Recent Submissions

  • The STEM trail: Alaska Native undergraduates find the right path in higher education

    Skinner, Olga J.; Leonard, Beth; Williams, Maria; Gilmore, Perry; Mercier, Ocean (2022-05)
    The goals of this research are twofold. (1) This research explores decision making and college experiences of Alaska Native undergraduates pursuing degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and (2) this research, using participant observation explores the Indigenous metaphor of "the trail" to frame student persistence towards their degrees. Twelve participants, representing various STEM fields, Alaska Native cultures, and K12 schooling experiences, shared their motivations and aspirations through interviews and photographs. Key findings indicate the significant role that Indigenous Knowledge plays in influencing student decisions around majoring in STEM degrees. Findings also illuminate the variety of K12 STEM experiences and the influence on decisions to major in STEM. Awareness (ellangeq) and self-authorship as student development theory, also impact decision making. The use of "the trail" as a metaphor for persistence illustrates a strength-based model for persistence, that notes the importance of the individual and the role of the individual as a community member. This metaphor also displays aspects of preparation, finding the right path, obstacles, supports, and destinations. This metaphor also calls into question the role of the institution as students work to navigate the terrain towards their degrees.
  • Celebrating Alutiiq cultural revitalization: pathways to holistic individual health and community wellness

    Mete, Margaret Susan Draskovich; John, Theresa; Koskey, Michael; Counceller, April; Drabek, Alisha; Topkok, Sean Asiqłuq (2021-12)
    It is well understood that disease is a consequence of varied causation. Despite the fact that many health care providers acknowledge the importance of treating patients in a comprehensive manner in order to successfully cure sickness or alleviate symptoms, the contemporary medical system dispenses care in a fragmented and frequently incomplete manner. The essential differences between Indigenous epistemologies and the predominant Western worldview has had a more devastating impact on well-being and infirmity than is often recognized. The intention of this research is to explore the importance of promoting balanced holistic health care at a deeper and more essential level in order to address root causes, accessed through communication with the natural and spiritual realms, versus merely treating the physical expressions of illness.
  • The sound of 1001 indigenous drums: the catalytic cycle of Fire Eagle, Golden Eagle, Thunderbird

    Marsden, Davita Aphrodite-Lee; Topkok, Sean Asiqłuq; Smith, Graham Hingangaroa; John, Theresa; Leddy, Shannon (2021-05)
    I have witnessed Indigenous students experience marginalization, being ignored, being labelled, and earning developmental designations, all as a way to continue systemically oppressing them. Indigenous students traditionally did not sit in rows, they did not compete for the highest mark, an A+ or a B. Indigenous education and learning is a process, and no one fails. Systemic oppression continues in public education where Indigenous students are alienated, being pushed out, kicked out, or continuously transferred from school to school. After fasting for 1,000 days, I received a vision of how to move Indigenous education forward: I began making Indigenous drums; I taught singing to students, staff, and admin. Reinstatement of Indigenous culture such as drumming and singing increases self-esteem, self-identity, confidence, and self-determination for the learner and is a tool for healing intergenerational trauma. These cultural supports, therefore, become critical for the success of Indigenous students and they are helping Indigenous education and people move forward without fear. There is a hegemonic imbalance of power and we need a reallocation of government funds in public education. Indigenous students have the right to attend school and participate without penalty, punishment, or humiliation. Swept under the school "welcome mat" are all forms of racism in public education. Critical Indigenous theory considers unequal power relations as they affect urban Indigenous students. The imbalance creates marginalization and prejudices towards Indigenous students. This dissertation uses retrospective study on the students' Artwork Stories, a free expression that allows specific elements and past patterns to emerge and reveal that Indigenous drumming and singing correlates to specific values and emotions. The spirit of Indigenous iv drumming and singing gives the student a visual voice in research through the Artwork Story documents. The Gichi'ayaag (Elders) say the Medicine Wheel has many teachings, as many as there are grains of sand in this world. The Complex Medicine Wheel Model shapeshifts into the Medicine Wheel Colour Knowledge Chart analytical model, providing a research tool that analyzes students' Artwork Stories experience. The sound of the Indigenous drum will ripple around the world and continue its transformation one beat at a time. Our unceded territories are calling back languages and the spirits of the land to further Indigenous education. This drum's voice bridges those of the Ancestors, the women, and our spirits. When you hear the sound of an Indigenous drum in your school, you will know we bring change, a change that you cannot stop, nor would you want to. The analysis of Indigenous drumming and singing aligns with evidence-based approaches and the quantification of learning. There is an urgent need to Indigenize K-12 curriculum by incorporating Indigenous drumming and singing into their classrooms. Those who promote Indigenous pedagogy and culture have just begun to Indigenize the education of Indigenous peoples into mainstream public education. Now is the time when Indigenous education and culture are on the rise and can be recognized as paramount for Indigenous student success. This research will benefit all learners in public education.
  • Alaska Native men's voices: tracking masculinities through indigenous gender constructs

