Friday, November 28, 2008

Totem Poles

Totem poles have been around for some time in the Alaska Native culture, they weren’t created to be worship, but instead to tell stories or legends of either their family or clan. Totem poles where used to identify the residents’ clan affiliation and place outside their homes. They were also used to remember special events, such as things like birth or battle. Also to honor a loved one or leader that has passed away. Basically a totem pole is a way of remembrance.

Alaska Native Beading

I personally have been taught how do Alaska Native beading before, if I can remember correctly, I made a necklace, but nothing this intricate! This bead work on these moccasins tops are so beautiful! Just look at the detail, you can truly see that someone put a lot of time, effort, and dedication into this design.

Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act authorized Alaska Natives to select and receive title to 44 million acres of public land in Alaska, and $962,000,000 in cash as settlement of their aboriginal claim to land in the State. The Act established a system of village and regional Native corporations to manage the lands and cash payments, and made extensive provisions regarding the operations of the 13 regional Native corporations and 220 village corporations. During the time ANCSA was passed nearly 80,000 Alaska Natives were alive on December 18, 1971, who could participate. Most of those affected by the act were in Alaska, but about 20,000 people lived in the Lower 48 and even other parts of the world.

Oil Industry Effects on Whaling

Alaska Natives, especially Eskimo hunters from Barrow, rely on whales in their subsistence way of life, but something has messed with the fall migration of the bow head whales. Well, lately oil and gas companies have been doing off-shore drilling and exploration for future prospects. Alaskans’ believe that what we are seeing in an accumulative effect of the off-shore activities, especially seismic exploration.

Governor Walter Hickel

Walter J. Hickel, also known as Wally, served two terms as the governor of Alaska. He served his two terms during the years of 1966 to 1969 and 1990 to 1994. Wally was very much involved with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, especially after her first went to interior Alaska. Wally had said in an interview, “… it became clear that the elders understood the commons. If they caught a whale it wasn’t “my whale,” it was “our whale.” They didn’t have a tradition of land ownership, but they decided they had to claim title to the land to protect their way of life on the commons and to benefit from the mineral resources of Alaska.” So Wally created a group called Governor’s Special Task Force on Native Claims to study this issues dealing with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Alaska Native Astronaut

William A. Oefelein, also known as Bill, grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and grew up to later to be an astronaut! Bill was a pilot for the space shuttle STS-116 Discovery, which was a seven man crew. The space shuttle launched on December 9, 2006 and was in space for twelve days. He was later fired for being involved with Lisa Nowak

Kairi, A. (May 27, 2007) Yet Another Head to Roll in the Case of Space Nepotism Gone Wrong. November 27, 2008. NASA Fires William Oefelein, Astronaut Involved with Lisa Nowak.

Astronaut Bill Oefelein was fire the end of May in 2007 for being was involved with Astronaut Lisa Nowak, who later tried kidnapping another astronaut. Bill Oefelein was going through a divorce that wasn’t final while he was also involved in a relationship with Lisa Nowak. The two have been reported to have been involved with each other for two years. Then later down the road, Bill was dating another astronaut while being with Lisa, her name is Colleen Shipman. Needless to say, Lisa found out and wanted to confront Colleen personally and kidnap her. Lisa drove all the way from Texas to the Orlando airport, where she sprayed Colleen in the face with pepper spray. When the police arrived on the scene they found that Lisa also brought a knife, BB gun, and a steel mallet. To make matters worse, Lisa wore diapers the whole trip to avoid stopping.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Suicide Among Alaska Native Teens

It is extremely sad that so many Alaska Native teens think they are all alone, life is too hard, and they’re not going to be able to handle it. So instead of turning for help, they leave everyone so lost and confused by ending their short lived life with suicide. It is a tragedy, these lost lives could have been the next scientist to discover a cure for something, but we will never know once they are gone. So be there for your friends and family, you never know when they might truly need you.

Soboleff,R. (Feb. 23, 2005 ) Alaskans Unite to Save a Life today. November 25, 2008. State of Alaska Press

Here in the beautiful state of Alaska, the Alaska Native teens are extremely more likely to commit suicide than any other ethnic group living here in the state. Today, suicide has now become the third leading cause of death among Alaska Native teens, and non-native teens as well. Alaska Native males are more likely to actually commit suicide, than a female. But women are known to commit more attempts of suicide then men are. The two leading ways Alaska Native teen commit suicide is by firearms or hanging themselves. Alaska Natives suicide rate is four times the national average. Suicide rates gets worst in the rural Alaska, nearly twice the amount of suicides are committed in rural Alaskan compared to urban Alaska. In rural Alaska, the suicide rate is 40 for every 100,000 people that live there, compared to the 14 for every 100,000 people who are living in urban areas.

"On a Mission to Heal"

How does one deal with a loved one committing suicide? Do you go to counseling, talk with a friend, or deal with it yourself? I can definitely say don't just deal with it all on your own. You just might end up in the same position, it does happen. Well one way you can deal with it is by turning to your culture and religion for guidance and strength.

McKinney, D. (November 23, 2008) Tlingit culture gives Franks strength to reach out through her pain. November 25, 2008. On a Mission to Heal.

