• Deg Xinag Oral Traditions: Reconnecting Indigenous Language And Education Through Traditional Narratives

      Leonard, Beth R.; Barnhardt, Raymond J. (2007)
      "Deg Xinag," literally 'local language' is the westernmost of the Athabascan 1 languages. The language area is also referred to as "Deg Hit'an," literally, 'local people'. The Deg Hit'an are often referred to inappropriately in anthropological and linguistic literature as "Ingalik," a Yup'ik word meaning 'lice-infested'. There are currently three villages in western, interior Alaska where this language is spoken and about 20 fluent speakers of this language remaining. As I proceeded through my graduate research I came to understand the significance of indigenous language revitalization in relation to its potential contributions to indigenous and cross-cultural education. These contributions include establishing and enhancing self-identity and self-esteem for indigenous students, as well as contributing in-depth knowledge about local environments thereby enhancing place-based and funds of knowledge educational models (Bamhardt and Kawagley 2005: 15; Moll 1990). This dissertation presents an interdisciplinary analysis of a complex, cosmological Deg Hit'an narrative entitled "Nil oqay Ni'idaxin" or "The Man and Wife" told in the Deg Xinag language by the late Belle Deacon of Grayling Alaska (1987b). Deacon also told her own English version and titled this "The Old Man Who Came Down From Above the Second Layer of the World" (1987c). Underlying structures and meanings used in the contexts of Deg Xinag oral traditions are currently lacking in most published materials for this language, making it difficult to learn and consequently, develop culturally-appropriate language learning programs and curriculum. This analysis encompasses the fields of Alaska Native/indigenous studies, anthropology, and folklore/oral traditions using philosophical and pedagogical frameworks established by indigenous scholars including Gregory Cajete, Oscar Kawagley, and Greg Sarris. 1The term "Athabascan" has varied spellings within the literature, including "Athapaskan" and "Athabaskan." In 1997, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), the interior Alaska tribal consortium adopted a resolution stating their tribes' preference of the spelling using "b" and "c."
    • Cultivating Sustainability Through Participatory Action Research: Place -Based Education And Community Food Systems In Interior Alaska

      Henry-Stone, Laura R.; Barnhardt, Ray; Gerlach, Craig; Kofinas, Gary; Webster, Joan Parker (2008)
      As the environmental movement grows into a broader sustainability revolution, we must move beyond the traditional scope of environmental education to address social-ecological challenges through integrated education for sustainability. This research explores how place-based education can promote sustainability of a community food system in which feedbacks between production and consumption are integrated within a biocultural region. Through participatory action research, the project develops and demonstrates pedagogical components of sustainability that are applicable to formal and non-formal educational contexts. In this pedagogy, the purpose of sustainability education is to foster a community culture that will promote the emergence of sustainability in complex adaptive systems with social and ecological components. This work is based at the Effie Kokrine Charter School (EKCS), a junior-senior high school in Fairbanks, Alaska that teaches with an Alaska Native approach, emphasizing place-based, experiential, and holistic education by utilizing students' natural and human communities to facilitate learning. The collaborative design of an Interior Alaska gardening curriculum serves as both an organizing framework for the project's fieldwork as well as an outcome of the research. The resultant gardening curriculum and the rationale behind its design demonstrate components of pedagogy for sustainability, including systems thinking, place-based and problem-based learning, eco-cultural literacy, eco-justice values, and appropriate assessment. Sustainability pedagogy within settings of higher education should also include action research. The structure of this dissertation research reflects how action research incorporates components of sustainability pedagogy. This pedagogical framework has theoretical and practical implications in multiple educational settings and indicates ways for our educational institutions to participate in the global sustainability revolution.
    • 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.
    • Ways To Help And Ways To Hinder: Climate, Health, And Food Security In Alaska

