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Life on the other side : Alaska native teacher education students and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Barnhardt, Carol 1994

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LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE: ALASKA NAT[VE TEACHER EDUCATION STUDENTS AND THE UNIVERSiTY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS by CAROL BARNHARDT  B.A., North Dakota State University, 1965 M.A, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1981  A THESIS SUBMrrrbD IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Educational Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  HE-UNWERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1994 © Carol Barnhardt  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the department  or  by his  or  her  representatives.  It  is  understood  an advanced shall make it for extensive  head of my that copying or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  (Signature)  Department of  c71!Tc61  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6 (2/88)  O/o.,- /L/99’/  .S 4 7 cI, ej  LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE: ALASKA NATIVE TEACHER EDUCATION STUDENTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS by Carol Bamhardt  ABSTRACT This study examines the conditions that contribute to the success of indigenous minority students in higher education by focusing on the experiences of 50 Alaska Native teacher education students who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) between 1989 and 1993. Although the number of Alaska Native students enrolled at UAF has increased in the past 10 years, the percentage of graduates continues to be significantly lower than their percentage of the student and state population. The study addresses the question: whatfactors have contributed to the academic success ofAlaska Native teacher education graduates at UAF? It includes three components: a brief history of schooling for Alaska Native people; a description of the programs, student services and academic coursework at UAF designed to respond to the interests and needs of Alaska Native students; and a review and analysis of the experiences of 50 Alaska Native teacher education students based on data obtained through interviews, reviews of student records and participant observation. The study identifies multiple factors that have contributed to the academic success of Alaska Native students, including the following: a teaching and learning environment responsive to the interests and needs of culturally diverse students; student support services respectful of the interests and needs of culturally diverse students; strong family and community support; supportive prior school and life experiences; and exceptional individual efforts. Accommodations and adaptations by both the students and the institution were essential. Recommendations are made for institutions, faculty, students and communities who are interested in developing campus environments where Alaska Native, and other cultural minority students, can be fully represented, respected, involved and successful.  II  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  11  Table of Contents  iii  List of Tables  vi  Acknowledgment  vii  CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION______________________________ 1 The University of Alaska Fairbanks as a Microcosm_____________________________ 3 Overview of the Research Process___________________________________________ 7 Research Components_________________________________________________ 10 Historical Account of Schooling for Alaska Native People__________________ 10 Alaska Native Programs, Student Services and Academic Coursework on the Fairbanks Campus of the University of Alaska 11 University Experiences of 50 Alaska Native Teacher Education Graduates 11 CHAPTER 2. MINORITY STUDENTS AND HIGHER EDUCATION Comparative Education: A Commonality of Challenges Minority Students in Higher Education in the United States Changing Demographics___________________________________________ Expanded Research Approaches_______________________________________ Native Americans in Higher Education Comments  14 15 20 22 24 31 34  CHAPTER 3. RESEARCH DESIGN 37 Qualitative Educational Research: Multiple Approaches________________________ 41 Critical Ethnography____________________________________________ 44 Cultural Anthropology Ethnography___________________________________ 46 Other Qualitative Approaches 52 Methodology 53 Site and Sample 53 Researcher as Participant and Observer 54 Time Line 55 Data Collection Techniques_________________________________________ 56 Guiding Considerations________________________________________________ 63 The Role of Theory 63 Sociolinguistics in Educational Research 65 Focus of Research and Interpretation 66 First Principle—Do No Harm_________________________________________ 68  III  CHAPTER 4. HISTORY OF SCHOOLING FOR ALASKA NATIVE PEOPLE______ Context Federal Indian Policy and Schooling in Alaska Treaties Reservations and Allotments_________________________________________  73 75 78 79 80 82 The Dual System of Schools in Alaska 82 Federal Educational Reform Efforts________________________________________ 89 Federal Programs for All Students 90 Federal Programs for Native Americans 91 Alaska Educational Reform Efforts Since 1970 94 Schools Today_________________________________________________ 97 Comments 98 The  Alaska  Civilization  Fund  Act  Alaska  CHAPTER 5. PROGRAMS AND SERVICES AT UAF: CHALLENGES AND CHANGES___________________________ 101 The University of Alaska Fairbanks the Research University Context 104 The Challenge of Multiculturalism in Higher Education 109 111 Native Programs, Student Services and Coursework_ 114 The Changes at UAF: Native Departments, Programs Academic Coursework 116 General Multicultural Course Requirements_________________________ 120 Native Faculty 122 Alaska Native Research Jistitutes Faculty Development 124 Alaska Native Advising Academic Support Programs 125 Alaska Native Advisory Councils___________________________________ 130 Comments 131 131 Responses to Pressures from Outside the University 132 Accommodations to Pressures from Within the University 137 Comments 140 ALASKA NATIVE  and  The Challenge at UAF______________________________________________ Alaska  Alaska  and  Alaska  and  and  Catalysts for Change at UAF_____________________________________________  CHAPTER 6. FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO COLLEGE: SURVIVING THE TRANSITION__________________________ Getting Ready for College_______________________________________________ High School Demographics Reflections on High School Experiences Why College?  Routes to UAF_____________________________ Transferring to UAF_______________________________________________ UAF as a First Choice Previous Work Experiences The First Year: Out-of-Classroom Concerns Housing for Students Who Were Parents Housing for Single Students University Significant Others Other Non-Academic Considerations The First Year: Academic Concerns_______________________________________ Math Classes and Test Scores_________________________________________ English and Speech Classes and Test Scores Science Classes and Test Scores_______________________________________ Grade Point Averages______________________________________________ Comments iv  142 145 147 150 154 156 157 158 161 162 163 166 168 170 174 177 179 182 184 185  CHAPTER 7. BEING A NATIVE STUDENT AND BECOMING A TEACHER  187 187 The Middle Years______________________________________________________ 192 Finding Good Courses___________________________________________ 192 Alaska Native and Rural Courses___________________________________ 196 197 Teach? 198 Campus Jobs 201 204 Maintaining Family Contact 207 210 The UAF Teacher Education Program 210 212 Differences in Interaction Styles 215 Student Teaching in Rural Schools__________________________________ 218 Student Teaching in Urban Schools 220 Students’ Recommendations_______________________________________ 221 Employment and Future Plans__________________________________________ 223 Keys to Success 225 Comments 228 Being  a  Native  Student  Declaring  a  at  UAF  Major  Why  Taking  The  a  Break  Professional  Urban  Year  Schools  CHAPTER 8: LEARNING ABOUT LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE: RECOMMENDATIONS_______________________________ Factors That Helped Students to be Academically Successful___________________ Institutional Recommendations Faculty Recommendations_____________________________________________ Student Recommendations_____________________________________________ Community Recommendations Implications for Further Research Comments Bibliography  230 231 234 245 249 252 253 255 257  Appendix A  Alaska Native Programs and Student Services On Campus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks_____________________________ 273  Appendix B  Alaska Native and Rural Undergraduate Courses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1993-94  296  Appendix C  Student Data Base Field Names______________________________ 298  Appendix D  Student Interview Themes_________________________________ 300  V  LIST OF TABLES  1.  Departments, Programs Native Focus  UAF  2.  UAF  Academic  3.  UAF  Alaska Native  by  4.  