Welcome to the Electronic Theses and Dissertations for the College of Rural & Community Development at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

Recent Submissions

  • Paving the way: an evaluation of small business support programs in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut

    Morrill, Gabrielle E.; Sekaquaptewa, Patricia; Baker, Ron; Bell-Jones, Jenny; Brooks, Cathy (2018-12)
    Small businesses in Nunavut face many opportunities and challenges. The Government of Nunavut and Government of Canada have expressed a commitment to support small business development in Nunavut to promote economic development and improve socioeconomic conditions for Nunavummiut. The question is: how can they best do that? Nunavut has developed a complex business service network to support small business development. The network provides many products and services, particularly funding opportunities and advisory services. This research analyzes the history of economic and business development in the Kivalliq (southwest) region of Nunavut. This includes precolonial Inuit economic institutions, which are vastly different from western models, and the utilized strategies in the Nunavut business service network. Twenty-four open ended interviews were conducted with entrepreneurs and business service network employees to evaluate the realities of small businesses in Nunavut. Interviews were designed and studied from a social constructionist and phenomenological perspective. The primary issues that were identified in the Nunavut business service network were: low accountability; burdensome bureaucracy; poor effectiveness; lack of trust in business service employees; poor transparency; unreliable maintenance of confidentiality; and oversaturation of funders; and a need for greater communication between organizations. Most of these issues related more to non-repayable contributions programs than other forms of business service organizations. Contribution programs will be explored in greater detail. Recommendations were guided by ideas to increase the amount of support, both from a business counselling and funding perspective, for established businesses as opposed to start-ups; a need for greater accountability and transparency; methods to increase trust in business service employees; ways to improve communications between service organizations; and a need to reduce bureaucracy and streamline application processes. The final recommendations include restructuring financing programs, particularly contribution financing programs; establishing a mentorship program; creating a single-portal streamlined application for funding and site for information; adding additional metrics of evaluation, particularly for contribution financing programs; creating a pool of board members for business funding reviews; starting a business incubator or business advisory-only program; and establishing a stronger partnership with the Nunavut Arctic College in delivering training programs for business owners.
  • Taking Back the Knife: The Ulu as an Expression of Inuit Women's Strength

    Gillam, Patricia Hansen (2009-12)
    The ulu is an enduring object in the lives of Inuit women which has multiple meanings as both a tool and symbol of traditional subsistence activity. While it continues to be recognized as a symbol of identity for Inuit women across the Arctic, it has received little attention by Western scientists and academics. Following the twists and turns of both de-colonizing and engendering the ulu encourages a comprehension of the profoundly symbolic meaning of the ulu with respect to Inuit women's identity. The collecting phase of the Smithsonian in Alaska and the classifying impulse of archaeological reports are examined for their underlying rules of practice, conventions of representation and dynamics of scientific authority. Then in reaction to this 'objectification' of the ulu, the knife is taken back in a multitude of actions and expressions which seek to reclaim the ulu and restore its significance as a cultural item
  • Changing Winds: National Politics And Its Role In Funding For Rural Development In Alaska

    Langenberg-Miller, Edwina C.; Pullar, Gordon; Knecht, Rick (2010)
    The combination of the election of Senator Mark Begich in 2008, an increased emphasis on transparency, and a growing movement away from congressionally-directed spending (earmarks) and toward competitively-awarded and formula-based funding has the potential to drastically reduce federal funding for rural development in Alaska. Alaska's basic needs for infrastructure remain equivalent to those of some of the least developed nations of the world. Rural development projects in Alaska, however, fight an uphill battle for federal funding because rural populations are low in numbers and remote, costs of rural development in Alaska far exceed similar projects in the "lower 48," and changes in the U.S. Congress have drastically reduced Alaskans' ability to circumvent formula-based and competitively-awarded funding avenues. This thesis is an analysis of recent changes that affect rural development funding in Alaska, and it hypothesizes how rural development funding for Alaska may continue to change.
  • Cultural Significance Of The 14(H) (1) Historic Sites Of Southeast Alaska

    Debaluz, Gail Marie; Wright, Miranda; Pullar, Gordon; Dayo, Dixie (2010)
    The study provides a literary review of first person accounts regarding section 14 (h) (1) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). This subsection is the legal mechanism for Alaska Native Corporations (ANC's) to obtain title to historic sites. Historic sites include villages, seasonal camps and cemeteries. The 14 (h) (1) collection is a nationally unique library and invaluable resource for tribal members to enhance the understanding of indigenous knowledge. It offers a profound appreciation of our ancestor's fortitude in challenging circumstances, instilling strength toward maintaining our identity as a dynamic, living, culture. The dissertation imparts the conceptual framework for tribal members to utilize the repository at their regional corporate office. The study seeks to understand Tlingit philosophy, inter-generational concepts, indigenous land stewardship, resource management, customary food practices, and cultural mores. It is complimented with an examination of local, state and national policy resulting from implementing ANCSA.
  • TEST College of Rural and Community Development 9/25/17

    CHISUM (2017-09)
    TEST College of Rural and Community Development 9/25/17
  • Online social media as a social-ecological systems research tool: Facebook and two rural Alaskan communities

    Hum, Richard E.; Koskey, Michael; Taylor, Karen; Brinkman, Todd (2013-12)
    The earth has transitioned into the anthropocene, which is defined by complex environmental change linked to human behavior and requires new tools of analysis in order to understand shifting social-ecological system (SES) dynamics. In this work, I explore taking advantage of widespread online social media participation to develop the tools for doing so. Spatially grounded public exchanges on Facebook are examined with three goals in mind: 1) examine the types of SES content being passed through this communication medium, 2) compare community observations to relevant scientific observations, and 3) define a flexible and reproducible research method for integrating these communications signals into a wide range of SES studies. Facebook activity from two communities in northwest Alaska was studied. Communication patterns were assessed combining content and network analysis methodology. My results indicate that signals are passed through this mode of communication directly addressing the SES topics of subsistence, food security, and human-weather interactions. Data from instrumentally based weather observations are qualitatively aligned with posting frequency and content. A context and community-based research method is defined that uses staged deductive/inductive content analysis, in conjunction with network analysis, to identify emergent local SES relationships.
  • Guidance for Sustainable Tourism in Kotzebue, Alaska

    Alvite, Annabelle C.; Ducharme, JoAnne; Pullar, Gordon; Knecht, Richard A. (2008-12)
    Tourism once thrived in Kotzebue, a rural largely Iñupiat Eskimo community in Northwest Alaska. Today there is very little evidence of the summer tourism that once characterized this remote Arctic town. Trends suggest a revival of tourism in Kotzebue, though little is being done to prepare for an almost inevitable rebirth. This research is intended to identify local concerns about tourism, the current state of tourism and offer guidance for sustainable tourism. Qualitative and inductive research was conducted to understand local feelings about tourism and possible reasons past tourism levels could not be sustained. Suggestions are given for a new direction for tourism. Secondary research examined the concept of sustainable tourism, profiles of current and potential visitors to the region, and tools and strategies to manage tourism and its impacts. The study concludes past tourism did not have major detrimental effects on the community, and there are both lingering resentment and caution about future tourism, as well as definite local interest in its development.