Education Alaska Native Education
by
Polly Hyslop, Beth Leonard
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 May 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0250

Introduction

This bibliography presents foundational studies in Alaska Native education, as well as more current articles, book chapters, dissertations, media sources, and other key resources that explore Alaska Native education from the precolonization era to the present. As there have been a number of publications about Alaska Natives, rather than with and for Alaska Natives, this bibliography privileges Alaska Native voices and scholarship. Although Alaska Natives are often grouped with American Indian peoples in educational statistical analyses, the contexts of these groups are distinct with historical and current challenges that, although not completely dissimilar, diverge in significant ways. Currently Alaska Native students represent 22 percent of the total K-12 population in Alaska (Alaska Department of Education & Early Development,), and 16 percent of all students enrolled in the University of Alaska system. Education continues to be a priority for Alaska Native organizations and communities. Current issues include low numbers of Alaska Native teachers and appropriate Indigenous teacher preparation, high teacher turnover, and Alaska Native retention and graduation rates in K-12 and higher education. As well, many scholars seek to reorient ideologies around academic “success” beyond diplomas and degrees (Barnhardt and Kawagley 2010; Barnhardt and Kawagley 2011). Many sources in this bibliography envision the potential for Alaska Native education, diverging from the discourses of Alaska Native student failure[s]; rather, these sources focus on how K-12 and higher education institutions might be better prepared to serve these students. Bibliography categories are broad in scope and there is significant thematic overlap among the sources. Websites with significant content on Alaska Native education include the Alaska Native Knowledge Network and Alaskool. In addition, there are a number of locally based curriculum initiatives by Alaska Native teacher organizations, including the Association of Interior Native Educators who have developed culturally based curriculum units, teacher resource books, and learning styles videos.

General Overview of Alaska Native Peoples

Alaska Native peoples are diverse within a landscape of 663,268 square miles. State of Alaska census data from 2015 reveals that approximately 19 percent of the state’s total population of 737,625 self-identify as Alaska Native. Alaska Native is a legal term; however it is now being used as a racial/ethnic identifier; and this “pan” term tends to gloss over the diversity of Alaska’s Indigenous nations. Alaska has several major Native regions and twenty distinct Native languages, including Iñupiaq, Yup’ik, Cup’ik, Sugpiaq/Alutiiq, Unangax/Aleut, Athabascan, Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Haida (Williams 2009, pp. 4–11). In 2015, the twenty Alaska Native languages were recognized as “official languages of the State” (State of Alaska, HB216, 21 January 2015). The twelve Alaska Native controlled corporations (with associated educational nonprofit arms) formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act function as major employers and economic drivers within and beyond the State of Alaska (in comparison, there are 229 tribes recognized by the US federal government).

  • Barnhardt, Ray, and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, eds. 2010. Alaska Native education: Views from within. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    This edited volume contains thirty-one essays that highlight the voices of Alaska Native leaders and scholars, many of whom are long-term activists and advocates of Alaska Native knowledges and pedagogies. Several essays were reprinted from previous peer-reviewed publications, and selected essays are annotated in subsequent sections of this bibliography.

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  • Barnhardt, Ray, and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, eds. 2011. Sharing our pathways: Native perspectives on education in Alaska. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    This edited volume contains sixty-three essays that document Indigenous Knowledges (IK) and examine the integration of IK into classroom pedagogies. The essays were published in the Sharing Our Pathways newsletters written between 1966 and 2005 as part of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative. The volume is organized by Alaska Native cultural groups: Yup’ik/Cup’ik, Tlingit/Haida, Unangan/Alutiiq, Athabascan, and Iñupiaq. Selected essays are annotated in subsequent sections of this bibliography.

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  • Williams, Maria Shaa Tláa, ed. 2009. The Alaska Native reader: History, culture, politics. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    The essays in this seminal volume are creatively arranged into five sections: Portraits of nations: Telling our own story; Empire: Processing decolonization; Worldviews: Alaska Native and Indigenous epistemologies; Native arts: A weaving of melody and color; and Ravenstales. Essays cover a broad range of topics including the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Alaska Native planning traditions, cultural identity and language, tribal governance, cultural appropriation, and Indigenous perspectives on Alaska Native history[ies].

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Education and Research

The topic of research intersects with other topics of this bibliography; however, it deserves its own category. Relevant to research in Alaska Native education are counternarratives to the historically deficit discourses around Alaska Native student achievement and success. Although few publications are listed, these directly address Alaska Native education as a part of Arctic-based research, and highlight the importance of collaborative, community-based, ethical, self-sustaining, and self-determining research in Alaska Native communities. The 2018 Arctic Horizons report reiterates and expands upon many previous recommendations from earlier works, including Alaska Federation of Natives 1993 and Assembly of Alaska Native Educators 2000. Cultural property and protections are also highlighted by Inupiat scholar Patricia Cochran (Cochran, et al. 2010) and Sugpiaq scholar Gordon Pullar (Pullar 2010), while Thorne, et al. 2015 promotes collaborative and capacity-building language programming and research.

  • Alaska Federation of Natives. 1993. Guideline for research.

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    This early document by the Alaska Federation of Natives recommends direct participation and oversight of projects impacting Alaska Native peoples, by Alaska Native peoples; also the development of local/regional research oversight committees to monitor and assess research.