Academic  Course  Unit,  and  and  Special Academic Activities With an Alaska 117  Offerings With an Alaska Native  and/or  Rural Focus  —  119  Other Native American Full-Time Faculty Distribution 123  1992  Alaska Native Advising and Student Support Programs on Campus at UAF UAF  125  5. Students’ High School Contexts and Years of Graduation  149  6. Students’ High School Organizations and Sizes by Enrollment  150  7. Students’ ACT Math Scores and Grades Received in Required Math Courses  UAF  8. Students’ ACT English Scores and Grades Received in Required Communication Skills Courses  177 UAF  9. Students’ ACT Natural Science Scores and Grades Received in Required UAF Science Courses 10. Students’ Grade Point Averages at UAF  vi  180  183 184  ACKNOWLEDGMENT Without exception, every student I interviewed for this study said that support from their family, friends, and people at the university was essential to their success. The experiences related to me by students took on new meaning throughout this study as I too realized how important it was to have family, friends, colleagues and committee members who were genuinely interested in this study, and who cared enough about it to provide thoughtful and honest critiques and conversations. I am grateful to many people for what I have learned in the past few years. I have learned from my committee. Jean Barman, Vincent D’Oyley and Allison Tom individually shared with me “everything they knew.” In addition, their work as a committee served as a powerful example of how university faculty members with quite diverse professional and personal expertise and experiences could work together in ways that genuinely fostered collaboration. The work was evidence of their interest in, and respect for, views that were different from their own. I have learned from my fellow UBC graduate students in Social and Educational Policy. We are scattered across the globe but, thanks to E-Mail, I have continued to benefit from the expertise of a very diverse group of doctoral students. Reva Joshee in particular has taught me much. I have learned from several members of the UAF community: student service personnel, faculty, support staff, and alumni. They shared ideas, information and their time. The people in Rural Student Services and Alaska Native Studies patiently answered questions or helped me to find answers. Pat Dubbs, in the Department of Rural Development, served as an unofficial sounding board and responded to three full years of requests for advice and information—and then he promptly retired! I have learned from all the students I have worked with at UAF, but many of my most powerful lessons have come from those who participated in this study because I had the opportunity to get to know them better. These students are now my colleagues, and already they are making important and innovative contributions to families, schools and communities throughout Alaska where they are living and working. Their willingness to share their university experiences for this study will benefit those that follow in their footsteps, and contribute to our understanding of how to best develop campuses that meet the interests and needs of students who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. I have learned new lessons about “family” throughout my study. I was very fortunate to have so much support—and a great deal of frank feedback—from our three young adult children. They tolerated my constant requests for conversations about their own college and work experiences in settings that ranged from Africa to East Harlem to rural Alaska. John’s computer knowledge, Amy’s understanding of how schools work, and Anna’s ability to see the big picture contributed directly to the process and product of this dissertation. Ray, my husband, has served in multiple roles throughout this study. I am grateful for all of the reading, responding and reacting he provided, but far more importantly, I am appreciative of, and respectful for, the example he has set. His patience, persistence, optimism, efforts and accomplishments at utilizing a university environment as a place and context for bringing together people from very diverse cultural backgrounds to learn from one another has served as a powerful role model for what I hope to accomplish personally and professionally.  vii  CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION I have heard it said by some parents speaking about the return of their children from school that they had changed. One young lady told me that to cope in her new environment while attending college, she had to become “mean.” She told me that after growing up being taught in the Yup’ilc custom to be humble, kind and friendly, she discovered that life on the other side was not the same. She said she had to become another person, an opposite of herself. In this way she survives college. (Active, 1992) During the time I was interviewing Alaska Native students for this study, the above comments by John Active, a Yup’ik Eskimo commentator for a radio and TV station in the rural community of Bethel, appeared in the Fairbanks newspaper. As I read the article I realized that he was describing some of the same issues that were central to my research project. His examples of the contradictions between traditional Yup’ilc ways of teaching and learning and formal Western ways, and the images provoked by his articles resonated with the stories being told to me by Native students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). The issues raised by Active are similar to those expressed by many Alaska Native students, parents and community members that I have worked with during the 24 years I have been involved with education in Alaska. I have frequently heard students talk or write about the notion of duality, or life in two worlds, and papers with titles like “Not In Two Worlds But One” (Jones-Sparck, 1992), “Does One Way of Life Have to Die So Another Can Live?” (Yupiktak Bista, 1977), and “Conflicting Visions in Alaska Native Education” (Dauenhauer, 1982) have surfaced with remarkable regularity since Western education was introduced in Alaska 100 years ago. The dilemmas inherent in living in two worlds are frequently discussed not only by Alaska Native people, but by others who are also vigorously involved in debates about the implications of this duality for higher education institutions. Three weeks after John Active’s article was published in the Fairbanks newspaper, an article entitled “Professors Caution UAF on Student Diversity Goal” described the response of several faculty members to some of the 1  goals proposed by the UAF Strategic Leadership Planning Board—a university-wide group charged with charting the future of the institution (Troyer, 1992). The goal they were responding to stated that UAF should strive to “become a model demonstrating how gender, racial and cultural diversity strengthen a university and society” and should strive to “make UAF the first choice for Alaska Natives.” However, a prominent faculty member challenged the wisdom of the recommendation by stating that “a strict student diversity goal could hurt the university,” and he supported his view by stating that “the undergraduate program of the University of California at Berkeley is in ‘shambles’ because it has tried too hard to have proportional representation in the student body.” Another professor said that “giving breaks to minority students will diminish their accomplishments,” and he indicated that the Board was “developing a problem where there’s not a problem” (Troyer, 1992). The diversity debate within the UAF community is a reflection of what has been occurring with increasing frequency and stridency in both national and international arenas. People on both sides of the debate are advocating the kind of campus community that will reflect their belief system. However, when the values and priorities are polarized at opposite ends of a continuum, as frequently happens on culturally heterogeneous campuses like UAF, it is difficult to fmd common ground between the “ivory tower” tradition and the demands for equal opportunity and recognition.  The overall intent of this study is to better understand what John Active means by “life on the other side.” To address this question, I first review aspects of the history of schooling for Alaska Native people and examine the development of Alaska Native programs and student services for University of Alaska Fairbanks students. The core of the project is an account of the experiences of 50 Alaska Native teacher education graduates. I seek to determine what it was in their experiences that contributed to their academic success. In so doing, I look beyond the long standing conventional question of How College Affects Students, (Pascarella and Terenzini, 1991), and also ask “How Do Students Affect Colleges?”  