our education system since the early 1930s and 40s. Back then students were attending school in the village church, if they even had one. For example in Hughes, which is located along the Koyukuk River, my mother remembers that the classes were in a local man’s home up until the missionaries built a church. These students and teachers could not even understand each other. Moreover, they all had to share a class, in which some students were older siblings of one another.

I think about how difficult and frustrating it must have been for these teachers and their students. They must have been strongly motivated because those students are now adults who speak fluent English as well as their own heritage language. This is thanks to their motivation and our growing education system. A few of the aspects that helped our educational system so far include bilingual programs, cross-cultural programs and immersion programs. Most importantly, everyone helps our education system by simply knowing that we all have cultural differences and that we are trying to find a middle ground with each other. This is a crucial first step to helping education develop successfully for the Alaska Native youth. Education is a very timely topic in which everyone needs to be a part in order to ensure that the younger generations of Alaska will be successful.

We need to leave this conference knowing that we can help Alaska’s Native students succeed in preschool, kindergarten, grade school, high school and college. Some of the ideas I have touched upon to help Alaska Native students succeed are: pay attention to your children’s education as well as their lives; teachers need to accommodate their curriculum in a way that the students can easily learn and understand and finally, all school staff, students and the community need to build trust, respect and comfort with one another. Ana Basee’ and have a wonderful evening!

Presented by Mariah Sakeagak: The Importance of Native Role Models for Students

My experience at Barrow High School:

  • Teachers and instructors were mostly non-Native except for the bilingual teachers.

  • Students need to take notice that they, too, can get a degree in teaching if they set there mind and heart to it!

I have always wanted to be a teacher ever since I was just a young child, and to now realize the importance of having Native educators makes me want to work even harder to complete my degree. To have little children come to you and tell you that "they want to be like you and go to college and be a teacher" always warms my heart.

I have mentors on the North Slope who are in fact bilingual teachers; they have shared with me the importance of getting an education so I can go home to Barrow one day and be a mentor for other Native students.

My experience with college/higher education:

Often students who have graduated from a rural area are not familiar with what is outside of their community, mostly because of the outrageous prices on airfare. When they do get out of their community to attend college I think its important to have someone, perhaps a Native educator to share with them the survival skills beforehand. I say Native because I know from my experience to have someone familiar nearby to share their ideas and experiences made it more comfortable for me.

Many rural students haven’t lived elsewhere so they have a rural perspective; to have someone there who has been there, like myself, would help them understand what the rest of the world is like. When a non-Native shares with you what they experienced, their perspective on life is often different because they have grown up in a city or Outside, and they haven’t experienced what it was like to grow up in a village.

For me entering college, I was very shy and I did not usually ask questions about anything even though I was confused. It wasn’t until last semester that I started opening my mind and my mouth! I was tired of not sharing my ideas, because usually they were good ideas. Mostly I was shy because I was the only Native in class, but this is not stopping me anymore. From here on out I am going to voice my opinion. If you have something to say, don’t be shy like I was. Let people know what you think.

With this I know I will be able to complete my degree, GO HOME, and be a role model for others. I will be one of the Native educators who encourages other students to go out and want to be teachers! And if not be a teacher, be something, because as long as you set your mind to it and work hard, you can achieve anything!

Presented by Quentin Simeon

The foundation for all stable relationships is based on trust and the truth. In order to educate our children, we must teach them the truth. However, in order to reach our children we must first be trusted by them. And to get our children to trust the teachers, the teachers must be trusted by the community. The approach is threefold. The first concerns the method of teaching. We must apply the knowledge to our students, connecting them with the information and the world around them. Make them feel as though they have a voice and a story worthy of being told. In other words, teach from the world they come from, not just the world of the Europeans. However, the Western or European world is not going to disappear, so we must implement a training course designed to educate our people about the differences and similarities of and between the Western culture and ours.

The second aspect that relates to the first is what tools should we use to teach our children or what books are we going to teach them from? Should we write our history from our own perspective or settle for the Western documentation? I prefer the former. But if we choose to use Western books, I suggest that we at least screen them for certain biases.