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  • Anderson, Shelby, Colleen Strawhacker, Aaron Presnall, et al. 2018. Arctic horizons: Final report. Washington, DC: Jefferson Institute.

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    This report by a multi-institution collaboration (University of Alaska Fairbanks, Portland State University, Jefferson Institute, Brown University, and University of Northern Iowa) provides a set of recommendations for United States Arctic social science priorities. Support for Arctic Indigenous communities and Indigenous information sovereignty are emphasized in conjunction with education-related research priorities focused on community health and healing, and youth and gender studies.

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  • Assembly of Alaska Native Educators. 2000. Guidelines for respecting cultural knowledge. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    The process of integrating Alaska Native knowledges into classroom contexts requires critical examination of cultural property rights to avoid cultural appropriation and misuse. The document is organized into the following categories: recommendations for Native Elders, authors and illustrators, curriculum developers and administrators, educators, editors and publishers, document reviewers, researchers, Native language specialists, Native community organizations, and the general public.

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  • Cochran, Patricia A. L., Catherine A. Marshall, Carmen Garcia-Downing, et al. 2010. Indigenous ways of knowing: Implications for participatory research and community. In Alaska Native education: Views from within. Edited by Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 147–159. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    The authors promote a community collaborative research model and stress the “urgent need” (p. 151) for research based on ethical approaches and community participation. Significant questions highlighted in this chapter include “who benefits from Indigenous knowledge?”; “who owns the intellectual and cultural property rights?”; and “who gets credit for the knowledge conducted in indigenous communities?” (p. 155).

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  • Pullar, Gordon L. 2010. Aleut/Alutiiq region: Cultural and intellectual property rights. In Alaska Native education: Views from within. Edited by Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 177–182. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    In this keynote address from the 2001 Alaska Native Educators’ conference, Sugpiaq scholar Gordon Pullar provides examples of cultural property rights with the repatriation of human remains taken from his heritage community, Kodiak Island. The author also reviews the development of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which at the time was in draft.

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  • Thorne, Steven L., Sabine Siekmann, and Walkie Charles. 2015. Ethical issues in Indigenous language research and interventions. In Ethics in applied linguistics: Language researcher narratives. Edited by Peter I. Acosta, 144–160. New York: Routledge.

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    The authors explore ethics in three grant-funded language research projects in Alaska: Second-language teacher education; Piciryramta Elincungallra: Teaching our way of life through our language; and Computer-assisted language learning. All projects focused on capacity building through community-based professional development for Alaska Native educators and ethical, collaborative community engagement.

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Research and Educational Data

Educational data often superficially problematizes the “non-achievement” of Alaska Native students, rather than assessing systemic and institutional failures in providing quality education for these students. Villegas 2006 and Villegas and Prieto 2006 clarify challenges of data analysis, as well as examining community perspectives on student success, while DeFeo and Tran 2019 discusses recruitment, hiring, and leadership in rural Alaska.

  • DeFeo, Dayna, and Trang Tran. 2019. Recruiting, hiring, and training Alaska’s rural teachers: How superintendents practice place-conscious leadership. Journal of Research in Rural Education 35.2: 1–17.

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    This article examines how school superintendents in thirty-two rural Alaska districts recruited, hired, and trained new teachers to work in rural schools. The researchers discuss the amount of time superintendents spent on these activities, and how their activities reflected “a place-conscious approach to teacher staffing management” (p. 4).

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  • Villegas, Malia. 2006. Getting behind the numbers. Anchorage: Alaska Native Policy Center at the First Alaskans Institute.

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    Alutiiq/Sugpiaq scholar Malia Villegas provides an analysis of factors and co-factors that may lead to high Alaska Native student “dropout,” “push-out,” and “lure-out” rates. Villegas emphasizes that “dropping out is a process” (p. 17) and ends the report with a series of recommendations including more extensive data tracking and disaggregation, graduation and attrition goal setting, capacity building, and strategy sharing among communities and districts.

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  • Villegas, Malia, and Rebecca Prieto. 2006. Alaska Native student vitality: Community perspectives on supporting student success. Anchorage: Alaska Native Policy Center at the First Alaskans Institute.

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    This report authored by Alutiiq/Sugpiaq scholar Malia Villegas and Iñupiaq scholar Rebecca Prieto summarizes recommendations by Alaska Native community leaders, community members, and advocates regarding definitions of student success, and the characteristics of successful schools. The conclusion lists a number of current challenges to Alaska Native student retention and graduation, and recommendations for creating successful schools for Native students.

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Education, Well-Being, and Restorative Justice

Restorative justice efforts in Alaska and beyond have significant implications for education, as related to the well-being of Alaska Natives. Alaska Native peoples are currently under-represented in terms of high school diploma/college degree completion, and over-represented in carceral systems. The following publications describe current Circle Peacemaking initiatives, similar to models used since time immemorial in Tlingit and other Indigenous communities. Challenges in Alaska Native education, including lack of culturally sustaining pedagogies, student success and graduation rates, and deficit discourses, intersect with community wellness in critical ways as highlighted by the Assembly of Alaska Native Educators 2001 and Napoleon 1996. Alaska Natives working in restorative justice and Circle Peacemaking include Athabascan scholar Polly Hyslop (Hyslop 2019, Hyslop 2012), Tlingit leader Harold Gatensby (Jarrett and Hyslop 2017), and the late Tlingit-Haida leader Mike Jackson (Jackson 2010, Jackson 2013).

