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THE MAGA ZINE OF THE AL ASK A HUMANITIES FORUM

Behind the Scenes of WE UP Climate Change and the Human Condition “Home” as Memories Two Decades of Sister School Exchange

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LETTER FROM THE CEO

Co-Creators in Telling the History of Alaska

421 W. 1st Ave., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99501 (907) 272-5341 | www.akhf.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Elizabeth Qaulluq Cravalho, Chair, Kotzebue

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ince its founding in 1972, the Forum has been bringing Alaskans together to think critically and to talk—across perspectives, values, and backgrounds—about things that matter. We design and facilitate gatherings where participants can practice and sharpen their skills of inquiry, reflection, and conversation; where they can connect with others, strengthening relationships and community through story. We extend the reach and range of this work through our grants program, investing in Alaska artists, writers, historians, filmmakers, and community conveners to fuel creative projects from across the state. We support Alaskans as co-creators in telling the history of Alaska, and in examining what we value and how we’re connected. The Alaska Humanities Forum’s grants fund humanities-based projects that meet the following goals: Educate the public. We support projects—books, exhibits, curriculum guides, and speaker series—that help people understand complex social issues relevant to Alaska. Get people talking. We fund experiences that engage Alaskans in civic dialogue and discussion like community conversations, facilitated discussions, and cultural immersions. Increase public access. Film screenings, speaker tours, and field trips are examples of grant projects that open existing humanities resources to new audiences and bring existing programs to additional communities across Alaska. Preserve and promote Alaska’s stories. We support programs, including books, oral histories, archival work, and documentary films, that collect and

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Moira K. Smith, Vice Chair, Anchorage Kathleen Tarr, Secretary, Anchorage Aldona Jonaitis, Treasurer, Fairbanks Lenora Lolly Carpluk, Member-at-Large, Fairbanks Thea Agnew Bemben, Anchorage Bruce Botelho, Douglas Gerry Briscoe, Anchorage Anne Hanley, Fairbanks Raimundo Martinez, Anchorage Peter Metcalfe, Juneau Laci Michaud, Anchorage Pauline Morris, Kwethluk Judith Owens-Manley, Anchorage Sheri Skelton, Anchorage Mead Treadwell, Anchorage Kristi Williams, Anchorage

STAFF Kameron Perez-Verdia, President and CEO

share stories of life in Alaska, both historical accounts and current experiences. Among the stories in this issue of FORUM magazine, you’ll read about a sampling of current and recent grant projects. The cover story includes photographs and narratives from State of Change, Joe Yelverton’s project exploring climate change; filmmaker Priscilla Naunġaġiaq Hensley shares the process of capturing the stories of rising stars of Northern indigenous hip-hop in the documentary film, We Up; Ryan Romer and Jimmy Riordan reflect on their project, Home, a social practice grant exploring homelessness in Alaska; and, you’ll get a first look at the recently awarded 2019 crop of new grants just getting underway. I hope you’ll join us in this work if you have a project in mind—our minigrants are awarded on a rolling basis, and our annual grant applications are due each year in December. Learn more about the award process and dive into our grants archives at akhf.org! ­— Kameron Perez-Verdia, President and CEO

A L A S K A H U M A N I T I E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2019

Ted Leonard, CFO Megan Cacciola, Director of Programs Amanda Dale, Public Programming Manager Jennifer Gibbins, Director of Leadership Programs Cuckoo Gupta, Public Programming & Marketing Fellow Grace Harrington, Public Programming Manager Nancy Hemsath, Operations Manager & Board Liaison Kari Lovett, Youth Program Manager Simonetta Mignano, Education Program Associate Dora Moore, Program Associate Jann D. Mylet, Director of Development & Communications Naaqtuuq Robertson, Leadership Programs Manager Rayette Sterling, Leadership Programs Manager Denali Whiting, Education Program Coordinator Kirstie Lorelei Willean, Education Program Manager

FORUM MAGAZINE STAFF Jann D. Mylet, Editor Dean Potter, Art Director Contributors Julia O’Malley, Aurora Ford, Deb McKinney, Priscilla Hensley-Holthouse, Joe Yelverton, • • Nancy King, Priscilla Naungagiaq Hensley

FORUM is a publication of the Alaska Humanities Forum, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with the purpose of increasing public understanding of and participation in the humanities. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the editorial staff, the Alaska Humanities Forum, or the National Endowment for the Humanities. Subscriptions may be obtained by contributing to the Alaska Humanities Forum or by contacting the Forum. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission. ©2019.


THE MAGA ZINE OF THE AL ASK A HUMANITIES FORUM

S P R I N G 2 019

Kim Jacobsen, a.k.a. KimOJax, a hip-hop artist from Kalaallit Nunaat/Greenland, is one of the subjects of the film WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North. See page 20. Photo by Michael Conti

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GRANT REPORT

Home, Land, Memory When “home” is a region defined by relationships and memory, does homelessness exist?

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GRANT REPORT

State of Change Reflections on climate and the human condition in Alaska

16 ADVANCED ALASKANS Wilma Goldmann

20 GRANT REPORT Eight Scenes Behind the Scenes Stories from the production of the Forum-supported film WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North

33 2019 Annual Grants Preserving Cup’ig gospel songs, audio wayfinding in Juneau, and six more grant projects

36 2019 Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards Meet honorees in education, community, leadership, and lifetime achievement

26 Unfamiliar Territory Students reflect on two decades of cultural exchange programs

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30 Culture Shift

Clown and butterfly

18 DONOR PROFILE Heather Lende Cultural explorer, lifelong learner

A Forum program brings together audiences and presenters charged with being “as bold and as radical as possible”

KINDLING CONVERSATION

Ready to Get People in your Community Talking? Toolkits available and in the works

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AFTER IMAGE

Reindeer Ride, Nome, 1914

COVER : Nellie Juan Glacier in Prince William Sound. Photo by Joe Yelverton

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GRANT REPORT

Home, Land, Memory When “home” is a region defined by relationships and memory, does homelessness exist? By Julia O’Malley

A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, artists Ryan Romer and Jimmy Riordan began a project

in the Bethel region meant to explore home and homelessness, funded in part by a HUMAN:ties grant. This new social practice grant from the Forum was created to support projects that explore the diverse experiences of isolation and promote a deeper understanding of the invisible ties between self and community. They chose to focus on rural Alaska because statistics showed that a disproportionate percentage of the homeless population in Anchorage is Alaska Native with ties to villages, they said. Romer also grew up in the region and Riordan traveled here as a child with his mother, Ann Fienup-Riordan, an anthropologist who spent her career studying Yup’ik culture. Romer and Riordan embarked on the project with an understanding of homelessness influenced by their experience in the urban environment, they said. Their work in the Bethel region began an exploration of “home” in Alaska, filtered through the lens of a rural, heavily They noticed as people Yup’ik culture. As they talked with people, they learned, first, talked about home, they to break down the concept of “home,” drawing often began by describing out stories about family, food, memory, and landscape. They also noticed as people talked their earliest memories. about home, they often began by describing their earliest memories. Memory, they said, seemed increasingly entwined with origin. Riordan and Romer then began making recordings of people telling their first memory stories, creating prints and small books that reflected what they heard. They have also collected the memories online and shared them via @ellanguq on Instagram. More information can be found at ellanguq.com, and people can share memories by phone at (907) 545-3395.

JULIA O’MALLEY: How has the project developed from

the first proposal over the last year and a half?

JIMMY RIORDAN: I think even in that first visit, talking

to people, our idea shifted some. The concept—homelessness —people didn’t quite understand what we were talking about. It wasn’t something that you could say to somebody in a sentence or two... We went out to Bethel and we met with a lot of people, we spent a couple nights helping out at the homeless shelter. We started talking to people, we were like, “We’re interested in looking at what people define as home and we’re talking about homelessness.” People were like, “Wait: what do you want from us?” So we had to kind of start to piece it down...explaining personally why we were interested in doing this. It was things like Ryan sharing about him growing up in the region and what was motivating him to come back and me talking about my mother’s work... It got me thinking a lot about the importance certain memories and certain experiences can have in forming your identity or your values and how it can be something that’s a short period of time but it can have a large impact.

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RYAN ROMER: Homelessness is such a very big, abstract

thing. Out there people don’t think about it the same way. It’s not part of their vocabulary. So when you ask about that, people automatically think about something they read in a book or in an article or something pertaining to Western civilization. RIORDAN: Also, we are not social workers, anthropolo-

gists, or journalists. We are artists and had to think about what it means to do research like this as artists. O’MALLEY: Can you talk more about how you came to

focus on memory as a way to talk about home?

ROMER: The subject of memory came about as an en-

try way into conversations about home. It was a sort of prompt to give people a way to talk about themselves and how they interact with the world. RIORDAN: Right now our project has very little to do

with homelessness directly. We are much more interested in memories. But it can also be tricky getting people to share their memories, especially something like their


These block prints are from a small book created by Romer and Riordan as part of their project. It was edited, designed, and Risograph printed by Riordan, and contains excerpts from the conversations and personal memories gathered, as well as a series of block prints carved by Romer in response to those memories.

first memory. It’s asking a lot of them because, you know, our stories are important. The story of their first awareness, asking them to give a story they feel is significant to explain how they understand home, that is asking a lot. But when we do share our stories it is really energizing. O’MALLEY: What were you able to learn about the way

that culture influences people’s sense of home? Jimmy, earlier you were saying there’s no such thing as homelessness in the village? RIORDAN: Not really, right? Or maybe there is, but not

in the same way as in Anchorage. As I understand it, people will be able to say they’re staying with somebody. I mean, it’s a family member. There’s couch-surfing, there’s a lot of people sleeping in the same single-room house. This is not to say that the same issues that cause homelessness don’t exist. ROMER: It’s been like that forever. People don’t have a

standard or definition of home the same as in the city. I don’t think it’s even placement in one place for the Yup’ik people. They just said, “Our home is here, like the whole

entirety of the region.”...The nomadic aspect of it brought a lot of that into it... I think because of the way you can travel and live on the land, you can place them anywhere in that region and they will call it home. Like when I come to Bethel, the first thing I do is go to the river, because it places me in the region. More than my parents’ old house, the Kuskokwim makes me feel at home. O’MALLEY: Can you draw conclusions from what you’ve

gathered?

RIORDAN: No. We’re not looking for conclusions. We’re

thinking about this project more like a sort of engine. It’s creating this energy, and we’re not trying to, it isn’t moving toward an end, or like a final, singular form or an answer to a question. But instead it’s an opportunity to form relationships and do a lot of other smaller projects, all sort of revolving around these ideas of home and memory and our initial question. It is an active conversation. ■ Julia O’Malley is a freelance writer who lives in Anchorage. Find her at juliaomalley.media. A L A S K A H U M A N ITI E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2 01 9

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GRANT REPORT

STATE OF CHANGE Reflections on climate and the human condition in Alaska Text and photos by Joe Yelverton A L A S K A H U M A N ITI E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2 01 9

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North of the Arctic Circle, in an amphitheater surrounded by granite peaks, lies the McCall Glacier, anonymously recording our history, compiling the weather and seasons of snowfall like pages in a mystery novel. A story about the holocene, the ways of man, the way planet earth has changed. In 1957 an esteemed scientist from Washington State decided the McCall glacier had a story to tell. Dr. Richard Hubley believed the McCall held important secrets, possibly even insight into our future. The young micro-meteorologist was the chief scientist of a four-man project intended to last sixteen months in the field, through the Arctic winter. At the 8,200ft level of this remote glacier, Hubley’s team set up camp in a modest research hut built on a layer of firm snow; beneath that, deep ice measuring hundreds of feet thick, thousands of years old. The temporary shelter held a wide range of equipment—radiometers, solarimeters, thermometers, fundamental weather instruments, apparatus for surveying ice, and shovels for digging snow pits. The team stocked enough provisions to last through the winter. On a small bookshelf inside the hut, works from various philosophers, and poetry by Robert Service. Affixed to the top of the hut, sat a small anemometer, spinning in the wind. A simple device, a poetic metaphor—measuring something we can’t see, attempting to understand a force of nature that’s invisible, except for its effect. We can’t see the wind but we can feel it, and we can see its manifestations. Like many quandaries of science, even complex human emotions—sometimes the result, the aftermath, is the only thing that gets our attention. For a time the McCall scientists split into two teams, Hubley and his fellow scientist, Robert Mason stationed at the upper camp, while two other colleagues worked at a lower camp. The teams worked independently, but remained in constant contact via radio. Except for a lone VHF radio the remote location kept them virtually cut off from the outside world. Late in the day on October 28 Hubley inexorably altered the course of his research.