The final portion to an approach is the teachers and their relationship with the community. I would prefer to have Native teachers everywhere, but that is unlikely, so we must find a way to acculturate the teachers to our communities, as well as accept them as members of our families. Make them feel welcome, not like a stranger, then we will keep our children out of danger. With trust, we can accomplish a lot. It doesn’t really matter if we are Native or not. The children are important–after all that’s all we got. Once we, the educators, earn their trust our children will eagerly get on the bus.

Plan of Action

After the presentations, some collective brainstorming and small group discussions yielded great ideas. Everyone in the workshop participated. Listed below are some of the proposed actions:

  • Highlight successful programs such as immersion schools across the state and use them as role models.

  • Allow communities to influence curriculum.

  • Have schools recognize and incorporate cultural values.

  • Use student panels such as this as a component for teacher in-services.

  • Role models in our communities need to present in the classrooms.

  • Role models in each region need to be identified and interviewed by the students.

  • It doesn’t take much to encourage young people if they are able to see for themselves first hand the accomplishments their people have made. This could give them a boost in furthering their education.

  • Community leaders past and present should encourage youth to become future leaders and role models.

  • Create booklets of Native mentors from throughout the past 50 years so children see the accomplishments people have made AND USE THEM IN OUR SCHOOLS!

  • Write letters to state and national legislators to call their attention to the problems No Child Left Behind is creating for our schools.

  • Publish ideas from this workshop in Sharing Our Pathways!

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UAF Summer Program in Cross-Cultural Studies for Alaskan Educators

The Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative, the Alaska Staff Development Network and the UAF Summer Sessions invite educators from throughout Alaska to participate in a series of two- and three-credit courses focusing on the implementation of the Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools. The courses may be taken individually or as a six-, nine- or twelve-credit sequence. The courses may be used to meet the state "multicultural education" requirement for licensure and/or they may be applied to graduate degree programs at UAF.

Rural Academy for Culturally Responsive Schools

May 27—31, Fairbanks

The five-day intensive Rural Academy, sponsored by the Alaska Staff Development Network, the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative and the UAF Northwest Campus, will consist of the following educational opportunities:

  • Each enrollee will be able to participate in two out of seven two-day workshops that will be offered demonstrating how the Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools are being implemented in communities throughout rural Alaska.

  • Two panel sessions will be offered in which participants will be able to hear firsthand from key educational practitioners and policymakers from throughout the state.

  • A day-long field trip will allow participants to meet and interact with Elders and other key people and visit sites in the Nome area.

  • Participants will share successful strategies and programs from throughout the state.

  • Participants will have the option to complete a follow-up project relevant to their own work situation.

Instructor: Ray Barnhardt and workshop presenters

Credit options: ED 695, Rural Academy for Culturally Responsive Schools (2 cr.)
ED/CCS 613, Alaska Standards for Culturally Resp. Sch. (3cr.)
EDP 110, Introduction to Para-Professional Education (2 cr.)

Cross-Cultural Orientation Program for Teachers

June 2—20, 2003

The Center for Cross-Cultural Studies and UAF Summer Sessions will be offering the annual Cross-Cultural Orientation Program (X-COP) for teachers beginning on June 2, 2003 and running through June 20, 2003, including a week (June 7—14) out at the Old Minto Cultural Camp on the Tanana River with Athabascan Elders from 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 a week 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.

Instructor: Ray Barnhardt and Old Minto Elders

Credit option: ED 610, Education and Cultural Processes (3 cr.)

Native Ways of Knowing

June 23—July 11, 2003

The third course available in the cross-cultural studies series is a three-week seminar focusing on the educational implications of "Native ways of knowing." The course will examine teaching and learning practices reflected in indigenous knowledge systems and how those practices may be incorporated into the schooling process. Examples drawn from the work of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative and the Alaska Native Knowledge Network will be shared with participants.

Instructor: Oscar Kawagley, Ph.D.