    Apok, Charlene Aqpik; Topkok, Sean Asiqłuq; Rasmus, Stacy; Million, Dian; Demientieff, La Verne Xilegg (2021-05)
    Alaska Native Men's Voices, an exploratory project, begins to make visible experiences of what it means to identify as an Indigenous male. Indigenous sovereignty includes practice of Indigenous gender knowledge systems. Self- determination of health and wellness by honoring relationships necessitates the affirmation of Alaska Native Men's voices. The complexity and diversity of Indigenous masculinity cannot be homogenized or made into one definition; these are not the goals of the research. This project aimed to articulate how Alaska Native men self- identify, what meaningful intersections of lived experiences can be drawn, and how do these inform healthy gender relations for future generations. The approach in research methods, how the project was done, articulates values of Indigenous led research and scholarship. Findings from shared stories, 18 individual semi-structured interviews, describe notions of Indigenous masculinities rooted in cultural foundations, knowing one's self, having a sense of belonging, and honor relationships from individual, to family and community. Expansive understandings of holistic wellness include narrative of emotional and spiritual healing. Illustrations of ancestral connection and continuance are put forward by participants as expressions of love for future generations of Alaska Native men.
  • Cultural adaptations of evidence based practices in supporting children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder

    James, Krista P.; Barnhardt, Raymond; Leonard, Beth; Wells, Cassie; Healy, Joanne (2020-08)
    Research shows that early identification and intervention result in a higher quality of life and contribution to society for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As society sees an ever-increasing percentage of individuals diagnosed with ASD, identification of culturally responsive, evidence-based practices is of critical importance. While the National Autism Center has provided a guide to evidence-based practices, minimal research has been done to determine if these practices are culturally relevant. This is a community-based formative research project. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the cultural appropriateness of the practices identified as "evidence-based practices" by the National Autism Center in the 2015 standards report, specifically a token economy system which is a positive behavioral support that utilizes the principles of applied behavior analysis to decrease challenging behaviors and increase positive behaviors. The study utilized qualitative research strategies, including surveys and interviews within the American Samoan community, to accomplish this evaluation. The surveys and interviews were analyzed using coding principles to generate themes. The researcher was contacted by the American Samoan Department of Education to provide training for educators and parents on utilizing evidence-based practices to support children with autism. The results of this study inform the content of the ongoing training efforts.
  • Coming together at the table: partnering with urban Alaska Native families for their children's school success

