Monday, November 24, 2008

Corral, Roy (2002) Alaska Native Ways: What the Elders Have Taught Us.

This books author is Roy Corral, however it is by various Alaska Natives. Many old traditional stories are in this book, with deep cultural meaning. There are also many Native pictures taken by Will Mayo. "What the Elders Have Taught US" describes many traditional values that the Alaska Native people have relied on since their beginnings. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Should We Do?

This blog will be a free write of my personal thoughts. To be honest with you, to find a subject to write about I usually look at some of my class readings for inspiration. But for this blog I wanted to write about something important, or my own personal ideas and thoughts. 
Many things trouble the Alaska Native population today. Even though this topic might not be the most important, it still needs to be addressed. These days, the native youth are loosing their culture more and more as time goes on. As years pass, there are less opportunities for Native kids to learn their own culture. With our elder die, the knowledge that hasn't been passed dies with them. I myself am a victim  of this epidemic. Although i dont like to admit it, i am not very hungry for any of this knowledge which saddens me. Instead of learning about my own people, i play my x-box. 
Sure, there are various culture camps and potlucks. Its not like nothing is being done to help the situation. But there can always be more to help, Alaska as a state needs to stand up for itself and make big changes. Changes that help everybody, regardless of race, age, social class, or anything else. So now I ask you, what should we as a people do to help get the youth involved into their own culture. I ask you to brainstorm just a little bit, you never know what you might think of... After that, brainstorm about how to make Alaska a better place to live... Finally, Spend time to think of an idea to help the world, because you can!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Should we reconsider our educational system

A few weeks ago in my "Native Studies," college class, we read an article describing educational methods. This particular article is called "Creating a Place for Indigenous Knowledge in Education" written by Ray Barnhardt. (For full article see: The main point in this article is describing reintegrating "native ways of knowing" into todays school curriculum. The indigenous knowledge system that sustained Alaska Natives for thousands of years, isnot being taught today. "Pedagogy of place," is an important phrase used in this article. It basically means that the school systems are teaching things that are fairly illrelavent to native students. They also need to learn things that pertain to where they live, and their environment. A direct quote from the article says, "All serve as a pedagogy of place that shifts the emphasis from teaching about local culture to teaching through the culture as students learn about the immediate places they inhabit and their connection to the larger world within which they will make a life for themselves." Barnhardt would like to reintegrate Native ideals such as traditional values, cultural atlases, experimental learning, and so on.
Another important phrase in the article is "living in two worlds." The Barnhardt describes how present day Native people live in both their own traditional culture and todays present ways. The way i see it, Barnhardt doesn't necessarily want to abolish todays educational system. He would simply like to intertwine the two. Here is a diagram directly from the article showing two different ways of teaching represented as rivers. The two methods can be joined as one just like river do.

This is no doubtadly a touchy subject when viewed by parents, but people should consider this with an open mind.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More on Health Care

This may be for Arizona Indians but the same idea applies for the Alaska Natives.

Do Alaska Natives Get Free Health Care???

Now days it seems like everyone assumes that the Native people of Alaska receive quote on quote "free health care." To find the answer we must first determine who exactly are the Alaska Natives? They consist of Inupiaq, Yupick, Cupik, Siberian, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, Athabascan, Aleut, & Alutiiq. Their ancestors have lived in alaska for over 10,000 years. They are in fact the last remaining indigenous people in the U.S to be forcibly removed from their homes. All though there are various villages they all share key values such as honoring the land, sharing, respect for elders, and so on. 
But to get straight to the apparent question, Do Alaska Natives get free health care? Well when thought upon, technically the Natives health care has been "Pre-Paid." The native people have paid for their care though the trade of land and resources for services from the U.S. In other terms their health care plan has emerged from several gov. to gov. agreements.  The United States by legal & contractual obligation must indefinitely provide health care services.

"DO ALASKA NATIVE PEOPLE GET FREE MEDICAL CARE*" Published by UAA,  Fran Ulmer & APU, Douglas North.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sugpiaq Masks of the Kodiak Archipelago

Currently in Anchorage, (Alaska) there is a Sugpiaq mask exhibit  at the downtown Rasmuson museum. (Exhibit closes Nov. 16) The masks on display are originally from the Aleutian region, however a Frenchmen by the name of Alphonse Pinart removed them. He was a     young explorer commissioned to explore the Archipelago and gather historic Native stories and artifacts. He kayaked along the Aleutian chain gathering these masks and creating an extensive collection. Afterwards Alphonse took these items back to France where they have been for the past time posted in a museum. After all this time people have begone to speculate on the morality of the masks resting place. Most people that are indigenous to Alaska believe that the masks should return to their "birth place," and to their original ethnic people. Some say that it simply isn't fair that Alaska Native Elders must travel across seas just to look at their own cultural history. Despite all the confrontation, the French museum has allowed its exhibit to travel to anchorage for a limited amount of time. 

here is a link to the Rasmuson Museum:http: //