The Future of Alaska Native Education

It is encouraging to read of the success in Norway- not trying to assimilate the Sami, but rather let them be who they were born to be, to preserve their culture and allow them to flourish with less outside influence.

We face similar problems here in Alaska.   Many people, with good intentions, try to “help” Native Alaskans in small villages, by educating them the way mainstream America has determined appropriate.   In the process, the Native Alaskans are losing their language, their culture and their autonomy while becoming more dependent on outsiders.

I am confident that policies of enforced acculturation are not ill intended, but certainly ill fated.   We need to break with these policies and change the direction of their education before an entire culture is lost.

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