This article is about a woman named Barbara Franks who had a son, who was only 23 years old, that committed suicide and a husband, who was 49 years old, which passed away two days later from colon cancer, eleven years ago. Her son had shot himself in the head with a Winchester 30-06, which he had received as a birthday present from his father. Barbara had lost half of her family in a total of forty-eight hours. How does one deal with that? Seriously, how? Well Barbara, at first, tried to go to counseling 6 months after she buried her son and husband, but all the counselor did was tell her, “Get over it.” Wonderful words of advice to give to someone that just lost two of their loved ones just a couple of days apart from each other. Needless to say, she never went back. She had begun to drink a lot to numb the pain and grief, but after six months she had had enough. She also had begun to treat herself to breakfast before work instead of drinking after work. She then began talking to people here and there which eventually lead to her speaking in public about suicide prevention and signs, which is how Barbara Franks went through these tragic events. It truly took some time to get where she is today, but she certainly will make a difference by her making suicide a more aware issue.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

"No laws will eliminate crimes but at least you as legislators can assert to the world that you recognize the evil of the present situation and speak your intent to overcome discrimination"

- Elizabeth Peratrovich from her speech to the 1945 Alaska Senate debate of the anti-discrimination bill.

The Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood take great pride in honoring Elizabeth Peratrovich, one of the finest Native leaders in state history. The state designated February 16, as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, and the ANB-ANS encourages all Alaskans to celebrate her remarkable life and her achievements in securing civil rights for all people. Working through the ANB-ANS, she changed the state for all time.

Anchorage School District. (2000-2008). February 16 is Elizabeth Peratrovich Day. November 22, 2008. ASD/ Elizabeth Peratrovich/February 2007.

The Anchorage School District has dedicated a day to Elizabeth Peratrovich, in her remembrance on how she fought tooth and nail for anti-discriminate rights bills to be passed. It wasn't until the year of 1988,when a day dedicated to Elizabeth for her courage to speak about her opinion, and stand up against injustice, prejudice, and discrimination. The reason why February the 16th was chosen for Elizabeth Peratrovich Day was because that was the day that the day that the anti-discrimination bill was passed that she had worked so hard for. Elizabeth Peratrovich paved the way for a new light, she help found the Alaskan Native Brotherhood and Alaskan Native Sisterhood. She is such an icon for Alaskan Natives and natives all like, that on February the 16th on channel fourteen they will be two shows aired in the honor of her accomplishments. The first movie is called "Rain Country", and the second movie that is airing is "When My Spirits Raised it's Hands" by Diane Benson. There are also many other Alaskan Natives movies and shows thanks to KYUK and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. This is also little excerpts to give you some insights about the upcoming programs. This is a good, reliable source for information dealing with Alaskan Natives, most definitely.

Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood

The Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood website has so many different resources to access so much information. There are links to websites native news, ANCSA Corporations, language and culture, NAGPRA, and other links. In the other links there are a wide variety of information, ranging from Alaska Federation of Natives to World Eskimo-Indians Olympics. I personally was more interested in the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood so I read more into dept about what they have done for Alaska Natives and natives around the country. They have fought for so many rights for natives, one of them is was equals rights. They have done a great deal for Alaska Natives and natives a like.

ANB/ANS Grand Camp. (2005) Grand Camp. November 22, 2008. Alaskan Native Brotherhood and Alaskan Native Sisterhood.

The Alaska Native Brotherhood is a , nonprofit organization that was established in the year of 1912. The organization has served Alaska in so many different ways. Some of the the things that ANB-ANS have done is assisting in the development of society, helping preserve the Alaskan Natives culture, and equality rights. The first charter for the Alaska Native Brotherhood was formed in Sitka, Alaska, by a group of people now known today as our Founding Fathers.The Alaska Native Brotherhood and the Alaska Native Sisterhood was organized in 1912 and 1923. They worked tooth and nail to overcome discrimination. They secured the rights to citizenship, to own land, a business, and to vote. Indians paid the required territorial taxes, but were not allowed to attend public schools. Indians were called to military service, but if something happened to them their wives didn't receive widow benefits. Also Indians struggled to get jobs, so that they could take care of their families and send their children to good schools, since they weren't able to attend public school. The ANB and ANS believed, then and now, education is the key to progress, so they continue to work hard to make sure all can receive an education. They even have scholarships to help pay for an education, to those who want to go further in their schooling. The Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp's Arthur Demmert, Sr., Scholarship Program awards scholarships annually to students. The funds derive from contributions at Convention, donations from local camps and earnings from Grand Camp gaming. The amount of funds available for awards varies each year. The average award is $300 per term.

Now here are the names of the Founding Fathers :
Peter Simpson, Sitka.