  • Assembly of Alaska Native Educators. 2001. Guidelines for nurturing culturally-healthy youth. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    This publication addresses traditional child-rearing and parenting practices, and promotes continuation of these practices in classroom contexts. Organization of the document include specific recommendations for Native Elders; parents; youth; communities, tribes, clans, and Native organizations; educators; schools; child-care providers; youth services and juvenile justice agencies; researchers; and the general public.

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  • Hyslop, Polly. 2012. Restorative justice in rural Alaska. Alaska Journal of Dispute Resolution 1.1: 17–26.

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    This paper explores the working relationship between the rural state court system and Alaska Native communities in Alaska, profiling three restorative justice processes in collaboration with families, community members, and state court officials: Circle Peacemaking in Kake, Alaska; Circle Sentencing in Galena, Alaska; and the Upper Tanana Wellness Court in Tok, Alaska. This paper also examines two restorative justice models in Canada: the Restorative Community Conferencing and Sentence Circles.

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  • Hyslop, Polly, and Brian Jarrett. 2019. Circle Peacemaking: A return to Indigenous practice through intercultural dialogue. In Intercultural and interfaith dialogues for global peacebuilding and stability. Edited by Samuel Peleg, 146–164. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

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    This chapter explores the re-emergence of Circle Peacemaking in Kake, a Tlingit community in Alaska. This chapter examines how local community members engaged Circle Peacemaking in an effort to address alcoholism and suicide. Circle Peacemaking works in collaboration with the State of Alaska judicial system, local law enforcement, and families as a restorative practice addressing wrongdoing in the form of misdemeanors and juvenile offenses. Local schools can also refer students who are in need of guidance and direction.

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  • Jackson, Mike. 2010. Healing our community: The Kake peacemaking circle. Healthy Alaskans Vol. 2, Chapter 1.

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    This article examines interviews by a group of concerned community members from Kake, Alaska who formed the Healing Heart Council in honor of the Craig Healing Heart Totem, a symbol of living a good life free from drug and alcohol abuse and for healing from all kinds of losses and trauma. Community members describe the process of developing a peacemaking circle in their community, and a working relationship with the state court system.

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  • Jackson, Mike. 2013. Kake circle Peacemaking manual; Created in collaboration with the Organized Village of Kake Peacekeepers and the Alaska Native Justice Center.

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    This manual was created by members of the Kake Circle Peacemaking in partnership with the Alaska Native Justice Center to share the benefits of a community-based restorative justice designed by the community. The volunteers based the structure of the restorative justice process on traditional law and practices within the southeast Alaska community of Kake. Circle Peacemaking has been practiced by the Tlingit people and many other Indigenous cultures for dispute resolution.

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  • Jarrett, Brian, and Polly Hyslop. 2017. Harold Gatensby: Tlingit peacemaker and leader. In Leading against the grain: Lessons for creating just and equitable schools. Edited by Jeffrey S. Brooks and Anthony H. Normore, 90–95. New York: Teachers College Press.

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    The chapter profiles Harold Gatensby, a First Nations Tlingit leader and change-agent in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Though his efforts working with the territorial court system, he revived the practice of Peacemaking Circles in Carcross, Yukon Territory.

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  • Napoleon, Harold. 1996. Yuuyaraq: The way of the human being. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    Alaska Native society was tragically impacted by epidemics from the 1770s through the 1940s. These epidemics are described as “great deaths” by Yup’ik scholar Harold Napoleon, who clarifies the roots of contemporary social and mental challenges affecting Alaska Natives. The book includes commentaries from elders and academics concerned with understanding and overcoming the challenges that Alaska Natives face in the early 21st century.

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Language Revitalization/Reclamation

In many communities and schools throughout Alaska, Alaska Native languages were severely repressed postcontact through the early 1970s. In 1972, the Alaska State Legislature adopted a bill requiring schools with students with a primary language other than English be accommodated by a Native language teacher, as documented in MacLean 2010. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, various bilingual and cultural program initiatives emerged in the state, with the first Yup’ik language immersion school, Ayaprun Elitnaurvik Yup’ik Immersion, opening in 1995. Other immersion initiatives sponsored by Alaska Native tribes include the Nikaitchuat Ilisagviat (Kotzebue) and Ya Na Dah Ah (Chickaloon) immersion programs. Alaska Native languages became official languages of the state of Alaska in 2015. This brief section includes current policy recommendations in Smith, et al. 2018, documentation of a 1990s language planning effort in interior Alaska in Dementi-Leonard and Gilmore 1999, and an Alutiiq corpus planning initiative on Kodiak Island (Counceller 2010).

  • Counceller, April. 2010. Niugneliyukut (We are making new words): A community philosophy of language revitalization. PhD diss., Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks.

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    This dissertation by Alutiiq scholar April Counceller describes the Alutiiq revitalization movement that encompasses cultural education and arts and language revitalization. The Kodiak New Words Council further contributes to the process of educational and linguistic self-determination for Alutiiq peoples.

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  • Dementi-Leonard, Beth, and Perry Gilmore. 1999. Language revitalization and identity in social context: A community-based Athabascan language preservation project in western interior Alaska. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 30.1: 37–55.