    Roth, Karen L.; Vinlove, Amy; Topkok, Sean Asiqluq; Williams, Maria Shaa Tlaa; Jester, Timothy (2019-05)
    There is abundant research regarding the positive effects of family engagement as a factor in P-12 student success. Partnerships between home and school provide opportunities for students' families and educators to establish common goals and share meaning about the purpose of schooling. Unfortunately, mainstream outreach practices by Western educators have often failed to nurture authentic relationships with Indigenous families. This may be a contributing factor in lower academic success for too many Indigenous students. Historical educational practices in the U.S. for Indigenous students such as mandated attendance at distant boarding schools and English-only policies have adversely affected their languages and cultures worldwide and left a legacy of negative associations around schooling for many Native peoples. Non-Native educators continue to add to this disconnect with teaching pedagogies and curricula that are not responsive to Indigenous lifeways and values. In addition to inappropriate instructional methods and content, outreach strategies of non-Native educators may add to practices that marginalize Indigenous students and their families and discourage collaboration between home and school. This mixed-methods study sought to find family outreach strategies implemented by early childhood educators in the Anchorage School District (ASD) that build and nurture more culturally sustaining and relational approaches to building partnerships with Alaska Native families. Such practices are more likely to lead to student success for Native students. Research methods used were (a) a content analysis of ASD school-home communication fliers, (b) a survey of ASD preschool teachers on their outreach beliefs and practices with Native families, and (c) interviews with families of Alaska Native students.
  • Unangam Unikangis: Aleut stories of leadership and knowing

    Mack, Liza; Barnhardt, Ray; Carothers, Courtney; Chapin, F. Stuart III (2019-03)
    The central question of this dissertation is, "What do Aleut people know about the laws that directly affect their access to local resources?" The complex details of hunting and fishing regulations coupled with legislation that dictates access to natural resources will play a key role in Aleut leaders' ability to understand, disseminate, and protect these rights. Such policies include clauses that regulate who can and cannot participate based on blood quantum, which can be problematic for future generations of Aleut people as they marry and have children with people from outside the region. Further, with the abolishment of aboriginal title to lands and hunting and fishing rights in Alaska, understanding who owns the land and resources and how they are governed is imperative to Aleut people. This dissertation uses participant observation, critical case studies, key informant interviews, and a survey of Aleut leaders in the Eastern Aleutians to illustrate the ways in which Aleut people know and understand their environment and the ways they address natural resource management issues. It further demonstrates the way these issues are being addressed and learned about in two Eastern Aleutian communities. It also highlights the dynamic leadership of Aleut community members in the Eastern Aleutians. Some of the major findings include no reported change in subsistence use for respondents under the age of 50, a decline in the amount of subsistence used by older respondents, Aleut leaders spend years serving their communities in multiple capacities; and generally speaking, younger generations of public servants tend to become involved in community service as well.
  • Self-determination, sustainability, and wellbeing in the Alaska Native community of Ninilchik

    Gordon, Heather Sauyaq Jean; Koskey, Michael; Topkok, Sean Asiqłuq; Hirshberg, Diane; Sekaquaptewa, Patricia (2019-05)
    Alaska Natives are a diverse group of people with different language groups and over 200 tribes. We have a history of colonization and are still a colonized people, but through all this, we strive for wellness for our people. This paper begins with an explanation of historical trauma, development, and the lack of fate control Alaska Native people experience. The literature review explains how colonization can negatively impact the colonized and details international, federal, and Alaska state law and court cases having to do with Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. In this project the researcher works with the Ninilchik Village Tribe of Ninilchik, Alaska, to explore how community members utilize self-determination, either individually and/or as a group, to achieve individual, community, and tribal sustainability and wellbeing. This project uses the method of ethnographic futures research to conduct scenarios about the future. The researcher conducted 30 interviews about three possible futures: the optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely, and followed the interviews with four focus groups to discuss the interview results. The results were coded through grounded theory in NVivo analysis software and compared with: (a) the Capabilities Approach, (b) Self-Determination Theory, (c) social science development theories of Dependency and World Systems, and (d) the Elements of Development Model. The Capabilities Approach and Self-Development Theory explain the links between self-determination and wellbeing. Dependency and World Systems Theories explain the importance of local self-determination for development. Finally, the Elements of Development Model provides an outline for different types of self-determining actions. The project analyzes Arctic wellbeing indicators and developed indicators of sustainability and wellbeing. The project results demonstrate what community members think that individuals, the community, and the tribe can do to improve sustainability and wellbeing in Ninilchik, and how to achieve those goals through self-determining actions. The dissemination document serves as the start to a 20-year strategic plan. This type of research demonstrates how tribes can address the results of historical trauma and take control of their fate through self-determination. The next steps in research would be asset mapping and capacity-building projects to work with the data and benefit the community.
  • Qik'rtam Litnauwistai (island's teachers)

