Recent Submissions

  • At the edge of somewhere: journeying on the Dalton Highway

    Wheeler, Charlotte A.; Farmer, Daryl; Holt, Joseph; Ehrlander, Mary (2022-05)
    Some journeys need to be made. In At the Edge of Somewhere, the writer embarks on a cycle ride from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's remote and dangerous Dalton Highway. Drawn obsessively to the Arctic sea ice some years earlier and, now, onto "the road," her journey attempts to bring closure to the long-standing need to be on the move, at once not able or even wanting to settle but also seeking a place within herself, and therefore a physical location, she might call home. She travels with a found notebook, acquired unexpectedly at the start of her ride, which reveals the heart-wrenching story of Samuel Morgan. As she journeys through boreal forest, high alpine and tundra, we learn not only of Samuel's abandonment to boarding school as a young boy but of the writer's traumatic childhood. Painful memories, reminiscences of working on "the road" and new encounters blend with Samuel's search for peace amid an encounter with the artistic works of an 18th century German Romantic painter. Touching on themes of trauma, art, and their relationships with the landscape, both the writer and Samuel reach Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean ready to let go of their pasts.
  • The doctor, the publisher and the curmudgeon: how personalities, politics and the press set the stage for Alaska statehood

    Snifka, Lynne M. (2009-12)
    "Much has been written about Alaska's struggle for statehood in 1959. But before there was a unified push for statehood, before World War II changed the face of Alaska forever and people such as Bob Atwood, Bill Egan and Bob Bartlett fought the good fight, there was a "perfect storm" of personalities, politics and press coverage that prepared Alaska for what would become its greatest triumph. This thesis examines the lives, motives and politics of Territorial Governor John Troy, Territorial Governor Ernest Gruening and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. Their individual vendettas, drive and quests for power directly influenced conditions in the Alaska Territory that would lead it to become a state. Along the way, the press corps, notably the Juneau Empire, held sway over the population and used partisanship and agenda setting to keep statehood boosters at bay for more than a decade"--Leaf iii
  • A storm like no other: changes that shaped Seward Peninsula communities at the turn of the 20th century

    Russell, Amy (2009-12)
    "This thesis explains how four events at the turn of the twentieth century--the start of an American administration, the introduction of schools and missions, the introduction of reindeer, and the 1918 influenza epidemic--brought sweeping changes to Inupiat on the Seward Peninsula, and contributed to the decline of two formerly-prominent Seward Peninsula communities: Kingegan and Kauwerak"--Leaf iii
  • The utilization of constitutional space to maximize sub-national autonomy in federations

    Oppe, Mark E. (2009-05)
    "The comparative study of federal systems has most often focused on the view of federation 'from the top down.' This is particularly true of the study of constitutionalism in federations, in which federal constitutions have received significantly more attention than sub-national constitutions. An emerging concept in the understanding of federal systems from the sub-national perspective is the idea of constitutional space, which is defined as 'the range of discretion available to the component units in a federal system in designing their constitutional arrangements.' Some scholars have suggested that the full utilization of constitutional space can effectively increase the autonomy of sub-national units within a federation. This thesis explores the potential for increased sub-national autonomy through the utilization of constitutional space in a comparative analysis of state and provincial actions in the United States and Canada with regard to same-sex marriage and resource management, and concludes that due to the influence of additional factors in the federal relationship, the utilization of constitutional space by itself is insufficient to increase sub-national autonomy"--Leaf iii
  • Jay Hammond: the conservationist governor

    Riedlsperger, Rudy (2009-08)
    "This thesis answers the question of how the ardent conservationist Jay Hammond, governor of Alaska between 1974 and 1982, could become successful in an environment of strong economic growth. Hammond was able to take advantage of favorable circumstances, such as the rise of the national environmental movement in the early 1970s, in order to introduce an unprecedented element of moderation to Alaska politics. Case studies substantiating Hammond's conservationist impact include the Rampart Dam Project, the state's buyback of the Kachemak Bay oil leases, and the creation of the Permanent Fund and its dividend. Jay Hammond's example proves that it is possible to allow economic development and protect environmental values at the same time. Especially in Alaska with its strong divide between development and conservation, future politicians can use Hammond's approach as a successful blueprint to bridge this gap"--Leaf iii
  • Renewable energy in rural Alaska: two case studies and their implications

