Recent Submissions

  • Federal policy and Alaska Native languages since 1867

    Alton, Thomas L.; Krauss, Michael (1998)
    Researchers and the general public have often contended that punishment of children for speaking their native languages in schools is the cause of the decline of those languages. But native language loss in Alaska is rooted also in the choices Natives made themselves to accept English for its social, economic, and political opportunities. Since the United States purchased Alaska in 1867, English has replaced native languages as the first language learned by children in nearly all homes. Although none of Alaska's twenty native languages is yet extinct, most are at a point of peril as English has replaced a pattern of linguistic diversity that existed from time immemorial. This study documents the history of language decline and the role of federal government policy in that process. Congress extended federal policies to Alaska in 1884 when it established civil government in the territory. In 1885 the Bureau of Education assumed responsibility for running rural schools. Federal policy during that era grew out of America's desire for uniformity of culture, religion, and language, and as a result schools often forcibly suppressed Native American languages and punished students for speaking them. Yet Alaska Natives have been active participants in change, not passive victims of an overwhelming bureaucracy. The switch to English occurred as Natives responded to the influx of American population with its systems of economy, society, politics, and justice. Natives abandoned their old languages when they became convinced through pressures from the outside world that English held more prestige and advantage than their native languages. Government policies defined the choices that were available, and Natives adopted English for the opportunities it afforded them in a modern system that was not of their own making. Once families began using English as the language of the home and thus interrupted the continuity of native language use from one generation to the next, the decline of native languages was assured. Punishment of school children for speaking their native languages, along with American social, economic, and political systems, created an environment in which Alaska Natives made the constrained choice to adopt English as the language of the home and community.
  • The Campaign To Establish A Last Great Wilderness: The Arctic National Wildlife Range

    Kaye, Roger W.; Gladden, James (2005)
    In 1960, after nearly a decade of controversy and failed legislative attempts, the Arctic National Wildlife Range was established by an executive order "for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values." This is the story of the transformation of this little-known expanse of mountains, forest, and tundra into a place internationally recognized as one of the finest examples of wilderness. This dissertation is a political history of the conflict, examining the roles of key proponents and opponents and the sequence of actions that finally brought the Secretary of Interior to issue the order. More important, it is an exploration of the historic, cultural, philosophical, and scientific underpinnings of the campaign. It focuses upon the beliefs and values, the ideas and idealism, and the hopes and concerns for the future that inspired leaders of the effort, captured the public imagination, and galvanized the political support necessary to overcome powerful opposition. The immediate context of the campaign was the post-World War II transformation of American society. More than in any previous period, postwar America was receptive to the idea of setting an area aside for a unique combination of tangible and intangible values---cultural, symbolic, and spiritual values as well as wildlife, ecological, and recreational values. The controversy reflected growing concerns about the era's unprecedented rate of population growth; economic, industrial, and technological expansion; and consequent environmental alteration. For proponents, it came to symbolize the conflict between seemingly unbridled progress and the need to more carefully consider the environmental consequences of these trends. For opponents, the nine-million acre reservation represented a threat to the new state's economic prosperity, resented federal control of natural resources, and a restriction of the opportunity and freedom they came to Alaska seeking. Rooted in the progressive era split between utilitarian conservation and nature preservation, the campaign was, to a large degree, a contest between competing views of the appropriate relationship between postwar American society and its changing landscape. The view that prevailed reflects the successful integration of the emerging ecologically-based "environmental" perspective into the wilderness movement.
  • Distance Activism And The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    Raymond-Yakoubian, Julie M.; Gladden, James (2002)
    The growing phenomenon of distance place attachment and distance activism can be seen in the extensive network of non-visitors involved in the protection of places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. This type of activism is not an anomaly, but rather an increasingly significant global phenomenon, which has gone largely unexamined by researchers of environmentalism, activism, wilderness, and place attachment. Distance activism encompasses the standard definition of activism, with the addition that distance activists must not have had physical contact with the natural environment for which they are being active. I argue that distance activists' actions and beliefs can be understood, in part, in terms of the conceptual frameworks of geopiety, topophilia, and place attachment. Furthermore, I argue that distance activism deserves a proper place in place attachment theorizing. Distance activism on behalf of the Arctic Refuge is examined as a case study of this important phenomenon. <p>
  • Alaska's First Wolf Controversy: Predator And Prey In Mount McKinley National Park, 1930-1953.

    Rawson, Timothy Mark; Cole, Terrence; Read, Colin; Erickson, Karen (1994)
    The decision in the 1930s by the National Park Service to quit eliminating predatory animals in parks arose from evolving attitudes among scientists toward predation, but had little public support. Of the various parks, only Mount McKinley National Park still held wolves, and the National Park Service received considerable opposition to wolf protection from the eastern Camp Fire Club of America and from Alaskans. The former desired permanent protection from wolves for the park's Dall sheep, while the latter could not understand protecting wolves when, throughout Alaska, efforts were made to minimize wolves. Using material from the National Archives and Alaskan sources, this historical study examines the role of public opinion as the Park Service attempted to respond to its critics and still adhere to its protective faunal management philosophy, in what was the nation's first argument over offering sanctuary to our most charismatic predator. <p>
  • Resilience to capitalism, resilience through capitalism: indigenous communities, industrialization, and radical resilience in Arctic Alaska

    Hillmer-Pegram, Kevin C.; Lovecraft, Amy Lauren; Eicken, Hajo; Rosenberg, Jonathan; Takahashi-Kelso, Dennis (2016-08)
    A large and expanding body of scientific evidence shows that the Arctic is experiencing rapid social-ecological changes. Arctic stewardship is a framework for governance that is based on the principles of resilience thinking and is gaining prominence in both academic and political settings. However, critical scholars have indicted resilience thinking for failing to adequately comprehend the social dimensions of social-ecological systems. Resilience, therefore, remains a problematic theoretical foundation on which to base governance. The aim of this dissertation is to improve resilience thinking so that it can overcome its demonstrated shortcomings and thereby contribute to improved Arctic governance. I propose a novel theoretical framework called radical resilience, which integrates conventional resilience thinking with key insights from the political economic theories of certain Marxists and post-Marxists – namely that the capitalist mode of production and consumption is a key driver of ecological degradation and social inequity. Focusing on populations who maintain high degrees of non-capitalist modes of economic activity, I use radical resilience to answer the research question: How is the global capitalist system affecting the social-ecological resilience of Indigenous communities in northern Alaska as the Arctic continues to industrialize? Empirical case studies revolving around the three sectors of industrial activity increasing the fastest in the Arctic – tourism, natural resource extraction, and shipping – show that the relationship between capitalism and the resilience of Indigenous communities is complex and conflicted. While engaging in capitalism challenges traditional values, it is also a key strategy for maintaining adaptive capacity. Rather than calling for local places to ‘weather the storm’ of change – as resilience has been critiqued for doing –governance should enable local influence over global processes through enhanced bottom-up democracy, or what the resilience literature calls revolt.