Credit option: ED/ANS 461, Native Ways of Knowing (3 cr.)
CCS 608, Indigenous Knowledge Systems (3 cr.)


For further information about the Rural Academy, contact the UAF Center for Cross-Cultural Studies at 474-1902 or the Alaska Staff Development Network at 2204 Douglas Highway, Suite 100, Douglas, Alaska 99824, phone (907) 364-3801, fax (907) 364-3805, e-mail or go to the ASDN web site at

For further information on the other courses offered in Fairbanks, please contact UAF Summer Sessions office at (907) 474-7021 or on the web at

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Indigenous Peoples and Justice Initiative

One of the key goals of the University of Saskatchewan’s Framework for Planning is "meeting the needs of Aboriginal people." The university has restated on a number of occasions its commitment to pursue this aim through expanding program options which are attractive and relevant for Aboriginal people.

The Indigenous Peoples and Justice Initiative (IPJI) constitutes an effort to further this important goal by providing students with opportunities to explore indigenous knowledge and "ways of knowing" and to build their disciplinary expertise in relation to the justice theme.

The IPJI arises out of the need to address issues of justice as they relate to indigenous peoples and what the Supreme Court of Canada has termed a "crisis in the criminal justice system." It evolves from the premise that there are different viewpoints regarding justice and that the indigenous viewpoint, grounded in indigenous knowledge and "ways of knowing," needs to be incorporated into programs and courses at the University of Saskatchewan.

It is the hope of the framers of the IPJI that by re-articulating traditional knowledge and teaching regarding justice as framed by its bearers, the Elders of various Aboriginal communities, new partnerships and improved relationships of respect and understanding may form between these communities and the university.

The IPJI operates within a framework of values that includes mutual respect, obligation and responsibility. The purpose of the academic programs is to enhance understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples with regard to the requirements of justice in today’s world.

The failure of Canada’s criminal justice system is a critical aspect of the lives of Aboriginal peoples that is addressed by the IPJI. It also examines the social, cultural, economic, political, institutional and organizational features of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities that are the causes of crime, assimilation, exclusion and community breakdown.

Indigenous Knowledge: Capstone Courses

The IPJI will have a curriculum that focuses on indigenous knowledge relating to justice, incorporating different world views about justice. The curriculum will introduce instruction in indigenous knowledge and teachings into the university setting, and will involve team-teaching.

The third year courses are:

IK 301.3 Indigenous Knowledge: Methodologies.

Examination and de-construction of the existing knowledge base on indigenous peoples. The purpose will be to study indigenous methodologies.

IK 302.3 Indigenous Knowledge: Theory and Practice.

Students will examine oral traditions and histories and begin to develop an understanding of how to work and think within these traditions and histories.

IK 401.6 Indigenous Knowledge: Concepts of Justice.

This is the fourth-year capstone course. The study of issues associated with indigenous knowledge with a particular focus on concepts of justice. Students will be introduced to advanced substantive concepts and the process of indigenous justice, social order, freedom and social control.

The underlying theme of these capstone courses and academic programs will be built upon, but not confined to, the study and remedying of the application and enforcement of criminal justice system rules, "law" and justice on the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members of society.

What can the Indigenous Peoples and Justice Initiative offer me?

The IPJI provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students to study in a chosen discipline, while focusing on issues surrounding indigenous peoples and justice. It establishes three new degree programs in law, public administration and sociology. These programs will draw upon the teachings, values and traditions available through the ethical sharing of indigenous knowledge, experiences and expertise. The programs will be conducted in a way that affirms the values of mutual obligation, mutual respect and responsibility.

For more information, contact:

Administrative Coordinator, IPJI
Native Law Centre
University of Saskatchewan
101 Diefenbaker Place
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
S7N 5B8

Phone: (306) 966-6246
Fax: (306) 966-6207

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Aleut/Alutiiq RavenAlutiiq Region: Science Fair

by Hilary Seeger, Willie Nelson and Erling Ursin

Astudent walks into the presentation room with sweat pouring down his brow from all the anxiety and excitement running through his body. Adrenaline shoots through his veins like a jet roaring off the runway. Silence fills the room until the young scientist is ready to present. The judges surround him and start asking questions that the student must answer to the best of his knowledge. Minutes seem like hours, but when it is all said and done everyone, even the judges, come out of the room smiling.