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He left the warmth and safety of his camp, leaving behind his unaware colleague, a man he’d been working closely with for the past five months, and he walked down the glacier about three hundred yards where he sat down in the snow. The same spot where his frozen body was found a few hours later. This is where my fascination began—with the purpose of Hubley’s work, and especially the mystery of his death—leading me to discoveries, as much about science as the human condition. Long before the term “climate change” was coined, and before “global warming” was a part of everyday vernacular, Hubley believed there was a connection between glaciers and climate. His research came long before environmentalists began trying to “save the planet.” And before many scientists were demonized, distrusted, and accused of having a biased agenda. Hubley also died long before the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established, before Prudhoe Bay and the adjacent oilfields were developed, and long before Alaska became flush with cash from oil royalties. BELONGING TO THE LAND

The Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska is one of the largest intact and undisturbed ecosystems in the world. Nearly 25,000 square miles of undulating terrain, covered in treeless tundra, bordered to the north by the austere shores of the Arctic Ocean, and to the south by the foothills of the distant Brooks Range. Only one road crosses the entire “North Slope.” The Dalton Highway, a lonely ribbon of gravel that provides vehicle access to oilfields at Prudhoe Bay. Despite the footprint of the oil industry, the plains remain otherworldly. The Alaskan Arctic is as undeniably complex as it is fascinating. Also a battleground. Some people devote their lives to protecting the pristine wilderness and everything inextricably connected to it. Others are focused on undoing these protections, and extracting its valuable resources. Meanwhile the Arctic hangs in the balance, warming at a rate twice as fast as the Southern latitudes. The frontline of climate change.

Photo by Joe Yelverton

idden in the Romanzof Mountains of Alaska’s Eastern Brooks Range are the chapters of an unfinished story.

Sometimes the result, the aftermath, is the only thing that gets our attention.


Qaiyaan Harcharek, an Iñupiaq whaler and resident of Utqiag• vik, stands on the Arctic Coastal Plain, the frontline of climate change. preceding pages : A boy pops a wheelie on the dirt roads of Utqiag• vik. above :

We often think of land belonging to its inhabitants. In the Arctic they say the inhabitants belong to the land. Qaiyaan Harcharek is a 35-year-old Native Alaskan Iñupiaq, born and raised in Utqiaġvik, the northern most settlement in the United States, the place formerly known as Barrow. Harcharek offered to drive me on a tour of the village and its surroundings. As a former city council member, he sponsored the ordinance to restore his town’s original Iñupiaq name. What might seem like a simple thing was actually a powerful act: a step toward restoring one’s heritage. When it came time to vote on the change the town was almost evenly split. In the end the anglicized name was traded for one with greater cultural importance. The vote reflected a deeper sentiment, and disparate ideologies. It was summer in the land of the midnight sun. Also called a polar day—a single day that’s actually 82 straight days long, when the sun circles the sky and never actually sets. This is a time of year when the Arctic is flooded with an ambient quality of light that seems to

energize every living thing. At midnight in Utqiaġvik you’ll see kids jumping on trampolines, riding their bikes, doing all the things kids do at midday in an ordinary rural town. As we continued along on a road heading south outside of town, I was mesmerized by the passing view, an exposed landscape that evokes a sense of something sacred, but also a feeling of vulnerability. I was hanging on Harcharek’s words, his stories about life in a place with a relatively unknown and sometimes troubled history. We discussed first contact with Yankee whaling crews, the epidemics and disease they brought. The slow tide of cultural genocide brought by early colonialism, and boarding schools created by Christian missionaries that affected Natives all over Alaska. There was a palpable sense of pride in Harcharek’s connection to his heritage, also an understandable undercurrent of resentment in some of his stories. He attributes his own personal struggles with depression to historical trauma, unresolved grief passed on. A L A S K A H U M A N ITI E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2 01 9

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Eventually our conversation hit the broader topic of oil, and since I was a former oil-industry employee, at least this was something I was fluent in. I asked if there was anything oil-related that concerned Harcharek. “Encroaching industry,” he answered, “They’re moving east and west,” referring to inevitable expansion of the National Petroleum Reserve. “At the cost of what?” he added. “Our people are so reliant on money. Fuel, good health care, beautiful schools. Without taxation from industry we wouldn’t have that. But it’s on our land. We understand where our money comes from and it’s not that we aren’t grateful.” He goes on to talk about the ways he believes his culture is facing a different kind of threat than in years past. Not just the threat related to climate change, which in many ways is more profound than anywhere else on the globe, but how the perceived benefits from industry are in some ways overwriting the Iñupiaq culture. Harcharek’s sentiments reminded me of a passage in The Way of the Human Being, written by southwest Alaska Native Harold Napoleon. The way many of us live now is abnormal, like caged animals. We are fed, housed, watered, cared for, but we are not free, and it is killing us. Since the early 1960’s, Native people have seen their material lives improve. Yet, as their physical lives have improved, the quality of their lives has deteriorated. COMMUNITY

When I arrived in Utqiaġvik I was as curious about my own inherent judgments as I was with the nuances of this northern community. I walked everywhere, stopping to have conversations with anyone willing to chat. Being a white guy with a big camera around my neck, occasionally I got sideways looks. A few people asked me, with some suspicion, “Are you a reporter?” I came to learn about a perception, that nearly everyone visiting Utqiaġvik is thought to be there for one reason: to take something. Whether it’s stories, pictures, scientific data, or something related to oil. As I walked along the shore of the Arctic Ocean one afternoon, I thought about the notion that most of us in modern society are “takers,” to quote Daniel Quinn. At the end of my walk I was greeted by a local man who appeared my same age. His tan face reflected a life spent out on the land

Photo by Joe Yelverton

A manifestation of the wounds inflicted on past generations, when crimes committed against a society’s culture shapes the identify of descendants. As an English speaking white person I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to appreciate what it’s like to be forcibly relocated, to lose my home, or my language, or to be living under the threat of punishment if I follow my customs. Or to have any of that as part of my ancestry. I’m not sure my customs are even sophisticated enough to pass muster as cultural traditions, or for that matter if I even have a culture, so perhaps true empathy is impossible in my case. Last summer I read an article in the Anchorage Press, “Of Shamans, My Ancestors, and Genocide” by Alaska Native Johnny Tetpon. He wrote, “Non-Native writers who reiterate the things I am talking about— sympathetic as they may be—do not know really know what they are talking about. Their take is third-hand; mine is first-hand because I am the one who experienced it.” I thought a lot about his words, especially these: “The search for truth for me, just for me, and not anyone else, took me back toward my ancestral beliefs.” I realized that’s what I’m looking for—the truth, not to translate the experience of others, but to explore our beliefs as a society, and in a larger context—how our beliefs, and my own beliefs, relate to the current state of affairs, of our planet and humanity, and especially how people and societies treat each other. This pursuit has continually brought me back to a haunting question: Is the condition of our planet and the way we treat it merely a reflection of the way we treat one another? Especially how people in power treat more vulnerable populations? For decades we told young Native kids that speaking their first language would send them to hell. If that wasn’t bad enough physical punishment sometimes followed. That was often the message of Alaska based Christian missionaries. This, along with other initiatives aimed at “civilizing” Alaska Natives, was administered with the blessing of the U.S. government per the 1819 Civilization Fund Act. Variations of this act persisted long through the 20th century. Not surprisingly, this madness and the result is largely unknown outside of the affected communities. As we drove down the dusty roads of Utqiaġvik I ruminated over social issues that I’d been sheltered from my entire life, wondering if being naive is a luxury or a curse.

Is the condition of our planet and the way we treat it merely a reflection of the way we treat one another?


USGS geophysicist Shad O’Neel explains the nuances of time-lapse photography at Wolverine Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula.

and sea. Gregarious and from the most famous lineage of whalers, his name was Lewis Brower. After some small talk I asked about his whaling history. The conversation turned into a rich history lesson, fervently told, with a seemingly infinite backdrop often referred to as the Top of the World. After an hour or so I asked Brower one final question. “What do you think I should take away from my visit?” He responded, “Well, what have you learned?” I shared a few things, my observations. Then he told me a story about a New York Times reporter who once asked him a similar question. So he asked the man, “Where do you live?” “I live in New York City,” the reporter answered. So Lewis repeated himself, sensing the man didn’t quite understand his question, “No, where do you live?” “Well, I live in Manhattan,” he answered. “No, you don’t understand, I want to know about your commu-

nity,” Lewis clarified. “I live in an apartment building in Manhattan.” “Do you know any of your neighbors,” Lewis asked. “No, I’ve never met any of them except for bumping into them in the hallways and elevators.” So Lewis responded to the reporter, “When you go home I want you to introduce yourself to your neighbors. That’s what we have that you don’t have. We have community. We rely on one another.” TAKE A GOOD LOOK AROUND

Craig George is a long time resident of Utqiaġvik and a marine biologist who studies bowhead whales, the world’s oldest mammal, and an anomaly in a warming Arctic. “Unlike other less fortunate species, he says, “the bowhead appears to be thriving.” George was one of the early pioneers in bowhead research. “The bowhead whale fell off the moon in terms of science,” said his former boss. When George’s career began he quickly realized that learning A L A S K A H U M A N ITI E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2 01 9

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NO REVERSE GEAR

Even if we possessed the most accurate scientific knowledge, we should not find it easy to persuade them by the employment of such knowledge. ­—Aristotle Andy Mahoney’s office looks like a gear room belonging to a typical adventurer, and if you met him on the streets of Fairbanks

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Photo by Joe Yelverton

about the environment was a prerequisite for learning about the mammals. It’s easy to get killed in the Arctic without some understanding of safety on the sea and the ice. And then he realized that to learn about the environment he’d first need to learn about the people who knew it best, the Iñupiat. The irony is George was classically educated as a biologist, taught that researchers were the true experts, even taught to disregard traditional knowledge from the field. Living and working in a whaling community turned those notions upside down. I was with the gray haired biologist in his old Subaru wagon, headed back to his house after a discussion on the beach. We went to look at some stranded icebergs, enormous “ice islands” that drifted south from the marine glaciers in the High Arctic. As we were making our way through town, a crisscross of dirt roads, his neighbors waved as we drove by. I ask George how long he’s been in Utqiaġvik. “Oh… a long time,” he said. “I came here to work in the 70’s and decided to stay.” The obvious question comes to mind, so I ask, “Why did you stay?” “I can’t really explain it,” he said. “It’s sort of like the song, ‘My Hometown’.” Thinking he might elaborate, instead the scientist (who is also an avid musician), begins to recite Springsteen’s lyrics: I was eight years old running with a dime in my hand. Into the bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man. I’d sit on his lap in the big old Buick. And steer as we drove through town. He’d tousle my hair and say “Son, take a good look around” This is your hometown… And then he stopped, apparently content with his answer. I learn that George is an enigmatic individual, a scientist-naturalist-historian, seemingly focused on the bigger picture, maybe even three steps ahead of you in the conversation, thinking about your question on a deeper level than you anticipated. But also possessing a rural sensibility, and a northern pragmatism.

Wolverine Glacier in the Nellie Juan region of the eastern Kenai Peninsula. Continuously studied by USGS since 1966, Wolverine is known as a “benchmark glacier” because it is scientifically representative of other glaciers in the area.


