Ron and Suzanne Scollon
first proposed The Axe Handle Academy to Richard and Nora
Dauenhauer, then of the Sealaska Heritage Foundation in Juneau, Alaska
in 1986. Gary Snyder's collection of poems Axe
Handles, published right around then, was the inspiration for
The sequence of documents and activities goes
something like this:
1986, The Axe Handle Academy, proposal to
Sealaska Heritage Foundation. The substance of that proposal
is this website.
1986, Responsive Communication, a book which
we used in conducting workshops in communication for a variety of
agencies in the State of Alaska and elsewhere.
1986, Community Roundtable Talks on 'Literacy,
Exploration, and the Humanities in Alaska'. In the first set
Deborah Tannen, CA Bowers, and Ellen Hope Hays, led community
discussions on the theme: 'Education and Literacy'. In the
second set Shirley Brice Heath, Elsie Mather, and Gary Snyder led
discussions on the theme: 'Workplace, Homeplace in a Changing Alaskan
Economy'. Ron Scollon was the coordinator and Gary Holthaus the
moderator of the discussion which visited 8 Alaskan towns and
1987, The Problem of Power, an essay and
reading list--the first of a series of reading programs as
curriculum for the Axe Handle Academy's Comparative Culture
1987, How to Teach Thematic Comparative
Literature. This was our first piece of model curriculum as
such. It contained four units on the four themes:
Alienation, Pride and Arrogance, Conflict of Loyalty, and Revenge,
Obsession, and Compassion using works of literature from Ancient Greek
classics, classics of Chinese literature and classics of Tlingit and
other native American literatures as well as contemporary authors such
as Okada, Hong-Kingston, and Achebe.
1987, The Axe Handle Academy: A Conversation with
Ron Scollon. This little essay used the vehicle of a mock
conversation to introduce readings of Snyder, Mencius, Wendell Berry,
and CA Bowers.
1987, Time and the Media, a
reading-discussion guide by Ron Scollon for a series of community
discussions supported by the Alaska Humanities forum.
1988, The Incredible Shrinking Man, a final
report to the Alaska Humanities Forum on the project 'Print, Palaver,
and Prime Time: Public Discourse in Transition'.
Obviously that was a busy two years. In 1988
we moved to Taiwan in part to begin to try to understand these
questions from a different cultural and bioregional point of
view. So many other questions have arisen in the interval of
some 12 years that we are only now returning to try to integrate