"The old and new stories alike on the critical role of Yup’ik dance as an important aspect of the Yupik social infrastructure provides context and body to my work. The unique and diverse indigenous knowledge system that covers time span from early twentieth century into contemporary times reflects life stories as it was than and as it is told today through aesthetic art of oratory."
Currently, Dr. Theresa Arevgaq John is an Associate Professor for the Department of Alaska Native and Rural Development at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her latest distinguished recognition came from President Barack Obama in April 2011 when he appointed her to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. She is the first Alaska Native to receive this prestigious award.
"This dissertation explores various ecological, socioeconomic, sociopolitical, physical 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."
Philip A. Loring, Ph.D., is currently the Lab Manager at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dr. Loring is a human ecologist with training in anthropology and sociology, ecology, and information technology. He currently works with students on a number of projects relating to community food production, food security, and water security.
"Alaska Native students are seen by some as being less successful than other ethnic groups due to their disproportionately high rate of leaving school before graduation. This dissertation studies an Alaska Native view of success. As a participatory action research project, members of the community, including musicians, young fiddlers, and their parents and grandparents are collaborating to create a culturally‐based youth group focused on Athabascan fiddling. Their goal is to develop successful youth; youth who are developing individual strength and leadership skills as well as sharing their strengths with their community, thereby contributing to its well‐being."
Earned degree: October 2012
Dissertation title: Liitukut Sugpiat'stun (We are learning to be real people): Exploring Kodiak Alutiiq Literature Through Core Values
Date entered into PhD program:
Advisor: Ray Barnhardt
Dissertation excerpt: "The decline of Kodiak Alutiiq oral tradition practices and limited awareness or understanding of archived stories has kept them from being integrated into school curriculum. This study catalogs an anthology of archived Alutiiq literature documented since 1804, and provides an historical and values-based analysis of Alutiiq literature, focused on the educational significance of stories as tools for individual and community wellbeing. The study offers an exploration of values, worldview and knowledge embedded in Alutiiq stories. It also provides a history of colonial impacts on Alutiiq education and an in-depth study of the early colonial observers and ethnographers who collected Alutiiq oral literature, clarifying the context in which the stories have been retold or framed."
My name is Yvette J. Collin and I am of Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Mayan descent on my mother's side, and Nakota, Choctaw, and European descent on my father's side. My Indian name, as it is translated into English, is “Medicine Road.” As I consider it my “real name,” I often publish my work using this name.
My research is focused on the relationship between the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and their horse. My family has spent the past four or five years gathering what is left of our People's traditional horses, as my People's oral history teaches that "we always had the horse," that the indigenous horse of the Americas did not “die out” during the Ice Age, and that "our horses" were here before the explorers came to the Americas from Europe. We currently have roughly 80 of these sacred animals at our home in Northern Alabama, and visitors come from all over the world to see them, pray with them, and walk amongst them.
I have my B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University (Writing Seminars), and a Joint M.A. from New York University (Journalism and Latin American Caribbean Studies.) I am pursuing my PhD in Indigenous Studies here at UAF, and I am honored to be a part of a program that cares so much about addressing the issues that are affecting our world.
Research Title: Deconstructing the Western Worldview: Toward a Universal Epistemology and Wellness with Indigenous Peoples
Progress: I have advanced to candidacy, complied most of my research, and plan to defend my dissertation in the spring of 2014. The purpose of my doctoral project is to deconstruct the western worldview by examining two ancient streams of knowing: the pre-Socratic tradition of the Hellenic Greek era and indigenous epistemologies brought forth by Native scholars. Through these knowledge systems, this research investigates the critical need for a paradigm shift of the western worldview and movement toward an indigenous-based, universal epistemology. Further, it considers the implications of such an alliance for indigenous and non-Native relations today and in particular as it relates to the reappropriation of wellness with Alaska Native peoples.