“The science message is a difficult one to get through, and using a stick isn’t the way to do it.”

you might think he’s a generic outdoorsman. Originally from the UK, he migrated to Alaska for the adventure and almost unwittingly ended up with a PhD. That sort of happenstance partly describes his current conundrum, doing work he loves, and doing it mostly behind the scenes, but having his research end up being part of the most contentious debate in America. Mahoney is a reluctant harbinger of change. “There’s no reverse gear on this,” he tells me, as if he’d just lifted his head from the microscope after observing the most basic of irreversible biological processes. He’s referring to the overwhelming loss of sea ice in the Arctic, particularly the thick and dense multi-year ice that’s disappearing fast, leaving behind open water that remains for longer periods every year. “We’re not going to grow the ice back anytime soon,” he says. “There’s going to be wholesale changes.” In some Arctic communities, he adds, “It will be the equivalent of drought in Africa.” Referring to diminished access to hunting and fishing grounds, which in many villages constitutes basic subsistence. “Or villagers can completely give up and move to the city,” he says. “And change everything that contributes to their identity.” Mahoney has a PhD in geophysics and is an assistant professor at the same department at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. He studies climate change, coastal dynamics, ice-ocean interaction, and the relationship between Arctic inhabitants and sea ice. “Oh, there’s natural oscillation!” he says, jokingly, echoing the pseudoscience climate deniers. “There’s always been cold years, warm years.” But then in a more serious tone, he says, “But when you have forty-one years of warming in row, a cold year now, that was an average year many years ago.” It might surprise or even confuse climate change deniers, but Mahoney is not an “environmentalist,” nor is he even remotely close to an “activist.” He’s really just a scientist trying to do good work. “There’s more lucrative ways to make a living,” he said, referring to the popular theory among deniers and some politicians who accuse scientists of perpetuating theories about climate change for alleged financial gain. “It’s hard enough to get scientists to agree on anything, let alone the creation of a worldwide conspiracy,” says Mahoney. “The fact that so many scientists agree on climate change and its causes, really says a lot.” But he admits, “The science message is a difficult one to get through, and using a stick isn’t the way to do it.” Mahoney suggests what’s needed is an emotive persuasion. “As scientists, if we think our message is that important, we need to look at other ways of doing it. And sometimes that involves more of a personal investment.” At the same time, he offers, “As a scientist I’m very cautious about getting involved in advocacy. There is a line between the two.” Among his peers Mahoney is known for exploring the knowledge of coastal residents, especially those who know the ice because of subsistence activities. Then he leverages this in his research. “The scientific method has rigors, and is great for making decisions,” he said. “But it can’t answer all of our questions.” He admits that it’s taken him almost 20 years to begin to A L A S K A H U M A N ITI E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2 01 9

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CLIMATE CHANGE IS A DISTRACTION

Late in the winter Henry Huntington arrived in Tsiigehtchic, a small Gwich’in village on the banks of the frozen Mackenzie River. Starting in Fairbanks, Alaska, he was more than 700 miles into his 2,500 mile trip across the Canadian Arctic. Driving a snowmachine with a sled full of scientific expedition gear, he stopped in this Northwest Territory town and waited for his research colleagues to join him near the local school. A young Athabaskan girl approached Huntington, no doubt realizing he was an outsider in a tight-knit community of 190 people. The young Native girl asked, “Do you have kids?” “Oh yeah,” said Huntington. Obviously curious, she presses him, “Where are they?” “Well, they’re at home,” he answers. Even more perplexed, she asks, “Why didn’t you bring them with you?” The exchange continued, the intersection of two different generations, and two different cultures. Along with four other researchers, Huntington was a third of the way into a snowmachine supported expedition from Fairbanks to Hudson Bay. The team was enjoying some confidence, a sense of accomplishment in their adventure across barren and relatively unpopulated country. And then he was confronted with a philo-

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sophical question: Why are you traveling across the rugged Canadian Arctic without your family? As Huntington recollects, “Because, to this young Native girl, the obvious thing would be to bring the kids along. Why would that pose any problem whatsoever? She wasn’t quite old enough to dismiss me as an amateur, but at the same time she was completely unimpressed.” During his twenty plus years of doing Arctic research, Huntington has many times stood at the intersection of human experience, where different cultures and the common human condition meet. He counts this particular interaction with an Athabaskan girl as being one of the most insightful, a contrast of cultures. My path intersected with Huntington’s near his home in Eagle River, Alaska. With a backdrop of cars, and traffic, and busy lives, I learned about many of the unanticipated nuances of doing science in the Arctic, around indigenous people. Through Huntington’s stories, I gained insight into the culture of science in the Arctic, and how the trend is changing with regards to seeking out traditional knowledge and then integrating that into research. As Huntington tells me, early Arctic exploration was undertaken by young, 19th century, European explorers chosen mainly for their physical attributes. A false sense of prowess was often traded for humility, when these explorers met well-suited Natives adapted to hard living. Entire families traveling cross country, including grandma and all of the kids. And yet despite the responsibility of keeping an entire family fed and safe, often in harsh conditions, early explorers described these encounters as puzzling. Two different groups traveling the same exact country, but the Natives were at home, and traveling in harsh conditions out of necessity, and never complaining. In its purest sense the pursuit of science has led to amazing discoveries and, at the same time, the scientists, who often remain outsiders, have historically remained disconnected from the environment that’s part of their research, including any inhabitants who live there. In that sense, Huntington is one of the emerging outliers. His career as a polar scientist began with janitorial duties in Antarctica. Because he was primarily interested in earth sciences he thought the frozen continent would be a good place to start. continued on page 38

Why are you traveling across the rugged Canadian Arctic without your family?

Photos by Joe Yelverton

translate indigenous knowledge. “That’s what I’m most excited about,” he said. “Relying on traditional knowledge for hypothesis creation. If we want to really understand what we should be asking, what we should be looking at.” In contrast to the Arctic, Mahoney’s career began in Antarctica, an environment he refers to as “a bit sterile.” Unlike the southernmost continent, he says, “It’s in your face in the Arctic, because people live there. And so there are stakeholders in your research.” As part of a team of editors/scientists focused on the Arctic, Mahoney contributed to a book called The Meaning of Ice, an exhaustive compendium that explores the relationship Northern communities have with the frozen world around them. Serving as a compelling reminder about our current public discourse, at the beginning of the book is an author’s note: Translation from one language to another is an art. Even more so is the translation from one way of understanding the world to another.


right :

James Koonaloak (left) and Michael Thomas (right) outside the science division at Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, an agency in Utqiag• vik that provides logistics support to numerous science projects in the Alaskan Arctic below :

Alaska author Don Rearden (left) interviews Utqiag• vik resident Craig George (right) on the coast of Arctic Ocean. I traveled to Utqiag• vik with Rearden as he was doing research for a new whaling novel. George is a well-known expert on bowhead whales and a senior wildlife biologist with the North Slope Borough.

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ADVANCED ALASKANS

LEADERSHIP ANCHORAGE ALUMNA Nancy King (LA18) has been collecting stories for the past three

years as part of Advanced Alaskans, a media project documenting the motivation and achievements of Alaskans over the age of 70. King’s project challenges the stereotypes about people in their 70s and beyond by sharing the narratives of active Alaskans who continue to work and volunteer long after the usual retirement age. Their stories serve as examples for people of all ages of the importance of doing what you love, continuing to learn, and saying “yes” when an opportunity comes your way. In the fall of 2016, FORUM published three interviews and portraits in the series. You can read these, along with three new stories, on the Forum’s blog at akhf.org/news. Here, we’re proud to present one of those Advanced Alaskans: Wilma Goldmann.

Wilma Goldmann: Clown and Butterfly Interview by Nancy King What do clowning and competitive swimming have in common? Where do they intersect? In the life of 94 year-old Wilma Goldmann. Wilma is an active Advanced Alaskan who believes in continually learning new things and staying socially involved with friends, old and new.

I

began clowning two years after my husband died when I was wintering in Sun City West, Arizona. I was attending a handicrafts club—we made cancer caps, baby blankets, and all kinds of knitted and crocheted items—and one of the members mentioned she had to leave early to go to a Clown Club meeting. I expressed a passing interest and she invited me to go along. Since I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity, I immediately said yes. By the end of the clown meeting, I was hooked on clowns and clowning. That was 10 years ago when I was in my 80s. Clowning was a whole new ballgame. I had to learn how to perform magic tricks, make balloon animals and flowers, and create my own funny skits. My character, Winnie, is an Auguste clown (white around the mouth and eyes) with green hair, a red cap, and a black and white checkered outfit. When I am Winnie, I am somebody else, literally. I can do things and get away with it because no one recognizes me. As part of my skit I often tap dance and play my violin and ukulele. Most years I attend a clown convention in Las Vegas to get more ideas for my skits and my balloon twisting and to find out what other clowns are doing. Clowns are forever learning to do new things to help people laugh. I began competitive swimming when I was eighty. I learned to dog paddle when I was a kid

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on our farm in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. In the summer after a day of thrashing in the grain fields, my dad would take us dusty and dirty kids, and other neighborhood kids who were helping with the harvest, down to the swimming hole. At that time, my biggest swimming ambition was to swim well enough to make it out to the raft at Elkheart Lake. I can’t remember ever getting to the raft. Not until I was in my 60s and my youngest child was in high school did I actually learn to swim. I was overweight and got to thinking, “What did I do when I was a kid that I really enjoyed?” I remembered hopping on the back of the truck and going down to the swimming hole. At this time we lived in Anchorage a couple blocks from Dimond High School and its “When I am Winnie, I am new pool was available for open swimming five mornings a week. I somebody else, literally. would get there about 6:00 or 6:30 I can do things and get a.m. and swim for an hour. The first week I was admiring all the away with it because no lap swimmers and I asked the life guard Sabrina, who was a senior one recognizes me.” in high school, “What are they doing? It looks so neat, so relaxed and easy.” She said, “They are doing the freestyle.” And I said, “Oh, I wish I could do that.” She said, “Well, you can.” I said, “Oh, no, I am too old. I am in my 60s.” She said, “No, get yourself a pair of goggles and I’ll help you.” So that’s what I did. I swam five days a week. Eventually, I was asked to join a new Masters Group that was being organized. In 1990 when we began wintering in Sun City West, I discovered they had synchronized swimming, so I joined the group. I have never worked so hard in my life. It takes rhythm, control, and con-


Photo by Matt Waliszek, Orzelphoto

Read about more Advanced Alaskans on the Forum’s blog: akhf.org/news

GEORGIA BLUE

Photo by Matt Waliszek, Orzelphoto

Georgia owns and operates the Georgia Blue Gallery in Anchorage. "On a day I don’t feel particularly great, it is important for me to go to work. The day steadily improves as I help clients and artists and am no longer thinking about myself. Staying connected and sharing with others makes each day easier and far more interesting."

Wilma Goldmann. Photo by Matt Waliszek, Orzelphoto

FRED RISCH

Dr. William F. Risch, DC works full time at Alaska Chiropractic Arts while actively volunteering within his church and the bowling community. "It is so important in this life to share one’s skills and passions with others. People need what you have to give, and you gain much from them in return. My words of wisdom to anyone who will listen is that there is an ‘enjoyment door’ ready for you to open or reopen. Someone out there needs you; they are waiting to receive what you have to give."

centration. I could do all that, plus I could put my feet up and get all the way down to the bottom of the pool. I did about 10 years of competitive synchronized swimming. My big medals are from that. In my 80s I quit synchronized swimming and began lap swimming. I discovered I loved the 100 IM, the Individual Medley, which involves doing the butterfly, the backstroke, breaststroke, and the freestyle. I’ve competed in two National Senior Games—one in Minneapolis in 2015 and one in Birmingham in 2017. My most recent competition was at a meet in Fairbanks. I did the 50, the 100, the 200 free, and the 50 backstroke. These meets are serious events. It’s not just a matter of going in and swimming. You have to sit around and wait and wait. You’ve got to know how to “play the game.” When you are swimming, there are all of these little bitty rules you have to abide by. And they watch. They watch you closely. At this meet they were handing out gold medals like candy. Well, I have five kids so I decided I should get five medals, one for each kid. But I only got four because I was unable to compete in the 500. I am in my 90s now and these two passions, clowning and swimming, are a big part of what keeps me going—they keep me learning and improving. Clowning is also about being socially connected with people, making people laugh. And swimming keeps me active and moving. It literally keeps me walking. ■ Please contact Nancy King at nanking@gci.net if you know of an Advanced Alaskan who is active in the community and would be willing to be interviewed for this project. A L A S K A H U M A N ITI E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2 01 9

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DONOR PROFILE

Heather Lende

DONORS SINCE:

2013

WHY I GIVE: I

give to the Alaska Humanities Forum because the mission is dear to my heart—creating a better Alaska and by extension the world with “respectful curiosity” about everything that makes us human. I’m grateful that the Forum exists and so I donate a little every year to help ensure that.

What originally compelled you to donate to the Forum?

I attended a lecture in Haines by Dan Henry, based on research the Forum helped fund, on John Muir and the local Tlingits, and even though I lived here and sort of knew about it, I learned a lot and so did others in attendance. Also, I have hosted foreign exchange students and know first-hand how much understanding can be gained by living in another family’s home, and I think the Forum’s rural-urban exchange is a wonderful program for all Alaskans. By sending kids back and forth to those places, they’re going to develop a much greater understanding of the ways Alaskans are alike and the ways we’re different. Your stories seem to embody “respectful curiosity.” Heather Lende receives the 2017 Governor’s Arts & Humanities Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities. Photo by Seanna O’Sullivan

Cultural Explorer, Lifelong Learner ACTIVE IN ARTS, cultural, athletic, and

civic matters, Haines author Heather Lende crafts her memoirs and stories from the community in which she has lived for more than 35 years. She has been a magazine editor and radio show host; a Haines Borough Assembly member; and she writes obituaries for the Chilkat Valley News. Hundreds of her columns and essays have been published in Alaska and beyond. Heather was the recipient of a 2017 Alaska Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities and the Episcopal Bishop of Alaska’s Bishop’s Cross Award. She and her husband Chip own a lumberyard and hardware store in Haines. They have five adult children and seven grandchildren (all Alaskans).

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It’s a term the Humanities Forum uses for its guidelines. And it comes right out of my work as an obituary writer. When I interview the family and friends of someone who has died I am curious to know more than the important dates or milestone events—because asking questions leads to stories and stories lead to a better understanding of not only the one particular life, but mine, and the readers as well. Asking questions so that we can learn from and understand each other better is a big part of what the Forum facilitates in Alaska. How did you come to be in Alaska?