    Deal, Kitty L.; Leonard, Beth; Renes, Susan; Drabek, Alisha; Montague, Caitlin (2019-05)
    Qik'rtam Litnauwistai (Island's Teachers) was a multi-tiered, community-based, participatory action research project initiated as a direct response to both community and institutional recommendations to "grow our own" Alutiiq educators. The study (a) examined current departmental practices in teacher education at Kodiak College, (b) sought community feedback through interviews regarding recruiting and retaining Alaska Native pre-service teachers on Kodiak Island, and (c) analyzed successful eLearning course completion data, based on synchronicity. The examination and focus of improvement was on the educational system and program delivery model to meet the needs of all teacher candidates, especially our future Alutiiq educators. Interview participants overwhelmingly felt it was important to "grow our own" Kodiak teachers who could (a) provide a role model, (b) have teachers who possessed and could share a high level of cultural understanding, (c) who could understand the local environment in which they worked, and (d) provide a way to strengthen the community in which they live. Based on a review of literature, interviews, and data from UAA, recommendations or considerations for changes are suggested for (a) the Kodiak College Education faculty, (b) Kodiak College, (c) the University of Alaska Anchorage, and (d) Kodiak Island Borough School District.
  • Master's research project : transient migrations and responses to effective change for Mixtec indigenous youth

    Hennessey, Maura A.; Barnhardt, Ray; Gerlach, Craig; Ruppert, James (2014-04)
    This qualitative research was developed not knowing the outcome. The primary goal was to find an indigenous group that resided in the Monterey Bay region of the Central Coast of California. Thanks to the Pajaro Valley Unified School District's Migrant Education Office, this goal was accomplished by the introduction of the Mixtec culture of Oaxaca, in Southern Mexico. The research began by 'hanging out' with the Mixtecs at Adult Education English class building a trust and familiarity. Their primary language is Mixteco,. Lessons were in Spanish to learn English. The project all fell into place after being introduced to Lucia, a trilingual 25 yr. old Mixteca. The secondary goal was in understanding their environmental relationship to identity. Since the Mixtecs are immigrants it was necessary to 1) get acquainted with their history, and homeland 2) attempt to understand purpose and risks to 'sneak across the border' 3) adjustment to life in California. Eight interviews were performed. Seven interviews were in their native language, Mixteco. Lucia's interview was in English and Spanish. A hand held device recorded the interviews. All interview questions were formulated in a partnership with Lucia. The translations are composed genuinely from her indigenous perspective. To acquire first hand photos, three cameras were used by the informants as they worked 'on the job' in the agricultural fields. The interviewees from their personal files donated pictures of their Oaxacan villages. Common themes were identified and are summarized in this report. The data was collected and compiled. The research brought forth a narrative nonfiction, young adult book, requested by the Mixtec students, as the rest of this project lays it out.
  • Alaska Iñupiaq skin-sewing designs: a portal into cultural identity

