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

ALASKA NATIVE EDUCATION
1953 – 1973
A PROFESSIONAL MEMOIR

BY
TOM (THOMAS) R. HOPKINS
© 2008

FOREWORD

The writing of this “Memoir” was prompted by Dr. Ray Barnhardt of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. To me, Ray is the embodiment of an institutional commitment to Alaska Native education at the University that began in the late 1950s. The University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska Native Knowledge Network and Alaska Native Language Center could not possibly have been dreamed of in 1953 when we (Vinita and I) arrived in Barrow. Our first contact with the University was in 1954 when Vinita sponsored the 4 H Club for the Shungnak school girls, and, at the same time got recipes for wild berry pies and sourdough, which we still have and have passed down to our sons’ families.

I owe a deep debt of gratitude to the many Alaska Natives who have taught me so much. I would have liked to have named individuals but once I began recollecting them, this became an impossibility. There were too many and each not mentioned would have been an offence for all were willing to share with me their culture, language and beliefs. The fact of the matter is that Alaska Natives set me on a lifelong career of working in Alaska Native and American Indian education.

I expect the Memoir may read like a Government report; however it is intended to read as education history of one professional’s experiences. We have always considered our Alaskan experiences as one of the best parts of our lives, and certainly one of the most interesting.

Tom and Chris
Tom and Chris, Readying for Jade
Hunting Trip Summer 1955, Shungnak

Vinita
Vinita, Shungnak, March 1955

"Old School"
“Old School”, Barrow 1953

Barrow Post Office
Barrow Post Office, 1953

 

 


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.

 


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Last modified March 13, 2008