2  In addressing questions such as these in higher education, previous researchers have often made an observation similar to that by Irving Spitzberg and Virginia Thorndike (1992) who, following their extensive analysis of current issues in higher education studies, said “Everywhere we looked we found both paradox and promise” (p. xv). A comment by Eber Hampton, president of Saskatchewan Indian Federated College at the University of Regina, captured the essence of this paradox when he described education for Native people as “both the problem and the solution” (1993). Through this research I have attempted to identify some of the problems that exist in, and some of the promising practices that are available to, institutions and minority students who wish to contribute to the development of campus communities where all students have the opportunity to participate and be successful— campuses where minority students do not have to become an opposite of themselves in order to succeed. The University of Alaska Fairbanks as a Microcosm The title of the book The Racial Crisis in American Higher Education (Altbach & Lomotey, 1991) does not understate the current status of “the minority issue” on many American campuses, as viewed from the perspective of academics and non-academics alike. The attempts by institutions to respond to the presence of culturally diverse student populations has stimulated heated debates about minority issues, and many of these discussions are taking place in very public and politicized arenas. Assumptions about the fundamental goals and structures of Western higher education institutions are increasingly being questioned almost everywhere. Few institutions have been successful in determining when, how, or whether to reorganize for diversity. In the book Campus Life: In Search of Community. Ernest Boyer of the Carnegie Foundation states that: Diversity has. dramatically changed the culture of American higher education.... For the first 200 years, college students appeared socially and economically to be very Today, men and women students come from almost every racial and much alike. ethnic group in the country and from every other nation in the world. While colleges and universities celebrate this pluralism, the harsh truth is that, thus far, many campuses have not been particularly successful in building larger loyalties within a diverse student body, and there is disturbing evidence that deeply ingrained prejudices persist. Faculty, .  .  .  .  .  3  administrators, and students are now asking whether community can be achieved. (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990, p. 4) The University of Alaska Fairbanks provides a useful setting in which to examine higher education’s response to a changing student population because in many ways it is a microcosm of public higher education institutions. Although the University of Alaska began as a single-campus land-grant College of Agriculture and Mining in Fairbanks in 1917, it has since evolved into a complex statewide university system. There are urban campuses in Fairbanks (UAF), Anchorage (UAA) and Juneau (University of Alaska Southeast, UAS) and multiple rural campuses and centers located throughout the state. Each of the three urban campuses has its own chancellor, and the offices of the University of Alaska Statewide president and administration are located in Fairbanks. UAF is identified as “the flagship campus” within the University of Alaska system because it is the only doctoral granting institution in the state (with approximately 10 Ph.D.s each year), the site of an internationally recognized Geophysical Institute established by the United States Congress in 1946, and the focal point for Alaska’s land- sea- and space-grant efforts. In 1987 UAF was also designated as the unit responsible for nearly all of the statewide system’s rural programs and campuses. With its mandate to serve and provide educational programs and services for most of the rural areas of the state, as well as for campus-based students in Fairbanks, UAF has evolved into an institution that provides a wide variety of programs. It offers 9 technical and vocational certificates, 13 associate degrees, undergraduate degrees in more than 70 fields of study (with 75 majors), master’s degrees in over 50 fields, and 7 doctoral programs—primarily in science fields. Like universities elsewhere in the United States, the UAF student population has become far more heterogeneous than at any time previously, with a student body that is diverse with respect to age, gender, class, ethnicity, culture, and race. According to the UAF 1992-93 Undergraduate Catalog and the UAF 1992 Fact Book, the following demographics described UAF in the fall of 1991. • Total enrollment was 8,891 students (including rural and urban campuses) 4  • There were 5 branch campuses, 4 of which were in rural areas • Enrollment on the Fairbanks campus was 5,712 • Approximately 3,600 (40%) were full-time students • 58 percent were female, 42 percent were male • Average age was 30 • 89 percent were Alaska residents, 8 percent were from other states, 3 percent were from foreign countries • 92 percent were undergraduate students, 8 percent were graduate students Alaska Native students are the largest ethnic and cultural minority group at UAF. In 1993, approximately 450 were students on the Fairbanks campus (about 9 percent), and an additional 850 were enrolled through the rural campuses. Over ninety percent of Alaska Native students on the Fairbanks campus were enrolled as full-time students. The next largest ethnic groups at UAF were Asians (2 percent), Blacks (2 percent), and Hispanics (2 percent), nearly all of whom were on the Fairbanks campus. There were 262 international students from 45 countries, and they represented 21 percent of the graduate student population. The countries with the largest representations were China (30 percent of the international student population), Canada (20 percent), and India (14 percent). Twelve percent of UAF students came from outside of Alaska, and on the Fairbanks campus, students from California, Washington, Oregon and New York made up about one third of all out-of-state students. Many out-of-state students were spouses, or children, of military personnel stationed at army or air-force bases in the Fairbanks area. Although accurate statistics are extremely difficult to obtain and verify, the data available suggest that the actual number, and the percentage, of Native students relative to the total enrollment at UAF make it one of the highest concentration of Native American students at any public four-year institution in the United States. Like Native American students in higher education institutions elsewhere in the United States, more Alaska Native students are participating in, and graduating from, UAF programs than at any time in the past (Fries, 1987; Mingle, 1987; U.S. Department of Education, 1990a; 1990b; University of Alaska Fairbanks 5  Fact Book, 1993; Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education & The College Board, 1991). Yet disproportionately high numbers of Native students (in comparison to the overall population) continue to leave the university system each year before completing their programs, and the percent of Alaska Native graduates (5 percent average over the past 15 years) is about half of their proportion of the overall enrollment. At the same time, several political and institutional interest groups in Alaska, including the University of Alaska Board of Regents, the 12 Alaska Native regional corporations, and the National Education Association/Alaska, have publicly stated their strong support for policies, programs and practices that will lead to increased opportunities and greater success in higher education for more Alaska Native people. There is an especially urgent concern about the small number of Native people with teaching degrees. Approximately 4.0 percent of the teachers in Alaska are Native, while Native people comprise 15.6 percent of the total state population. The pressure for a greater number of Native teachers is especially strong in rural areas where the Native population is concentrated, and where there has been a history of high teacher turnover rates and perennial shortages. Teachers who are currently recruited from urban Alaska or from the Lower 48 states do not usually stay long in Alaska Native villages because of the geographic and cultural isolation (Dickerson, 1980). Numerous reports have indicated that the best way to address the major problems caused by the shortages and high turnover rates is to increase the number of people in rural teaching positions who are knowledgeable about rural Alaska, and who have first-hand familiarity with, and long-term commitments to village people and the rural environment. Historically, Alaska Native students have enrolled in the teacher education program in greater numbers than in any other program on the UAF campus. Recently, however, the percentage and actual number of Native students choosing teacher education is decreasing—a nationwide trend for all minority students (Blankenship et al, 1992; Education Commission of the States, 1990; Futrell, 1989; James, 1993).  