    DOI: 10.1525/aeq.1999.30.1.37Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines a series of language planning meetings in the Tanana Chiefs Conference (tribal consortium) region of interior Alaska. The planning meetings were collaborative and participatory, with community members’ discussions focused on the importance of Alaska Native language maintenance including how language revitalization efforts intersect with education, community well-being, and youth identity in significant ways.

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  • MacLean, Edna A. 2010. Culture and change for the Inupiat and Yup’ik people of Alaska. In Alaska Native education: Views from within. Edited by Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 41–58. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    Inupiat scholar Edna MacLean discusses the Inupiat seasonal activities, oral literature, and songs as related to Inupiat worldviews and language. She examines the pre- and postcontact history of this cultural area, and ends with a discussion of 1972 legislation that provided space in schools for Native language instruction, and 1975 legislation that created the Alaska Native Language Center.

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  • Smith, Annette Evans, X’unei Lance Twitchell, Walkie Charles, April G. I. Counceller, and Bernadette Yaayuk Alvanna-Stimpfle. 2018. The Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council’s 2018 Biennial Report to the Governor and Legislature. Anchorage, AK: Division of Community and Regional Affairs.

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    This third report of the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council (formed in 2012) examines intersecting factors in language loss (e.g., historical trauma, colonization), discusses best practices for language revitalization, and highlights recommendations from Alaska Native language stakeholders toward policymakers, institutions, communities, and individuals.

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Cultural Revitalization and Reclamation

Selected sources on cultural revitalization and reclamation as related to Alaska Native education are presented in this topic area, with an understanding that languages are often inextricably linked with cultures. Sources reflect common themes including historical and contemporary challenges, wellness, responsibility, balance, and identity. Representing a range of Alaska Native cultural regions, Drabek 2012, Demientieff 2017, MacLean 2010 (cited under Language Revitalization/Reclamation), and Senungetuk 2017 promote adaptation of traditional practices in contemporary contexts.

  • Demientieff, LaVerne M. 2017. Deg Xit’an, Athabascan conversations on wellness: A qualitative study exploring the radical possibilities of relationships. PhD diss., Univ. of Utah School of Social Work.

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    In this study, Deg Xit’an scholar LaVerne Demientieff examines conceptions of wellness in four Athabascan communities in interior Alaska. Her interview questions center on how individuals have dealt with challenges including illnesses (physical and beyond), and how cultural practices and role models contribute to individual and community well-being. Although not directly related to classroom education, this study provides an important community engagement model with significant implications for classroom schooling.

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  • Drabek, Alisha. 2012. Liitukut Sugpiat’stun (We are learning how to be real people): Exploring Kodiak Alutiiq literature through core values. PhD diss., Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks.

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    This document highlights Alutiiq worldviews and values through examination of Alutiiq stories. Alutiiq scholar Alisha Drabak also provides a historical overview of the impacts of colonization on Alutiiq literature, and recommendations for revitalizing and reclaiming oral traditions in educational practice.

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  • Senungetuk, Heidi. 2017. Creating a Native space in the city: An Inupiaq community in song and dance. PhD diss., Wesleyan Univ.

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    Inupiat scholar Heidi Senungetuk investigates oral histories and primary sources documenting Inupiaq music and dance activities, and examines how a contemporary Inupiaq dance group maintains their Indigenous identity and connections to Inupiaq ancestral communities.

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Alaska Native Worldviews in Pedagogy and Curriculum

The publications in this category are only a few examples of curricular and pedagogical materials developed by Alaska Native educators. Culturally based, culturally responsive, culturally relevant, and culturally sustaining pedagogies have been part of Alaska Native education since time immemorial, yet are not often acknowledged as such. While Ongtooguk n.d. examines the absence of Alaska Native cultures in classroom curriculum, Hill, et al. 2006 documents student improvement in specific assessment areas for Alaska districts and schools that participated in Indigenous-based curriculum and pedagogy. Intersecting with the goals of AKRSI, Kawagley, et al. 1998 and Mercier and Leonard 2018 illustrate the ways Alaska Native knowledges reflect scientific practices and provide guidelines for use of these knowledges in classroom settings. Yup’ik scholars Agatha John-Shields (John-Shields 2018) and Theresa John (John 2009) unpack significant Yup’ik concepts and processes related to education, while Athabascan scholar Beth Leonard proposes an Indigenous pedagogy based in the oral traditions of Athabascan peoples (Leonard 2013).

  • Hill, Frank, Oscar Kawagley, and Ray Barnhardt. 2006. Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative final report: Phase II 2000–2005.

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    This ten-year project funded by the National Science and Annenberg Foundations provided funding to develop Indigenous-based curriculum and pedagogy for over 170 participating districts and schools around the state. This final report provides an overview of the participating schools and evidence of systemic reform reflecting standards-based curriculum, instruction, assessment, and comparative performance data.

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  • John, Theresa A. 2009. Nutemllarput, Our very own: A Yup’ik epistemology. Canadian Journal of Native Education 32.1: 57–72, 129.

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    In this article, Yup’ik Theresa John examines processes inherent in Yugtun epistemology, for example, ellam innga “the eye of awareness” or “the eye of the weather,” and how these processes contribute to collaborative, cooperative, and constructive pedagogies within the Yup’ik culture.

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  • John-Shields, Agatha. 2018. Tangerqengiaraucaraq (being present). PhD diss., Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks.