On January 22—24, selected students from Chiniak, Danger Bay, Larsen Bay, Old Harbor and Ouzinkie came to Port Lions with science experiments to compete in the Fifth Annual Rural Regional Science Fair. The projects were judged on cultural knowledge by Elders and the scientific method by Kodiak scientists.

The fair was started by the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative to recognize the connection between Native ways of knowing and Western science. Not only is it a great academic opportunity and a way to learn the scientific method, but as longtime coordinator Teri Schneider notes, "We are also seeing that the students are connecting their learning inside school with their learning outside school."

However, students learned more than just science this year. In addition to creating their own science fair projects, high school students in Port Lions were given another assignment: to host this year’s science fair. They had to create information packets, dinner menus, plan evening activities, emergency water backup plans, schedules and more. "So many times people just take for granted that (Science Fair) just happens and that there is no planning that goes into it. So that’s when we turned it over to the students," said teacher and principal Louis Martinez. This is all based on a survival class taught by Martinez and Donald Heckert. "We started talking about what it meant to run a shelter and so forth and we saw the science fair coming up and thought, ‘what a perfect opportunity!’"

"I was happy when I heard that we would be organizing the science fair because we would get more interaction with the other kids," said Crystal Bartelson, a Port Lions student organizer. "I learned how hard it is for teachers and people arranging this (event). It is a lot of work!"

Young scientists in this year’s science fair ranged from third grade all the way up to juniors in high school. Projects included parabolic dishes, mixing colors and weather, to more cultural projects such as Kodiak ducks, Alutiiq men’s headwear and bow and drill techniques.

"The quality of this year’s science fair projects were just outstanding!" said scientific judge Patrick Saltonstall.

Brady Travis’ project on what types of soil erode quicker when introduced to water won grand prize for being best in both science and culture. "I learned a lot from this experience and I hope it will open doors for me in the future," says Travis. He now wants to get his commercial drivers license and work for the city of Chiniak, his hometown. Brady will be competing in the statewide Alaska Science and Engineering Fair April 4—6 in Anchorage.

First-place winner in the category of science, Ben Christman also of Chiniak, played different genres of music to chickens to see the effect on their egg laying production. He will be attending the statewide Alaska Science and Engineering Fair in April as well.

Old Harbor students Fawn Chya and Barbara Nestic won first place in the category of culture for their project on smoked fish. They tested different types of wood for smoking. They attended the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Society Fair held February 2—3 in Anchorage.

In addition to the science fair projects, there were workshops available to keep the students entertained as well as teach them more about how enjoyable science can be.

School district curriculum specialist, Sally Wilker, organized numerous science activities including dissection of owl pellets, color exploration and creation of polymers. While third through eighth graders dissected the small balls of fur and bones, it was clear they were learning; "There are two skulls here!" and "I found its ribs!" are just a couple of student exclamations. She presented the polymers to the high school students. A polymer is made of many particles or molecules that form into a long flexible chain. The students made polymers out of Elmers’ glue, water and Borax.

Wilker also presented color explorations to the kindergarten through second grades; they used the three primary colors to make the secondary colors with Play-Doh.

Don Heckert, Port Lions math and science teacher, showed the chemical reactions of acids and bases using soda and peppermints. Students dropped peppermints into the bottle of soda, and the soda made a spout out of the top of the bottle. They were amazed by the reaction and learned the properties of acids and bases in the process.

Another presentation was put together by the Imaginarium. This family science center located in Anchorage provides hands-on experiments, assemblies and other scientific presentations to communities all over the state. This is the second year they have been part of the Regional Science Fair in Port Lions.

This year Amy VonDiest from the Imaginarium set up interactive exhibits in the Port Lions Tribal Building. Students and community members were able to test out different science activities such as solar power demos, fiber optic cables and laser lights.

