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The resources below have been selected to support the University of Portland's Native Alaska Immersion program. The annotations are drawn from a variety of review and summary sources.
Dauenhauer, N., Dauenhauer, R., & Black, L. (2008). Anóoshi lingit aaní ká/Russians in Tlingit America: The battles of Sitka, 1802 and 1804. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
The Battles of Sitka (1802 and 1804) were seminal events in the history of the Tlingit people, the multicultural history of Alaska, and, ultimately, in the history of America. Anooshi Lingit Aani Ka / Russians in Tlingit America covers the period from the first arrival of European and American fur traders in Tlingit territory to the establishment of a permanent Russian presence in the Pacific Northwest, presenting transcriptions and English translations of Tlingit oral traditions recorded almost fifty years ago and translations of newly available Russian historical documents.
Dauenhauer, N., & Dauenhauer, R. (1987). Haa shuká, our ancestors: Tlingit oral narratives. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Recorded from the 1960s to the present by twelve tradition bearers who were passing down for future generations the accounts of haa shuka, which means our ancestors. Narratives tell of the origin of social and spiritual concepts and explain complex relationships. Text in Tlingit with English translation on the opposite page. Includes biographies of the narrators. Also extensive introduction and notes.
Dauenhauer, N., & Dauenhauer, R. (1990). Haa tuwunáagu yís, for healing our spirit: Tlingit oratory. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
A compendium of Tlingit oratory recorded in performance, featuring Tlingit texts with facing English translations and detailed annotations; photographs of the orators and the settings in which the speeches were delivered; and biographies of the elders. Most speeches were recorded on Canada's Northwest Coast, primarily in British Columbia, between 1968 and 1988, but two date from 1899. Includes references and glossary
Fienup-Riordan, A., & Kaplan, L. D. (2007). Words of the real people: Alaska native literature in translation. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press.
Words of the Real People collects the life stories, poetry, and oral literature of the Yupik, Inupiaq, and Alutiiq peoples of Alaska, making them widely available to readers in English for the first time. Accompanied by background essays on each Native group, the literature in this collection embraces Native Alaskan life in all its rich variety. From tales of malevolent shamans to the unexpected poetry of the urban experience, and from ancient tales passed down for generations to contemporary stories being woven into a new tradition, Words of the Real People stakes out an important place for Native Alaskan literature as a vibrant, living tradition and will be essential to folklorists, anthropologists, and anyone interested in the storied past of our continent's most forbidding reaches.
Haycox, S. (2002). Frigid embrace: Politics, economics, and environment in Alaska. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.
Haycox presents historical commentary on human culture in Alaska and how it has affected the natural environment there. He contends that most non-Native Alaskans (now 85% of the population) went there for the money, not because they loved the wilderness. The focus is on tensions between Native and non- Native people and between settlers and environmental protection.
Joe, J. R. (2003). The rationing of healthcare and
health disparity for the American Indians/Alaska natives. In B. D.
Smedley, A. Y. Stith & A. R. Nelson (Eds.), Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
Report from the Committee on Understanding and Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care and the Board on Health Sciences Policy. Examines how disparities in treatment may arise in healthcare systems and looks at aspects of the clinical encounter contributing to such disparities. Highlights cross-cultural education to improve communication.
Mander, J. (1991). In the absence of the sacred: The failure of technology and the survival of the Indian nations. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books.
This discussion of the impact of technology on native peoples, in economic, physical, cultural and spiritual aspects, includes the 'Fourth World' and speculation on the future of society and the world economy. In particular, see Chapter 12 "Indians are Different from Americans" (pgs. 211-224) and Chapter 16 "Imminent Theft of Alaska" (pgs. 287-302).
Oleksa, M.,. (2005). Another culture/another world. Juneau, AK: Association of Alaska School Boards.