      Loring, Philip A.; Gerlach, Craig; Fazzino, David V. II; Murray, Maribeth S.; Chapin, F. Stuart III; Atkinson, David E. (2010)
      This dissertation explores various ecological, socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and biophysical dimensions food security in Alaska. The context for this work is dramatic climatic change and ongoing demographic, socioeconomic and cultural transitions in Alaska's rural and urban communities. The unifying focus of the papers included here are human health. I provide multiple perspectives on how human health relates to community and ecosystem health, and of the roles of managers, policy makers, and researchers can play in supporting positive health outcomes. Topics include methylmercury (MeHg) contamination of wild fish, the impacts of changes to Alaskan landscapes and seascapes on subsistence and commercial activities, and on ways to design sustainable natural resource policies and co-management regimes such that they mimic natural systems. The operating premise of this work is that sustainability is ostensibly a matter of human health; the finding is that human health can provide a powerful point of integration for social and ecological sustainability research.
    • 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.
    • Science education in rural America: adaptations for the Ivory Tower

      Van Doren, Gregory S. (2010-08)
      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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • "This Is Who I Am": Perspectives On Economics, Policy, And Personal Identity And Culture Of Cook Inlet And Kenai River Salmon Fisheries

      Harrison, Hannah L.; Loring, Philip A.; Fong, Quentin; Gerlach, S. Craig (2013)
      Throughout this thesis, I use a multidisciplinary approach for understanding the sustainability of the culture, livelihoods, and ecosystems in the Cook Inlet and Kenai River salmon fisheries on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. In Chapter 1, I present a broad overview of the Cook Inlet region, its inhabitants, and the various stakeholder and user groups that access regional salmon fisheries. Chapter 1 also provides an overview of the methodology utilized in this research, as well as discuss the methods, the strengths, and weaknesses of the research as part of an evaluation of the study. In Chapter 2, I present an overview of how the Kenai River and Cook Inlet salmon fisheries are managed and regulated, including regulatory bodies and agencies and their mandated roles. Finally, the chapter concludes with a presentation of ethnographic data collected during interviews between summer of 2011 and spring of 2013. These data reveal the perspectives and attitudes of fishermen, and in terms of how they regard management, and about whether management decisions contribute to or detract from the ongoing sustainability of the regional fisheries and fish stocks. In Chapter 3, I examine some of the economically based arguments commonly made to support allocation rights between the several user groups that access the area fisheries. This chapter draws upon economic reports produced by advocacy groups and the State of Alaska, as well as utilizes a comparison of these reports by an economist from the University of Alaska Anchorage. This chapter again draws upon ethnographic research to understand perspectives of fishermen, illuminating how they interpret and develop their economic arguments for allocation. In Chapter 4, I present an ethnography detailing and describing attitudes and perspectives of fishermen as to how they perceive their personal identities relate to their fishing livelihoods. Finally, in Chapter 5 I conclude with an explanation and review of findings, as well as recommendations for future research and some personal thoughts. Throughout the thesis are pieces of my personal narrative to give the reader a more intimate understanding of this research.
    • Alaska Native claims settlement act and the unresolved issues of profit sharing, corporate democracy, and the new generations of Alaska Natives

      Blatchford, Edgar; Gerlach, Craig; Nakazawa, Anthony T.; Gabrielli, Ralph B.; Pullar, Gordon L.; Shepro, Carl E. (2013-08)
      The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was an experiment and a radical departure from policies in creating corporations with all shareholders being equal. The replication of publically traded corporate governance has created frustrations, inequities and unintended consequences for thousands of Natives which can be righted only if the experiment is continued. This is not a history of land claims but an attempt to unravel a tangled web of leadership, political, and rural development issues that are intimately interwoven with the ANCSA corporations. This paper is not about second guessing the leadership of the movement but about the need to understand how difficult it is to create rural development on corporate lands whose shareholders may or may not be residents and may not be Native.
    • Bride-stealing: a myth of misogyny