"Thinking about the week," Louis Martinez said, "there were a few kinks, but that’s because it was our first (student) run (science fair). I think we can look at this overall and say that it was really successful."

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Iñupiaq RavenIñupiaq Region: Heritage, Love and Science

by Wilma Osborne, Eskimo Heritage Program Specialist, Kawerak, Inc.

When I walked into the Eskimo Heritage office in Nome, it felt like I had come home. In the recordings stored in this office live voices, letters, words, ideas, knowledge, advice, struggle, tragedy–so many lives captured by the technology. Memories surround me as though I am reviewing my life before I die. I felt loved. People before me wanted me to know things from how to hunt and take care of game to old wives’ tales. And another group of people took the time and care to document, transcribe and store this information. That is love indeed. It allows me to understand my place in the world as a woman raised in the Arctic. It gives me security. It allows me to know what is expected of me in the context of this land and people and carry myself forward with intention.

There is a question that Western science has of humanity in relation to the rest of the universe. Where do we fit in? What separates us? Such is the task of a scientist.

It is people’s blazing imaginations that send probes thousands of miles out of our atmosphere and into other planetary orbits–the same questions drive individuals, even groups of people on quests. So let us ask the question, how is heritage scientific?

Heritage is something handed down–the rights, freedoms and burdens as a result of being in a certain place and time. It is intellectual property, knowledge and imagination. People have applied themselves here for a very long time; they know how to deal with stress specific to the North and have passed along lifelong, scientific information about weather, animals, land and sea, as well as how to form lasting, meaningful relationships with each other and everything around them, including the past and future.

Native people thrive because they ask these questions of their place in the universe, but heritage is an equal partner which gives those queries beautiful, intense meaning. Western science is in its infancy and has tended to separate humans from the universe. This is beginning to change. Indigenous people all over the world have immense understanding and wisdom to contribute to the spiritual "coming of age" of Western science and allow it to blossom into something we see merely as a ray today.

Heritage is the imagination we give to science that makes life more than worthwhile. It is through our heritage that love is given to scientific knowledge and makes life worth living, worth sharing, worth protecting, worth giving.

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OLCG LogoObserving Locally
Connecting Globally

2003 Summer Institute for Educators
June 10—25, 2003
Fairbanks, Alaska

In communities around Alaska you hear comments like: "The weather is strange and unpredictable" or "Sea ice patterns are changing." These comments reflect Alaskans’ observations and concerns about the effects of global change on their communities and lives. Join educators from around the state as they:

  • learn to use local/traditional knowledge as a basis for environmental studies;

  • use the GLOBE* curriculum to enhance student science skills and understanding;

  • learn some of the latest teaching techniques and current best practices in science education;

  • address science, math and cultural standards and

  • share ideas, strategies and perspectives.


Anyone working with students is welcome. We are especially encouraging teams consisting of teachers, resource specialists and local experts in science or Native knowledge.


$100 credit registration fee. Partial to full grant support for travel and per diem on an application basis


4 credits, UAF-NRM 595 or ED 595


Elena Sparrow, Leslie Gordon, Sidney Stephens, Guest elders and experts

Contact: Martha Kopplin
474-2601 phone / 474-6184 fax

* Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment

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Southeast RavenSoutheast Region: Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian Relationships

by Andy Hope

Excerpted from Sacred Forms, a work in progress

For some reason, Haida clans (and some Tsimshian clans) claim crests opposite from their Tlingit counterparts. That is, Haida Raven moiety clans claim Tlingit Eagle moiety crests and vice-versa. When a Haida is adopted by a Tlingit clan, they are adopted by the opposite moiety. The Taalkweidi and Kaasxakweidi Tlingit Raven moiety clans of Wrangell were originally Haida Eagle moiety clans. The Tsimshian Gaanahada claim the same crests as the Kiks.ádi, Kaach.ádi, Gaanax.ádi, Gaanax.teidi and Teehittaan. The Laxk’eiboo (Wolf People) clan of the Tsimshian, who correspond to the Tlingit Teikweidi and the Tsimshian are said to be descendants of the Tlingit Neix.ádi. The Tlingit Raven crests Raven, Sculpin, Frog, Starfish and Sea Lion are claimed by Haida Eagle moiety clans. Haida Raven moiety clans claim the wolf. Many crests were obtained as gifts, were purchased or were claimed in warfare.