6  Like elsewhere, information currently available about the experiences of Alaska Native students at UAF is primarily quantitative, and these data serve as the basis for making most decisions about programs and policies. There is little written documentation or research that has attempted to provide explanations for these statistics. This study has been designed to provide such information. It is intended to increase our understanding of what the statistics mean for the UAF community, as well as for other institutions that are developing programs and policies for changing student populations—especially other public institutions where a significant number of minority students are enrolled. Concerned groups within institutions include students, faculty, student services personnel, administrators, and policy making bodies at different levels (e.g. departments, colleges, central administration, student government groups, faculty senate, Board of Regents). Interested groups external to the institution include state agencies involved in education, governing and policy-making bodies, Native for-profit and non-profit organizations, employers, school districts, parents and school boards. Overview of the Research Process The specific intent of this study is to systematically determine what factors contributed to  the academic success of 50 Alaska Native teacher education students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. It is a research question that has grown out of many years of work with Native and non-Native students in a variety of Alaskan educational settings in my roles as a university instructor and researcher, and as a result of my associations with First Nations people in Canada and Maori people in New Zealand. The impetus for this specific question emerged from my experiences with students on the Fairbanks campus of UAF, following several years of work with students who were in off-campus, rural settings. On the Fairbanks campus one of the most frequently discussed topics in faculty meetings and seminars has been how to improve the recruitment and retention rates of Alaska Native students. Many of the policies and practices developed to respond to this concern have been based on research findings about the variables that lead to success in 7  higher education for traditional college students in the United States. Those most frequently referred to include high school preparation, standardized test scores, financial security, and qualified faculty. During the first few semesters I taught on the Fairbanks campus I had the opportunity to work with several Alaska Native students who theoretically were “low risks,” because they met the criteria considered important for predicting success in college. These students came to UAF from demanding high schools with high GPAs and good test scores. They had morethan-adequate financial aid packages, and they had the opportunity to work with academicallyqualified instructors. And yet, in spite of fitting the profile of a-student-likely-to-succeed, many of these students did not successfully complete their first year at UAF, and several others chose to leave the university even after successfully completing three or four years. It became evident to me that the typical reasons for “dropping out,” and the university’s subsequent reliance on traditional solutions, did not provide an adequate explanation or solution for the disproportionately low retention and graduation rates of Alaska Native students at UAF. Because of my previous experiences with students in rural areas, I was aware that several conditions for Alaska Natives were quite different on the Fairbanks campus than in rural areas. In Fairbanks, Native students were a minority; most lived on campus and were full-time students; and few had extended family, community, linguistic or cultural support systems available in the Fairbanks region. It seemed evident that these were important variables for a program, department or institution to consider if it desired to make changes that would respond to, and respect, a non-traditional student population that included a large number of cultural minority students. My research challenge therefore was to make a contribution to the “recruitment and retention” debate by designing a study that would help identify factors that contributed to the academic success of Alaska Native students—i.e. make an effort to learn more about “life on the other side.” In order to accomplish this, I knew that the study would have to be  8  comprehensive enough to allow me to look for and identify factors that may not have been considered in previous studies, and it would have to take into account the influence of those conditions that are specific to Alaska, and to Alaska Native people, because of the state’s unique economic, geographic, and educational environment. I chose to focus my attention on the experiences of students who had already demonstrated they could “survive” in college because this allowed me to draw upon the insights and experiences of successful Alaska Native students. I would thus have the opportunity to learn more about “what really worked” as opposed to the more traditional approach in which the focus is on students who drop-out. In addition, because I had worked with many Native students who had left the university, I was well aware of the difficulties I would face if I attempted to locate a representative group of students who had left UAF before graduation, and the time and money necessary to interview these students would have required a considerable amount of outside funding. As well as drawing upon what I have learned from my teaching and research experiences in both on- and off-campus environments at UAF, I have relied upon an eclectic body of academic literature to help develop and organize my study. The literature I found most useful, as described in Chapter 2, came from people whose professional work crossed academic disciplines and addressed issues in a holistic and contextually sensitive manner. Specific fields of study I draw from include: (1) higher education and minority students, (2) comparative education, (3) the history of Native American education, and (4) anthropology and education. These four areas were most instrumental in contributing to the development of the conceptual base for my research and to the organization of a methodological framework relevant to my research question. In Chapter 3 I identify the following considerations as central to framing and conducting my research, as well as thinking through issues related to interpretation and analysis. • No single discipline provides an appropriate theoretical and methodological framework for addressing my research question. Therefore, an interdisciplinary approach has been used to develop and implement my research design.  9  • Culture has been a central construct in the research question I posed, and an ethnographic research approach, from a cultural anthropology tradition, has provided both a way of thinking and a methodology that best facilitates the kind of cultural analysis necessary for this study. • Native Americans, and Alaska Natives specifically, need to be recognized as distinctive from other minority groups in the United States. For my purposes it is not appropriate to conduct a study in which Alaska Natives are represented as members of a single classification of people referred to as “minorities.” It has been important to identify some of the beliefs and values that Native Americans share; recognize and be sensitive to fundamental differences among the 400 tribal groups in the Lower 48 and the 20 distinct cultural groups of Alaska Native people; and be cognizant of some of the special economic, geographic and educational conditions that exist in the State of Alaska. Research Components Based on these considerations, I determined that the following three research components were necessary to provide the kind of data that would enable me to respond to my research question, and to provide a frame of analysis for the issues raised. 1. Historical Account of Schooling for Alaska Native People A small, but significant, component of my research design has been the preparation of a brief historical account of schooling for Alaska Native people. This is included in Chapter 4 and is presented in the wider framework of federal Native American policies. This chapter provides information on the contemporary social, political and economic conditions that are critical for understanding and interpreting some of the unique circumstances of the Alaska context. Providing the historical context of Native American/Alaska Native schooling is important in examining the experiences of Alaska Native students at UAF for the following reasons: (1) despite the unique legal standing recognizing the aboriginal rights of Native people and the federal government’s binding treaty obligations to Native Americans (which have been extended in large part to Alaska Natives), there continue to be many misunderstandings about the status and rights of Alaska Natives with regard to public education, health, social and economic services; (2) the history of Native American education is not the same as the history of Alaska Native education, and the differences are significant; 10  (3) students’ prior schooling experiences influence their performance in a university setting, and the schooling experiences of many Alaska Native students at UAF are different from those of most other students in the United States; and (4) even though Alaska is the state with the largest percentage of Native Americans and the fifth largest numerically, most of the books written about Native education focus on Indian education in the Lower 48 states. Chapter 4 provides the necessary context for understanding and interpreting the assumptions that have guided the development of policies, programs and services for Alaska Native students at UAF, and the schooling experiences of Native students currently enrolled at UAF. 2. Alaska Native Programs. Student Services and Academic Coursework at the Fairbanks Campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks The second component of this study is a review and discussion of the development of Alaska Native programs, student services and academic coursework on the Fairbanks Campus of UAF. In Chapter 5, I examine the UAF campus context and describe UAF’s responses to its changing student population in relation to those made in other institutions. The discussion makes it evident that conificts have developed within the UAF community as it has attempted to balance its role as a research university with its obligations as a comprehensive land grant institution which is charged with the responsibility of meeting the needs of all of the citizens of the state—including an increasingly heterogeneous student population. Descriptions of Alaska Native programs, student services and coursework, and a review of the ambiguity that has surrounded their development and continuation, make it evident that this contextual information is essential for understanding and interpreting the students’ experiences that are presented in Chapters 6 and 7.  