In this book Father Michael welcomes us to explore with him the great diversity and common humanity of Alaska's cultural mosaic. A keen observer of cultural distinctions, Father Michael shares experiences and friendships he has had with Native people over the course of his 30-year journey through Alaska. His message of acceptance and engagement is conveyed through the telling of amusing anecdotes, the re-examination of historical events, and his analysis of representative Alaska Native legends, all of which illustrate his fervently held belief in the intrinsic value of every culture. Includes extensive photographs.
Ross, K.,. (2000). Environmental conflict in Alaska. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.
In Environmental Conflict in Alaska, Ken Ross presents a detailed yet readable account of the salient environmental controversies of Alaska’s statehood period. As "the last frontier," Alaska lured unusually fervent devotees of the exploitation ethic who sought to make quick profits or recreate the pioneer experience in a land of minimal regulations. The state also attracted passionate environmentalists-enthralled by natural beauty-who found increasing support from a public anxious about pollution and resource depletion. At statehood, Alaska awaited apportionment among state, federal, and Native claimants. A unique mix of conditions, Ross maintains, precipitated high-stakes, often dramatic battles over whales, wolves, and other wildlife as well as the lands and waters where they roamed. The conflicts helped shape the national environmental agenda and generated a vibrant environmental community in Alaska. They doomed some destructive projects, mitigated others, and gave birth to more open, interdisciplinary, and international models of natural resource management. Ross maintains that over the years, the conflicts strengthened principles of government and corporate accountability, public participation in management decision, and sustainable use of natural resources. At the millennium, this leaves Alaska a chance to retain much of the pristine quality regarded by so many as its primary value.
Spector, R. E. (2004). Health and illness in the American Indian and Alaska native population. In Cultural diversity in health & illness (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Written for all health care providers, this text promotes awareness of the dimensions and complexities involved in caring for people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The author through discussions of her own experiences, shows how cultural heritage can affect delivery and acceptance of health care and how professionals, when interacting with their clients, need to be aware of these issues in order to deliver safe and professional care. Traditional and alternative health care beliefs and practices from Asian American, African American, Hispanic, and American Indian perspectives are represented.
Zellen, B. S. (2008). Breaking the ice: From land claims to tribal sovereignty in the arctic. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Breaking the Ice is a comparative study of the movement for native land claims and Aboriginal rights in Alaska and the Western Arctic, and the resulting political transformation as the indigenous peoples of the North gained an increasingly prominent role in the governance of their homeland and their land claims agreements paved the way toward self-government. The book is based on field research conducted by the author during his nine-year residency in the Western Arctic.
Djerassi, D. & Boudart, B. (Producers & Directors). (2005). Oil on ice [DVD]. Woodside, CA: Oil On Ice Partners.
A documentary connecting the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to decisions America makes about energy policy, transportation choices, and other seemingly unrelated matters. Caught in the balance are the culture and livelihood of the Gwich'in people and the migratory wildlife in this fragile ecosystem. Discusses the conflict between the oil industry and environmentalists over the future of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Grossman, R. (Producer & Director). (2005). Homeland: Four portraits of native action [DVD]. Oley, PA: Bullfrog Films.
Tells the story of four battles in which Native American activists are fighting to preserve their land and culture. Gail Small leads the fight to protect the Cheyenne homeland in Montana from proposed methane gas wells that threaten to pollute the water and make the land unsuitable for farming or ranching. In Alaska, Evon Peter is fighting against efforts to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Mitchell and Rita Capitan have founded an organization of Eastern Navajo people in New Mexico, whose drinking water is threatened by proposed uranium mining. In Maine, Barry Dana is battling state government and the paper companies that have left his people unable to fish or swim in or harvest medicinal plants from the river on which they've depended for 10,000 years.
Hunsaker, D. (Director). (1988). Keet shagoon: The origin of the killer whale [VHS]. Juneau, AK: Naa Kahidi Theatre.
In this Tlingit tale, Naatsilanei carves a killer whale to seek revenge against his brothers-in-law, who left him to die on a rock at sea.
M., & John, P. (Directors).