Nearly 300 years ago, groups of Haida began migrating to Alaska from Graham Island off the coast of British Columbia. After settling in Alaska the Haida clans adopted a modified version of the Tlingit clan house system. The Haida differ from the Tlingit in that all clan houses in some villages belonged to clans of one moiety, though clans of both moieties resided in each village. Haida villages also have chiefs, and clan houses had individual owners. Individual ownership of clan houses is prohibited by Tlingit common law. The Alaska Haida Raven dominated villages were Klinkwan, Sukkwan and Koinglas. Eagle dominated villages were Howkan and Kasaan. Once settled in Alaska, the Haida began breaking away from the main groups, founding new clans in the manner of the Tlingit. Kaigani was named after a summer camp where they met European fur traders and explorers. Of the K’yak’aanii Eagle moiety, the Yaadas broke into five groups and the Ts’eihl Laanaas and the Sgalans formed four each. The Yaadaas were probably an offshoot of the Sdasdas. The K’yak’aanii Raven moiety broke off in the following manner: the ’Yaakw Laanaas broke into four groups; the Kwii Taas into six; the Gaw Kaywaas into two and the Taas Laanaas into four.

A chart of the Haida crests and clan houses associated with each moiety is being assembled and will be made available to schools and communities throughout southeast Alaska. Anyone wishing to participate in the development of this chart/poster should contact Andy Hope at or 790-4406.

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Athabascan RavenAthabascan Region: Cultural Orientation Program for New Teachers

by Linda Green

The Alaska Native Knowledge Network/Interior Region lead teacher in collaboration with the Tanana Chiefs Conference, Inc. (TCC) and the Interior Athabascan Tribal College (IATC) is available to conduct a year-long orientation program for new teachers. The Interior Alaska region includes nine school districts (three single-site school districts, four Regional Educational Attendance Areas (REAAs) and one urban school district. This program will better prepare the new teachers to:

  • Work with community through local mentoring,

  • Identify cultural boundaries in those school districts and

  • Provide a culturally appropriate and supportive educational environment for all the students.

Funding from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development will be used to provide seminars on an optional basis for new teachers, to be followed by a professional development course in collaboration with TCC’s Interior Athabascan Tribal College. Alaska Native teachers and Elders from each community will be recruited to mentor new staff in their district in accordance with the new Guidelines for Cross-Cultural Orientation Programs.

The seminars will include the following:

Communicating Across Cultures

(designated staff from the Alaska Native Knowledge Network/Lead Teacher and Interior Athabascan Tribal College)

  • Traditions, Language and Learning (Local Elders)

  • History of Education in Alaska

  • Utilizing resources such as the cultural standards and Guidelines for Cross-Cultural Orientation Programs

The follow-up course will provide an introduction to the following:

  • Knowledge of local Alaska Native cultural practices and traditions

  • Value and significance of Elders as teachers. How to work with Elders

  • Curricular and instructional strategies that focus on place-based education and experiential learning

  • The role of indigenous languages, oral tradition and story telling

  • Native ways of knowing

  • Using technology in a culturally-appropriate way

  • Culturally-appropriate curriculum resources

  • Cultural standards

  • Guidelines for Respecting Cultural Knowledge

  • Native Educator Associations and other significant Native organizations.

Mentors and Elders will utilize the Guidelines for Cross-Cultural Orientation Program to better orient the new teachers into school districts and communities. Mentors will meet with the new teachers weekly and will be responsible for the local orientation to the community as stated in the guidelines. Elders will meet with the new teacher at least weekly to clarify cultural questions and offer assistance.