11  3. University Experiences of 50 Alaska Native Teacher Education Graduates The third and most significant component of this study consists of the documentation and analysis of the experiences of Alaska Native students who completed the majority of their academic work on the Fairbanks campus of UAF and graduated with a major or a minor in teacher education between May of 1989 and May of 1993—50 students in all. Although much of the research in this study is applicable to students in any academic field of study, I chose to limit the participants to teacher education students as a way to reduce the variables, and in recognition of the fact that the university experiences of students in a teacher education program are different to the extent that they are required to spend a significant amount of time outside the university setting while completing student teaching and other practicum experiences. I use “graduation” as my operational definition of academic success because it provides a logical and discrete means of identifying a group of students, and it is the most frequently used criterion of success in higher education research. This is in no way meant to imply that students who did not graduate were “failures.” I believe that Alaska Native students have many reasons for coming to, and leaving, the university that do not lend themselves to conventional notions of success or failure. Using students’ university records, I assembled a data base for all 50 students on 84 variables (e.g. age, first language, courses taken, major, semesters in attendance, home community, GPA, high school size, attendance at other universities, test scores). I gathered additional in-depth experiential data from 24 students through open-ended interviews. I also drew upon my many years of experience with both Native and non-Native students in a variety of roles, including instructor for teacher education courses, instructor for an Alaska Native high school bridging program, academic advisor, faculty advisor for a Native student education association, pre-school and special education teacher, and researcher in six studies related to Alaska Native education. Chapters 6 and 7 are built upon information  12  that has been integrated from the data base, from student interviews and from my role as a participant observer. The final chapter is a synthesis of Chapters 1 through 7 presented as a summary of the factors that helped the 50 students in this group to be academically successful, and as a set of recommendations that can be used by institutions, faculty, students and communities who are interested in developing campuses where Alaska Native, and other cultural minority students, can be fully represented, respected, involved and successful.  13  CHAPTER 2 MINORITY STUDENTS AND HIGHER EDUCATION In May of 1993, at the International Conference on Higher Education and Indigenous People, representatives of higher education institutions in Australia, Canada, Guatamala, New Zealand, Russia and the United States came together in Anchorage, Alaska to discuss issues of common concern. In the final session of the conference, Turoa Royal, a Maori delegate from the University of Raukawa (Te Wanagna o Raukawa) in New Zealand, reflected upon the events of the four-day conference, and summarized the sentiment of many of the participants when he said, “I thought Maori people were the only ones that had these problems, but I find the issues that confront us are shared by the world.. We have a .  commonality of challenges” (Royal, 1993). We can all learn a great deal from reading about and observing higher education efforts in other communities, countries and continents. What is happening at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and other United States’ institutions today, is not unique, although for participants in the midst of an institutional controversy it may seem so. Therefore, it is essential that we listen to, and learn from, the experiences of people in other institutions in other places. It would be foolish not to share our problems and our concerns, but more importantly, it would be shortsighted not to share our solutions. With academic disciplinary boundaries shifting almost as rapidly as countries’ political boundaries, and with technology allowing for fast and inexpensive communication, even in many areas of the Third World, it is essential that we understand our shared history and begin to connect more with one another as we seek solutions to common concerns. In this chapter I examine the literature that has helped me to better understand: (1) the higher education experiences of indigenous people in other countries and minority groups in the United States, and (2) the variety of research approaches that have been used to document  14  those experiences. The insights drawn from this literature have contributed to the development of my research design and have provided a larger context in which to interpret the experiences of indigenous people in Alaska. Comparative Education: A Commonality of Challenges The literature that usually falls under the label of “comparative education” refers, in its broadest connotation, to an eclectic body of work that focuses upon the experiences of people in educational institutions across a wide variety of national contexts. The comparative education literature that has been most useful for this research has been that which describes the efforts of people in Third World countries who are struggling to develop higher education institutions that will respond to the needs of their own people in their own way, as well as that of indigenous people in what is sometimes described as the Fourth World (i.e. colonized people within industrialized nations) who are actively involved in their own institutional development efforts. A review of some of the comparative education literature reveals strong parallels between the experiences and contexts of Alaska Native people and those of people in many Third and Fourth World countries who are making the transition from colonial status to independent self-government and who are in the process of developing higher education institutions that are responsive to the needs of their own diverse cultures. The cross-national higher education literature provides information on alternative types of educational initiatives and allows us to examine United States policies and practices with a broader, and hopefully less ethnocentric, viewpoint. This literature also makes it apparent that many of the issues faced by Alaska Natives are frequently more similar to those of indigenous people in other industrialized countries (e.g. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden) than to other minority groups in the United States. The perspectives drawn from comparative education have provided me not only with information relevant to my research study, but more importantly with an expanded conceptual framework in which to conduct my research. Many people who work and write in this field address education issues from a  15  holistic, relational, interpretive, and participatory perspective, all of which I have found especially helpful in shaping my own theoretical concepts and research methodologies. The theoretical and analytical work of Philip Aitbach addressing higher education in Third World settings (1974, 1979, 1982, 1989, 1992) has been especially relevant to my research. His work highlights the fact that in most Third World countries that have gained independence over the past 50 years, the establishment of a national university system has been one of the primary arenas of conflict between Western and non-Western ideological and institutional perspectives. Altbach’s global orientation is also clearly evident in the comparative analysis he brings to bear in his case studies of racial divisions at Columbia, Stanford, Arizona State and Cornell (Aitbach & Lobotney, 1991). John Ogbu, whose interdisciplinary orientation spans the fields of anthropology and education, comparative education, and sociology of education, offers additional comparative perspectives that are relevant to my research, particularly in his work on the participation of minority groups in formal education systems (1983, 1987, 1992). His typology of minority groups is perhaps the most widely recognized—and most frequently debated—component of his research. He distinguishes between three categories of minorities: autonomous minorities (i.e. Jews, Mormons); immigrant/voluntary minorities (i.e. Asians, Italian Americans, Hispanics); and subordinate/involuntary/castelike minorities (i.e. people who did not choose to become members of a particular society, such as Blacks and indigenous peoples). This typology has relevance for my research primarily because it helps identify qualities and