    Logan, Jesse L. (2009-08)
    "This thesis argues that the costs of electricity in rural Alaska are ecological, economic, and social, and asks whether or not renewable energy can reduce these costs. Two case studies are examined: a wind-diesel hybrid system in Kotzebue, Alaska, and an Organic Rankine cycle geothermal system in Chena Hot Springs, Alaska. In both cases it is found that when compared to the status quo (fossil fuel generated electricity), renewable energy technologies have reduced these costs. Historically, the funding for energy projects in Alaska has shifted from private enterprise investment to state and federal support. This is important in the debate regarding funding for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The Power Equalization Program is also examined and found to be a paradoxical subsidy that provides economic relief but does not solve the problem of high electricity costs and may act as a disincentive to the deployment of renewables"--Leaf iii
  • Displaying conflict: the visitor's experience at the Kolmakovskii blockhouse

    Bias, Salena Kaye (2010-12)
    "A blockhouse sits outside of the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska. Built in 1841 by the Russian-American Company, the structure has been removed from its original location in the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta, reconstructed, and presented to the public as a part of the museum's collection. However, little information is currently provided about the blockhouse or its history. While the current display lacks sufficient context, the Ethnology & History Department of the museum has received grant funds to improve the preservation and presentation of the Kolmakovskii Blockhouse. This thesis will provide a history of Russian advancement into the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, of Kolmakovskii Redoubt, and of the recent changes in museum theory and practice as they relate to the display of similar artifacts. While this structure is inherently valuable and worthy of preservation, its most noteworthy feature is its ability to evoke complex and conflicting responses to history as well as museum theory and practice. Suggestions will be made for improving the visitor's experience to the blockhouse, drawing on the structure's evocative nature"--Leaf iii.
  • Discovering Alaska's Interior: a historical geography of the 1885 Allen Expedition

    Vander Lugt, Russell W. (2010-05)
    "This thesis examines the geography and history of interior Alaska by tracing the route of Henry Allen's 1885 expedition and evaluating Alaska's physiography from both Clyde Wahrhaftig's and Allen's perspectives. Since the U.S. Army took a leading role in Alaska's era of exploration during the late nineteenth century, specific insights are drawn from Lieutenant Allen's expedition and its context within early Russian and American exploration to interpret the historical geography of Alaska. The purpose of this monograph., however, is more comprehensive than merely tracing Allen's expedition or Wahrhaftig's classification. This study's measure of success will be the extent to which the author's research illuminates the regional geography and history of America's 49th state, interprets Allen's geographic exploration within Wahrhaftig's physiographic framework, cultivates public interest with regard to the Allen expedition, and stimulates further research in fields related to Alaska's cultural landscape"--Leaf iii
  • Changes in traditional gender roles for Alaska Natives: their effects on sense of purpose, direction, identity, and family and community stature

    Wirts, Eleanor Kyle (2010-08)
    "In the past century, especially since the 1960s, Alaska Natives have faced rapid cultural and socio-economic change as Western influences have increasingly infiltrated the Native life-ways; since the 1960s social problems, including alcohol abuse, violence, and suicide have plagued Native individuals, families and communities. Arguably, a source of these social problems is the striking shift from clearly defined gender roles for Native adults that guided youth to adulthood in the past to opaque and ambiguous roles for adults that draw on both traditional and Western cultures. Historically, clearly defined gender roles provided youth with the role models necessary for maturing into healthy, productive adults and thereby offered youth a sense of purpose, direction and identity. Today's youth must look for cues in both traditional and Western culture to envision their futures, and with often conflicting value systems and too few strong adult role models to follow, many youth, especially males, are floundering. Healthy adult and elder role models are essential to the well-being of Native youth as they mature into adulthood. The revitalization of mentors, role models and close relationships between adults and youth are critical to future health and well-being of Alaska Native individuals, families and communities"--Leaf iii
  • Fishing for tourists: cultural tourism and its origins in Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada

    Foote, Amanda; Ehrlander, Mary; Easton, Norm; Todd, Susan; Johnson, Linda (2010-08)
    "Since before settling on the shores of Teslin Lake, the Inland Tlingit people have fished its waters. Today the people of Teslin also cast their nets along the Alaska Highway to lure tourists off the busy corridor. For small communities along the route, travelers represent both challenges and opportunities. Especially in First Nations communities decisions regarding tourism such as what products to develop, what services to provide, and how much access to allow carry much weight. This research constitutes a case study examining cultural tourism as a means of sustainable economic development for the community of Teslin, Yukon. It describes the broad landscape of tourism, given the history and culture of the Inland Tlingit people who comprise the majority of the community's population. Additionally it explores major events in Yukon history that have contributed to the current tourism landscape, as well as the impacts of land claims settlement, the Umbrella Final Agreement, and development of First Nations governments on tourism, culture, and heritage. This research reveals the gravity of sharing culture through tourism. The findings also suggest that within specific boundaries, Teslin residents perceive benefits from the presence of tourists in their community and often personally enjoy interacting with them"--Leaf iii
  • "I wonder when we'll be in civilization again": women, Alaska and the 1910 Seattle to Ophir travel letter of Cinthia "Addie" Rieck