Please feel free to contact Linda Green at (907) 474-5814 or Reva Shircel at (907) 452-8251 ext. 3185. Letters of inquiries can be mailed to:

Linda Green
P.O. Box 756730
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6730

or to

Reva Shircel
Tanana Chiefs Conference, Inc.
Education Department
122 First Avenue, Suite 600
Fairbanks, AK 99701

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Yup'ik/Cup'ik RavenYup’ik Region: Fifth Annual Calista Elders and Youth Convention

by Mark John, Executive Director

The Fifth Annual Calista Elders Council Elders and Youth Convention will take place March 27—29, 2003 at Kotlik. The first day will be the annual meeting of Calista Elders Council, which includes an election of the board, reports from CEC staff and presentations from agency representatives with interest in Elders. The next two days will involve presentations on "Kevgiq" (Messenger Feast), talks on traditional Yup’ik values and Kevgiq performance and demonstration by Kotlik and Stebbins Dancers.

With this event, we are going to document Kevgiq which is a major ceremony that is filled with teasing, ridiculing, sharing, giving, strengthening family ties, bonding as a community, etc. With the documentation gathered from the convention, we will make a video tape and provide information that can be made into books for students and the general public. This will be an excellent way of passing on Yup’ik knowledge and tradition.

When the churches and the schools were established in the region in the late 1800s and early 1900s, they discouraged the practice of traditional ceremonies. They argued that the ceremonies were demonic and made the Native population suffer by giving away too much of their food and material belongings. The items that were given away were distributed to the elderly and to those without providers. This practice was a traditional way of providing social welfare.

In most areas of the Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta, the Yup’ik were forced to move towards accepting the Western way of life and abandoning traditional Yup’ik ways of being. This made the Yup’ik Elders back away from traditional ceremonies and practices. The Elders also backed out of passing on this valuable knowledge. It is important now to bring out those ways and document them while we still have Elders with that knowledge.

This project fits right into two parts of Calista Elders Council mission statement. It fits into " . . . striving to maintain and preserve the cultural, linguistic and traditional lifestyle of the Natives of the region" and "foster and encourage the education of the young people within the Calista region."

Since we have made culture and history our niche in the region, this project fits right into the activities that we have been focusing on. It will be as excellent addition to the progress Calista Elders Council has been making in documenting important activities of our culture.

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Alaska RSI Contacts


Ray Barnhardt
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6730
(907) 474-1902 phone
(907) 474-5208 fax

Oscar Kawagley
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6730
(907) 474-5403 phone
(907) 474-5208 fax

Frank W. Hill
Alaska Federation of Natives
1577 C Street, Suite 300
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 263-9876 phone
(907) 263-9869 fax

Regional Coordinators

Alutiiq/Unangax Region
Olga Pestrikoff, Moses Dirks &
Teri Schneider

Kodiak Island Borough School District
722 Mill Bay Road
Kodiak, Alaska 99615

Athabascan Region
pending at Tanana Chiefs Conference

Iñupiaq Region
Katie Bourdon
Eskimo Heritage Program Director
Kawerak, Inc.
PO Box 948
Nome, AK 99762
(907) 443-4386
(907) 443-4452 fax

Southeast Region
Andy Hope

8128 Pinewood Drive
Juneau, Alaska 99801

Yup’ik Region
John Angaiak

PO Box 219
Bethel, AK 99559
907-543 7423
907-543-2776 fax

Lead Teachers

Angela Lunda

Teri Schneider/Olga Pestrikoff/Moses Dirks

Esther Ilutsik

Bernadette Yaayuk Alvanna-Stimpfle

Linda Green


Sharing Our Pathways

is a publication of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Educational Systemic Reform in agreement with the Alaska Federation of Natives and the University of Alaska.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0086194. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

We welcome your comments and suggestions and encourage you to submit them to:

The Alaska Native Knowledge Network
Old University Park School, Room 158
University of Alaska Fairbanks
P.O. Box 756730
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6730

(907) 474-1902 phone
(907) 474-1957 fax

Newsletter Editor

Layout & Design: Paula Elmes

Arrow Up to the contents




Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Last modified August 16, 2006