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    This dissertation by longtime Yup’ik language immersion teacher and administrator Agatha John-Shields investigates pre-service teacher attitudes toward culturally responsive teaching and learning. The Yup’ik process of tangerqengiaraucaraq is used as a key concept and theoretical framework. Similar to MacLean 2010 (cited under Language Revitalization/Reclamation), John-Shields recommends engaging the qasqiq (community house) as a method to support culturally responsive teaching.

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  • Kawagley, Angayuqaq Oscar, Delena Norris-Tull, and Roger Norris-Tull. 1998. The Indigenous worldview of Yupiaq culture: The scientific nature and relevance to the practice and teaching of science. In Alaska Native education: Views from within. Edited by Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 219–235. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    Kawagley, et al. provide evidence that the Yupiaq culture in Alaska has its own science[s] and scientific methodologies, and that Indigenous Knowledge systems can contribute to science teaching for Alaska Native students. The authors recommend that science education be revisioned and reformed for the benefit of Alaska Native students.

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  • Leonard, Beth. 2013. Indigenous pedagogies in the oral traditions of Belle Deacon. Journal of American Indian Education 52.3: 3–20.

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    In this article, Leonard describes how oral traditions, story methodologies, and pedagogies of place were used to inform coursework for preservice teachers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Worldviews, ways of knowing, and problematic assumptions about the cultures of Alaska Native peoples were examined in the course.

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  • Mercier, Ocean Ripeka, and Beth Leonard. 2018. Indigenous Knowledges and the sciences in global contexts: Bringing worlds together. In Handbook of Indigenous education. Edited by Elizabeth McKinley and Linda T. Smith, 1–29. Singapore: Springer Nature.

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    This publication documents shared videoconference courses between Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Alaska focusing on Indigenous Knowledges and the sciences, and providing students a critical, shared space to discuss global Indigenous issues. This chapter builds on previous publications including Leonard and Mercier 2016 (cited under Alaska Native Spaces in Postsecondary Education) and “Shaping Indigenous Spaces in Higher Education” (Beth Leonard and Ocean Mercier, Canadian Journal of Native Education 37:218–238, 2014).

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  • Ongtooguk, Paul. n.d. Their silence about us: Why we need an Alaska Native curriculum.

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    Inupiat scholar Paul Ongtooguk attended school in northwest Alaska in the 1970s where non-Native educators and counselors guided Native students to vocational-technical trades. The curriculum at his high school did not contain any information about Alaska Native cultures and issues. The Native Studies Curriculum Development Project was created to offer Native curricula for educators, and to “break the silence about us” so that future generations of Alaska Native students will have classroom access to Alaska Native history and society.

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  • Sparck, Lucy, and Cecilia Martz. 2001. Yaaveskaniryaraq. Cultural Education Outreach Project. Akiachak, AK: Yupiit School District.

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    Created by Alaska Native educators Lucy Sparck and Cecilia Martz, this curriculum “focuses on the literature, history, art, science, spirituality and social systems of Yup’ik civilization” (p. 4). The authors discuss the history of the project, and document the impacts of the curriculum on students, Elders, and community.

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  • Wright, Miranda. 2010. The circle we call community. In Alaska Native education: Views from within. Edited by Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 125–129. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    In this chapter, Koyukon scholar Miranda Wright addresses how the cycle of four seasons in Alaska can be used as a teaching tool in the classroom by Elder educators who should be engaged as “cultural resources” (p. 125). The author stresses the need to document Indigenous knowledge for immediate use for knowledge sharing to students. She also touches upon the importance of teaching protocol in Native cultural events.

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Place- and Land-Based Education

Place-based education is both a methodology and pedagogy, used globally, to focus on the knowledge[s] around specific places and contexts, while “land-based education” may be a more accurate term in describing Indigenous pedagogies. Alaska Native and other Indigenous peoples have developed extensive place- and land-based pedagogical models over millennia. Land-based education in Alaska Native contexts includes Indigenous worldviews and value systems in ways that extend notions of place, engaging the “six Rs”: respect, responsibility, relevance, relationality, reciprocity, and resiliency. These values are evident in Iñupiaq scholar Edna MacLean’s and Cup’ik scholar Lucy Jones-Sparck’s publications on traditional and classroom education (MacLean 2010, Jones-Sparck 2010), while Tlingit and Haida scholar Dolly Garza’s publications (Garza 1999 and Garza 2011) highlight the intersections of science and Alaska Native knowledges specific to Alaska’s southeast region. Finally, Assembly of Alaska Native Educators 2003 emphasizes responsibilities of educational and community organizations in providing culturally responsive (including place- and land-based) education for teachers.

  • Assembly of Alaska Native Educators. 2003. Guidelines for cross-cultural orientation programs. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    These recommendations center on the need for cross-cultural orientation programs for educators, so as to better serve Alaska Native and diverse populations. Specific guidelines are provided for communities, tribes, and Native organizations; school districts and administrators; principals and teachers; schools; state policymakers and educational agencies; tribal colleges and universities; and cultural immersion camp sponsors.

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  • Garza, Dolly. 1999. Tlingit moon & tide teaching resource: Elementary level. Fairbanks: Alaska School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

    DOI: 10.4027/tmttrel.1999Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This publication guides teachers in presenting ecosystem knowledge of the Tlingit culture. The book is organized into four chapters: Native science in education; Dis: The moon in Tlingit culture; People of the tide; and Tlingit cycles: The moon and tide.