    Topkok, Amelia Katherine Ahnaughuq (2018-05)
    What it means to be an Indigenous person in the 21st century is a powerful and moving experience, and how we explore our own identity is up to us. Access to differing worldviews through printed literature and academia give a largely non-Indigenous viewpoint and inaccurate impressions of what it means to be "Iñupiaq." Indigenous education programs throughout the world, however, are emerging and emphasize personal views of individuals, creating a window into their worldview. Recognizing these worldviews validate Indigenous knowledge and allows this knowledge to be brought into arenas previously thought to be only relevant through Western knowledge. We all are human; we learn in many different ways, and through relationships and cultural training, we create and redefine our identity through experiential learning. Revealing skin sewers' perspectives of themselves, their values, and ways they express cultural identity is part of my research. Examining personal family history and other sources exploring Iñupiaq perspectives of women (or men if found) and their skin-sewn garments, demonstrates how these garments serve as cultural icons of "being Iñupiaq." Part of their story is learning who their mentors are, how were they influenced by Iñupiaq values, and the role of garments representing identity. There are varying reasons of what it means to be Iñupiaq: ideals, values, and human bonds exist between the creator and the wearer of skin-sewn garments.
  • Framing Complexity: Teachers And Students Use Of Technology In Alaska One To One Laptop Learning Environments

    Whicker, Robert E.; Monahan, John; Richey, Jean; Roehl, Roy; Eck, Norman; Crumley, Robert (2012)
    The topic for this dissertation is to investigate perceptions within the implementation of established one to one laptop learning programs in Alaska high schools. A primary purpose is to gain understanding of teacher and student perception of their technology use levels by establishing a level of adoption. A secondary purpose is to gain understanding of teacher perceptions regarding concerns and implementation concepts. The theoretical framework for this study used a concurrent mixed methods approach, beginning with a quantitative broad survey with supporting qualitative open-ended questions. The sample used for this study includes public high school teachers and students, who are part of a one-to-one laptop program in thirteen schools districts across Alaska. Analysis of frequencies of technology use and levels of proficiency for both students and teachers were made in areas of personal and classroom use. Teacher professional practice was also analyzed with an emphasis on professional development. Statistical analysis included analysis of variance of demographic measures and classroom use, correlation and regression of teachers' levels of proficiency. Findings indicated a mature implementation of one to one programs throughout the teacher population sample with teachers reporting high stages of concern and moderate levels of technology use focused on the students' use of technology for learning. Implementation recommendations indicated by this study include the use of a framework to measure program progress and to gather teacher voices through the life of a project, clear communication of program goals, and a professional development model suited toward teachers' needs. This study will provide a baseline of knowledge for future studies in Alaska.
  • Kids Getting Away With Learning: Student Perceptions Of Learning In One To One Laptop Programs

    Standley, Mark; Monahan, John; Crumley, Robert; Jorgensen, Spike; Lang, Rob; Richey, Jean; Roehl, Roy (2012)
    This research explores students' perceptions of learning in one to one laptop programs in rural Alaska. This research used constructing grounded theory methods by conducting five focus groups in rural high schools in order to gather and analyze data from the students themselves. The research intent was to let the students' words and experiences shape a new theory how about they learn with these laptop programs. From an epistemological standpoint the goal of this qualitative research was to create a more complete picture of learning in one to one programs using grounded data through gathering, analyzing, and working directly with the students in these programs as "co-participants" to learn from their perceptions of learning using laptops. The new literacies student develop through being 21st century learners were reflected in the student perceptions in one to one programs and challenge researchers to re-examine learning theory in light of the ubiquitous nature of digital learning. This research was part of a larger collaboration with the Tech Cohort (Appendix A) to conduct mixed methods research using the same population to create a more complete picture of the research topics and participants.
  • Polishing The Mirror: A Multiple Methods Study Of The Relationship Between Teaching Style And The Application Of Technology In Alaska's Rural One To One Digital Classrooms