    Misel, Lillian Anderson; Ehrlander, Mary F.; Gold, Carol; Mangusso, Mary Childers (2010-12)
    Mainstream Alaskan history has largely ignored women's role in the development of the state during the early 20th century. Although mainly a male endeavor, the multiple Alaskan gold stampedes from 1899 to 1914 brought a migration of women, and they played a role in the development of the territory. The current literature of women in the north focuses primarily on the Canadian Klondike stampede of 1897-98 which saw women traveling to the gold fields for a variety of reasons, such as to support their husbands in their ventures, seek their own business opportunities, or just seek adventure. The same reasons brought women to Alaska. Their experiences are well documented in literature of the period, through magazines, newspapers, published accounts, and autobiographies. These sources provide insight into everyday events of what could be considered the ordinary, but they paint a picture of what life was like for the female population and include details and descriptions not discussed by their male counterparts. The 1910 unpublished travel letter of Cinthia 'Addie' Rieck exemplifies a woman traveling to a remote area of Alaska. Her writings capture and document her experiences in traveling from Seattle, Washington, to a newly founded gold camp in the Innoko district of Alaska. Through Addie's travel letter, her descriptions bring to light previously unexplored topics of social etiquette, travel, and women's roles in early Alaskan mining communities as well as providing information about the Innoko district of which little published information is available
  • Iliamna Lake ethnogeography: Yup'ik place names and sense of place

    Kugo, Yoko; Charles, Walkie; Ehrlander, Mary; Holton, Gary; Koskey, Michael; McCartney, Leslie (2021-05)
    This dissertation explores Iliamna Lake ethnogeography, the physical and mental understanding of the landscape, by researching Yup'ik place names and stories about these places from Iliamna Lake Yup'ik perspectives (Yupiit iingitgun). Many Yup'ik place names were forgotten after Euro-Americans arrived and introduced modern education in the early twentieth century. Some Iliamna Lake Yup'ik Elders remember Indigenous place names even though the subsistence resources in the places have declined or they no longer travel there due to environmental and cultural changes. Prompted by the declining population of Iliamna Lake Yup'ik speakers, along with their knowledge, the Iliamna Lake communities requested this study of Iliamna Lake Yup'ik place names and narratives about the places. Using two methods, oral history and a community-based participatory approach, the community participants and the author recorded 219 Yup'ik and over 100 contemporary place names during eight ethnographic field trips conducted from 2016 to 2019. This dissertation used two analytical methods--grounded theory and mindful inquiry--to categorize place names in themes that are relevant to Iliamna Lake community perspectives. This research revealed that place names and stories about these places illustrate community histories, lifeways, and cultural ethics and practices that are grounded in the people's intimate relationships with their homeland. Telling and retelling these stories enables the people to visualize their landscape, while affirming and reinforcing the knowledge and practices that have enabled the Yup'ik people to survive and thrive in the region for many generations. Ethnogeography addresses how these cultural landscapes intertwine with local histories and changes in land use from insider perspectives. Yup'ik names and stories related to these places act as mnemonic pegs or mental landmarks that assist the people in commemorating and continuing to navigate within their homelands. Maintaining their place names with accounts about these places supports Iliamna Lake residents in continuing to share their geographic knowledge, cultural practices, Yugcetun (Central Yup'ik language), and community histories, thereby enhancing community cohesiveness, which in turn promotes community and ecological well-being.
  • Threat, opportunity, cooperation, and competition: defining China's integration into the Arctic