(2003). Nutemllaput our very own : Integrating local knowledge and expertise into the school curriculum [DVD]. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.
The Yupik Immersion Program in the Lower Kuskokwim School District teaches not only about the culture and language, it teaches through the culture and language.
Oleksa, M. (Director). (2006). Communicating across cultures [DVD]. Juneau, AK: KTOO.
This four-part video series explores how to communicate across the frontiers of race, religion, culture, sex, age and background. Russian Orthodox priest, scholar, peace-maker and raconteur Father Michael Oleksa combines energy with twenty-five years personal experience listening to the traditional voices of Alaskan Natives to host this dynamic and sensitive series.
University of Arizona. (2006). Reading of author's work: Nora & Richard Dauenhauer [Video]. ArizonaNativeNet. Retrieved from http://vimeo.com/36457433.
Nora & Richard Dauenhauer read from their work.
Amarok, W. A., & Oleksa, M. J. (1984). The suppression of the Aleuts: The conflict in Alaskan education 1876-1916. St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 28(2), 99-114.
In its effort to assimilate Alaskan native peoples into the Anglo-American mainstream, the US federal government dispatched American Protestant missionaries to serve as public school teachers in rural Alaskan villages, where they were directed to "Americanize" the natives by 1) converting them to Christianity and 2) insisting on the use of English as the dominant language of the territory. In southwestern Alaska, however, the Aleut culture, a synthesis of Slavic and indigenous traditions, represented a Christian and literate Alaskan society which had produced its own teachers, clergy, and missionaries. The article surveys the history of the conflict between these two educational philosophies by citing directly from journals and official school reports of the period, focusing on the 1898-99 correspondence between Agnes Newhall, the Methodist matron, and Father Alexander Kedrofsky, at Unalaska.
S., Patten, C. A., Renner, C. C., Simon, A., Thomas, J. L., Hurt, R.
D., Schroeder, D. R., Decker, P. A., & Offord, K. P. (2007).
Tobacco and other substance use among Alaska native youth in western Alaska. American Journal of Health Behavior, 31(3), 249-260.
Objective: To examine tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use rates among Alaska Native youth from western Alaska. Methods: The sample consisted of 665 youth ages 6-18. Results: Of children 6-10 years of age, 12% reported current use, and the prevalence rates increased with age. Females were significantly more likely than males to report tobacco use. The rates of alcohol and other drug use were very low. After adjusting for age and gender, significant correlates of tobacco use were maternal tobacco use during and after pregnancy. Conclusions: Expanded efforts are needed to address tobacco use among Alaska Native youth
Ashburn, E. (2007). A race to rescue native tongues. Chronicle of Higher Education, 54(5), B15-B6.
The article examines Native American languages, their endangered existence, and attempts to teach them in schools and colleges. Only half of the original languages spoken in America are still in use, and efforts are being made to keep those in practice. Schools such as Ilisagvik College in Alaska and Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania are attempting to document Native American languages. Some public institutions in states with high populations of Native Americans, like Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Alaska, offer courses in indigenous American languages. Tribal colleges are also discussed as both academic institutions and ways to preserve culture and language.
Barnhardt, R. (2009). Alaska native knowledge network. Connect Magazine, 23(1), 4-6.
The article focuses on the establishment of the Alaska Native Knowledge Network (ANKN). The network was set by the indigenous people to address the challenges of living in both the locally-derived Native world and the externally-defined world. The ANKN hopes to reconcile the issues and patch up differences between their own cultural histories and traditions and the modern world. ANKN creates a clearinghouse and database to help identify a curriculum that suits an indigenous setting.
Boyer, P. (2006). It takes a native community. Tribal College Journal, 17(4), 14-19.
The article discusses certain issues related to reform of Indian education. The problems many Indian children experience in schools, low academic achievement, absenteeism, high drop-out rates, cannot be solved by any one individual. Instead, it requires action by the entire school system and, especially, greater leadership by Indians themselves. In Alaska, the Rural Systemic Initiative encouraged communities to craft their own approaches to school reform, responding to local needs and taking advantage of local resources. Rural Systemic Initiative leaders believed a quality education must reflect the values of tribal peoples and must ultimately serve to strengthen whole tribal communities.