distinctions between and among minority groups that need to be taken into account in research related to minorities and schooling. This is a particularly important consideration in Alaska where many of the policies affecting the state’s largest minority group, Alaska Natives, have been modeled after those designed for other minorities in the United States, especially Blacks and Hispanics. Even policies developed to serve Indian people in the Lower 48 do not always translate well to Alaska Natives. There are numerous problems inherent in adopting policies based on the generic label of minority  status,  but this is a practice that is frequently followed  16  in schools throughout the United States. Ogbu’s work lays the groundwork for the importance of paying attention to the complex variables that need to be taken into account in this particular area. Several African writers, including Aif Andrew Heggoy (1984), Au Mazrui (1984) and Issa Oman (1991), have also provided useful perspectives for examining contemporary issues facing minority students in higher education. (Although frequently used even in Third World literature, the term minority is a curiously inappropriate label for people who represent 99 percent of the population in their own homelands.) The many issues examined by these and other authors suggest that there are fundamental differences that surface when non-Western people attempt to utilize Western institutions to address their own unique culturally-based needs and aspirations. Their writings reaffirm that the challenges of developing appropriate and meaningful higher education systems in countries with culturally heterogeneous nonWestern populations are many of the same challenges faced by minority groups and institutions in the United States. Issues related to equity, hegemony and human rights are common features of the debate as policy-makers make choices about programs and services. The challenges of resolving fundamental tensions between rural and urban, traditional and modern, tribal and individual, subsistence and market-based, become readily apparent when attempts are made to develop a monolithic system in which diverse groups of people can participate equally. The powerful and convincing parallels in the issues that confront Alaska Natives at UAF and indigenous people in other parts of the world became quite evident during presentations at the 1993 International Conference on Higher Education for Indigenous People in Anchorage, Alaska. Many of the speakers from the six countries represented focused on one or more of the following themes during their presentations (all of which have direct relevance to Alaska): (1) a shared history of oppression and forced assimilation, (2) “flaxroots/grassroots” reform movements, and (3) backlash or “whitelash.” Because the insights of these participants have direct bearing on issues related to minority participation and success in majority institutions,  17  but are not yet published, I have summarized some of the relevant points from the oral presentations. In a keynote address, Ranganui Walker, Head of the Maori Studies Department at the University of Auckland, documented the repercussions of colonial expansion for indigenous people in countries around the world. These included disease, population collapse, religious conversion, treaty-maldng, military invasion, cultural erosion, language decline and suppression, and political subjugation—all consequences that are easily verified for Alaska Natives and American Indians as well. Verna Vos, Director of the Institute of Applied Aborignal Studies at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, reminded people that it is not necessary to go back to early colonial times to document oppression as she described how Aboriginal people were not allowed to become citizens of Australia until 1967. Sonny Mikaere from the Te Rangakura Teacher Training Institute in New Zealand described several reform movements, which he referred to as “flaxroots” initiatives that have been responsible for changing conditions in Maori educational institutions. These programs, such as the very successful Te Kohango Reo (Language Nest) pre-school Maori language programs, have been initiated, controlled and managed by the Maori people themselves. Walker, too, emphasized the critical importance of the efforts of people outside the mainstream system, and pointed to the development of the Te Kohango Reo as an example of one of the “biggest political movements in New Zealand.” Mikaere also talked about the “whitelash” (i.e. backlash) that has developed in many places where indigenous reforms have been successfully initiated. He provided examples of ways in which universities are showing their reluctance to adopt or support programs that challenge the standard way of doing things and described how he and his colleagues are pursuing the development of an International Certificate for Indigenous Studies with accreditation through an international indigenous body. Margaret Valadian, Director of the Aboriginal Education Centre’ at the University of Wollongong, reinforced this position when she stated that Australian Aboriginals must custom design their higher education programs.  18  “This does not mean that we have to discard our heritage. Rather it means that what we learn has to be added to, or accommodated within, the pre-existing framework of our own educational background..  .  .  We need to reconnect the grandparent generation and the student  generation today. We can do this through higher education by linking the principles and practice of the traditional past with the technology and new knowledge of today.. .[Elders] .  should not have to be the unsung informants of others. They should be recognized and recorded as educators in their own right.” Walker described some of the unwritten policies that are operative in higher education today and indicated that in many institutions the only indigenous people that are hired are those “whose value system is Pakeha” or European. He indicated that “indigenous university appointments are conservative,” and faculty who pose no threat and who will “continue with the hegemonic role” are appointed. He also commented that “isolated appointments [for indigenous faculty in university systems] are very lonely jobs.” Representatives from several First Nations higher education programs in Canada contributed information on a variety of initiatives that have been implemented in mainstream institutional settings to support goals that First Nations people have identffied as important (Kirkness & R. Barnhardt, 1991; Tehenepee, 1992). Verna Kirkness, who was director of the First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia, described one of the most important functions of First Nations programs as “demystifying the university to First Nations’ communities and demystifying the communities to the university” and she identified “peer support and a physical place where people can meet” as being crucial to the success of First Nations students in university settings. Some of the underlying assumptions that appear in the comparative education literature as well as in many of the presentations at the International Conference, can be summarized as follows. • Cross-cultural and cross-national comparisons of educational systems must be made in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration, rather than being judgmental and evaluative. The goal is to learn from one another, not to develop a single prescriptive solution. 19  • A pluralistic perspective is essential. This is expressed by support and advocacy for the legitimacy of a wide range of world views, and a respect for diversity and heterogeneity. • Research and analysis should be collaborative and participatory whenever appropriate (i.e. from UNESCO officials working with education ministry personnel at the national level to classroom teachers working with parents and students at the local level). A spirit of mutual learning must be evident. • Cultural analysis provides a primary basis for explaining, predicting, and planning. • Research must be drawn from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Even a brief review of the comparative education literature and the emerging work of indigenous people in higher education confirms that the world has become small enough, and interdependent enough, that it is now essential (and not just an academic luxury) that we draw upon the perspectives and resources of people from multiple disciplines and from other countries in order to address what the comparative educator Bruce Fuller (1991) describes as “deepening and collectively-held social problems.” His comments reinforce the necessity of thinking globally while acting locally. The contradiction between the press for modernity versus respect for local pluralism confronts Third-World states with particular clarity. Yet central governments throughout Europe and North America also are struggling for legitimacy in the face of growing counterforces: a broadening rainbow of ethnic diversity, an increasing political strength of pluralistic groups, a widening recognition that central bureaucracies erode local community, and a failure of individualistic action (via markets) to address deepening, collectively-held social problems (p. 136). The insights about the best ways to solve issues related to accommodating diversity in higher education at home just might come from afar. Minority Students in Higher