      Murugesan, Seetha; Duffy, Lawrence; Bartlett, Doris A.; Koskey, Michael; Yesner, David R. (2013-12)
      Bride-stealing, an explicit symbolic misogynistic action in The Iliad and The Kamba Ramayanam, is analyzed as a long-term patterned conduct of human behavior among the peoples who produced these works. The systematic pattern of bride stealing found in the epics discussed suggests that within these groups social constructs had always been in favor of female inferiority and subjugation. This places an emphasis on gender as an issue, manifested in the treatment of women by men as "others." The narrations of marginalization of women in the epics lead to a critique of the hypothesis that they are misogynistic. Here a framework of theoretical formulation is put forward to explore the origin of the practice of bride-stealing as well as the behavioral and psychological factors behind the intentions of both abductor and the abductee. The ancient epics are examined in a comparative literary style, and analyzed from an interdisciplinary stance with the guidance of cultural patterns, historically-created social orders and power-motivated political systems. After examining five thousand years of the history of ancient Greece and India, substantiated by archeological, anthropological, and linguistic evidence, this dissertation argues that the phenomenon of "bride stealing" occurred basically in male-dominant societies and stems from various components of the socio-economic setting of these societies. Studies show that the abducted women in the epics lived in times of social transition. The abuse of women that echoes in the epics is sometimes misconceived as reflecting misogyny. Women were targets in times of upheaval, and suffered due to incursions of pastoral nomads imposing their social order of patriarchy. This paper deduces that women were the victims of war, and that, following successful conquests by these pastoral nomadic societies and subsequent shifts in political power, their status underwent tremendous change. Furthermore, the abductions and overpowering behaviors of men towards women in myths and epics served as encoded messages to women from men to sustain their superiority over the "others," reflecting the ongoing imposition of values from the dominant culture.
    • Arctic passages: maternal transport, Iñupiat mothers and Northwest Alaska communities in transition

      Schwarzburg, Lisa Llewellyn; Duffy, Lawrence; Loring, Philip; Fast, Phyllis; Saylor, Brian (2013-12)
      While the primary goal of the northwest Alaska Native village maternal transport program is safe deliveries for mothers from remote villages, little has been done to examine the impact of transport on the mothers and communities involved. I explore how present values (Western and Iñupiat cultural values) can influence the desire of indigenous women of differing eras and Northwest Alaska villages to participate in biomedical birth practices, largely as made available by a tribal health-sponsored patient transport system. The work that follows portrays the varying influences on these women and their communities as they determine the level of importance for mothers to get to the hospital to deliver. I have enlisted viewpoints of Alaska Native families and women of different generations from various lñupiat villages to help paint a picture of the situation. With this research, I ask, how do generations of mothers, transport situations, and villages compare in terms of experiences during the processes of these Iñupiat women becoming mothers? What gender, ethnicity, and power interplays exist in this dynamic helix of social and political elements (embodiment) during their periods of liminality? What are influences (biomedical and community) that contribute to a woman's transition to motherhood in this community? Moreover, how do women, families, and community members perceive the maternal transport policy today? I examine how the transport policy figures into stages of liminality, as these mothers and communities produce future generations. With theoretical frameworks provided by medical anthropology and maternal identity work, I track the differences concerning the maternal transport operation for lñupiat mothers of the area. I compare the influences of cultural value systems present in each of the communities by birth era and location. Using content analysis to determine common themes, I found connections among presence of Iñupiat values, community acceptance of maternal transport, and expressed desire for community autonomy in maternal health care.
    • Russian impact on cultural identity and heritage in the middle Kuskokwim region of Alaska