I grew up back east and met my husband at Middlebury College in Vermont, where I was a history major. He went on to earn a Master’s in Forestry, and after that we got married, bought a pick-up truck, and drove to Alaska where the big trees were. We took the ferry from Prince Rupert to Haines, and I would have stayed in two seconds; I loved it. But it was right after the Schnabel Lumber Company had closed here, and it was August in Alaska, and we had run out of money so we kept going to Anchorage where his parents had some cousins. He got a job at a sawmill there and I worked at a restaurant called Harry’s. We went back when the sawmill reopened in Haines and—because of my husband’s background in forestry and then some of the work he had done up there for the Valley Sawmill [in Anchorage]—he was asked to interview for a job in Haines. I was thrilled to go back to that little town that to me seemed so quintessentially Alaskan. We have been here ever since. I can’t really separate my writing from my life in Haines because it’s all part and parcel. I wonder if I hadn’t lived in

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The stories that stay with me are the ones that help me to be a better person, or even remind people who are reading the obituary that this is what it means to be a good person and to lead a good life.


SUPPORT AKHF

Your Humanities Council Haines, maybe I would have done something else. I think that if I had stayed in Anchorage, I would have gone back to school to get a teaching certificate. My career began as a volunteer at the local radio station, KHNS. I’d never been on the radio and they set me up with two turntables and records. I’d bring the baby with me and I started doing volunteer music shows. A job came up for the person they call the operations director that helps organize things, and I also had to do a three-hour country music show every afternoon, so I learned how to appreciate country music. Soon I was writing slice of life radio essays that were broadcast statewide and nationally, which led to the columns and the books. I ended up becoming a KHNS board member and I’ve been a volunteer for a lot of years. Right now I do a show once a month called Lynn Canal Art Matters, where we talk about art and the artistic communities here in Haines, Klukwan, and Skagway. Is there a most memorable interview or a most memorable obituary that comes to mind?

I think my most memorable obituary is always the last one I did. The stories that stay with me are the ones that help me to be a better person, or even remind people who are reading the obituary that this is what it means to be a good person and to lead a good life. Death wasn’t the final word. What are you reading right now?

I just finished Lethal White, a fat British detective novel by Kenneth Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) which I checked out of the library for a trip to Unalaska Dutch Harbor to visit my daughter, who is the principal of the school out there. The weather delays can last a while, so I wanted a good book to distract me. It was perfect. It’s such an international community that I was inspired on my return to try again to finish a Hundred Years of Solitude. Pam Houston’s new book Deep Creek and part time Haines resident Caroline Van Hemmert’s The Sun is a Compass are next, or maybe concurrently. I tend to read nonfiction and poetry in the morning early, with my coffee, and novels before bedtime.   Spring is here and summer is not far behind.  What’s your favorite summer activity and/or place?

My favorite place is my backyard, which is on the Chilkat Inlet, and my favorite summer activity is riding my bike. Last summer I rode some 4,000 miles just around Haines. I’m turning sixty in June, and my present to myself is custom classic Randonneaur style bike that comes apart so I can travel with it. It’s British racing green. I can’t wait for it to take me somewhere I have never been. ■ —Interview by Nancy Hemsath

The Alaska Humanities Forum serves Alaska as one of 56 humanities councils, located in all U.S. states and jurisdictions. Each council engages, informs, and connects the citizens of its home state through unique localized programming. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) provides federal funding to support this work each year, renewing its founding commitment to critical, creative, and compassionate thinking and dialogue about the future of our country. The funding the Forum receives from NEH requires a 100% match in donations from individuals, corporations, and other partners. Each and every year. In the past year, donors like you supported exchanges for youth and teachers in 24 rural and urban Alaska communities; drove voter turnout through a team project of Leadership Anchorage; and connected civilians with members of the military community through the launch of a third year of Danger Close writing workshops. When you make a gift to Alaska Humanities Forum, you are making a real, lasting difference in communities across our state. Will you join us this year? Whether you are a longstanding supporter, or someone just picking up this magazine for the first time, we need your partnership in the year ahead. Please make a gift, attend a community conversation, sign up for a workshop or training, or stop by our offices in Anchorage to say hello. We thank you for your support!

Make a Gift • Give online at akhf.org—make a monthly pledge or one-time gift • Call Jann Mylet, Director of Development and Communications: (907) 272-5302 • Mail a check to the Forum: 421 W. 1st Avenue, Suite 200, Anchorage, AK 99501 • Double your impact—ask your employer about making a matching gift • Select Alaska Humanities Forum when you Pick. Click.Give.

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S C E N E S

B E H I N D

T H E

S C E N E S

GRANT REPORT

Stories from the production of the Forum-supported film WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North By Priscilla Naung• ag• iaq Hensley

U P O N

ABOUT WE UP

T R E E S

Photo by Bård Grape

1 T R E E S

There are a lot of trees between Manndalen, Norway and Aanaar/Inari, Finland. We made the drive in the summers of 2017 and 2018, traversing the distance from Riddu Riđđu, an indigenous people’s music festival in northern Norway, to Aanaar/Inari, a Sámi village in northern Finland with a high concentration of rappers. Along the way, we shot the passing forests out the window of our car whenever the light seemed right. All this “B-roll” of trees led to the opening sequence of the film, which is set to throat singing by Canadian Inuit Alexia Galloway-Alainga, one of the performers in the Circumpolar Hip-Hop Collab, a live collaboration of indigenous hip-hop artists from Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, and Finland that closed the main stage at Riddu Riđđu last July. One shot that didn’t make it into the opening was a man with a rifle we spotted taking aim into a herd of reindeer from the side of a two-lane road in 2017. We presumed he was a poacher. Several times he put the stock of his rifle to his shoulder, but in the end he didn’t take the shot (it might have been the camera that dissuaded him).

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WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North is a feature-length documentary film produced by the Anchorage Museum. WE UP profiles Northern indigenous hip-hop artists while exploring shared themes in their work, such as the challenges of decolonization, pride in self and culture, deconstruction of stereotypes, celebration of endangered Native languages, and spiritual connections to Northern homelands. The Alaska Humanities Forum was an early supporter of the project with a $1,250 mini-grant in 2017 for cinematography at Nuuk Nordisk, a youth culture festival in Nuuk, Greenland. The Forum then awarded WE UP a $10,000 general grant in 2018 for editing, sound design, and additional cinematography in Fairbanks and Dot Lake. We’re also grateful for support from Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.; The CIRI Foundation; The Surdna Foundation; and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

— Priscilla Naunġaġiaq Hensley, co-director of WE UP: Indigenous HipHop of the Circumpolar North


2

T H E

“W I L D

B U N C H”

O P E N I N G Photo by Bård Grape

The music video-style scene at the beginning of the film was inspired by the iconic “Long Walk” from director Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 Western The Wild Bunch, right down to the crunch of gravel beneath their feet. It features the three artists local to Aanaar/Inari, a Sámi village in northern Finland—Ailu Valle, Mikkal Morottaja (AMOC), and a transplant from Kalaallit Nunaat/Greenland, Aqqalu Berthelsen (Uyarakq)—and a song they built for the Circumpolar Collab at Riddu Riđđu. We filmed it across two evenings, quite late. The street’s residents were equally irritated and curious. On the second night, after the ninth or so take, one elderly woman opened a window to call out a question in Northern Sámi. Ailu Valle translated: “She wants to know, ‘What is it that you are searching for?’” A good question for any filmmaker. WE UP screened at the Skábmagovat Indigenous People’s Film Festival in January 2019. Seeing this intro come up on a big screen in their beautiful Sajos cultural center felt both gently perfect and delightfully thrilling. At this point it’s hard to imagine what this film would have been without those particular artists and their community.

“ W H AT I S I T T H AT YO U A R E SEARCHING FOR?”

Photo by Priscilla Naungagiaq Hensley

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B A B Y 3 B I S H O P ’ S

WE UP / SCREENINGS World premiere, December 2018 Anchorage International Film Festival Norwegian premiere, January 2019 Tromsø International Film Festival Finnish premiere, January 2019 Skábmagovat Indigenous People’s Film Festival Photo by Michael Conti

Screenings at Eklutna and Kenai/Soldotna, Alaska Upcoming: Canadian premiere at South Indian Lake, Ontario Screenings at Riddu Rid-d-u in 2019

Look closely and you’ll see a plastic band on the right wrist of Athabascan rapper Julian Lillie, a.k.a. Bishop Slice, throughout his screen time in WE UP. Not long after our crew landed in Fairbanks the day before summer solstice last June, Bishop called to say he’d be a couple hours late for a scheduled interview—because his daughter had just been born, a few weeks earlier than expected. That’s a hospital wristband he’s wearing. Bishop’s grandmother founded the village of Dot Lake, which is about 60 miles west of Delta Junction. It was so important to him that he take us to visit Dot Lake that we proceeded with the planned road trip, despite his newly becoming a father. Midnight on the solstice found us filming with Bishop at his grandmother’s fish camp on the Tanana River, where he delivered a powerful a cappella version of his track “Bibles and Bullets,” sitting among friends in the camp’s smokehouse.

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The very first interview and performance we filmed for WE UP was in June 2017 with Tlingit breakdancer Bri McMillen, a.k.a. BGirl SnapOne, at her friend’s dance studio in downtown Anchorage. Bri danced until she was shaking with fatigue, at one point colliding with the camera while executing a spin. In one section of the interview that didn’t make it into the final cut of the film, she pointed out the close similarity of “the stab,” a foundational breakdancing move, and the One Arm Reach, a competitive event at the World Eskimo Indian Olympics, and Native Youth Olympics. “That’s why I like breakdancing,” she said. “It really shows how everyone in the world is related based on similar moves and movements that we come up with.”

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W E ’ R E

A L L

R E L A T E D Photo by Jeff Cunningham

We filmed an interview and performance with Allison Warden (AKUMATU) late one night in June 2017 in the top floor gallery of the Anchorage Museum, where she’d recently had a two-month installation and performance piece called “Unipkaagusiksuguvik.” As part of that piece Warden had developed a slideshow of altered historical images. Our concept was to film her rapping with the slideshow as a backdrop, but we struggled to find the right frame, until we tried standing Allison on a bench in the center of the gallery. Sometimes the simplest fixes work best.

U P

T H E

S H O T

Photo by Jeff Cunningham

5 S E T T I N G

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Photo by David Holthouse

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S O U P

In her June 2017 interview with us, Allison Warden pines for a northern, indigenous hip-hop concert. Fast forward to July 2018 and she’s walking around the festival grounds at Riddu Riđđu with Kim Jacobsen, a.k.a. KimOJax, a “hip-hopper” from Kalaallit Nunaat/Greenland. It’s the night before they perform with the Circumpolar Hip Hop Collab. It was really something to see the artists bond, create, and perform on a tight schedule. As Allison said that night, “We were already on the same wavelength.” And KimOJax marveled at their impending performance on “this big-ass stage!”

A N D

T H R E A D

L O C A L S, Á N N A - K A T R I

7 C O N N E C T I V E

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“WE’RE STILL N O T H AV I N G I T - Á NN A- K AT R I

Ánna-Katri Helander describes herself in the film as a dancer and “hip-hop-headed artist.” We first met Helander when she was Riddu Riđđu's Young Artist of the Year in 2017. The following summer, she was back with a hip-hop-based theatrical dance piece, “Aindás,” (“still here” in her Sámi language), and an outdoor installation protesting governmental infringement upon Sámi hunting rights. We filmed the interview with Helander at the home of a Sámi elder who lives near the Riddu Riđđu festival site. This was arranged by Norwegian cinematographer Bård Grape—who we met by chance during our first visit to Riddu after we rented a cabin on his family’s farm through Airbnb. Sometimes in filmmaking, you make your own luck, and as luck had it, our Airbnb host not only turned out to be a veteran cinematographer, but also possessed deep knowledge about the area. It seemed like Bard knew everyone in Manndalen. He was the perfect addition to our team in 2018. The house where we filmed Ánna-Katri was owned by a Sámi woman who told us stories of Nazi occupation during World War II while serving us tea and cookies. Earlier that day Bård insisted we forego the festival food stands for what he termed H E R E A N D “real food.” This turned out to be bowls of reindeer A N Y M O R E . ” soup made by a Sámi woman who sets up a lavvu (traditional tent) each year. It was just like tuttu soup at H E L A N D E R home, and we enjoyed a quiet sit while it was prepared.

Photo by Bård Grape


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T E A C H I N G

M O M E N T S

Finally, one thing we learned is not to offer to put mosquito repellent on a Sámi rapper’s hat. There will be scorn. ■

Photo by Priscilla Naungagiaq Hensley


Teacher Amelie Fischer leads students from Floyd Dryden Middle School (Juneau) on their exchange visit to Buckland.

