Recent Submissions

  • Untapped Talent: Immigrant Integration and Inclusion in Anchorage, Alaska

    Gat, Nyabony; Kuhn, Shannon; Buckingham, Sara L.; Mbise, Amana; Chen, Tzu-Chiao; Sytniak, Sofia (2022-05)
    Untapped Talent is a study of immigrants’ integration and inclusion in Anchorage with respect to education, employment, health care, access to public spaces, interactions with government agencies, social networks, and developing a sense of home. In this report, the term ‘immigrant’ is used for all people who moved from another country to the United States after their birth to live here indefinitely, including refugees, asylees, and asylum-seekers. The research team applied both quantitative and qualitative methods to uncover the results. In this document, we share findings and summarize what may help immigrants feel more at home in Anchorage.
  • Audiocassette tape digitizing instructions

    Schmuland, Arlene B. (2022)
    Step by step instructions for digitizing audiocassettes using Audacity as the audio software and a Tascam 202 Mark VII tape deck.
  • Alaska's Digital Archives: Creating a record for an online object (i.e. URL)

    Schmuland, Arlene B. (2022-03-15)
    Instructions on how to add an online object (i.e. URL) as an item within the Alaska's Digital Archives site.
  • Benny Benson's Hidden Unangax̂ Heritage

    Livingston, Michael; Murray, Martha G.; Evans, Stenner; Soloview, Fyodor G.; Smith, Carol Larsen (Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, 2022-03-10)
    Friday, July 9, 2027, will be the 100-year anniversary of the raising of the Alaska flag designed by seventh grade student Benny Benson. Top 8% of US state flag designs. Only US state flag designed by a Native American. Youngest designer. Indentured #217. Orphan. Poorest. “Inmate.” Only US state flag designer alive when the flags were flown to the Moon. As we prepare for the 100-year anniversary, what do know about Benny - as opposed to assume? We assumed that Benny was age 13 when he won the Alaska flag contest in 1927; history books said so. We assumed that his date of birth was October 12, 1913, and that his mother’s maiden name was Tatiana Schebolein. His official State of Alaska birth certificate said so. Yet, while researching Benny’s family tree, we uncovered documents which indicated otherwise. We contacted a relative who said Benny’s birth certificate is incorrect. We contacted the State of Alaska’s Health Analytics and Vital Records Section (HAVRS) who contacted the Alaska State Museums. A panel of Alaska history experts reviewed our documents and agreed that Benny’s birthdate should be corrected. HAVRS said we needed a court order. We petitioned the Alaska Superior Court, and on February 28, 2022, Alaska Superior Court Judge Adolf Zeman issued a court order (containing Unangam Tunuu – Aleut language) to correct Benny Benson’s birth records. Benny was actually born on September 12, 1912 – over 13 months earlier than previously reported. Benny’s mother’s maiden name was not Tatiana Schebolein; it was Tatiana Ioannovna Dediukhina. We also assumed that Benny was Alutiiq. Many sources said so, and good sources too: Museums, libraries, Alaska Native organizations, and Alaska historical societies. In 1950, when Benny was age 38, he moved to Kodiak. Sadly, in 1972, at age 59, Benny passed away and is buried in Kodiak. Kodiak is Alutiiq territory, and this may explain why Benny is often identified as Alutiiq. Yet Alaska Native ancestry is not defined solely upon where we move to later in life or the geographical location where we are born or are buried. Alaska Native ancestry is defined by where our ancestors are born and lived. When one of our genealogy colleagues casually mentioned finding records that indicated Benny’s mother Tatiana was born in Unangax̂ territory, this launched a lengthy-, in-depth genealogical investigation of his family tree. With help from many others, we found birth and marriage records which demonstrate that Benny’s mother Tatiana and his grandparents were born in Unalaska – the heart of Unangax̂ territory. Thus, Benny was a member of the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska – the Qawax̂ or Sea Lion Tribe. His great grandparents were from Amlia Village; Benny was a descendant of the Native Village of Atka. Despite others claiming without evidence that Benny Benson was Alutiiq, the documents found during this research show that Benny was Unangax̂. This research is significant on several fronts. First, it spotlights Benny Benson who – despite all odds – won a contest by reaching for the stars. Over 95 years after he won the Alaska flag contest, Benny is still in the news in a heartwarming story during the depth of a gloomy global pandemic and conflict in Ukraine. Like most family tree stories, there are sad (even heart-wrenching) times, but overall, Benny’s story is uplifting. This paper illuminates the plight of Alaska orphans who sometimes do not know their date of birth, the names of their ancestors, or their cultural heritage. Orphans need good families and thorough family tree research. This paper also underscores the importance of questioning written history and the need for history detectives keen on forensically investigating Alaska family trees with patient persistence while seeking the truth – whatever the truth may be. The birth record correction is significant because it changes Alaska history and represents a larger effort towards truth, reconciliation, equity, and racial justice for North American indigenous peoples who were often given the short shrift in the 20th Century. The birth record correction is a victory for archivists, Russian Orthodox family record keepers, and genealogists who love a complex mystery that twists and turns over time. This paper spotlights the need for careful research before centenary celebrations. Finally, this paper spotlights the linguistic and artistic talents of the Unangax̂ people from whom so much has been taken during the past 300 years and who have given so much including the name Alaska itself and now we know the strong design of the unique Alaska flag.
  • Guide to Sources for the Study of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act: Volume 3