      Jerabek, Cheryl L.; Barnhardt, Ray; Leonard, Beth; Schneider, William; Gerlach, Craig (2014-05)
      The objective of my research is to document the role that Russian heritage has played in the individual and group identity of Native people in the middle Kuskokwim River region of Alaska. For purposes of this study this area includes the villages of Lower Kalskag, Upper Kalskag, Aniak, Chuathbaluk, Napaimute, Crooked Creek, Red Devil, Georgetown, Sleetmute, and Stony River. The changes and adaptations that occurred in the middle Kuskokwim River area during the Russian era 1790-1867, the changes that occurred with the sale of Alaska to the United States, and the continued changes up to the present time, including the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), all impact the heritage and traditions of today. Today the middle Kuskokwim River region of Alaska includes Yup'ik, several Athabascan groups, Russian, and other European cultures. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Russian exploration, trading activities, and the Russian Orthodox Church changed the daily life of the indigenous population and added to the cultural blending of the region. That blending is evident even today, as Russian heritage has become part of the current Alaska Native cultural identity in the middle Kuskokwim. My study asks the following research questions: What impact did Russian explorers, traders, and Orthodox clergy have on the middle Kuskokwim River region of Alaska? How has Russian influence changed over time, and how has this Russian heritage impacted present-day cultural identity in the middle Kuskokwim region? Included is the broader discussion of how people in the region define their identity and what aspects of that identity are most important to them. Since I am using an ethnohistorical approach, I felt it was important to include an historical summary of the cultural change and indigenous adaptation during the Russian era and the changes brought about by the sale of Alaska, leading into more modern-day impacts. I interviewed 24 community members, focusing on their indigenous and Russian heritage. Interviews with two nonindigenous scholars also provided additional information on the indigenous and Russian history and culture of the region. From the semistructured interview dialogues, key themes and resonant narratives were identified. Those who were interviewed expressed indigenous values as the core of their identity including respect for elders and others, knowledge of family tree, respect for land and nature, practice of Native traditions, honoring ancestors, humility, spirituality, and importance of place. This helped me formulate an indigenous identity framework to illustrate the very complex pieces that influence identity in the middle Kuskokwim River region of Alaska. In the end, Russian heritage has been absorbed into the local culture, especially in the area of religion, and has been indigenized into a deeply rooted sense of place and ways of being and expressing Native culture. It is this indigenous rootedness that is at the core of identity in the middle Kuskokwim.
    • Deconstructing the western worldview: toward the repatriation and indigenization of wellness

      Rahm, Jacqueline Marie; Koskey, Michael; Lewis, Jordan; John, Theresa; Leonard, Beth (2014-12)
      As Indigenous peoples and scholars advance Native histories, cultures, and languages, there is a critical need to support these efforts by deconstructing the western worldview in a concerted effort to learn from indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing for humanity's future wellbeing. Toward that imperative, this research brings together and examines pieces of the western story as they intersect with Indigenous peoples of the lands that now comprise the United States of America. Through indigenous frameworks and methodologies, it explores a forgotten epistemology of the pre-Socratic and Pythagorean Archaic and Classical Greek eras that is far more similar to indigenous worldviews than it is to the western paradigm today. It traces how the West left behind this timeless wisdom for the "new learning" and the European colonial settlers arrived in the old "New World" with a fragmented, materialistic, and dualistic worldview that was the antithesis to those of Indigenous peoples. An imbalanced and privileged worldview not only justified an unacknowledged genocide in world history, it is characteristic of a psycho-spiritual disease that plays out across our global society. This dissertation suggests that the healing of the western mind rests with shifting the dominant paradigm toward a fundamental axiom of holism found within the life-ways of American Indigenous peoples and also buried within the West's own ancestry, particularly within a misunderstood ancient Greek tradition at the cornerstone of the western world.
    • Honda country: relocalization through technology in Nanwalek Alaska

      DeHass, David; Nakazawa, Anthony; Koskey, Michael; Gerlach, Craig; Pullar, Gordon (2014-12)
      It should not be assumed that the introduction of a new technology automatically wipes out past cultural practices. Instead, it is often the case that these offerings are integrated into a current routine. For the Sugpiat of Nanwalek, Alaska, there is a constant need to negotiate between what to change and what to preserve. My research explores how a cultural group judges a new technology based upon shared boundaries and understandings. I examine how the decision to accept all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) has allowed for increased participation in subsistence practices, effective resource management, and material and emotional reunification with those things that went before. Many of the activities and "places that count" are no longer merely fragments of memory for many in the village; rather, they are physical and contemporary in their importance. In my dissertation, I define relocalization and demonstrate how relocalization was made possible through purposeful decision-making and adaptive traditions and did not simply occur because of the existence of ATVs and their random internalization.