Research Title: Russian Impact on Cultural Identity and Heritage in the middle Kuskokwim region of Alaska
Progress: I have completed core classes. IRB process, and comprehensive exams. I have compiled extensive research on the history of the middle Kuskokwim region during the Russian Era and the changes that occurred after the sale of Alaska. Interviews are currently being conducted and should be completed by this summer with the final writing phase to follow this coming school year. I had the great opportunity to travel to Greenland in 2011 and participated in the IPSSAS (International PhD School for the Studies of Arctic Societies). My projected graduation date is May 2014.
Date entered into PhD program: 2009
Advisor: Ray Barnhardt
Uvaŋa atiġa Asiqłuq. My Iñupiaq name is Asiqłuq, which means "Bad Boy". I am named after one of my great-uncles Johnny Kakaruk, who was an author and dance group leader. My white fox name is Sean Topkok. I am Iñupiaq, Sámi, Irish, and Norwegian. My parents are the late Aileen and Clifford Topkok from Teller, Alaska. My father was Iñupiaq and Sámi, and his first language was Iñupiaq. My mother was born and raised in Teller, learning to speak a little Iñupiaq. My paternal grandparents were Fred and Gussie Topkok; and my maternal grandparents were Edgar and Mary Tweet. My Tlingit name is Deikeejaakhw.
I am the founder and leader of the Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers, and have been the dance group leader since it began in 1999. I began dancing with other Alaska Native groups in 1987. I have been with Alaska Native Knowledge Network since April 1997. I also teach at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a PhD student in the Indigenous Studies program.
My wife and three sons are also actively involved with the Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers. The whole group is like family to me. Being involved with this group has helped me share what I know about our culture heritage,and it has helped me learn more our our culture. We continue to live our Iñupiaq values through our dance group, passing them to our children.
Research title: Iñupiat Iḷitqusiat: Inner Views of Our Iñupiaq Values
Expected dated of completion: Spring 2014
UvaNa atiGa QasuGlana. SitnasuagmiuNuruNa. My parents were Mary Ann Amarok Tiffany and Warren Tiffany. My mother and aunt Bernadette were born and raised in Nome. Their parents were Amaguaq from Big Diomede and Maiyak from King Island. My father and aunt were teachers for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and they are the reason I went into the field of education.
Research Title: Indigenous Vision of 21st Century Education in the Bering Strait Region
Date entered into PhD program:
Advisor: Bryan Brayboy
I am a PhD Candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I am an inland Tlingit from Teslin Yukon and I have just arrived at the stage of writing my thesis and I plan on completing all the requirements for my PhD by August 2014. I have just been awarded a Mellon Dissertation Scholarship from September 2013 to August 2014.
I have spent most of my adult life working in politics/public policy in some capacity. I currently run and own a small business. I have a Bachelors degree in Political Science with a minor in Alaska Native Studies (UAA, 2005) and a Masters degree in Rural Development (UAF, 2007). I seek to help solve problems of importance to the diverse peoples of Alaska and the circumpolar north.
Expected date of completion: Spring 2014
Date entered into PhD program: Fall 2010
Advisor: Gordon Pullar
My interest combines my background in Anthropology, Education and Resilience and Adaptation. I am interested in working with Indigenous Communities to help them become more self-reliant.
NSF IGERT RAP Program
BA Anthropology University of Alaska
MA Teaching Adult Education Alaska Pacific University
I am part of a multidisciplinary team studying the ancient, historical, and contemporary harvest of harbor seals at ice-floe pupping grounds near Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat, Alaska. The results of this study are relevant to questions of human adaptation and resiliency in the changing North to the challenge of building coherence between indigenous and scientific knowledge systems.
Current Research Projects
History of Seal Bounty Hunting in Icy Bay, Alaska, a Wrangell-St. Elias NPS grant funded project
Collaborative Research: Glacial Retreat and the Cultural Landscape of Ice Floe Sealing at Yakutat Bay, Alaska, NSF ARC
Date entered into PhD program: Spring 2012
Advisor: Craig Gerlach
Frank Chythlook – 13 November 2013, Wednesday 12:54
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