    Ledoux, Larry S.; Monahan, John; Covey, Jerry; Richey, Jean; Smiley, Scott (2012)
    This mixed method survey study examined the inter-relationships between teaching styles and the depth of classroom-based technology applications used by teachers participating in 1:1 digitally enhanced classrooms in thirteen of Alaska's rural school districts. The promise of technology to catalyze the transformation of schools into learner centric environments preparing students to be 21st century learners has not been realized. Significant first order barriers have limited the digital learning resources necessary to systemically affect pedagogical change. During the last six years, various entities have sponsored digitally enhanced learning environments to stimulate the process of education reform. These initiatives, labeled as one-to-one (1:1), brought teachers face-to-face with the challenges related to second order education reform while creating an opportunity to study changes in instructional philosophy and practice as a result of teaching in an environment rich in technology. This study explored three questions formulated to probe the relationship between pedagogical philosophy and the application of 1:1 technology to support learning: • "What is the relationship between instructional philosophy and the way teachers use technology to support learning in Alaskan high school 1:1 laptop programs?" • "How does access to a 1:1 classroom affect a teacher's instructional philosophy or practice?" • "Does access to a 1:1 digitally enhanced teaching environment facilitate the use of instructional practices consistent with Alaska Native and 21st century learner outcomes?" Ninety-four rural high school teachers responded to a survey that assessed teaching styles on a continuum from transmission to constructivist. The level of technology adoption was examined using three indices that respectively measure the professional, personal and classroom use of technology by teachers. Information derived from open ended questions was triangulated with quantitative data to develop a meaningful understanding of the study questions. Quantitative and qualitative data suggested that the majority of responding teachers identified with constructivist beliefs over traditional transmission. Teachers noted a strong positive relationship between teaching and the application of technology, yet analysis showed that constructivist beliefs were attenuated by several challenges related to management of technology. While teachers were generally aware of the potential for digital learning technologies to support Alaska Native and 21st century methods, they were outweighed by operational concerns related to the integration of technology. These study questions are significant. Digitally enhanced instructional practices help to equip students with the skills expected of 21st century learners. Perhaps even more significant is the congruence between the teaching styles traditionally used by Alaska Natives and the digitally enhanced constructivist practices made possible when using technology to augment processes for acquiring knowledge.
  • Digital Dead Ends Along Alaska's Information Highway: Broadband Access For Students And Teachers In Alaska's High School One-To-One Laptop Programs

    Lloyd, Pamela Jo; Monahan, John; Richey, Jean; Roehl, Roy; Eck, Norman; Crumley, Robert; Knight, Phil (2012)
    This dissertation analyzes the potential impact community broadband availability has on personal and classroom levels of technology adoption for high school students and teachers in Alaska. Community broadband availability was defined as, (a) terrestrial broadband availability; (b) satellite broadband availability; and (c) no broadband available. The theoretical framework for this study used a concurrent mixed methods design, beginning with quantitative surveys with open-ended questions administered to teachers and students. Open coding analysis produced themes from student focus groups and open-ended questions used to complement the quantitative analysis. The sample population included high school teachers and students in one-to-one laptop programs from 13 school districts in 39 communities in Alaska spread across three categories of community broadband availability. All participating schools met the criteria for a complete one-to-one laptop solution. Key findings using an analysis of variance resulted in a statistically significant difference in personal use levels of adoption among students compared across three categories of community broadband available. Students living in communities with no broadband access had lower personal use levels of adoption compared to students living in communities with terrestrial or satellite broadband availability. There was no significant difference in student classroom levels technology adoption compared across three categories of community broadband availability. There was no statistical difference among teachers in personal or classroom levels of adoption. There continues to be a need to study these digital learning environments to determine conditions under which positive learning outcomes may be achieved. A study based in Alaska, focusing on student and teacher levels of adoption in personal and classroom, given broadband availability will provide data for policymakers, administrators, and stakeholders to make decisions regarding the impacts of the digital divide. The investment in rural areas of Alaska is significant for not only jobs and long-term economic benefits, but also to the citizenry of Alaska in expanding the opportunities for all of our students to be globally competitive, no matter their zip code.
  • Preparing Culturally Responsive Teachers Of Science, Technology, Engineering, And Math Using The Geophysical Institute Framework For Professional Development In Alaska

