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

Alaskan Eskimo Education:

A Film Analysis of Cultural

Confrontation in the Schools 


This is a study of students and teachers and administrators in Alaska, and it was made possible only because of their gracious cooperation. I wish to thank and acknowledge the generosity of all these collaborators, with particular appreciation to William Benton, director of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Education on the Bethel Area, to Roman and Lirha Kinney, Henry B. Bowen, William and Judy Morgenstein, and Donald MacLowry, teachers in BIA schools; to Ida Nicori, who opened the door to the Head Start Program for me and to her father, Alexi Nicori, my host at Kwethluk; to Maxwell Fancher, superintendent of the Bethel Consolidated Schools; to James Conaway, director of elementary education in Anchorage; and special thanks to Boyd Fonnesbeck, principal in Anchorage, who offered rich insights into Native education, as well as hospitality.

The study was also made with the direct cooperation and support of the National Study of American Indian Education. I especially wish to thank its director, Robert J. Havighurst, for his imagination to see the potentialities of the film’s part in the study and his generous help throughout, and its associate director Estelle Fuchs, for her guidance in the research writing of the initial report. I am particularly indebted to my colleagues, John Connelly, regional director for the Northwest Coast and Alaska Area of the National Study, and Ray and Carol Barnhardt, who were fellow researchers with me in Bethel and who have continued to give advice and counsel on the writing.

Alyce Cathey, Paul Michaels, Mack E. Ford, and my son, Malcolm Collier, were the hardworking researchers who carried our the detailed work of viewing and analyzing the content of the films-very special thanks to them! I am also indebted to Marilyn Laatsch for her editorial assistance in the final writing of this book.

Thanks also to Edward T. Hall, who stimulated my initial involvement in film analysis and also advised me on how to present the project report as a book, and to George and Louise Spindler for encouraging the writing of the final MS.

For editorial judgment as well as typing, I am most grateful to Lorraine de la Fuente and her staff of the Social Science Manuscript Service of San Francisco State College, who saw the work through in its earlier form as a report to the U.S. Office of Education; and to Irene Dea Collier and Mary E. T. Collier, who worked through its considerably expanded and repeatedly revised forms to make the present book.

Financial support for the fieldwork and the analysis came from the Institute for the Study of Man, the Wenner Gren Foundation, and the American Philosophical Society. Thanks to all these worthy organizations! Also to San Francisco State College, who kept my salary coming through a semester of research leave.



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
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Last modified November 19, 2008