    Bowman, Susan Elizabeth; Boylan, Brandon; Skya, Walter; Bertelsen, Rasmus (2020-12)
    Despite widespread attention to China's interest in the Arctic, little research examines how the country approaches the region. This thesis uses an inductive and qualitative approach to examine China's relationships with the eight Arctic states and major international institutions in the Arctic. This thesis asks: How is China integrating into the Arctic? How do Arctic states view China's integration? Through content analysis, narratives tell the story of China's relationship with the Arctic 8 and Arctic institutions. China's integration is explored on a fundamental level through the comparison of bilateral and multilateral relations, followed by more strategic undertones including threat, opportunity, cooperation, and competition. China's integration into the Arctic is multi- faceted and demonstrates a range of characteristics. The primary focus of China's integration is the use of bilateral and multilateral approaches and the use of strategic soft and sharp power. Each Arctic state views China's integration differently depending on its tolerance for China's approach to integration. This study adds to the existing literature of China in the Arctic and provides a baseline for future research on non-Arctic states in Arctic international relations.
  • King on ice: history of the Alaska Gold Kings and the transformation of Fairbanks into a hockeytown

    Urban, Samuel Fox; Ehrlander, Mary F.; Boylan, Brandon M.; Speight, Jeremy S. (2020-05)
    Wanting a higher level of hockey for local youth to aspire to, city hockey officials created the semi-professional Teamsters hockey team in 1975. The team was initially comprised of the best local recreational players, many of whom relocated to Fairbanks to work on the TransAlaska Pipeline from the upper Midwest and Seattle. Two years later the team took on the name Fairbanks Gold Kings (later changed to the Alaska Gold Kings), and quickly began proving itself against teams from Anchorage and the Pacific Northwest. From 1975 to 1995 the Gold Kings were an amateur senior men’s team, and from 1995-1997 they spent their last two Fairbanks years in the professional minor league West Coast Hockey League. Between its inception in 1975 as the Teamsters, and in spite of its relocation to Colorado Springs in 1998 as the Alaska Gold Kings, Fairbanks’ team was a huge success. The Gold Kings won five national championships, played 16 different international and Olympic teams, played overseas in Asia and Europe on multiple occasions, and laid the foundation for the level of hockey found in Fairbanks today.
  • Visualizing the present: current issues within contemporary visual Sami art - an analysis of Sami artists and their art in Oslo, Norway

    Horn-Hanssen, Birte Marie (2011-12)
    Until recently, contemporary visual Sami art has been little studied. However there is continuous activity within the Sami art world that is evident from the large amount of contemporary visual Sami art exhibits in northern Scandinavia. This paper provides an exploratory analysis of the current issues and artistic language contemporary visual Sami artists who live in Oslo, Norway are concerned with. Through contextualizing the artworks within a post-colonial framework highlighting the dominant Sami historical, political and societal narratives from the 1970s until now, and contrasting them with the official Norwegian image of Norway as a unified "oil and gas nation," a "human rights nation" or a "fishing nation" the artworks question dominant historical perspectives and become visual inquiries of the Sami's political and societal situation currently or in recent history in Norway. This study demonstrates that the current issues visualized among contemporary Sami artists in Oslo are humans' relationship to the natural environment; collective and personal identity; and political and cultural rights. The study shows that the artists use their Sami background as a specific context to visualize these generic issues. Finally, the analysis emphasizes that contemporary visual Sami artists have transcultural backgrounds and use transnational artistic language, themes, and expressions and therefore visualizes new and emerging fluid transnational Sami identities.
  • Letters as literature: semantic and discursive features of irony in "Letters to Howard"

    Cook, Corinna Jo; Schneider, William; Koester, David; Ruppert, James (2011-12)
    This thesis examines the literary features of the Letters to Howard, a series of letters to the editor of the Alaskan newspaper, the Tundra Times. Published over the course of several months in 1973, the letters were signed by two semi-fictional characters: an old Eskimo man, Naugga Ciunerput, and a lost VISTA volunteer, Wally Morton, the two lone inhabitants of the imagined Land's End Village, Alaska. Naugga and Wally had a pointed agenda: they were addressing editor Howard Rock and his readership with their concerns regarding the newly-passed Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA. In truth, Naugga and Wally's letters were written by two graduate students, Fred Bigjim (an Inupiaq from Nome studying education) and James Ito-Adler (a law student who had switched to anthropology). The use of irony in these letters is the subject of my analysis here; I focus first on the semantic layers of irony and second on its discursive dimensions. This thesis' ultimate goal is to illuminate the ways in which these letters contest history, frame the nature and distribution of power, and examine the myriad tensions at play between Native peoples' historic, cultural, and political ties to the land.
  • A comparative analysis of fish and wildlife enforcement in Alaska from the passage of the 1902 Alaska game law to 2011