    Berry Bertram, Kathryn; Barnhardt, Raymond; McMillan, Claude III; Kramm, Gerhard; Smith, Roger (2011)
    The Geophysical Institute (GI) Framework for Professional Development was designed to prepare culturally responsive teachers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Professional development programs based on the framework are created for rural Alaskan teachers who instruct diverse classrooms that include indigenous students. This dissertation was written in response to the question, "Under what circumstances is the GI Framework for Professional Development effective in preparing culturally responsive teachers of science, technology, engineering, and math?" Research was conducted on two professional development programs based on the GI Framework: the Arctic Climate Modeling Program (ACMP) and the Science Teacher Education Program (STEP). Both programs were created by backward design to student learning goals aligned with Alaska standards and rooted in principles of indigenous ideology. Both were created with input from Alaska Native cultural knowledge bearers, Arctic scientists, education researchers, school administrators, and master teachers with extensive instructional experience. Both provide integrated instruction reflective of authentic Arctic research practices, and training in diverse methods shown to increase indigenous student STEM engagement. While based on the same framework, these programs were chosen for research because they offer distinctly different training venues for K-12 teachers. STEP offered two-week summer institutes on the UAF campus for more than 175 teachers from 33 Alaska school districts. By contrast, ACMP served 165 teachers from one rural Alaska school district along the Bering Strait. Due to challenges in making professional development opportunities accessible to all teachers in this geographically isolated district, ACMP offered a year-round mix of in-person, long-distance, online, and local training. Discussion centers on a comparison of the strategies used by each program to address GI Framework cornerstones, on methodologies used to conduct program research, and on findings obtained. Research indicates that in both situations the GI Framework for Professional Development was effective in preparing culturally responsive STEM teachers. Implications of these findings and recommendations for future research are discussed in the conclusion.
  • Exploring The Challenges Of School Counseling: Voices From Rural Alaska

    Cook, Christine Rojas; Barnhardt, Raymond (2011)
    School counselors in rural locations deal with many of the same issues and concerns of those in most urban areas, but have several additional challenges due to the geographic and demographic characteristics of their populations. The research in this dissertation investigated the specific challenges experienced by school counselors in the state of Alaska. All school counselors working in a rural public school were surveyed to determine what challenges they experienced, what resources they utilize, what additional resources they would like, and to discuss any information they believed would be helpful for a counselor about to enter the rural school setting. From the original 93 survey responses, 24 counselors were interviewed to provide further depth to the investigation. Analysis revealed similar challenges as discussed previously in the literature regarding rural counselor practice, but highlighted crisis situations, isolation variables, limited community resources, multiple roles, rural culture issues, and cultural issues. Alaska school counselors currently utilize a variety of resources to help them address the concerns in their communities. They did not request anything different than the resources they currently access, but rather wanted more of those resources. Recommendations are made for school counselors, school districts, state organizations, and counselor education training institutes.
  • Young Native Fiddlers: A Case Study On Cultural Resilience In Interior Alaska

    Allan, Maryanne; Barnhardt, Raymond; Parker-Webster, Joan (2011)
    This study explores success for Alaska Native young people, defining success using an Alaska Native point of view, that is, interconnectedness between culturally healthy youth and a culturally nurturing community. As a participatory action research project, members of the community, including musicians, young fiddlers, and their parents and grandparents are collaborating to develop a culturally-based youth group (Young Native Fiddlers) focused on Athabascan fiddling, a 150 year old Athabascan tradition, with the goal of developing culturally healthy youth. This study focuses on the impact of this program on its members and on the community. Using a participatory action research process, data gathering includes interviews with young fiddlers, parents and grandparents, musicians and community members, journal entries, participant observation, notes from participants, photographs, videos, and local media coverage. Themes were identified in the data and references were tallied to determine the meaning given to involvement in this program. The themes referred to most often were empowerment and cultural connection. Results suggest that while acquiring the skills of fiddle performance, young participants are not only continuing this valuable cultural tradition but they are developing individual cultural resilience as well as leadership skills. And they are sharing culture and strengths with their cultural community, thereby contributing to community resilience.
  • Science Education In Rural America: Adaptations For The Ivory Tower

