Since moving to Alaska in 1991, I have had the privilege of learning about many Alaska Native cultures, fishing techniques, hunting skills(bowhunting, rifle, muzzleloading), target shooting, skinning an animal, prepping bison and bear hides for tanning, harvesting meat from various animals, birds, fish, etc.
I have been able to experience the subsistence lifestyle and partake of it yearly, when able. I love the outdoors, being able to provide for me and my family. This type of lifestyle is far and few between. Many people from all over the world unfortunately live where the populations have grown to such vast numbers, they are no longer able to survive by living directly off the land, even if they wanted to. Alaskans(both native and non-native alike) and others in rural areas in the world, are very fortunate to still be able to do so 🙂
Through my travels around Europe just about everyone that I ran into could understand/speak English to an extent, but not only that, they were also able to fluently speak and understand 4-7 other languages as well. This makes it hard to accept statements similar to Bergs that Westerners or Europeans are out there to eradicate native languages. However, I do agree that the lack of native tongues being utilized in the educational system in Alaska seems particularly perplexing to me. I have heard many various tongues spoken here in Fairbanks and wonder about the reasoning as to why they are not being offered in the state schools?
No matter where the students choose to live or work, this means they must be able to read, write, perform arithmetic, and be fluent in more than one language (their own native tongue as well as English). They should also be skilled in the survival skills necessary for the areas that they live in, this everyone can agree on is dependent upon the place they are living–therefore the concept of place-based learning seems to be a very attractable strategy to employ.
This is a very difficult subject to cover in such a short blurb and I am sure it is also felt that way by the author Berg. I am interested in learning what the four prior articles state now 🙂
4 comments for ““The Future of Alaska Native Education” by Pamela R.”