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  • Garza, Dolly. 2011. Alaska Native science: A curriculum guide. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    In this publication, Tlingit and Haida biologist Dolly Garza highlights the science[s] inherent in Alaska Native knowledge systems. Topics include marine mammals, herring, and traditional medicines, including profiles of other Alaska Native scientists.

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  • Jones-Sparck, Lucy. 2010. Effects of modernization on the Cup’ik of Alaska. In Alaska Native education: Views from within. Edited by Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 317–331. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    Cup’ik scholar Lucy Sparck discusses the traditional education system as “a family and community responsibility” (p. 318); however, after contact, traditional educators and elders were displaced by classroom education and Western religions. Sparck recommends reinforcing Native culture in classroom contexts to strengthen youth learning and identity, and an understanding of history, including the “dysfunctional period of cultural transmission” (p. 327).

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  • MacLean, Edna A. 2010. Revitalization of the qargi. In Alaska Native education: Views from within. Edited by Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 131–137. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    This essay, written by Inupiat scholar Edna Ahgeak MacLean, discusses the role and importance of the quargis (community houses) in creating a sense of belonging for men who served as whalers and hunters. MacLean stresses the importance of returning the responsibility of education to the elders and local community, promoting an educational balance between the early-21st-century world and traditional education that includes survival skills in the Arctic.

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Pedagogy and Policy: Challenges and Opportunities

Pedagogy and policy are challenges in Alaska Native education, with state and federal policies often at odds with pedagogy-of-place practices. In this section, selected foundational literature by the late Tlingit scholar William Demmert (Demmert and Towner 2003, Demmert 1999) is included with other analyses of Alaska Native pedagogy and policy including Barnhardt 2001 and Dauenhauer 1997. Carpluk 1997 discusses the formation and early histories of Alaska Native teacher organizations. Kawagley 2006, Mather 1995, Okakok 1989, and Sobeloff 2010 offer Alaska Native perspectives on precontact pedagogy and curriculum, and discuss how these practices might be utilized in contemporary classrooms. The guidelines Assembly of Alaska Native Educators 1998, Assembly of Alaska Native Educators 1999, Assembly of Alaska Native Educators 2002, and Alaska Department of Education & Early Development 2012 are cited under Reclaiming Education: Alaska’s Culturally Responsive Standards.

  • Barnhardt, Carol. 2001. A history of schooling for Alaska Native people. Journal of American Indian Education 40.1: 1–30.

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    This article examines historical events that have shaped educational policies for Alaska Natives. Barnhardt provides an overview of the Alaskan context including the development of federal/state dual school system. The article also reviews federal policies impacting Alaska, and examines educational initiatives in the 1990s, including the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative.

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  • Carpluk, Lenora. 1997. Contemporary needs of the Native teachers: The formation of the Native teacher associations in Alaska. MA proj., Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks.

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    Yup’ik scholar Lenora Carpluk documents the development of Native teacher organizations in Alaska in the 1990s. These associations were designed to provide support to Alaska Native teachers (who are still underrepresented as a whole in Alaska), and Alaska Native students through promoting cultural pedagogy and curricular materials.

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  • Dauenhauer, Richard. 1997. Conflicting visions in Alaskan education. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    This foundational document by the late Richard Dauenhauer examines the history of Alaskan education, with a focus on two significant figures that impacted educational policy. Russian Orthodox priest John Veniaminov (b. 1797–d. 1879) encouraged Native language literacy, helped found bilingual programs, and supported development of Native clergy. In contrast, Alaska’s first commissioner of education, Sheldon Jackson (b. 1834–d. 1909) believed that Christianity, the English language, and nationalism were inextricably linked, and promoted Alaska Native acculturation/assimilation.

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  • Demmert, William G. 1999. Indian education revisited: A personal experience. Journal of American Indian Education 38.3: 5–13.

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    In this article, the late Dr. William Demmert describes his early classroom education experiences in Alaska, including graduate work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Harvard University. Dr. Demmert’s collaborative work in American Indian education resulted in the formation of The National Indian Education Association, designed to improve schooling for American Indian children, promote Native languages and cultures, and influence policy on the local, state, and federal levels.

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  • Demmert, William, and John C. Towner. 2003. A review of the research literature on the influences of culturally based education on the academic performance of Native American students. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.

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    This review examines research literature to determine whether culturally based education (CBE) improves academic success of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students. Introductory sections highlight the development of CBE, including theory and methodology, provide an operational definition of the elements of CBE, definitions of experimental and quasi-experimental research, and the difficulties in conducting such research.

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  • Kawagley, Angayuqaq Oscar. 2006. A Yupiaq worldview: A pathway to ecology and spirit. 2d ed. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

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    This seminal volume, originally published in 1995, is one of the first published inquiries into Alaska Native pedagogy and science by an Alaska Native scholar. In this volume, Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley proposes incorporating Yupiaq ways of knowing with Western science into classroom education to help promote Alaska Native student engagement, youth identity, and success.

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  • Mather, Elsie. 1995. With a vision beyond our immediate needs: Oral traditions in an age of literacy. In When our words return: Writing, hearing and remembering oral traditions of Alaska and the Yukon. Edited by Phyllis Morrow and William Schneider, 13–26. Logan: Utah State Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt46nrcm.9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Yup’ik scholar Elsie Mather discusses classroom education, with reference to literacy as a “necessary monster” in that the contemporary processes of reading and writing often disengage students with Yup’ik culture and the natural world. Mather refers to the Yup’ik language as “an important gift” (p. 19) that needs to be used and shared.

