• 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.
    • 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.