    Hawfield, Michael (Alaska Historical Society, ANCSA Committee, 2021-12-15)
    Teaching about ANCSA upon its 50th anniversary presents numerous challenges, but also several significant opportunities for developing a deeper understanding of the complex issues facing Alaska Natives, neighboring non-Native peoples, and the State of Alaska. The history of the birth of ANCSA, its passage, and its impact over the first forty years is well known and the subject of numerous studies. Since the passage of ANCSA in 1971, the Alaska Native community, the University of Alaska, Alaskool, Alaska Native Corporations, Alaska Native organizations, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, the Alaska Humanities Forum, and the Alaska State Department of Early Education have devoted considerable professional energies and expertise developing and offering the tools for examining and teaching about this extraordinary legislation up to 2020. Currently, in 2021, there are well developed syllabi for elementary students (3rd grade), early high school students (9th grade), and for college/university students in lower as well as upper division courses. The purpose of this guide to resources for teaching ANCSA at 50 is to add to and build upon the two principle syllabi that currently exist: (1) the Alaskool online course elementary and high-school students developed by Paul Ongtagook and Claudia Dybdahl; and (2) the 2011 online upper-division university level class developed originally by Professor Gordon Pullar (UAF Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development RD 493/693 — Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act: Pre-1971 to present] and taught subsequently by Professor Dixie Dayo and Professor Diane Benson. There are other teacher guides readily available, such as “A Moment in Time--ANCSA: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act” (the Education Department of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center), and a new syllabus for public schools has been developed by Joel Isaac on behalf of the Anchorage School District (not yet published; due in 2022, but included in the addendum to this guide). Because the topic of ANCSA at its half-century anniversary is so complex and the resources so many and varied, it seems the most helpful initial tool for teachers and/or community leaders seeking to lead discussions is to organize a resource aid useful and accessible to teachers and/or community leaders to review the historical narrative and introduce the topics. Because there are many excellent histories and syllabi devoted to understanding and teaching about ANCSA from its inception to the present, the “Guide to the Teaching Resources” seeks to focus on several “enduring critical issues” as identified by scholars, teachers, and Alaska Native leaders to add to the basic architecture for teaching ANCSA at 50. This Resource Guide is envisioned also as an introduction for instructors to the several “enduring critical issues” facing the Alaska Native and non-Native communities in the context of ANCSA legislation after half-a-century of experience. The single most important and accessible collection of materials useful for teaching about ANCSA, its origins, the drama of the passage of the Act, and many of the commentaries about the meaning and impact of ANCSA may be found in: http://www.alaskool.org/java/teachers_tour/tour1.html. NOTE: Navigate to “Revisiting the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)” – an important resource for many basic documents and discussions about the origins and development of ANCSA.
  • Guide to Sources for the Study of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act : Volume 2