Katz, R. J. (2004). Addressing the health care needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives. American Journal of Public Health, 94(1), 13-14.
The article comments on the health care challenges facing American Indians/Alaska Natives. Almost half of low-income American Indians/Alaskan Natives are uninsured. On the basis of treaties and federal statutes, the U.S. government has a trust responsibility to provide health care to members of federally recognized tribes, a responsibility filled since 1955 by the Indian Health Service (IHS). Despite serious resource shortfalls, however, the IHS has improved the health of American Indians/Alaska Natives. Strategies that have improved access to health care for other undeserved populations need to be identified and studied. Medicaid is one possible mechanism for reaching low-income American Indians/Alaska Natives, but the community itself will have to decide whether to pursue this approach. Public health professionals in academic and practice settings can increase their own awareness of American/Indian/Alaska Native health care issues and can educate others. Given the data that demonstrate an association between racial concordance of patient and provider and great patient participation in care, it may be appropriate to use outreach and academic scholarships to encourage American Indians/Alaska Natives to enter the health professions.
H. S., Donovan, D. M., Fernandez, A., Marlatt, G. A., & Austin, L.
(2007). Family structure and substance use among American Indian youth:
A preliminary study. Families, Systems & Health, 25(1), 10-22.
This study examines relationships between both family structure and living with extended family, and substance use among 97 American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) adolescents. Findings demonstrate an increased likelihood of alcohol initiation and regular tobacco use among those in single-parent versus original two-parent homes; and an increased likelihood of marijuana initiation among those in both single parent and nonparent family member homes versus original two-parent homes. The significant link between residing in a single-parent versus an original two-parent home and alcohol and marijuana initiation remained after controlling for parenting practices. There was also a positive association between cohabiting extended family and youth tobacco initiation. It is suggested that living in an original two-parent home may be an important protective mechanism among this group of AI/AN youth. Findings pertaining to extended family and tobacco initiation also suggest that a closer look at cohabiting kinships and youth substance behavior within AI/AN families is needed.
B. P., Hesselbrock, M. N., & Segal, B. (2006). Multiple substance
dependence and course of alcoholism among Alaska native men and women. Substance Use & Misuse, 41(5), 729-741.
Alcohol dependence among Native Americans and Alaska Natives is twice that found in the general population. Alaska Natives are 7 times more likely to die of alcohol-related problems. This study investigated differences in the course and consequences of alcoholism and co-occurring polysubstance dependence in a sample of 582 alcohol-dependent Alaska Natives undergoing inpatient lifetime treatment in Anchorage between 1994 and 1999. Mean age was 33.9 years. Information on lifetime psychiatric symptoms and disorders was collected by using the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism (SSAGA), a research diagnostic interview. Results indicate that in addition to alcohol dependence, the majority of subjects were dependent on other substances. Marijuana dependence was most common, followed by dependence on cocaine and opiates. Compared with subjects not dependent on any other drugs, subjects with co-occurring alcohol and opiate dependence showed significant differences in relation to age of first regular drink, intoxication, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms, number of medical problems, and number of psychological problems. More research and specific clinical interventions are needed for alcohol- and opiate-dependent Alaska Natives. Findings indicate the need for prevention and interventions in alcohol and illicit drug abuse in this population at an early age.
Oleksa, M. J. (1981). Orthodoxy in Alaska: The spiritual history of the Kodiak Aleut people. St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 25(1), 3-19.