Education in the United States In this section I present a brief overview of what we know about the participation and experiences of minority students in higher education in the United States and how we know it. I also examine some of the implications of changing demographics and changing research approaches for policy and practice. The overall system of higher education in the United States is the largest in the world, and one of the most complex. In contrast to the centralized systems in most countries, higher 20  education in the United States has evolved into a highly diversified system that includes over  3,500 distinct institutions. Although higher education has been established in the United States for 345 years (since the founding of Harvard College in 1645), some of the most dramatic changes have occurred in the past 50 years. The purposes, goals and structures of contemporary American higher education institutions have been subjected to continuing challenges since the end of WW II when the first wave of “non-traditional” students appeared on American campuses as a result of the 01 Bill (Boyer, 1987; Carnegie Foundation, 1990; Geiger, 1986; Kerr, 1991; Mayhew, 1969; P. Smith, 1990). One of the most consequential forces impacting higher education in the United States has occurred because of the significant change in the demographics of student populations and the shift from a fairly homogeneous group of young white students to a far more diverse group of students with regard to gender, age, race, ethnicity, culture and religion. Females now account for over 50 percent of undergraduate enrollment. Ethnic and cultural minority students represent approximately 18 percent of the total higher education population, and in some traditionally mainstream (or “majority”) institutions (e.g. University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles) Caucasian students are now a minority (Bunzel, 1992; Cass & Cass-Liepmann, 1994; Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac, 1990; United States Department of Education, 1990a, 1990b). The increase in enrollment of ethnic and cultural minority students in higher education came about in the 1960s and 1970s, parallel with the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Society Programs. In much of the early literature that described these changes, minority students were frequently melded together and characterized as members of a single group of “minority students.” The groups most commonly placed in this classification and identified as “minorities” were Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, with little mention of Asian Americans. (The term “minority” was, and continues to be, used almost exclusively to describe racial, ethnic or cultural groups whose minority status is based not only on numerical representation, but on political, economic and social status relative to a white majority.)  21  Some studies did include data which distinguished students as members of distinct racial or ethnic groups (Altman & Snyder, 1970; Astin, 1982; Brown & Stent, 1977). However, most related to policies and programs for Black students—a logical development since they represented the largest ethnic minority group in the United States at the time and because they played the leading roles in the legal and political events of the Civil Rights era (e.g. Fleming, Gill & Swinton, 1978; Thomas, 1981). Sociologists, in particular, made significant research contributions to the literature about Black students in higher education as even a cursory review of sociology journals from this period will confirm. Many of these studies were of a quantitative nature where the focus of analysis was on two areas of students’ university experiences: access and outcome—with little attention given to that which occurred in between. There was much less written about students from other minority groups, especially Native Americans who had only minimal representation in higher education institutions at the time. Changing Demographics During the late 1980s and now in the 1990s, additional minority-related issues have moved into a central position and are at the heart of higher education challenges, as the following recent comments suggest. • Racial tensions have become a crisis on some campuses, and sadly, we [have gained] the unmistakable impression that the push for social justice that so shaped the priorities of higher education during the 1960s has dramatically diminished. (Boyer, 1990, p. 2) • The central message is that higher education, in its policies toward minorities and its treatment of them, has been found wanting, and that there have been, and will be, even more serious consequences. the greatest single imperative before American higher education currently is to improve its performance in this crucial area. (Kerr, 1991 in Altbach & Lomotey, p. vil) .  .  • America is moving backward—not forward—in its effort to achieve the full participation of minority citizens in the life and prosperity of the nation.. The issue of minority participation is higher education’s most important priority. (Commission on Minority Participation in Education and American Life, 1988) .  .  Support for minority students in higher education in the 1960s and 1970s was followed by a period of retrenchment and backlash during the Reagan and Bush administrations. Their  22  policies openly supported legal and legislative action that challenged some of the educational initiatives of the original Civil Rights Movement, such as affirmative action, bilingual education, desegregation measures, and race-specffic fmancial aid policies. During the later years of the Reagan/Bush era, the academic debate about minority student participation was fueled and brought to the public’s attention by the widely distributed writings of conservative social critics such as Allan Bloom (1987), Dinesh D’Soza (1991), E. D. Hirsch (1987), R. Kimball (1992) and Charles Sykes (1988) with their attacks on multiculturalism and their arguments that liberal politics had corrupted colleges and universities in the United States. The increase of racially-related incidents on campuses all across the United States, and subsequent analyses of these actions, suggests that many people who thought the minority problem might simply “go away” after the 1960s, or those who operated with the belief that all minorities would meld into the mythical melting pot, are now having to face the demographic reality that the White non-Latino population continues to decline in relation to other racial/ethnic groups (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education & The College Board, 1991). In fact, the number and proportion of minority people in the United States has continued to increase rapidly and predictions are that by the year 2000, 1 in 3 United States citizens will identify themselves as a member of an ethnic minority group. The Black population increased 12 percent between 1980 and 1990 and continues to be the largest racial minority group with 12 percent of the nation’s population. The Hispanic population increased 53 percent, and in 1990 represented over 9 percent of the total population. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing population group in the United States today, mostly through immigration, and they now represent approximately 3 percent of the population. The American Indian/Alaskan Native population is the smallest racial/ethnic group in the United States, but it increased significantly (21 percent) between 1980 and 1990, and today there are more than 2 miffion Native Americans, or about 2 percent of the United States population. (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education & The College Board, 1991).  23  Although there are increasing numbers of students from these minority groups participating in higher education and moving into positions of influence throughout society today, there is strong evidence to suggest that Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans continue to be disproportionately under-represented and do not have equal access to, and/or opportunities for success in, education or employment (Green, 1989; Mingle, 1987; United States Department of Education, 1990a, 1990b; Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and The College Board, 1991). Expanded Research Approaches Ernest Pascarella and Patrick Terenzini (1991) identified some of the inherent problems that have prevented us from gaining a better understanding of minority students’ participation in higher education after they examined nearly 3,000 higher education research studies. They concluded that “The evidence [in these studies] has a bias because it focuses largely on nonminority students of traditional college age” (p. 13). They called for more holistic and interdisciplinary approaches and expressed concern that “a number of [the 3,000] studies reflect little familiarity with the knowledge base outside the author’s main disciplinary paradigm” (p. 633). They recommended that researchers bring a new orientation to their studies and begin to look for and be sensitive to what they describe as “indirect causes” for student success or failure by extending their research designs to include more than traditional cause and effect relationships. Patrick Callan, vice president of the Education Commission of the States, identifies another problem that has continued to impede our ability to develop appropriate policies and programs for minority students, and