    Sherif, Sue; Antonson, Joan (Alaska Historical Society, ANCSA Committee, 2021-12-15)
    The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 USC 1601-1624) -- Public Law 92-203, approved December 18, 1971 (85 Stat. 688) has been the subject of a number of bibliographies compiled since the act was passed in 1971. They include stand-alone publications and ones that are in published books about the act. The bibliography that follows was initiated for commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the landmark legislation, especially to add sources published since the 40th anniversary and to be helpful for a researcher initiating a study. The first publications generally provided background historical context and summarized the law, although from the start critics of the legislation published works expressing their concerns. After the regional and village corporations organized and land selections started, sections of the act needed clarification, and Congress began to amend the law. Numerous articles appeared in legal journals as issues such as the extinguishment of aboriginal hunting and fishing rights, tax issues, the revenue sharing plans, and tribal sovereignty were debated and clarified. As the twenty-year implementation period neared 1991, writers assessed the law’s successes and failures. Several movement leaders wrote memoirs. Historians began to write books, with context as well as details of implementation of the act and to interpret the impact of the legislation on Alaska Native people, the State of Alaska, and federal Indian policy. In addition to printed works, radio and television programs, oral history projects, films, videoproductions, and recently, podcasts have been produced.
  • Guide to Sources for the Study of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), Volume 1: Introduction, Overview History of ANCSA, Collection Descriptions, Collection Inventories.

    Brewster, Karen; Schneider, William; Antonson, Joan (Alaska Historical Society, ANCSA Committee, 2021-12-15)
    December 18, 2021is the fiftieth anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The settlement of 44 million acres of land and close to a billion dollars is the largest settlement of Native land claims in American history. The Act created a new reality for Alaska Natives with greater political, social and economic power, and changed the way that the United States government settles Native land claims. The Act produced a corporate structure designed to provide economic incentives for twelve regional corporations to build equity for their shareholders. Since passage, ANCSA has transformed the economic landscape of Alaska with the Native owned regional corporations bringing wealth and providing major stimulus to the state’s economy. However, ANCSA extinguished Aboriginal title to the land and Aboriginal hunting and fishing rights, severely restricting the extent of Native control over the land ceded to them. ANCSA is often viewed as an historic movement that culminated in the 1971 settlement, but it is also a continually evolving significant part of Native life that has been amended over the years to address issues such as who owns shares, how earnings are distributed, and how provisions can be made for encouraging and facilitating Native hire. The Alaska Historical Society wanted to recognize the movement that led to ANCSA and its evolving significance. This “Guide to Resources for the Study of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)” is the result of a year-long effort to locate primary archival, published and on-line sources useful to anyone interested in learning about ANCSA.
  • Alaska's Unique Economic Structure and Fiscal Challenges

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    This presentation is a part of the series of publications and presentations developed as part of the Understanding Alaska project. It covers topics such as the structure of the economy, recent economic history, population trends, future projections, state and local finances and the economic regions of Alaska. Contains many graphical presentations of data available at the time of publication.
  • Commercial Fishing Safety Record: A National Perspective

    Knapp, Gunnar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1992)
    Commercial fishing safety is an important problem in Alaska. The kinds of problems which exist differ for different fisheries in Alaska - safety problems in the Bering Sea crab fishery are different than those in the southeast troll fishery. This makes it more difficult to define the nature of the Alaska commercial fishing safety problem or to figure out how to deal with it. The same things are true at the national level. Commercial fishing safety is an important problem throughout the United States. The safety problems in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fisheries are different from those in Alaska fisheries. These kinds of differences contribute to the difficulty of defining or addressing the commercial fishing safety problem at the national level. This presentation reviews elements of a report entitled Fishing Vessel Safety: Blueprint for a National Program to provide a picture of what emerged in its exploration of safety problems at the national level. All of the data and graphs are from the committee's report, except some additional data for Alaska. Any opinions expressed are the presenters, not the committee's or the authors of the original report. Presented at the National Fishing Industry Safety and Health Workshop in Anchorage, Alaska on October 9, 1992
  • Drainage Pierces ANWR in Alaska Study Scenario