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  • Okakok, Leona. 1989. Serving the purpose of education. Harvard Educational Review 59.4: 405–422.

    DOI: 10.17763/haer.59.4.j774101814p68423Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Inupiat scholar Leona Okakok discusses postcontact schooling for the Inupiat, and the challenges these communities face in maintaining the Inupiaq language and culture. In spite of the often diverging worldviews and practices between Western classroom education and Alaska Native systems, the North Slope Borough School District managed to meld essential practices of both systems to create a community-based model.

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  • Ongtooguk, Paul. 2010. Who controls Alaska Native education? In Alaska Native education: Views from within. Edited by Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 301–305. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    Inupiat scholar and educator Paul Ongtooguk addresses the serious lack of Native content in the classroom curriculum at both the local and university levels. While the nature of his concerns may have changed at the university level, much of the Alaska Native content in K-12 education remains deficient. Ongtooguk states that culturally deficient classroom education and the “lives of people who are trapped in it” (p. 303) directly contribute to the high levels of Native suicide.

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  • Sobeloff, Walter. 2010. Growing up to be Tlingit. In Alaska Native education: Views from within. Edited by Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 139–144. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    The address of the late Tlingit scholar Dr. Walter Sobeloff (b. 14 November 1908–d. 22 May 2011) to the Alaska Native Educators’ Conference in 1998 is documented in this chapter. Similar to other Alaska Native writers in this volume, Sobeloff describes Native learning as an “observing, hearing and hands-on method” (p. 141) and provides a list of cultural values that emphasize the responsibilities of the clan and family in the education of youth.

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Reclaiming Education: Alaska’s Culturally Responsive Standards

The Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative in the 1990s and 2000s facilitated the development of Alaska’s Culturally Responsive Standards. Alaska Native educators from across the state gathered to draft these standards to facilitate culturally responsive education specific to Alaska Native communities. Assembly of Alaska Native Educators 1998, Assembly of Alaska Native Educators 1999, and Assembly of Alaska Native Educators 2002 are nationally and internationally recognized standards, and have been adapted for contexts and cultures outside of Alaska. The State of Alaska’s Department of Education and Early Development published guidelines for implementing these standards in 2012.

  • Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. 2012. Guidelines for implementing the Alaska cultural standards for educators. Juneau, AK.

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    This publication, developed in collaboration with Alaska Native Educators and Education Northwest, is organized around five educator standards: these standards include incorporating local ways of knowing and teaching, utilizing the local environment and community resources, participation in community events, collaborative decision-making between teachers and parents, and helping each student realize their potential. The guidelines include performance indicator rubrics for each of the five standards.

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  • Assembly of Alaska Native Educators. 1998. Alaska standards for culturally responsive schools. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    Standards developed by Alaska Native Educators offer guidance for schools and communities focused on the educational and cultural well-being of students. The document includes recommendations for students, educators, curricula, schools, and communities.

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  • Assembly of Alaska Native Educators. 1999. Guidelines for preparing culturally-responsive teachers for Alaska’s schools. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    This publication promotes teacher preparation for diverse student populations, with a focus on culturally responsive methods. The document offers Alaska teacher standards for philosophy, learning theory and practice, diversity, content, instruction and assessment, learning environment, family and community involvement, and professional growth.

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  • Assembly of Alaska Native Educators. 2002. Guidelines for culturally-responsive school boards. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

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    This document provides guidelines for school boards and local school/community committees and advisory boards to assist in incorporating Alaska Native/Indigenous cultural traditions and knowledge. Recommendations are provided for school board members; local school/community committees; school district administrators; communities, tribes, and Native organizations; principals and teachers; state policymakers and educational agencies; and the general public.

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Alaska Native Spaces in Postsecondary Education

The University of Alaska (UA) began in 1917 as a small land grant college—originally the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines. The college later became UA Fairbanks (UAF), one of three main campuses, with associated satellite campuses that comprise the UA system. Ilisagvik in Barrow is currently Alaska’s only tribal college, although Alaska Pacific University, based in Anchorage, is moving toward designation as a tribal university. Alaska Natives have long advocated for authentic programs and coursework in higher education, prioritizing these initiatives during and after passage of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, as documented in Jennings 2004 and Jacquot 1974. Alaska Native studies programming and leadership specific to the UA system are examined in Galla, et al. 2014; Gilmore, et al. 1997; Leonard and Mercier 2016; and Skinner and Leonard 2018. Indigenous leadership is also addressed by Pearl Brower, past president of Ilisagvik College, who examines Ilisagvik and tribal colleges more broadly, including the University of Hawai‘i leadership model (Brower 2016). Jones 2018 following on previous work in Perea 2013 examines academic development of Alaska Native PhDs and EdDs, and maintains a list of scholars. Recent initiatives in higher education include the formation of the Alaska Native Studies Council, a group of Alaska Native and affiliated scholars across the UA system.

  • Brower, Pearl. 2016. Tumitchiat: iñuqqaat aullarrisiatun iḷisaġviit—A new pathway: Indigenous leadership in higher education. PhD diss., Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks.

