• Compulsory education and resilience in northern Alaska: the role of social learning and youth in healthy sustainable communities

      Cost, Douglas Scott; Leonard, Beth; Hirshberg, Diane; Barnhardt, Ray; Chapin, F. Stuart, III; Sparrow, Elena (2017-08)
      How can education in the Arctic foster individual and community resilience in a time of rapid social-environmental change? Education and learning, have powerful potential to affect future social-environmental system resilience. This research unpacks and examines the connections and feedbacks among studies of social-environmental systems (SESs), resilience, compulsory education and Indigenous knowledge. The last few decades have witnessed global recognition of rapid climate change in the Arctic; primarily the diminishing cryosphere. This has led to discussion and debate over the role of schools in addressing local knowledge, environmental changes, and community priorities. In the U.S. state of Alaska and in other Arctic regions, the role of compulsory schooling, in particular public schools, in improving the fit between environmental changes, learning practices, and future policies for local to regional Arctic SESs has been largely overlooked. I hypothesize that, as extensions of governments, public schools in the U.S. Arctic and in similar locations offer an opportunity to better link societies and environments through governance. At the individual level, education is a vital component of resilience, but such education must embrace multiple perspectives in its curriculum to honor and access the diverse input offered by local, Indigenous, and Western methods of knowledge production. At the societal scale, schools are an untapped resource with which to meet the challenge of bolstering capacity for proactive adaptation in a time of rapid transformation. Youth in the Arctic will actively shape the future yet currently remain an untapped resource in the pursuit of community resilience. Critical thinking exercises like scenarios development are crucial to build adaptive capacity, in large part through entraining leadership skills based on multiple forms of knowledge brought to bear on the complexity of SES change. This research demonstrates, through three periods of fieldwork between 2012-2016 engaging resident youth and older experts from the Northwest Arctic and North Slope Boroughs, the significance of compulsory, higher, and Indigenous educations to residents. The cumulative results of this interdisciplinary study offer two overarching and generalizable lessons. First, empowering young people through rigorous involvement in multiple knowledge systems, thinking, deliberating, and planning for futures develops a foundation for effective individual and community resilience throughout their adult years. Second, alternative school practices can provide the flexibility, support, and innovation necessary to enable young people to gain Western education but with ample time and space to provide Indigenous knowledge learning and to engage in livelihoods based on their unique environments and the traditions of their ancestors.
    • An indigenous teacher preparation framework

      Tom, Lexie J.; John, Theresa; Barnhardt, Ray; Amarok, Barbara; Marker, Michael (2018-05)
      The result of this research is a framework to support Indigenous Teacher Preparation within the Native Studies department at Northwest Indian College (NWIC). I attempted to answer three main questions in the duration of this dissertation research. The first question is, how do we recreate an Indigenous method for teaching and learning in a modern educational institution? The second question is, what does a Native Studies faculty member need to be prepared to teach classes? The third question is, how do we measure learning? Participants for this research included elders from the Lummi community, Native Studies faculty members at NWIC, and administrators. As an Indigenous researcher, I have defined my own Indigenous epistemology and this guided my research. I have chosen a qualitative research design to assist me in answering these research questions. The data were analyzed and coded into main themes. This analysis produced teacher competencies and methods of measurement that will be used within the Indigenous teacher preparation framework. This framework is important to the future of the Native Studies Leadership program and NWIC.
    • Surviving Alaska

      Cowley, Natalie; Alexie, Oscar; Thorne, Steve; Marlow, Patrick; Siekmann, Sabine (2015-12)