    Van Doren, Gregory S.; Duffy, Lawrence K. (2010)
    This thesis illustrated what can happen when academic culture disconnects from the cultures surrounding it. It showed that formal school environments are not always the best places to learn. A discussion of the debate between coherence and fragmentation learning theories illustrated academic chasms and a mindset that science education must originate from within ivory towers to be valued. Rationales for place-based science education were developed. Two National Science Foundation initiatives were compared and contrasted for relevance to Native Science education (a) Informal Science Education and (b) Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities. A National Science Foundation instrument, known as the Self-Assessment of Learning Gains, was selected to field-test measures of learning science outside of university science courses. Principles of chemistry were taught in community workshops, and those participant self-assessments were compared to self-assessments of students in introductory chemistry courses at two universities. University students consistently claimed the greatest learning gains, in the post-course survey, for the same areas that they claimed to have the greatest understanding, in the pre-course survey. The workshop participant responses differed, depending upon location of the learning environment. When held in a university laboratory, ideas were not related to other cultures, even when a Native Elder was present to describe those relationships. When held in a cultural center, those relationships were among the highest learning gains claimed. One of the instrument's greatest assets was the ability to measure reactions, level 4 of Bennett's (1976) hierarchy of evidence for program evaluation. A long-term commitment to informal science education (not short-term exhibits or programs), combined with negotiated place-based education was recommended as a crucially needed initiative, if relationships between universities and Native American communities are to improve. Some chasms created within ivory towers may never be bridged. Yet, those ideological chasms do not have to exist everywhere. The realities of working in the natural world and the practice of addressing multitudes of community challenges can alter perspectives, when horizons change from the edge of one's desk to those that meet the sea or sky.
  • Yuraryararput Kangiit-Llu: Our Ways Of Dance And Their Meanings

    John, Theresa Arevgaq; Barnhardt, Ray; Webster, Joan Parker (2010)
    The first purpose of this study is to describe the categories of dance. The second purpose is to describe how Yup'ik music and dance has played a functional role in organizing and maintaining various societal infrastructures (kinship, social, political, subsistence/economic, and spiritual) within the Yup'ik culture (Fienup-Riordan, 1996; John, 1996; Kingston, 1999; Mather, 1985; Wallen, 1990; Wolf, 1999). This study seeks to further understand this role and how it has evolved over time. The study utilizes an ethnographic methodology that includes historical and contemporary perspectives to describe Yup'ik music and dance categories and to explain how dance serves to organize various aspects of Yup'ik culture and societal infrastructure. Data includes interviews from Yup'ik elders and adults, fieldnotes, research journal entries, digital recordings, photographs, and observations of Yup'ik immersion school performers and rural community cultural events such as the Cama-i Festival. The study suggests that Yup'ik dance and categories are important elements of the multiple cyclic rituals. It adds to the present literature revealing that there are twenty different dance types and categories, and many of the rituals are lost except for the ciuqitet (common dances), nangerceciyaraq (the first dance), and iluriurucaraq (teasing dance) dances. The study also suggests that dancing is an essential part of the Yup'ik social infrastructure and that dancing is integral to the social system. This is demonstrated through six themes: Kinship, Physical/Mental Health, Form of Prayer, Spiritual Enlightenment, Leadership, and Teasing. I also argue that there is connectedness in dance, music, and stories that are part of our yuuyaraq (epistemic worldview). Yuuyaraq is defined as a way of being a human (Napoleon, 1991) or an absolute unified social web. This web is represented in our social infrastructures of kinship, health/physical and mental, form of prayer/rituals, spiritual enlightenment, leadership, and teasing. There is a relationship in storytelling genres in dance and oral stories that represent people's historical and contemporary accounts, describing their social, cultural, and subsistence lifestyle. Interview participant data suggest these connections still exist in our society today.

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