Students reflect on two decades of cultural exchange programs By Debra McKinney

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Schools participating in Sister School Exchange and Rose Urban-Rural Exchange, 2001-2019:

rban and rural Alaskans have much to teach each other. About how to navigate the complexities of a cityscape. About the hard work and honed skills it takes to feed a village from the land. About how to interact with strangers. About how to embrace the elegance of silence. Committed to the belief that differences are best understood in context, the Alaska Humanities Forum administers programs that enable Alaskans to learn about and from each other, as well as the chance to walk in each other’s shoes. Over the past two decades, two of these programs, the Sister School Exchange and Educator CrossCultural Immersion programs, have provided this opportunity to more than 2,000 students and 400 teachers and other school professionals from all corners of the state. The grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Alaska Native Education Program that supported these programs will end this year, but the Forum will continue to lead cultural exchanges and programming to build networks of friendship and connection, and deepen a statewide sense of community. The two programs, which have evolved through the years, were born of misunderstanding, including a political quagmire over subsistence issues and a horrific night in 2001 that forced the state to take a long, hard look at itself. That winter night three teenagers went on a ”hunting” expedition in Anchorage. “We’re going to nail some Eskimos… ,” one of them said, his words captured on a videotape seized by police. The white teens spent the night targeting Alaska Native men and women they wrote off as “drunks,” shooting them with paintball guns, including blasting one man in the face. The incident

Akiuk School Alak School Alakanuk High School Alaska Native Cultural Charter School Alaska Teen Media Allakaket School Ambler School Anchorage Christian School Andreafski High School Angoon School Aniguiin School Anthony Andrews School Aqqaluk Middle/High School Arviq School Barrow High School Bartlett High School Begich Middle School Ben Eielson High School Blatchley Middle School Brevig Mission School Buckland School Central Middle School Chaputnguak High School Chevak School Chief Ivan Blunka School Chugiak High School Colony High School Colony Middle School Deering School Dimond High School Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School Eagle River High School East High School Eek High School Emmonak High School Family Partnership Charter School Floyd Dryden Middle School Frontier High School Galena City School George Morgan Senior High School Goldenview Middle School Girdwood School Hogarth Kingeekuk Memorial Hooper Bay School Howard Luke Alternative School Hutchinson High School Ignatius Beans Memorial School Innoku River School Jimmy Huntington School Juneau-Douglas High School Kali School Kaltag School Ket'acik/Aapalluk Memorial School Ketchikan High School Kiana Middle School King Career Center King Cove School Klukwan School Kotlik School Kotzebue Middle/High School

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prompted the Legislature to condemn the hate crimes, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to investigate, and Gov. Tony Knowles to assemble a Governor’s Commission on Tolerance, which held public hearings across the state. “That was kind of the beginning of the conversation,” said Kari Lovett, the Forum’s Youth Program Manager. “What’s something we can do, specifically with youth, to help bridge understanding?” Launched in 2001 as the Rose UrbanRural Exchange, the sister school program has teams of five middle and high school students plus a teacher and their sister city counterparts studying each other’s worlds, then trading places for a week. The educator immersion program is a three-credit graduate course that includes a week at a culture camp to help urban educators learn how to better serve their Alaska Native students. Village students coming into the city have experienced a long list of firsts through the years. First time on a carnival ride, first time attending a symphony, first time seeing a cow. For city kids, the list includes first time off the road system, first time eating walrus heart, first time water doesn’t automatically pour out of a faucet. They learn the difference between cash and subsistence economies, health care systems, how to stay safe in unfamiliar territory. They get a taste of each other’s sense of humor. Like the teacher from Juneau who left her teeth marks on a pike after falling for the Napakiak “tradition “of biting the head of one’s first fish. Amy Mack of King Cove had been to Anchorage before, but had never experienced full immersion as she did during her school exchange in 2002. She remembers feeling alarmed by flying 60 miles an hour down the Seward Highway (“Is this okay?”) and how changing classes at Service High felt like being caught in a stampede. But what shocked her most was how she was perceived, “I got a lot of strange questions, like if we live in igloos.” Seriously. “I didn’t fully understand the images people of the city had of me. I was an alien to them. We were explaining the Native Youth Olympics, which is big in rural communities, and the seal hop was brought up. And one of the kids in class

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was like, ‘So do you balance a ball on your nose?’” The best part of her experience was helping her host mother in her classroom. After three days, Mack was hooked. She knew she wanted to be a teacher, too. Now 33, she’s in her 10th year of teaching preschool in King Cove. Amanda Dale went from Anchorage to Scammon Bay the first year of the exchange. It was her first time off the road system. She was out of her element, unsure of herself and nervous. But that didn’t last long. “I had the world’s greatest host family,” she said. “They just took me everywhere. I went snowmachining, I went on a hunt for rabbits, I went ice fishing, I went to a basketball tournament a few hours (via snowmachine) away. I froze my face off.” Dale is still connected to her Scammon Bay family, and plans to see them this summer. The experience built her confidence and curiosity for world travel. She’s since lived, worked, and studied in Japan, Chile, Denmark, Spain, and Sweden. “I think all of that started because of this one trip to Scammon Bay,” said Dale, now the Forum’s Public Programming Manager who oversees the educator immersion program. “Scammon first got me thinking that if I approached new places with true curiosity, flexibility, and openness, I would be just fine.” Amalie Fischer, a Floyd Dryden Middle School teacher in Juneau, has taken students to Buckland twice, an experience she calls “life changing.” The highlight was an ice-fishing excursion, 90 miles roundtrip by snowmachine. “We caught over 150 sheefish that day, one after another, after another. It was crazy. Everyone was helping out, everyone was in. “Then the next day we handed out

“...if I approached new places with true curiosity, flexibility, and openness, I would be just fine.” all the fish to people who helped, but also to community members who didn’t have the means to get fish on their own. Their first harvest of the year is a gift for the community, not for themselves. And so teaching values like that went really far, and the kids really embraced that. So there were a lot of really deep lessons there.” Back home, one student’s parents told Fischer that before the trip their son had been balking about doing chores. ‘But as soon as he returned, he was like, ‘Mom and Dad, what can I do? Can I wash the dishes? Take out the trash?’ Being in that community and seeing how much everyone works together he came back a totally different kid.” Arthur Padilla, a nonprofit management/strategy consultant based in the Seattle area, has been the programs’ evaluator the past several years. Many programs take this approach, but Alaska’s Educator Cross-Cultural Immersion “is one of the most extraordinary,” he said. “I think it has the most impact for teachers I’ve ever seen.” Same with the Sister School Exchange. “The learning, it’s phenomenal. When you talk to the folks who’ve gone through it, it’s what gets them to college, it’s what changed their life, it’s what changed their family, it’s what made them finally have conversations about racism at their dinner tables. “The model is really sound. Maybe part of that sound model is that it can be replicated in other places because it’s needed all over the country. Our biggest challenge in the United States right now is we can’t have these conversations because we don’t know how. This is a process that lets people know how.” ■

Larsen Bay School Lathrop High School Lewis Angapak Memorial School Louise's Farm School Manokotak School Marshall School Maudrey J. Sommer School McGrath School Mears Middle School Merreline A. Kargas School Mid Valley High School Mirror Lake Middle School Moses Peter Memorial High School Napaaqtugmiut School Nelson Island School Nome-Beltz Jr/Sr High Schools North Pole High School Nunamiut School Nunaniq School Nuniwarmiut School Old Harbor School Ouzinkie School Pacific High School Pacific Northern Academy Palmer High School Paul T. Albert Memorial School Pilot Station High School Polaris K-12 Qugcuun Memorial School Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat Russian Mission School Ryan Middle School Scammon Bay School Service High School Shishmaref School Shaktoolik School Shungnak School Sitka High School South Anchorage High School St. George School St. Paul School Steller Secondary School Stikine Middle School Susitna Valley High School Teeland Middle School Thorne Bay School Thunder Mountain High School Tikigaq School Togiak High School Trapper School Tukurngailnguq School Tuluksak School Unalaska Jr/Sr High Schools Wasilla High School Wasilla Lake Christian School Wasilla Middle School Watershed Charter School Wendler Middle School West High School West Valley High School Whale Pass School William N. Miller Memorial School Yakutat School Z.J. Williams Memorial School

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n a time when our news feeds are tailored to reinforce and cater to our beliefs and affinities, seeking to understand ideas and ways of looking at the world that we wouldn’t have seen (or just plain don’t like) is particularly important. As our communities become less isolated and more global, there is a growing interest in seeing the world in the shades of grey in which it is actually colored, and to push back against siloed ways of thinking. To this end, the Alaska Humanities Forum has created a new events series, and they call it Culture Shift. Once a month, in the tasting area of the Anchorage Brewing Company, two speakers stand up in front of the assembled crowd and talk for ten minutes about two completely different topics. They are encouraged to present opinions that challenge the audience to think differently about norms, ideas and assumptions, about culture. The statements are sometimes provocative, surprising, and maybe even confusing. From there, the audience breaks up into small groups

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CULTURE SHIFT Last Tuesday of every month Anchorage Brewing Company 148 W 91st Ave. Anchorage Tickets: $15 at akhf.org/culture-shift


A Forum program brings together audiences and presenters charged with being “as bold and as radical as possible” By Aurora Ford

T F I H S ALASKA FELLOWS The Alaska Fellows program is a 9-month-long postgraduate fellowship that places recent college graduates from around the country with organizations in Anchorage, Juneau, and Sitka. The program was founded in Sitka in 2014, initially launched with Yale University graduates as a way to bring motivated, talented college graduates to Sitka for nine months to live together communally and serve the Sitka community. The program has since expanded to recruit young people from schools around the country and has developed a growing emphasis on providing an avenue for Alaskans to return home after postsecondary experiences out of state. Fellows receive a modest living stipend, funding for relocation, and communal housing. They attend opening retreats as well as facilitated “convenings”—programmed events that draw together all 20-25 fellows across all three sites to cultivate connections at the beginning and end of the program. The Forum has just signed on Sarah Richmond, Reed College ’19, from Portland, Oregon, as Cuckoo’s successor; she will join the organization in September, 2019 and will be focused on bringing community voices into program design.

to talk about the thematic connections between the two ideas, and then generate one or two questions to ask of both presenters that are designed to generate further discussion, find unexpected connections, and build stronger community. Cuckoo Gupta, a recent graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University in Columbus, Ohio, is the facilitator of the project, and is here working with the Alaska Humanities Forum for nine months through the Alaska Fellows Program. “There’s a very clear need for this kind of an event here in Anchorage,” she says. “A lot of people have told us that it’s very unlike the usual trivia nights or storytelling events around town, and that it’s really refreshing. Based on our feedback surveys, 92% of people have met someone new at these events, which is something we were aiming for. Now we have a system and a structure, and a steady audience of about 40 people at each event—we’ve had five so far—and the more we do the more we realize what is missing and what we’re already doing well. We really push our presenters to be as bold and as radical as possible.” Of the things Culture Shift has done well so far, one is the diversity of the presenters they have brought to the podium. Alice Glenn, for example, is a 30-year old Alaska Native Iñupiaq woman, born and raised in Utqiaġvik, the northernmost city of the United States, who went to college for Aerospace Studies and has presented before panels of NASA scientists on what NASA can learn from the Iñupiaq way of life, living and working in the remote Arctic. “There was an astronaut named Harrison Schmidt who came to my village when I was 10 or 11 years old. He is a geologist and retired NASA astronaut who went to the moon. After hearing him speak, I was all in,” she says. “I became really interested in how you can help people do the work they need to do in space but also enjoy their lives while they’re doing it. There were all these experiments on socialization taking place in HAB units, in very small environments, people living together in tiny cabins, and being from a small community in far-northern Alaska, I was like, ‘Hey, we’ve already done that!’ I thought, as an Alaska Native person, this is what I can contribute to the space program.” She has since started her own podcast, “Coffee & Quaq” (an Iñupiaq word meaning frozen or raw meat or fish), when she realized that she wasn’t seeing stories in the media that contained the perspectives of young Alaska Native people. “I first heard about Culture Shift when I did a workshop with Cuckoo on leading discussions that build community last October,” Glenn says. “When Cuckoo told me about it, I was on board. I was really nervous because I don’t really think of myself as a radical person, but I did a talk about the podcast, and what I’m trying to do.” While it may not be in Alice’s nature to think of herself in radical terms, her upbringing in remote Alaska, connection to one of the oldest cultures still existing in the world, credentials as a scientist, and innovative ideas on how to preserve Alaska Native culture into the future certainly support the argument that there are few, if any, other people like her out there. A L A S K A H U M A N ITI E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2 01 9