    Haley, Sharman; Tussing, Arlon R. (1999)
    A hypothetical scenario of petroleum industry activities adjacent to the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) suggests that development from leases under State of Alaska jurisdiction could drain reservoirs that extend under ANWR. Anticipation of such drainage might in turn trigger Congressional authorization for limited surface development of trans-boundary fields. This article provides an overview of 5 scenarios developed for an interdisciplinary study of community sustainability in the Arctic. Forty year scenarios are not offered as predictions, but as "science fiction" - stories combining the best available scientific information and a set of fictional but plausible assumptions to explore implication of a range of plausible outcomes. The final scenario hinges on assumptions about continuing trends in technology that reduce future development costs and surface impacts.
  • Testimony on SJR 38 "The Cremo Plan"

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
    This document was submitted as testimony to the Alaska Senate State Affairs Committee by Professor Scott Goldsmith on January 28, 1994. The Cremo proposal would establish, by constitutional amendment, a system under which all natural resource revenues would be deposited into the Alaska Permanent Fund and each year a fixed percentage of the fund assets, equal to the long run average real return on the Fund would be withdrawn for appropriation by the legislature. Based upon the analysis provided by Mr. Cremo, the amount available for appropriation (income budget) would be $3.079 billion in 1996, the first year of the transition phase, and $2.860 billion in 2005, the last year of the transition phase. In evaluating this plan the potential risks and costs should be identified and the plan should be compared to alternative methods of addressing the problems targeted in the plan. In this testimony, the potential problems and alternative policies are discussed, particularly specific problems associated with dependence on oil revenues.
  • What Do Alaskan's with Disabilities Need?

    Hanna, Virgene (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
    More than 20,000 Alaskas - 4 percent of the state population- are disabled and live outside institutions. Most of them of getting medical care, but many lack special equipment, information, and other help they need. These are among the findings of a recent ISER survey of more than 4300 Alaska households. It is the first survey of its kind in the nation to determine how many disabled persons live on their own and what they need to continue living independently.
  • A Comparative Reliability Analysis of Aircraft Hangars Made From Steel or Structurally Insulated Panels for Rural Alaskan Applications

    Cuddihy, Zachary M. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2018-05-01)
    Infrastructure design and construction in rural Alaska creates challenging hurdles that must be discussed early in the design phase for a project. As is the case for this project, a preliminary structural design of a steel and structural-insulated-panel framed airplane hangar was completed to determine which would be more applicable for rural Alaskan villages. With a chosen location of Kotzebue, Alaska, both structures resulted in adequate designs according to the governing provisions (AISC360-16 and NDS 2015 for the steel and wood framed systems, respectively). A subsequent reliability analysis evaluated different limit states used during the design of both structures and the results were compared to the minimum target beta-value of 2.500. The result of this analysis revealed a minimum beta-value of 2.703 for the entire steel structure and a minimum beta-value of 1.064 for the structural-insulated-panel structure. Additionally, recommendations are made about further evaluating both options utilizing a thorough cost estimate that considers the life-span of the structure.
  • Historical Sketch of Elections for Local Control of Alcohol in Alaska Communities

    Hull, Teresa; Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    This document provides tabulated information about elections in Alaska which had an option for Local Option Control of Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities: An Overview