Ralph Young, Sitka.
Chester Worthington, Wrangell.
James C. Johnson, Klawock.
Paul Liberty, Sitka.
Seward Kunz, Juneau.
Frank Mercer, Juneau.
Frank Price, Sitka.
George Field, Klawock.
Eli Katanook, Angoon.
James Watson, Juneau.
William Hobson, Angoon.
Marie Orson, Klukwan.
Secretary Andrew Wanamaker, Sitka Honorary Founder.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The "Great Death"

"No one man or one person or anything like that is going to come to save us.I think it’s clear to us that if we as a Native people are to be saved, we’re going to just have to do it ourselves."
-Pete Schaeffer

Do you know what the "Great Death" was? Do you know what had occurred during those times? It was completely horrible what happened to Alaskan Native people. It all really started with European contact, mostly the Russians though. There were a series of events that has caused the Alaskan Natives to be the way they are today. They seemed lost and confused in their own world. They don't know who they are as an individual, their parents, their children, or even their own people. If they are lost for too long, they will lose their traditions. If they lose their traditions they will lose their languages, religion, and culture. How would you feel if you had nothing left to show who you are ethnically? I know i would be depressed, well that is what was happened to the native peoples, they be came very depressed. They also didn't talk about any of their problems at all, which eventually turned their depression into a something more serious, they developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This disease, inevitably, has been passed down from generation to generation, causing a barrier between parents and children. It has been a horrible repeating cycle that needs to stop.

Mowat, F. (1988). What the Commission Found. Retrieved November 22, 2008, from Alaska Natives' Loss of Social & Cultural Integrity Web site:

The Russians caused so much damage to the population of the indigenous native of Alaska, by 1910 the population had dropped to 25,331, which is only about one-third of the population before European contact. That is such a drastic difference, so many people died! There were a few different factors that took place in the death of so many Alaskan Natives, one factor was disease and illnesses. With the Alaskan Natives never being exposed to such diseases, their bodies' had to defense against the illnesses. A few of the diseases that destroyed the population of Natives Alaskans were smallpox, influenza, measles, diphtheria, pneumonia, polio, and tuberculosis. Also the Alaskan Natives were enslaved, abused, and even isolated from their friends and family. The young children were taken from their homes and put into boarding schools, where more physical, mental,and sexual abuse occurred. These events broke the spirit of the native people, and eventually they stopped believing in their culture and religion. Since they broke, they turned to the missionaries for help and guidance. But the missionaries took advantage of the people, and told them that their beliefs were satanic, and that all of their relatives and ancestors were in hell! They made the children speak English only, if they spoke their native tongue they were punished. They people were being punished for being different, which is wrong!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Are you Hungry?

Alaskan Natives use to rely solely on a subsistence life style, before Westernization. A lot of their diet consisted of moose, caribou, seals, whales, salmon, halibut, berries, and roots. Alaskan Natives were very resourceful, since they had to either gather or hunt their food. They didn't have farms because of a lot of the different tribes would move around their region following herds of animals. The tribes that did move around also weren't very big in numbers, so everyone would have to work together to keep everyone feed. Blood or not, they all took care of and looked after one another. I wish more societies were like that, instead of everyone for themselves. In my opinion, I think their would be a lot less hungry people in this world.

Eccentric Clothing

Alaska natives put so much effort into their clothing and outer wear, it's amazing! Alaskan Natives use a lot of the animals body parts for their clothing and decoration. They use the pelt, claws, teeth, bones, and even the intestines! The claws, teeth, and bones are mostly used as decoration to make each individual piece of clothing unique. Now, this is very intriging, did you know what the intestines where used for or made into?.... Well the intestines were mostly used as RAIN COATS! How did they ever come up with the idea to use the intestines for any thing, let alone to wear? It baffles me, but obviously it works, the intestine rain coats have been around for some time. Alaskan Native couldn't afford to waste any thing, and they needed as many ways to protect themselves from the harsh Alaskan weather. Also their clothing had designs on them. to symbolize kinship, the more the designs were similar the closer the family relation to one another. Their designs are so eccentric! The designs are so full of color and detail, that the design looks like it could tell a story just by looking and studying the picture. I hope Alaskan Natives never loose their ways of clothes making and decorating, because it truely would be ashame.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alaska Native Representation

In this video clip, Don Young, try to make it so that the Forestry Department takes care of Alaska Natives, but the Interior department is basically putting everything off that would benefit and help Alaska Natives. He also thinks that in the South East cultural areas should be managed by Alaska Natives , not by the Park Services. He is debating a bill of New Growth v.s Old Growth for economic benefits, that has been put off for 35 years and counting. The Interior Department is claiming that they need more information on the bill, the disclaimer language in the bill needs to be rewritten. The interior also claims the bill has several issues in the legislative and that it has not been analyzed by the Neeper process, and that is the reason this bill has been put off!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Alaska Native Masks Decorating

Have you ever wondered how Native Alaskans created such elaborate masks? Well, your not alone, I have pondered this question time and time again. I always wanted to know how they made the masks so decorative and full of color. What did they use to get the color to begin with? It's not like they had paint laying around to just use when ever they wanted to, Alaskan Natives had to be inventive. They would use organic material to create the colors they used on their masks. They mostly only used black, red, white, and sometimes blue or green. They would use ground charcoal to create the black paint. For the red on the masks they used ochre, which is an impure iron ore. Now, for the blue and green colors, they used copper minerals that were mixed with chewed or dried salmon eggs. I wonder how they came up with these mixtures to create these colors. Can you say, "AMAZING!"