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“[The question portion of the event] was challenging for me,” Glenn recalls. “One question that really threw me was, ‘What should the role of nonindigenous people be in the work that you do?’, to which I just had to answer ‘I really don’t know.’ I know what my role is, but I never really thought about what a non-indigenous person’s role should be in the work that I do. I feel like a lifelong student, so a lot of my answers are that I don’t know. And it really made me think.” Gupta will tell you that’s why the question portion of the event is the part she finds most intriguing. Many of the topics presented so far have stemmed directly from the experience of the presenter and can be quite personal. For example, Andrea Costales talked about the way we treat people who experience mental illness (she does not refer to it as “suffering”) and how we might learn to look at their unique perception of the world as a gift, not a curse. Her perspective is tied to her lived experience being close to someone with a mental health diagnosis that many would consider challenging. There was also Brooks Banker’s talk entitled “Queer is Key,” which centered around his experience as a part of the LGBTQ community; Clara Baldwin’s assertion in her talk, “Not an Ally,” that ‘ally’ is not a label one is allowed to bestow upon oneself, but can only be given as a gift from a person in a marginalized group; or Warren Jones’ “An Argument for Violence” in which he explores the possibility that based on our evolution, we as humans contain violence in our very DNA. Jones’ talk was based, in part, on his own upbringing and his time spent serving in the United States Marine Corps. Dr. EJ David’s talk at a Culture Shift event that took place in January was titled “Tired of Resilience.” He is of Kapampangan and Tagalog descent, was born in the Philippines, and is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he specializes in internalized oppression and colonial mentality as it relates to psychology in ethnic minority communities. As you might imagine, resilience is a subject that comes up in his work a lot. You might also imagine his viewpoint on it to be quite different than that he’s “tired of it,” but, like each talk before his and since, that’s where Culture Shift starts. In response to one question asked by a group in the audience, David explained: “Research shows that resilience is not a special thing that only special people have. We’ve seen people adapt and survive and thrive in the face of significant adversity. Resilience is an ordinary thing. That’s a fact. But it’s come to be misused as a subtle way to blame victims. By overemphasizing and misunderstanding what resilience is, we just look at communi-

We really try to create an atmosphere where everyone feels safe to ask questions that might otherwise be frowned upon, or even to stand up and say that they completely disagree.

ties and say ‘you just have to be a little more resilient,’ and it puts the onus of change on that community instead of on us to change oppressive systems, and our environment. It’s telling people that they need to adjust to an unjust, oppressive world.” As the experience of each speaker has deeply informed the subject matter on which they’ve presented, the activity of answering questions that are meant to generate discussion and challenge the speaker can be just as personal, and has proven so far to be where each of them really shines. As Gupta puts it, “One thing we really try to do is create an atmosphere where everyone feels safe to ask questions that might otherwise be frowned upon, or even to stand up and say that they completely disagree. Warren, for example, built that kind of environment in his talk. It wasn’t contentious, but it did turn into a really good debate. The questions that the groups come up with are the ones that really push that debate forward. That’s my favorite part.” “I just think Culture Shift is such an awesome idea,” says Glenn, who aside from being an early presenter has participated in the audience at all but one event so far. “All these really great philosophical questions come up and it really gets your brain engaged, I do think it’s really valuable. I took my mom and my partner’s mom, who are kind of quiet Native elders so they don’t speak up a lot, but it was super engaging even for them because you can contribute as much or as little as you want. They really enjoyed it. It’s almost like Arctic Entries but smaller in scale and more interactive.” ■


2019 Annual Grants SINCE ITS FOUNDING in 1972, Alaska Humanities Forum has provided grants to fund creative, independent projects by Alaskans. These include books, exhibits, films, archives, audio recordings, workshops, and performances that preserve and share Alaska's stories, connect people across our vast state, and explore what it means to be Alaskan. Annual grants of up to $10,000 per project are awarded in February of each year, selected from a wide range of applications from across the state. We are thrilled to provide funding of $78,000 for eight new projects in 2019. Take a look at our archive of past grants at akhf.org/grants.

Our Alaskan Stories 2019

Creating a Humanities Community

Tlingit Language Radio Broadcast and Word of the Week

Our Alaskan Stories is an Island Institute’s student filmmaking program based at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka. The Institute works with filmmaker mentors and small groups of students at Alaska’s state-run boarding school for rural Alaska residents to support the students in finding their voices in sharing their stories of home - stories of family, community, and culture. In the spring, students learn filmmaking skills and create storylines and interview lists. Over the summer, they conduct interviews and collect footage in their home communities. And, in the fall, they work through the challenging process of honing their message, selecting the best footage to deliver that message, creating their narrative, and editing the film for final screenings in Sitka.

The NN Cannery History Project (NNCHP) aims to create awareness of Bristol Bay’s rich cannery history, a history built on the foundation of the region’s pristine habitat and unparalleled sockeye salmon runs. NNCHP is partnering with the Alaska State Museum to produce an exhibition called “Mug-Up,” an expression for coffee break. Mug-Up provided respite from the slime-line and momentarily brought people together from around the world. Over time, cannery people developed unique identities and stories, which today remain littleknown or understood. Most public displays interpret Alaska’s salmon industry through fishermen rather than processors, whose collective knowledge of the mechanical operation, the physical labor, and the place itself formed the cannery’s industrial backbone. The grant will be applied toward the production of a professionally-crafted film, Cannery Caretakers, which will highlight a major theme in the exhibition: the story of the residents—the least represented workers of the salmon industry.

This project seeks to assist with normalizing the Tlingit language by developing and broadcasting content in partnership with KTOO radio in Juneau, a partner that is committed to bringing Tlingit to the airwaves. There will be two types of content: 1) a Word of the Week project that introduces a new Tlingit word every week and introduces five sentences over the weekdays, culminating with a reflection on the importance of the word and a recap of the sentences; 2) a weekly Tlingit language radio program that covers a set of topics and uses the Tlingit language to talk about local, regional, and national events. This material will be broadcast on KTOO and archived on their website, resulting in a high level of visibility and access. The funding from Alaska Humanities Forum will be used to purchase equipment in order to increase the capacity to create and manage multimedia content, to travel and work with speakers, and to create, edit, and broadcast content. This project will blend previously recorded Tlingit language with new recordings and will bring Tlingit language to the community through creative partnerships with language teachers and regional media companies.

Protocols for Working with Indigenous Communities in Alaska: A Guide for Museums Since the 18th century, Alaska Native material culture has been collected by museums around the world yet, historically, Alaska Native people have been left out of the process of museum work including exhibition design, collections care, and interpretation. Today, museums are increasingly acknowledging the importance of collaborating with indigenous communities. Some museums have experience with this, but others are learning how to collaborate in a way that is respectful and culturally appropriate. Through this grant project, Nadia Sethi (an art historian, museum consultant, and arts administrator at The CIRI Foundation) and Melissa Shaginoff (an artist and the curator of Contemporary Indigenous Art at the Anchorage Museum) will develop a working group of emerging and established Alaska Native museum professionals. Together, they will develop resources to help museums better understand how to work with Alaska Native communities. The hope is that this project will open up possibilities for the exchange of information, knowledge, and expertise between museums that are the caretakers of Alaska Native material culture and Alaska Native communities.

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Gwich’in Caribou Book Publication and Tour This funded project actually started in the summer of 1999 while Craig Mishler was visiting Kenneth Frank and his family in Arctic Village, Alaska. At that time, Mishler and Frank had already been close friends since the early 1980s, when they worked together on Franks grandparents’ book, Neerihiinjìk: We Traveled from Place to Place: The Gwich’in Stories of Johnny and Sarah Frank (2000). After dinner one evening, conversation turned to caribou and caribou anatomy. Frank began to expound in his native Gwich’n language on the four stomach chambers of the caribou (ch’itrih, ch’ihdheeghwat, ch’idzit, and ch’ihdehthaa ) and other parts of the caribou digestive tract. Mishler took notes. Over the next few years, an extensive traditional naming system began to unfold. In 2011, Mishler submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a research grant that would involve both Frank and other elders. In March 2012, the project was funded by the NSF through the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Eventually over 150 body parts were named. However, the big surprise was that the caribou’s anatomy was descibed not only by the Gwich’in names for all of the bones, organs, and tissues, but also included an encyclopedia of stories, songs, games, toys, ceremonies, tools, clothing, personal names and surnames, and a highly developed ethnic cuisine. We eventually began to see the caribou’s anatomy as a microcosm of Gwich’in culture. Over the next three years, Frank and Mishler interviewed and recorded eleven elders in four Gwich’in-speaking villages: Arctic Village, Venetie, Fort Yukon, and Old Crow, Yukon. Narrative texts and lexical data were prepared. After the NSF grant ran out in 2016, the project team spent an additional two years processing, editing, and annotating the recordings. The transcripts were organized and arranged by topic into twelve chapters. On September 26, 2018, the International Polar Institute Press of Hanover, New Hampshire formally accepted the manuscript for publication under the title, Dinjii Vadzaih Dhidlit: The Man Who Became a Caribou. Most of the funds awarded in this new grant from the Forum will go to support the book design, copy editing, and printing. The book is expected to be released in the fall of 2019. When the book first becomes available, the project team sees it as crucially important to bring it back to the communities from which the stories were collected to honor participating elders and hand out free copies. For that purpose, funds will also support travel to hold community meetings in Arctic Village, Venetie, Fort Yukon, and Fairbanks. All royalties received from the book are pledged to the Johnny and Sarah Frank Scholarship Fund at the University of Alaska Foundation.

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Cup’ig Gospel Songs: Preserving Music and Traditional Ways of Teaching Nunivak Island is an isolated island located in the Bering Sea. The residents speak Cup’ig which is a rare sub-dialect of the Central Yup’ik, a language in danger of extinction. Preserving the language and actively passing on traditions are key to the cultural vibrancy, sustainability, and the overall mental, spiritual, and physical health of the current residents and future generations. Eight elders, who are now deceased, recorded 163 Cup’ig gospel hymns on cassette audiotapes that are quickly deteriorating. Out North, in partnership with four individuals residing in Mekoryuk including Muriel Amos, Edith Float-Olrun, Prudy Olrun, and Esther Shavings, and Alaska Live Music LLC, will collaborate on this project documenting the Cup’ig language gospel songs. The project will preserve and promote Alaska’s stories as well as revitalize and enhance the use of the Cup’ig language through digitization of these gospel songs and development of an outreach strategy. Students of Nuniwarmiut School will help elders and members of the community to load and distribute the songs in the community, to be used in the schools, the church, and as tools to help not only pass along the music but also a traditional way of teaching from one generation to the next. The project will connect the elders and youth, and strengthen the Cup’ig language.


2019 Annual Grants

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Achieving great things for our community When a group of people comes along who have the courage and vision to turn dreams into reality, they make the future bright for everyone. Alaska Humanities Forum, we celebrate your achievements.

15 Years of “In Other News” Alaska Teen Media Institute’s monthly radio show, “In Other News” (ION), is a youth-produced show that highlights the emerging talents of Alaska teens. Youth producers take the reins, with mentorship and support, to explore subjects they are passionate about through news stories, profiles, critiques, and roundtable discussions. Forum grant funds will support ION as it celebrates and encapsulates its 15 years of youth radio in Alaska. In this series of programming, youth producers will explore questions like: “What stories should residents of our community be hearing?”; “What should we be talking about?”; “Why do these stories matter, then and now?”; “What is unique about coming of age in Alaska and has that changed for youth throughout the years?”; and “What are common themes woven through past and current Alaska stories and how do they shape the experience of Alaskan youth?”

BP supports

hundreds of community programs

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Juneau Community Voices Audio Wayfinding Project The Juneau Community Voices Audio Wayfinding Project will create site-specific audio installations throughout downtown Juneau. Juneau residents and visitors will be able to listen to real Juneau voices telling stories about historical and contemporary histories such as the Tlingit community, gold rush era, fisheries, political histories, and geographical features. The installations will guide listeners on a journey through the landscape to experience a deeper understanding of place and community. ■

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2019 Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards Celebrating 50 Years

The first Governor’s Arts Award was given to painter and printmaker Diana Tillion in 1969. In the five decades since, the awards have grown into an annual partnership between the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation, and the Office of the Governor, now known as the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards. On February 8, 2019, nine Alaskans were recognized at the awards ceremony held at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, including artists, educators, journalists, a producer, and a regional commission—Alaskans who have used their craft and passion to support, teach, and inspire others; to unite people within and across communities; and to lift up and bring others’ stories to life.

Nominations for the Governor’s Awards Each year, nominations for the Governor’s Arts & Humanities Awards are submitted by the public and reviewed by board members of the Alaska Humanities Forum and the Alaska State Council on the Arts. Awardees are ultimately confirmed by the Governor. Further details about all of this year’s awardees and event sponsors, and information about nominating for the 2020 awards, can be found at akgovawards.org.