This article describes how the Orthodox monastic mission on Kodiak Island presented Christianity in a form intelligible to the indigenous Aleuts so that they came to accept Orthodoxy as their own. The first section deals with the pre-contact worldview of the Kodiak people, especially focusing on myth, ritual and shamanism. The intrusion of Russian pioneers and the defence of the natives undertaken by the Valaam monks as well as their theological and evangelical tradition contributed to the final "synthesis" which included Orthodox Christianity as part of the Aleut "identity". The artistic, literary and scientific accomplishments of the 19th century Kodiak Aleuts constitute the basis for the conclusion that the Kodiak Mission succeeded in creating a new "Aleut Orthodox" identity in Alaska which has withstood a century of virtual persecution by the US federal government.
Oleksa, M. J. (1983). The oral tradition about the death of Fr Juvenaly among the native peoples of southwestern Alaska. St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 27(2), 133-137.
Oral tradition from elders in many Athabaskan and Yup'ik Eskimo communities displays substantial agreement on the circumstances and the location of his martyrdom. Rather than being killed by Indians on the eastern shore of Lake Iliamna, it appears at least possible that Fr Juvenaly died at the hands of Eskimo hunters several hundred miles further west, and that with him perished his Athabaskan (Tanaina) Indian guide.
Seyfrit, C. L., & Hamilton, L. C. (1997). Alaska native youth and their attitudes toward education. Arctic Anthropology, 34(1), 135-149.
Describes the attitudes of the Alaska native high school students toward education. Overview of the education of Alaska Natives; Purpose of schools; Degree of adult encouragement received; Students' perceptions of their schools; Perceptions of the quality of education; Maintenance of language and culture; Residential expectations.
Sherwonit, B. (2004/2005, December). Teaming up with Alaska's natives to save land and a way of life. Wilderness, 12-17.
The article focuses on the ways of subsistence practiced by the people of Alaska. Natives who practice subsistence get all, or much, of their food from Alaska's wild lands and waters, berries, greens, fish, and all manner of birds and mammals. Unlike other people of land who shop in grocery stores, subsistence harvesters must pay close attention to the seasons, the weather, the cycles of life. Their lives are inseparable from nature, so western notions like wilderness have little meaning. Like all humans. Natives are adaptive, so they've learned to use modern technology to make their lives easier. But they also faithfully follow traditions that are tied to respect, stewardship, sharing, and thanksgiving. The harvest is intimately tied to family and community activities. For one thing, Alaska's Native peoples have struggled with their own internal politics since the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, in 1971. Though the act granted Natives 44 million acres and nearly $1 billion, it put both the land and money under the control of regional and local corporations. And corporations, by nature, have different priorities than tribes. Subsistence is not at, or near, the top.
Study tells how to best teach native students. (2008). Tribal College Journal, 20(1), 69-71.
The article reports on results from a study by the U.S. Office of Indian Education on effective instructional strategies for educators of American Indian/Alaska Native students. It was found that the subject being taught determined how to best teach Native students such as direct instruction for math while the constructivist method of teaching physical and social sciences was preferred. Teachers were the most important factor when incorporating Native American culture in the classroom. Study participants suggested that non-Native American teachers should learn basic facts about their culture such as tribal sovereignty, tribal laws, and the structure of local tribal government.
S., & BigFoot, D. S. (2008). Violence and the effects of trauma on American Indian and Alaska native populations. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 8(1), 51-66.
Violence and the resulting trauma has had a major impact on American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children and their families, creating hardships that have been very difficult to address or overcome. This article provides a brief description of the cultures and shared beliefs of the indigenous people. A review of the recent published literature on poverty and historical trauma, including a discussion on oppression and hegemony. is presented. Additionally, recent research on violence and the resulting trauma, suicide, domestic violence, and post-traumatic stress disorder is described. A brief description of select cultural adaptations of evidence-based treatments is also provided.
Oleksa, M. J. (1994). The Alaskan orthodox mission and cosmic christianity. Retrieved from http://jacwell.org/Supplements/alaskan_orthodox_mission_and_cosmic.htm
Describes the experience of Russian Orthodox missionaries in Alaska, and similarities in beliefs between Russian Orthodox christianity and Native American spirituality.