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    Inupiaq scholar Pearl Brower completed her dissertation while serving as president of Ilisagvik College. Her research examines Ilisagvik and tribal colleges more broadly, including Māori, Hawaiian, and Canadian Inuit leadership models.

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  • Carpluk, Lenora, and Beth Leonard. 2017. Engaging Indigenous communities in higher education: An analysis of ownership and collaboration in Alaska Native teacher preparation. Engaged Scholar Journal 2.1: 71–88.

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    In this article, Yup’ik scholar Carpluk and Athabascan scholar Leonard explore challenges and examine outcomes of a four-year Office of Indian Education pre-service teacher preparation grant awarded to the UA School of Education. They discuss collaboration with two Alaska Native teacher organizations as part of the cultural mentoring and teacher induction grant priorities.

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  • Galla, Candace Kalemamowahinekapu, Keiki Kawai’ae’a, and Sheilah Nicholas. 2014. Carrying the torch forward: Indigenous academics building capacity through and international collaborative model. Canadian Journal of Native Education 37.1: 193–217.

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    Hawaiian scholars Candace Galla and Keiki Kawai’ae’a and Hopi scholar Sheilah Nicholas discuss an ongoing multisite videoconference course formed under the leadership of William Demmert Jr. Sites include UA, University of Hawai‘i Hilo, University of Arizona, University of British Columbia, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, and Diné College, providing much-needed spaces for discussing Indigenous well-being and culture-based education initiatives.

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  • Gilmore, Perry, David M. Smith, and Apacuar Larry Kairaiuak. 1997. Resisting diversity: An Alaskan case of institutional struggle. In Off White: Readings on race, power, and society. Edited by Michelle E. Fine, Lois E. Weiss, Linda Powell Pruitt, and April Burns, 273–283. Florence, KY: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.

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    The authors of this chapter analyze a public statement made in the early 1990s, during which a professor alleged that instructors at UAF were being pressured to “pass” Alaska Native students. Gilmore, Smith, and Kairaiuak critically examine the institution’s delayed response to the allegation, highlighting the voices of minoritized Alaska Native students, and analyzing white institutional privilege.

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  • Jacquot, Louis. 1974. Alaska Natives and higher education, 1960–1972: A descriptive study.Fairbanks: Alaska Native Human Resources Development Program, Univ. of Alaska.

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    In this report, Tlingit scholar Louis Jacquot examines educational opportunities, access, and challenges for Alaska Natives. The author draws on archival documents, conference and meeting data, and individual interviews with personnel from Alaskan institutions of higher learning, Alaska Native organizations, and federal and state government officials. The report concludes with recommendations including development of rural community colleges, further funding of higher education, and engagement by Alaska Native organizations.

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  • Jennings, Michael. 2004. Alaska Native political leadership and higher education: One university, two universes. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

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    Through interviews with prominent Alaska Native leaders, Jennings analyzes higher education challenges for Alaska Natives in the 1970s and 1980s, often characterized by “systemic racism and cultural conflict.” This is a valuable reference, but is missing the voices of Alaska Native women in leadership and an analysis of Alaska Native programs and support services for Alaska Native students.

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  • Jones, Alberta. 2018. Alaska Native scholars: A mixed methods investigation of factors influencing PhD attainment. PhD diss., Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks.

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    Building on the work of Perea 2013, this research examines contributing factors that lead to successful completion of Alaska Native PhDs and EdDs. Through analysis of survey and interview data, the author identifies successes, challenges, barriers, benefits, and opportunities of the PhD journey. Recommendations for students and universities round out the concluding chapter of this dissertation.

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  • Leonard, Beth, and Ocean Mercier. 2016. Indigenous struggles within the colonial project: Reclaiming Indigenous Knowledges in the Western academy. Knowledge Cultures 4.3: 99–116.

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    In this article, Leonard and Mercier discuss their virtual course exchange between UA and Victoria University of Wellington. Challenges included recognition of Indigenous Knowledges (IK) as an authentic discipline, as well “righting” the history of damaging, colonizing research on Alaska Native and Indigenous communities. The authors discuss potential for interfacing Indigenous and Western knowledges, and support structures needed for authentic engagement of IK in the academy.

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  • Perea, Jessica Bissett. 2013. A tribalography of Alaska Native presence in academia. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 37.3: 3–27.

    DOI: 10.17953/aicr.37.3.0374807408725666Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In her discussion of the Alaska Native Scholars Project, Dena’ina scholar Jessica Bissett-Perea proposes a “tribalography of presence” (p. 5), a counter-discourse challenging perceptions of “absence” (p. 3) that continues to shadow Alaska Native and Indigenous peoples. Perea’s documentation of the presence of Alaska Native PhDs in academia illustrates a continuing under-representation of Alaska Native peoples in higher education.

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  • Skinner, Olga, and Beth Leonard. 2018. “A world in which [Alaska Natives] make the important decisions”: Re-envisioning institutional discourses and governance in higher education. In Handbook of Indigenous education. Edited by Elizabeth McKinley and Linda T. Smith, 1–25. Singapore: Springer Nature.

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    This chapter examines Alaska’s higher education contexts, including the formation of the UA system, current governance structures, UA’s publicly stated responsibilities to Alaska Native students, the formation of Alaska Native Studies Council, and the positioning of Alaska Natives in advisory and student support organizations. The authors engage recommendations by the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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