    Woldstad, Kenneth J.; McBeath, Gerald; Cole, Terrence; Klein, David R. (2011-08)
    This study examines the institutional evolution of wildlife enforcement in the context of Alaskan history and politics from 1902 to the present. Balancing competing demands for expertise in fish and wildlife matters on one hand, with a technical knowledge of law enforcement on the other, has long been the central institutional challenge facing those protecting Alaska's living resources. Following enactment of the first Alaska Game Law in 1902, responsibility for enforcement was initially left to already over-burdened law enforcement officials, with ultimate authority remaining under the U.S. Agriculture Department. Passage of the 1925 "Alaska Game Law" and establishment of the Alaska Game Commission saw the creation of professional wardens. Following statehood the Department of Fish and Game assumed the enforcement responsibility from 1960 to 1972, until Governor William Egan shifted the protection personnel to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), thereby transforming them into state troopers, although in a separate division. As a result of the transfer to DPS, conservation of fish and wildlife was in the hands of professional law enforcement. Many resource users opposed the transfer, certain that the emphasis on general law enforcement came at the expense of wildlife expertise, a tension that continues to persist today.
  • Uninhabited and free from work: an environmental and federal land-use policy history of Glacial Lake Atna wilderness, Alaska

    McLaughlin, Marley M.; Coen, Ross; Meek, Chanda; Ehrlander, Mary F. (2020-05)
    The Glacial Lake Atna area, a valley between the southern Alaska and Wrangell mountain ranges in Southcentral Alaska, despite its appearance today as remote, thickly forested, and seemingly "wild" in character, has a 10,000-year history of human habitation. The first peoples in Alaska made encampments and harvested subsistence resources on the shores of the glacial lake and its margins, while today residents and visitors to the region continue to inhabit, hunt, fish, gather berries, cut firewood, and generally subsist from the land in ways remarkably similar to their prehistoric forebears. Humans and nature have a long, shared history in the thirteen million-acre Glacial Lake Atna region, and yet, since the mid-1980s, amid the modern-day conservation movement to protect so-called wild places, the region has been bordered and patrolled in ways that separate humans from nature. Wilderness policies under the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management suggest that wilderness areas are inherently pristine, devoid of human inhabitation, and without the imprint of human work. Alaska lands acts, most specifically the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, while allowing for subsistence, did not adequately address work and inhabitation. This thesis questions such policies and, through archaeological, historical, and policy analyses of humans and nature in the region, argues wilderness has never been truly uninhabited and free from work. The idea of "wilderness" lacks introspection as these areas contain quite a lot of human history, and indeed wilderness is a construct of romanticism and post-frontier ideologies.
  • Lower Tanana flashcards

    Dougherty, Summer; Holton, Gary; Ehrlander, Mary E.; McCartney, Leslie (2019-05)
    As part of a study of Lower Tanana, I found it expedient to create a learning tool to help myself gain familiarity with Lower Tanana. I chose to employ Anki, an open-source tool for creating digital flashcard based learning tools. With Anki, I created cards for individual Lower Tanana words and phrases. In producing the computer flashcards for Lower Tanana, I realized that they could serve as a highly flexible system for both preserving and learning Lower Tanana. Further, because of the built-in system flexibility, such systems can be created to aid in preserving and teaching other endangered languages.
  • Indigenous-crown relations in Canada and the Yukon: the Peel Watershed case, 2017

    Baranik, Lauren Alexandra; Ehrlander, Mary F.; McCartney, Leslie; Castillo, Victoria; Hirsch, Alexander (2019-08)
    The history of Indigenous-Crown relations in Canada has varied regionally and temporally. With the Constitution Act of 1982, however, Canada entered a new era. Section 35 of the Constitution recognized Indigenous treaty and land rights, and the Supreme Court of Canada has consistently interpreted this section liberally in favor of Canada's Indigenous Peoples. The Court has upheld the honour of the Crown in emphasizing the national and subnational governments' duty to consult diligently when engaging in development on the traditional territories of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit. The "citizens-plus" model of asserting and protecting Indigenous rights, first coined in the Hawthorn Report of 1966, has proved effective in these court cases, most recently in the Yukon's Peel Watershed case from 2014 to 2017. Yet, engaging with the state to pursue and to invoke treaty rights has forced socioeconomic and political changes among Yukon First Nations that some scholars have argued are harmful to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of Indigenous communities, mainly through alienation from their homelands. The Peel Watershed case demonstrates the unique historical development of Yukon First Nations rights and the costs and benefits of treaty negotiations and asserting Indigenous rights.

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