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DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN EDUCATION:

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN LEADERSHIP:

Chugach Regional Resources Commission (Anchorage)

Laureli Ivanoff (Unalakleet)

This award recognizes an Alaska individual or organization that has helped strengthen communities by contributing to a better understanding of the world, one another, and the human experience Chugach Regional Resources Commission (CRRC) is a non-profit, inter-tribal consortia formed by seven Tribes in the Chugach Region. The Commission protects the subsistence lifestyle through the development and implementation of natural resource management programs to assure the conservation, sound economic development, and stewardship of natural resources in the traditional use areas.  In 2016, CRRC initiated a traditional foods program to conduct a baseline assessment of food consumption and harvest patterns, and to inform wellness strategies in the face of a changing environment. Staff carefully designed and produced a poster to inform, connect, and engage people in conversations about traditional foods. The project emphasized how the connections and memories of  traditional foods are intertwined with the stories of our lives; and serves as a stepping stone to protect and preserve the region’s subsistence way of life.

This award recognizes an Alaska individual or organization that has helped strengthen communities through their commitment to improve Alaska’s social, economic, and civic life. Laureli Ivanoff is a former reporter and news director of KNOM radio in Nome; she currently writes columns from and about her home in Unalakleet. Laureli leads with stories of home, of place, and of connection. Her work strengthens communities by illustrating a side of rural Alaska too rarely seen in mainstream media, emphasizing the importance of deep connections to place, and reminding us all of the power of stories and self-expression. “I receive this award knowing that I have been so fortunate to live where I live, raised the way I was,” she shared in her remarks at the awards ceremony. “I’m grateful for this recognition because it is so important for us to tell our own stories. My greatest hope is that the steps people like Ernestine Hayes has taken, people like Jacquie Lambert, Brian Adams—individuals using their gifts to accurately reflect our lifestyles. When my husband brought me on our first date in Noatak, it was to a place called a mayugiaq. A mayugiaq is when you create a path that goes up a hill instead of going straight up, which can be difficult or dangerous—it takes a curve. I hope our steps as writers, photographers, podcasters, filmmakers creates a well-worn mayugiaq for others.”


right : The 2019 recipients of the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards. below : Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka presents Bede Trantina with her award. Photos by Annie Bartholomew

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN COMMUNITY: 

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE HUMANITIES:

Bede Trantina (Anchorage)

Maida Buckley (Fairbanks)

This award recognizes an Alaska individual or organization that has helped strengthen communities by forging connections between people across, race, class, and cultural divides. Bede Trantina spent four decades generating a profound sense of community as “the voice of KSKA.” She joined the public radio station as a volunteer in February 1979, six months after it went on the air. By summer, she was a regular employee; by fall she was a fixture in the public mind. Bede held that special place for the next 39 years. She took listeners’ needs and feedback to heart, building the most listened-to radio station in Southcentral Alaska, and knitting together the community she served.

To say that Maida Buckley has been a champion for civic education would be an understatement. During her twenty-five year career as a high school teacher, Buckley also worked with prospective social studies teachers in the teaching program at UAF, and served as coordinator of Youth Vote, National History Day, and  We the People - programs that serve to combat apathy and to promote the civic responsibilities that are needed to maintain the health and well-being of our local communities, state, and nation. “These programs defined my mission as a social studies teacher: the responsibility to teach democracy,” Maida explained in her acceptance of the award. “Our natural rights may be inherent but ideas need to be taught. Education is the necessary component that enables our democratic system to work. But democracy is not an intellectual exercise; rather it is a system that demands participation.” Recently retired, Buckley leaves behind a legacy of civic commitment. ■

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State of Change, continued from page 14

Early on in his career, he admitted to forming what he called, “The stunning conclusion that people are interesting,” which led to a completely different trajectory. He ended up taking a job doing a whale census in Utqiaġvik. And when he arrived he realized he knew nothing about whales, or even much about the people, admitting that his basic sense of the place was derived from “reading a National Geographic.” His life experience added up fast after that. He ended up moving to Utqiaġvik, building a house, and eventually obtaining his Master’s degree in whaling culture. Later getting his PhD in Polar Studies, and now working as the Arctic Science Director at the Ocean Conservancy. Huntington’s main research focus is documenting local knowledge, “trying to give credence to it,” whereas in the past scientists seemed to disregard anecdotal information “as if it was some kind of slur or something.” Huntington admits that while traditional knowledge may have none of the “hallmarks of science,” there’s no denying that “Natives stake their lives on their understanding of nature; they survive stern tests.” “We talk about the tendency of scientists to be vested in their work, but not so vested in the place where their field work is done, especially if there’s a community there.” I asked him what it was like living in a remote village. “I lived there from 1988 to 1994, but still when I go back people say welcome home,” he told me. “It’s a sense of community. A remarkable feeling knowing I’m still somewhere in their embrace.” I ask Huntington how often he gets that reception here, back in Eagle River or Anchorage and he laughs. “If I left Eagle River and came back in twenty years I wouldn’t expect anyone to have the foggiest idea where I had been.” Huntington goes on to talk about how that sense of community and culture is heightened when it’s under threat, as is the case with much of rural Alaska and the Arctic in general. “Grandparents spoke the language, kids today don’t. If it’s not there today, what’s left? It’s on their minds a lot more.” He admits that “seeing something different helps you see your own life differently.” “What did I learn from my grandparents that I don’t want my kids to miss? I hope they have some connection with their heritage.” At the same time, Huntington points out what he calls a “misguided romanticism” of the past when there was perhaps a more true

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“sense of the land, but also when a trip to the store could take two months, and women giving birth in skin tents.” He points out that in 1950 the life expectancy for Alaska Natives was 47 years old. In contrast, in the 90’s it was up to 67 years old. “There may be other problems but let’s not over-romanticize the past,” said Huntington. “Natives who grew up poor understand this.” Our conversation meanders toward climate change, a subject Huntington refers to as, “immensely fascinating and incredibly thorny.” But he also takes a seemingly unconventional position, saying “climate change is a distraction.” Adding, “We’re not saying it doesn’t exist, we’re not saying it’s not a big problem. But climate change is the slow burn.” He cites other issues as having more immediate importance, saying “You have suicide, alcoholism, you have 101 other problems right here and now. And if all we do is focus on climate change we’re missing an awful lot of what’s affecting people’s daily lives right now.” Alaska often ranks in the top three in the nation for the number of suicides per capita, and the statistics are worse when comparing urban areas to rural Alaska, which is often twice as high. “It’s not that we should ignore climate change but we need to keep in mind where it fits into the much bigger picture,” says Huntington. “Science is as susceptible to trends and herd thinking as any other human endeavor.” With an air of frustration, Huntington adds, “People start writing about climate change in villages because it’s convenient and the publishable Topic-de-Jour.” A few weeks later I found myself on a traverse of the Chugach Mountains with Huntington, an environment where he seemed to be fully in his element. When we stopped for a lunch break our conversation wandered in and out of various topics, one being how we tend to exist in silos, ideological or otherwise. Huntington suggested that the same thing happens within all the various scientific disciplines. “Can we push now? Can we force ourselves into this zone that’s really not comfortable for a lot of scientists? Which is to say let’s get out of our individual areas of expertise.” According to Huntington there’s a fundamental piece missing in the story about climate change. “What does it mean when we add it together? What does it tell us? So we’re telling one story.” He even proposes there’s a benefit to “unlikely alliances.” Adding, “It involves a lot of

hard work in areas we’re not accustomed to. As in any other human endeavor you need personal relationships.” Figuratively speaking, he suggests, “We need to learn to communicate in other languages.” With the clouds passing in and out of the valley below us—a reminder of the value of perspective—Huntington offered an apt summation of the problem we’re facing. “Is climate change the symptom of the failure to relate? If we as society or as a species can’t communicate in ways to solve problems like this... If it’s not climate change it’s something else.” RINGING THE BELL

There is an art to science, and science in art; the two are not enemies, but different aspects of the whole. —Isaac Asimov Professor Matthew Sturm is a geophysicist who is most at home in the cold world. A place most people understandably lack an affinity for but, paradoxically, what makes life on earth possible for all of us. The cold world is where he pursues his craft, but also where he finds his muse. When Sturm talks about snow his entire demeanor becomes an impassioned part of his stories, conveyed with an element of imagination that makes you remember what it was like being a kid in your favorite elementary school class. An experience not unlike the first time you made paper snowflakes. Folding a piece of paper six times, forming a triangle, and cutting out a pattern with unique intricacies that were only revealed as you anxiously unfolded the paper. In a similar way, Sturm sees the natural world with beginner’s eyes, and this carries through in his stories. This same blend of curiosity often leads him to work in extreme places all for the sake of understanding how snow is changing, how it’s changing our environment, and how it’s affecting the people whose lives are dependent on it. “These are the things I’m passionate about,” admits the bearded and affable, 65 year old who looks every bit the part of a quintessential Alaskan woodsman. He’s made a seemingly obtuse form of research his life’s work and, as a result, it has made him one of the world’s foremost experts on the cold world. Sturm studies how snow is made, how it works, how there are dozens of general shapes of crystals reflecting how they were born and the environment in which they exist, but also a nearly infinite number of uniquely detailed snowflakes. How snow smoothes landscapes,


how it protects and insulates plants, and in turn makes some of those plants available to animals as food. And how the loss of snow in the Arctic, both on tundra and on sea ice, is leading to an exponential effect on warming. Also an expert on climate change, it’s the one subject where his passion takes a more stoic turn. “I expected to be in backwater science my entire career. But then climate change overtook me,” he says, admitting that he didn’t sign up to be a “climate scientist,” or worse, pigeonholed as someone with an agenda, other than simply wanting to do good science and live a private life in the interior of Alaska. “Where are we?” he asks rhetorically. “Are we keeping ourselves optimistic by having this other perspective from geology? If you want to tell yourself it’s natural that’s fine. But I’m not sure how long that fiction is going to be maintained.” Sturm is referring to the notion that warming isn’t anthropogenic in nature, but part of a natural cycle. He cautions, “Because there’s ample reason to be alarmed, but it’s pretty clear that ringing the bell over and over again is doing nothing.” During my first meeting with him we chatted over breakfast at Sam’s Sourdough Cafe, next to the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus where he works as a professor at the Geophysical Institute. A big omelet in front of him, he seemed oblivious to his food, and more interested in sharing his passion. Our discussion began with the irony of where we were, both literally and figuratively—inside a classic American diner, discussing what seems like a classic American quandary: Most of us seem unable to grasp what we can’t see with our own eyes, even despite wide-reaching ramifications, despite overwhelming scientific evidence, and even despite consensus among something like 95% of scientists. The tendency to believe it’s not our problem if it’s not happening in our backyard. “The climate is changing, people aren’t responding,” he says, proposing that it’s perhaps, “a problem for social scientists.” Summarizing the predicament some scientists have found themselves in, he says, “As geophysicists we start out asking physics questions, when does it freeze? Eventually the historical perspective kicks in, hey is the ice the same now as it used to be?” “Pretty soon, there you are,” he says. “You started thinking you figured out how something works and then you’re face to face with how it might be changing.” “And you landed in climate change debate.” Sturm cautions, “There’s an existential risk

in the current situation. Probably little risk for earth. But there’s a true risk for people and we don’t know the extent of it.” Meanwhile some say there’s an overwhelming interest among many political leaders to invest in the status quo—despite, or maybe because, warnings that the divide will only deepen along cultural, racial, social, and economic lines. Sturm possesses an unfailing philosophical perspective on things, even with the foundations of his academic training. “There’s an arc of people, there’s the ultra liberals: I will save the earth by recycling plastic bottles. Or not using paper towels, or not using Pampers for my kids, or any number of things.” And he adds, “On the other end you have some guy saying it’s all bunk.” “Across that spectrum sprinkle in some scientists,” he says, adjusting his spectacles like a sage professor. “The public doesn’t understand scientists,” he says. “We are not what the public thinks. They think we’re rational rather than passionate human beings. But at the same time we’re not environmentalists either.” A wide grin on his face, Sturm admits, “We find ourselves sometimes being consulted but often times being ignored.” Two months after my first meeting with him I find myself back in Fairbanks, but this time at his home that he built, tucked in the shadows of a densely wooded birch forest in the hills north of town. I was there for dinner with him and his wife, who is also an astute educator. Instead of vexing questions about climate change we talked for two hours about the early history of geophysical research in Alaska and Canada, a subject for which Sturm possesses great passion and fluency. He loves good stories as much as he likes telling them. Accidents were as common as scientific discovery. A long list of names punctuated the discussion, the pioneering scientists who were all by default also highly competent mountaineers. Their style of expedition-supported research isn’t done as often these days, mainly because of the advent of remote sensing equipment, better helicopters, and reliance on satellites for communicating field data. Ultimately I steered the conversation back to the subject of this essay, admitting that I was struggling with the arc of the story. And Sturm offered this, “Find your own truth, look for the art in the story, because one thing is certain, the alarm story is not only overdone it’s boring.” “There’s no one to move by ringing the bell,” he finally added.

