Response to AK Native Ed. Article


This article took me straight back to the Alaskan Resources Peoples and Perspectives class (687). There is no doubt that indigenous peoples have always been debt a harsh hand, especially in centuries past.   However, the issue that the article seeks to address is not solely one about education. It is broader and multifaceted issue dealing with many events and peoples across time and space. It is not as easy as Berg makes it seem. The patterns of dependency created by altering the cultural core of Alaska’s native peoples is not something that can be so easily unraveled. This is why there are still unresolved issues on many fronts where the two cultures have clashed in the struggle for common ground. Natural resource use, language, healthcare, and yes, education, are reoccurring themes in this dialog between what Berg called the “majority culture” and the native peoples of Alaska. The examples of the Maori and Sami peoples are instructive and worth consideration as case studies in a search for resolution. However, there are equally as many differences in the details as there are similarities, and so the patterns of positive progress observed in these cases must be adapted effectively to the situation of Native Alaskans. The educational issues and program will not be able to change until we find a way to turn ownership and responsibility back to the people themselves, as Berg points out. It is a noble, but complex goal. Until the socioeconomic and cultural issues of dependency are resolved, turning the education system over to be run by these communities will be premature.

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