Welcome to UAF Chukchi!
A Message from the Director
September 6, 2013
On behalf of the faculty and staff at UAF Chukchi Campus, we welcome you to the 2013-2014 academic year! This last year proved an exciting and fruitful year for our campus as well as for the people of the region. In fact, this summer, our region enjoyed a bountiful season with greens, salmon berries, blueberries, salmon, ducks, geese, and still more to come. We are all looking forward to a successful caribou hunt, as well as the final berry harvest of blackberries and cranberries. Northwest Arctic Alaska is a harvesting region, where we have the best foods, the best water, the best air, and the best of both worlds in our region! I am proud to be a part of such a bountiful and resourceful region, one in which our I ñ upiaq people look out for each other and assist in numerous ways. Having grown up in the fish camp along the Kobuk River with my paternal grandparents, living off the land, I have a deep and cellular-level appreciation for the hard work and cooperation it takes to live as well as we do.
As we approach the 2013-2014 academic year, I would like to share the results of several initiatives that happened in the academic year 2012-2013:
Chukchi’s HUD-funded energy efficient home is a collaboration among Chukchi, the Northwest Arctic Borough School District’s Alaska Technical Center, Northwest I ñ upiaq Housing Authority and UAF’s Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks. An open house for this energy-efficient residence took place on June 14, 2013 in the village of Buckland, located about 75 miles southeast of Kotzebue. This home will be monitored for energy consumption at winter’s end to determine the feasibility as a prototype for homes in a region with some of the highest energy prices in the nation. As our predecessors have taught us, we were trained to use our minds to be of service to each other.
Chukchi also completed an ethnobotany project in Kotzebue during summer 2013 with USDA support. A collaboration between UAF’s Chukchi and Kuskokwim campuses, this two-week intensive saw science faculty from Bethel, and regional elders collaborating to provide students throughout Alaska and as far away as Hawaii, with hands-on learning. Students spent mornings in class and in afternoons out in the field, studying local plants for their medicinal and nutritional uses while collecting scientific data. The project was designed to engage students with a deeper knowledge of local plant life and its indigenous uses. Quyanaq to Dr. Norman Eck, superintendent of the NWABSD, for allowing our visiting students to sleep at the Kotzebue school.
Also, on August 23, 2013, Governor Sean Parnell endorsed the Magnet School project at the Northwest Arctic Borough School District at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Alaska Technical Center. Chukchi’s partnership with the local school district anticipates much growth and workforce development stemming from it. We also anticipate graduating more students with Occupational Endorsements, Certifications, and Associate of Arts in the future. Chukchi continues to expand tech-prep courses and dual-credit offerings in English and Math, including UAF’s collaborative math project launched two years ago. A huge “Quyanaq!” to Erica Nelson of Aqqaluk Trust for moving forward on providing support for our high school students whom are taking dual-credit and tech-prep courses. This gratitude extends to NANA’s President, Marie Greene, for approving the support.
Chukchi also completed one more Title III renovation project in spring 2013, including two additional classrooms and a room for the flight simulator, that had been housed at the Alaska Technical Center. These expansion projects also have provided much-needed storage facilities for supplies and equipment.
Chukchi and UAF continue to pursue funding for Chukchi Consortium Library’s day-to-day operations as well as library expansion. The library continues as a center of summer activity for minds of all ages, including literature programs as well as a research source and the place for interesting adult reading for the entire region. Chukchi continues to solicit funding sources for this valuable public service. A big “Quyanaq!” to the Northwest Arctic Borough for their continued support of our literacy center.
Chukchi is committed to traditional arts in the Northwest Arctic region. Duriong the 2012-2013 academic year, Chukchi sponsored (with Cargill Foundation funding and Title III funds) a subsistence net-making class, led by the late York Wilson, Jr. Lena Jones taught a maklak making class. Chukchi plans to offer more cultural classes this school year in an effort to elevate and preserve and rejuvenate critical survival skills. The local college is also committed to reinforcing the Inupiaq language skills. Inupiaq 106 (Introductory) and 115 (Conversational) language classes are being offered this academic year. With the hard work of our I ñ upiaq Language Coordinator, Lena Hanna, we are also beginning face-to-face classes in the villages.
As we embark upon a new academic year, let us remember how fortunate we are to live and work in this region. Let us always remember to place the needs of our youth and our elders at the forefront, and use our magnificent brains and thinking to honor our ancestors and be of service. As we harvest and put away our food for future use during the coldest months, we also harvest and store positive energy and good ideas for the good of our people. We have much to be grateful for, and still much more work to do, so we do it together, with cooperation and collaboration.
I honor and give great acknowledgement to the faculty and staff at Chukchi Campus, as they are the hardest working people I know! We have had some staff and faculty changes, and we appreciate how everyone steps in to assist when someone needs a hand. Without their cooperation, tireless energy, and dedication to the best education for our students, we would not be where we are today.
I also honor and thank our regional partners for their immense support and collaboration: NANA, North West Arctic Borough, North West Arctic Borough School District , The Alaska Technical Center, and Ma ñiilaq Association.