• When Uŋalaqłiq danced: stories of strength, suppression & hope

      Qassataq, Ayyu; Stern, Charlene B.; Black, Jessica C.; John-Shields, Agatha (2020-05)
      In the late 1800’s, Uŋalaqłiq (Unalakleet), a predominantly Iñupiaq community along the Norton Sound in Western Alaska, was missionized by the Evangelical Covenant Church. Missionaries were integral in establishing a localized education system under the direction of General Agent of Education, Sheldon Jackson, in the early 1900’s. By 1915, the community was no longer engaging in ancestral practices such as deliberating, teaching and hosting ceremonies within the qargi. Nor were they uplifting shared history and relationships between villages or expressing gratitude for the bounty of the lands through traditional songs, dances, or celebrations such as the Kivgiq Messenger Feast. This research outlines events that occurred in Uŋalaqłiq around the turn of the 20th century and analyzes how those events influenced the formation of the education system and its ongoing impacts to Native peoples and communities today. The intent of this research is to help grow a shared understanding of how this history continues to shape our lived experience as modern day Native peoples and to lay a foundation to promote healing and strength through the potential revival of ancestral traditions that have kept us healthy and strong for thousands of years.