The DANSRD Subsistence Research Group
This Department of Alaska Native Studies & Rural Development research group focuses its work on the rights of Indigenous communities to continue traditional subsistence activities that have formed the bedrock of those communities since time immemorial. Primary focus is on subsistence in Alaska and the circumpolar north, but we plan to expand our activities to other areas especially the Pacific Rim and the islands of the Pacific as well as other parts of the world as more students join the group.
Led by Assistant Professor Jenny Bell-Jones, students investigate different aspects of subsistence depending on their interests. Keeping to the primary thesis that subsistence activities are at the center of all Indigenous community structures (regardless of location), students consider all the different aspects of this life-way. Some may look at law and regulation and how these have affected the ability of communities to function in healthy ways, others may look at problems that have arisen due to loss of access to subsistence activities or the effects of industrial development on subsistence based communities. Climate change, international law and food security are subjects for study. Self-governance and co-management of resources with neighboring governments is a very important area.
Students who want to participate in the group need to be majoring in one of these programs: Alaska Native Studies (BA), Rural Development (BA or MA) and Tribal Management (AAS). They should have completed at least one course that examines the area of subsistence that they are most interested in. Students do not earn credit for group activities but receive mentoring and training in the study of subsistence and the opportunity to participate in conference presentations, publications and trainings.
In June of 2014 the group was chosen to participate in a research poster presentation at the National Congress of American Indians Mid-Term Conference in Anchorage Alaska. DANSRD faculty member, Barbara Blake and three students; Sandra Madison, Sarah Walker and Malorie Johnson attended the conference with Professor Bell and presented a group of three posters summarizing the subsistence situation in Alaska and making recommendations for change. This group is now involved in writing a follow up article for publication.
Students interested in participating in the group, and others who have questions or are interested in helping to sponsor these research activities should contact:
Professor Jenny Bell Jones