    Hull, Teresa; Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    The Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities Coalition is helping Gulf Coast communities find ways to promote development and preserve lifestyles. To assist the Coalition, researchers at the Institute of Social and Economic Research have gathered and organized information for a selection of Gulf Coast communities. The information provides a basis for community residents, the Coalition, Native corporations, regulatory agencies, and others to make decisions about development in these communities. This report summarizes the assembled data and identifies patterns, trends, and significant exceptions in the data. The next section of this report (Part II) provides a broad overview of the entire Gulf Coast. Part III looks in more detail at each region. Part IV contains extensive tables with detailed information for each community. Throughout this report, the footnotes at the bottom of the pages refer to the tables in Part IV with more detailed information.
  • Timber Harvest and Wood Products Manufacture in Alaska - 1995 and 1996 Update

    Hull, Teresa; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
    This report provides information about the timber and wood products industry gathered from a variety of sources. It includes data for the entire state and for three regions within the state, and brings together previously available data on timber harvests and wood products exports, as well as new data derived from information ISER collected in surveys of loggers and wood processors. We hope the data will be useful for both public and private planning efforts, as well as informed policy debate over timber management and development of the forest products industry.
  • Simple Fiscal Outlook Model for Rural Alaska Communities

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    The Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB) faces a growing population and increased demands for education and public services. At the request of the Assembly, I have prepared a fiscal planning model that can be used to explore what might happen to the Borough's revenues and expenses over the next 20 years. The model looks at both general government and the NAB School District (NABSD). The model allows us to ask "what if....?" questions and get quick answers about how things might change. These cases demonstrate that if the Borough issues new debt that is considered to be "in lieu" of existing cash contributions to the School District for deferred maintenance, then it can cause a large decrease in foundation funding to the School District and would require significant additional school budget cuts. (The case presented already assumes continual tightening of the instruction budget.) Obviously there are variations on the assumptions presented here for Case 3 (new bonds) that would improve the foundation funding amounts. However the overall picture that seems to emerge is that without a continuation of local revenues passed through to the School District, the new bonds are not fiscally sustainable.
  • Salmon Fish Traps in Alaska: An Economic History Perspective

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    Salmon return faithfully to their stream of birth and can be efficiently caught by fixed gear. But since the introduction at the turn of the century of fish traps to the emerging Alaska commercial salmon fishery, most territorial residents fought for their abolition even while admitting to their technical efficiency. The new State of Alaska immediately banned traps in 1959. I estimate the economic rents generated by the Alaska salmon traps as they were actually deployed and find that they saved roughly $4 million (1967 dollars) per year, or about 12% of the ex-vessel value of the catch. I also find strong evidence that the fishermen operating from boats earned zero profits throughout the 20th century. Thus the State's ban on fish traps did allow 6,000 additional people to enter the fishery, but did nothing to boost average earnings.
  • Rural Alaska Hydroelectric Assessment: Stage 2 Economic Evaluation of Hydroelectric Projects in Atka, Hoonah, Old Harbor, and Unalaska

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
    This memorandum summarizes the economic evaluation of four candidate hydroelectric projects. For each site, the evaluation procedure compares the total costs of electric power with and without hydro over a 35 year planning period extending through the year 2032. The memo is organized into four sections, one for each candidate site. An appendix provides further notes on model mechanics.
  • Operations and Maintenance Issues in Rural Alaska Sanitation

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
    Today, many rural Alaskans have inadequate water and sanitation facilities. As a result, they face unacceptable health risks and an unacceptably poor quality of life. While much has been accomplished during the past 30 years, the honey bucket remains the primary form of sanitation in scores of communities. This paper is intended to stimulate discussion about several issues related to operations and maintenance of rural sanitation systems. The paper focuses on operations and maintenance issues because so many observers agree that proper O&M is crucial to success but severely lacking in many communities today. Section 2 reviews the prior recommendations of the Alaska Sanitation Task Force and issues raised during meetings of the Federal Field Work Group. Section 3 provides some discussion of these recommendations and issues, based on subsequent research. Section 4 provides a simple method for quantifying the benefits of preventive maintenance and R&D. Section 5 discusses mechanisms for providing O&M assistance. Section 6 provides three case studies of life cycle costs for three different system types.

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