GROUND ZERO

The climate that sustains life as we know it today lies closer to the freezing point of water, and much of modern civilization exists by virtue of a delicate balance between this climate and present snow and ice masses. We do not yet know enough about the causes of world climatic changes to be able to tell whether long sequence of Pleistocene glaciations has come at last to an end, or whether a fifth ice age still awaits us some time in the future. The answers to this question are hidden somewhere in glacier ice. —Austin Post, Edward Lachapelle. 1971 “It looks like a crime scene over there,” says Chris McNeil, pointing toward a steep section of the glacier that melted so rapidly all that remains is a giant scar. Dark earth, spanning a hundred yards wide, surrounded by blue ice. I’m with McNeil and his boss, Shad O’Neel, both geophysicists with the US Geological Survey. O’Neel is head of the glacier research program at the Alaska Science Center. We’re standing somewhere near the middle of the Wolverine Glacier, a decaying body of ice tucked away between Prince William Sound and the Kenai Mountains. As the two scientists are working they’re discussing how much the glacier has visibly changed in such a short time, as in significant changes over the course of a decade that the two men have been doing fieldwork on Wolverine. Strangely, their remarks seem incongruent with the objective nature of their scientific work. For the previous two days I observed O’Neel and his team of three scientists methodically taking measurements, making notes and calculations, surveying surface elevations, checking the accuracy of data loggers—all of which collectively paints a grim picture. But the telling part wasn’t the science, it was their emotional response. To be clear these aren’t ordinary individuals. They are so singularly focused on pursuing objective data that it permeates their existence. With the exception of the mountainous backdrop and their specialized skills to operate in such a dangerous place, watching them work is the same as seeing the scientific method unfolding. But, as McNeil so eloquently put it, “I’m human first, scientist second.” In September of 2018 I spent four days with these glaciologists as they did their fieldwork on Wolverine Glacier. Known as a “benchmark glacier,” research originally began there in 1966. The Wolverine was chosen because it represents the region in terms of ice mass, meteorological environment, and streamflow. A L A S K A H U M A N ITI E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2 01 9

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“The unknown, unknown. That’s what concerns me the most,” O’Neel told me, borrowing the infamous phrase from Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense. He was referring to one of his biggest areas of research, described as “Icefield-to-Ocean Linkages.” To be more precise, the linkages “Across the Northern Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest Ecosystem.” This is the title of a paper he wrote along with twelve other researchers, published in Bioscience in March of 2015. In short, the abstract states: Rates of glacier mass loss in the northern Pacific coastal temperate rainforest (PCTR) are among the highest on earth, and changes in glacier volume and extent will affect the flow regime and chemistry of coastal rivers, as well as the nearshore marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Alaska. THE UNKNOWN, UNKNOWN

And the larger focus of O’Neel’s work, trying to piece together a story. “Glaciers are good at taking in weather and spitting out climate,” he says. After a long day on the ice we begin descending toward the toe of the glacier. A steep icefall forces us off the glacier and onto an adjacent ridgeline. After navigating some difficulties we finally arrive near the bottom, in a deep gully strewn haphazardly with boulders and covered in glacial silt. It looks like Ground Zero. “Two years ago the glacier was right here,” says McNeil. Then he points to the adjacent mountainside, a bare rock wall where a discoloration marks where the glacier once dominated the landscape. “It was up to there,” he says. He was referring to the trimline, where the glacier affected the color of the underlying bedrock, once hidden beneath the ice. In other words, for centuries the Wolverine glacier remained in some state of equilibrium. And then something changed. It began disappearing, quickly. Melting glaciers leave behind signatures of their demise. Among these, trimlines are evident next to many Alaskan glaciers, just like Wolverine. We climbed back onto the glacier so the two scientists could complete the last of their work for the day. McNeil broke off to do some work on his own as O’Neel and I chatted. We were about 500 feet directly above a lake at the terminus of the glacier. O’Neel started looking around, commenting that we were standing amidst an area that’s rapidly melting, and collapsing.

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“This is new,” he said, a pensive look growing on his face. As he studied the glacier, I studied him. Contemplative and deliberate, he surveyed the scene all around us, not saying a word. Then he slowly started shaking his head, followed by a big sigh, as if the glacier was exhaling through him. “She’s dying,” he said. Eventually McNeil joined us again and the two men began working together, silently. The complexity of the geography around us, and the uncertain state of change, was poignantly reflected in the emotions and humanity of two scientists. THE HUMAN CONDITION

It wasn’t the circumstances of Hubley’s death that concerns me most, but what his death says about our own humanity. When he sat down on the McCall glacier for the last time in the winter of 1957, we lost more than a good scientist. Using a syringe from the team’s first aid kit, Dr. Richard Hubley, with a long career ahead of him, injected himself with morphine, committing suicide in the very place that intrigued him. He froze to death, alone. His work unfinished. His fellow scientists, a short distance away, completely unaware. “When found, many hours later he lay frozen on the glacier whose secrets he had sought to probe,” wrote Walter Sullivan, the New York Times science writer who had spent time with Hubley on the glacier. Hubley’s secrets died, too, along with the demons he wrestled with. His team members reported no indication of Hubley’s intention to take his life; all they knew is that he was “different” and “preoccupied.” Climate change is a story full of metaphor, irony, hypocrisy, and dysfunction, and all that makes it equally as much about our own human nature, and the human condition. And perhaps a study in pathology. For I worry that the global crisis that’s been predicted has in many ways already arrived. But we’ve become numb, tone-deaf, and out of tune with people and our surroundings. Despite how compelling and fascinating all my conversations have been with both scientists and Arctic residents, it was learning about the hidden details of Dr. Richard Hubley’s suicide that has haunted me most. One man’s last, desperate act. And his unfinished story. Like the wind spinning that small anemometer on top of a remote research hut in the Arctic, all that was seen—the manifestations, and the aftermath. ■

TAKE WING ALASKA Dig Deep and Host Your Own Conversation Are you interested in bringing these conversations to your community? www.akhf.org/kindlingconversation.

KINDLING CONVERSATION

Springboards for Discussion Articles, films, images, exhibits, and texts create common ground and allow everyone to contribute.

Conversation Toolkit A facilitator guide, promotional materials, and participant surveys are ready to go.

Facilitator Training We’ll walk you through the process and materials to ensure your community event is a success.

Funding A non-competitive $200 microgrant defrays the cost of hosting.


KINDLING

Ready to get people in your community talking?

T

he Forum’s Kindling Conversation program provides toolkits, training, and funding to Alaskans interested in hosting short, thoughtful community conversations that connect people and foster inclusive, active, and resilient communities across our state. The best part? You don’t have to be an experienced facilitator or host to lead these conversations—our toolkits provide everything from the agenda and publicity materials to a planning checklist and a guide to the conversation flow. “These conversations make space for people to really share where they’re coming from,” said firsttime community conversation facilitator Djuna Davidson of Kodiak’s Alutiiq Museum. “It’s tricky as a facilitator to not say what you think, but the toolkits show you how to do that.” Davidson’s conversation, held in November 2018, was about homelessness, a topic she says is particularly relevant in Kodiak. “This is a small town and we had no idea what to expect,” she said, so she was surprised when 26 people showed up, including people who had experienced homelessness, representatives from a women’s crisis shelter, the town police chief, Kodiak’s mayor, and students. “Guided, structured conversations for our communities is a good way to start restructuring the way we talk about these issues,” says Davidson. “These conversations are a way to get people thinking proactively about what the challenges in our communities really are... and how the language we use impacts our ability to do something positive.” Community members have also hosted conversations using the Kindling Conversation toolkits in Juneau, Anchorage, Seward, and Palmer. Amanda Dale, who coordinates the program at the Forum, says one thing she often sees from participant surveys is the hunger for these kinds of conversations. “There is definitely a need for real, deep conversation,” she says. “One of my favorite parts of these conversations is how many experiences and stories emerge. This humanizes the issue, and also humanizes the people who feel differently than we do about that issue.” “I had people leave the conversation who said ‘I hope this conversation keeps happening,’” said Davidson. “I feel the same—I’m excited to see what happens next.”

CONVERSATION

Current Toolkits available online

Coming soon…

Homeless in the Great Land What are the limits of our responsibility to end homelessness? Featuring interviews with Ernestine Hayes (Alaska State Writer Laureate), Jamie Boring (Anchorage Downtown Partnership), and Rodney Gaskins (Fairbanks Rescue Mission) Language Barriers and Bridges How does language connect us? How does language divide us? Featuring stories about language by Dewey Hoffman (Denakk’e), Itzel YargerZagal (Spanish and Nahuatl), and Luisa Nemitz (German) Women in the Military What stories do we tell about women in the military? How do our stories shape women’s choices and experiences? Featuring the article “Stories We Tell and Stories We Don’t” by Shannon Huffman Polson, a born and raised Alaskan and one of the first women to fly the Apache helicopter in the U.S. Army.

Continuous Conversations How does culture shape our understanding of gender? What happens when we don’t meet those expectations? “Continuous Conversations” will cultivate conversations about the intersections of gender, race, and identity and is funded in part by a grant from the Pride Foundation.  The conversations will draw on Jenny Irene Miller’s “Continuous” project that features portraits and interviews with members of Alaska’s indigenous LGBTQ and two-spirit communities.  Leadership in Alaska Why do we choose to lead? What is unique about leadership in Alaska? This toolkit will use Magnetic North, a series of six short documentary films that explore the personality and character of Alaskans whose actions and ideas have shaped the history, spirit, and values of our state. The films will be released in September 2019, broadcast on Alaska Public Media, and then made available online.

Journalism and Community What is journalism for? What do we lose when we lose faith in journalism? Featuring short texts offering up perspectives from Alaska journalists Susan B. Andrews, Margaret Bauman, John Creed, Daysha Eaton, Lina Mariscal, and Kirsten Swann.

A L A S K A H U M A N ITI E S F O R U M S P R I N G 2 01 9

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AFTER IMAGE

SARA SHIELDS receives a supportive hand as she lets out an excited laugh from the back of a reindeer outside Nome on June 20, 1914. This image is from the collection of the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum in Nome that includes over 12,000 original prints and negatives documenting the stories and lives of Nome residents. A new book,The Images of America: Nome, includes images from this extensive collection and is part of Arcadia Publishing’s The Images of America series, celebrating the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the United States. Photograph by Walter Shields; Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum, 2017.5.


421 West First Avenue, Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99501 (907) 272-5341 www.akhf.org

FORUM THE MAGAZINE OF THE ALASKA HUMANITIES FORUM SPRING 2019

Alaska Humanities Forum Calendar Celebrating Leadership in Alaska May 14, 6–8 p.m. Anchorage Museum Atrium 625 C St., Anchorage Free and open to the public. RSVP to Jann Mylet, jmylet@akhf.org. Please join us to honor Leadership Anchorage 22 graduates and to connect with leaders from across our community at this annual event. Welcome from Mayor Ethan Berkowitz; keynote remarks from Dr. Shirley Holloway; new Leadership Anchorage Alumni Award. Learn more about schedule and applications for LA23.

Culture Shift Tues, May 28, 6–8 p.m. Anchorage Brewing Company 148 W. 91st St., Anchorage $15. Get details and tickets at akhf.org/ culture-shift. Culture Shift is a monthly series, hosted by Alaska Humanities Forum and held at Anchorage Brewing Company. At each event, a pair of speakers will each give a short talk on a topic they’re connected to, and then the audience takes part in a fun, interactive, and thought-provoking Q & A with the speakers. Come to connect with new ideas and people!

Community. Media. Possibility. Fri, May 17, 5:30–8 p.m. Dinner & Story Share Sat, May 18, 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. A Day of Connection (breakfast and lunch will be provided) Mountain View Public Library 120 Bragaw St., Anchorage Free and open to the public; registration required at akhf.org/events. Please join us for an opportunity for community members and media professionals to come together to share stories, and to see what’s possible when media and community connect. Developed by the Alaska Humanities Forum and the Mountain View Community Council with support from Journalism That Matters.

Leading Conversations that Build Community June 6–June 7, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center, Fairbanks $499 July 18–21, 2019, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Yukon Island Retreat Center, Kachemak Bay $550 Learn more and register online at akhf.org Participants take part in interactive, reflective discussions in large and small groups, learn techniques to lead them, and then have the opportunity to plan and facilitate a conversation and receive feedback from trainers and other participants. Participation is limited to 16.

Get more details about all Alaska Humanities Forum events and opportunities at akhf.org.

Profile for Alaska Humanities Forum

FORUM magazine | Spring 2019  

Alaska Humanities Forum produces FORUM magazine three times each year. To learn more, please visit akhf.org!

FORUM magazine | Spring 2019  

Alaska Humanities Forum produces FORUM magazine three times each year. To learn more, please visit akhf.org!

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