that is the serious lack of accurate statistical information. We have been greatly disturbed by the lack of current data on enrollments, degrees and other facets of American higher education that provide a portrait of the progress made by minorities. With the enormity of the task facing American higher education in evaluating its success in the recruitment, retention and graduation of minorities, this should no longer be tolerated. Too often the parties involved—the institutions which collect the data, the states which compile it and the federal government which reports it—have approached the issue from a ‘compliance’ perspective. This is not enough. Commitment, not compliance, will be needed to turn the American dream into an American reality. (Mingle, 1987, p. v.) 24  Researchers from a broader range of social science disciplines are beginning to respond to the call for more encompassing and expanded research approaches by moving beyond the highly visible and easily quantifiable indicators. There is evidence of this shift in an increasing number of long-term, qualitative, interdisciplinary studies. Some of the groups that have been most instrumental in providing impetus and support for a more integrated and holistic approach to research on minority student participation in higher education include the American Council on Education (ACE), the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, through its direct support of research in higher education, also provides indirect support for research related to minority participation and success in colleges and universities. In addition, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, which is published under the editorial leadership of the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), has devoted some issues to matters of minority participation in higher education (e.g. Volume 24, Number 1, 1992; Volume 25, Number 2, 1993). In 1987 the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education convened a special meeting to consider how higher education could take a leadership role in “rekindling the nation’s commitment to the full participation of minority citizens” (Green, p.vii). From this meeting the ACE Board and the Education Commission of the States initiated the “Commission on Minority Participation in Education and American Life,” out of which came the report, One-Third of a Nation (1988). The message of the report was that “America is moving backward—not forward—in its efforts to achieve the full participation of minority citizens in the life and prosperity of the nation” (p. 3). One of the direct outcomes of this assessment was the commissioning of Minorities on Campus: A Handbook for Enhancing Diversity (Green, ed., 1989). This handbook provides information on strategies that have worked on a variety of campuses and suggests that the conditions for successfully involving minority students hinge on three variables: involvement and commitment of college and  25  university administrative leaders, development of an integrated approach to change, and institutional change. The American Council on Education also makes an on-going contribution by publishing an annual status report on minority participation in education. The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is a nonprofit, nationwide interstate compact formed in 1965, whose primary purpose is to help governors, state legislators, state education officials and others develop policies to improve the quality of education at all levels. Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are members (Montana is not). This group’s work on minority issues in higher education has generated a series of reports, journal articles and books (e.g. Richardson, 1989, 1990, 1991; Richardson, Matthews & Finney, 1992; Richardson & Skinner, 1990, 1991; Mingle, 1987). The State Higher Education Executive Officers is a nationwide association of the chief executive officers serving state-level coordinating boards and governing boards associated with post secondary education. Their membership includes 49 states, the district of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Canadian province of Quebec. In 1987 two reports were jointly published by the Education Commission of the States and the State Higher Education Executive Officers that advocated strongly for state government involvement and leadership in helping minorities to achieve full participation in higher education. In Focus on Minorities: Trends in Higher Education Participation and Success, James Mingle provides a statistical overview of the status of minorities in higher education over the past 30 years and provides accompanying interpretive information. His report makes clear that “progress is distressingly stalled,” and there is “strong evidence that we are losing ground in the effort to make full participation of minority students in colleges and universities a reality.” Mingle states that “America faces not only a moral mandate but an economic necessity when it seeks to include all of its citizens in a quality post secondary education.. [if we fail to do so] we will not only create a permanent underclass of American .  citizens but also risk social and economic dissolution that wifi affect us all” (1987, p. v). Although the report shows that overall minority enrollment increased 21 percent from 1976 to  26  1984 (nearly three times the rate of Whites), much of the increase occurred before 1980, and from 1980 to 1984, Black enrollment declined, as did that of Native Americans. Mingle also indicates that the few research studies he was able to find and review “are in no way conclusive about the institutional factors that lead to minority academic success. Most institutional efforts remain unevaluated” (p. 23). The companion piece, Focus on Minorities: Synopsis of State Higher Education Initiatives (Mingle, 1987), was prepared with information gathered from a survey of the State Higher Education Executive Officers members which asked about state- or system-level initiatives targeted at minorities. Thirty-three states responded to the survey (Alaska was not one of them), and the report provides summaries of the major initiatives in each of the responding states, but not at specific institutions. It includes a list of documents that are available from each state, and provides a useful sampling of initiatives and addresses for resource material. In 1989 the National Task Force for Minority Achievement in Higher Education was formed by the American Council on Education and the State Higher Education Executive Officers to identify and advance policies that contribute to the participation and achievement of minority students in higher education. The group included educators and state policy makers who worked together for a year and a half. Their final report (National Task Force for Ivlinority Achievement in Higher Education, 1990) concludes that full minority participation and achievement requires coordinated and sustained commitment from states and universities, and the role of the federal government should be to stimulate and support policies and practices in states and on campuses that “offer the greatest promise for successfully educating more minority students” (p. v). The work of Richard Richardson and several colleagues, through the Education Commission of the States and in conjunction with the former National Center for Postsecondary Governance and Finance at Arizona State University, provides not only information, but a useful research model for studying the issue of minority participation. They  27  conducted a major five-year study that included case studies of 10 public colleges and universities with good records of graduating African Americans, Hispanics or American Indians (Richardson and Skinner, 1991). The information from these case studies was then used to develop a survey in which 142 public, four-year institutions in 10 states provided information about the institutional practices associated with high or improved “equity outcomes” during the 1980s. These 10 states were home to 42 percent of the nation’s population in 1985, and together they enrolled 39 percent of all American Indian college students, 42 percent of all African Americans, and 72 percent of all Hispanics. Richardson’s final report of this five-year study, Promoting Fair College Outcomes: Learning From the Experiences of the Past Decade (1991), includes both a micro and macro  analysis of the data. His conclusions correspond with those of several other recent studies that have sought to identify characteristics of programs and policies leading to increased equity in access, retention, achievement and outcome for minority students (e.g. Green, 1989; Smith, 1989; Spitzberg and Thorndike, 1992). He states that higher levels of administrative commitment, greater use of strategic planning, more careful attention to institutional outcomes for minorities, and greater emphasis on staff diversity were present in those institutions that recorded the greatest gains in participation and graduation rates for African Americans and Hispanics. These institutions also reported more extensive and more systematic use of strategies to: (1) reduce barriers to minority participation, (2) help students achieve high expectations, and (3) make learning environments more responsive to cultural diversity (1990, p. vi). He concludes that the results of this investigation “demonstrate clearly that diversity and quality need not be pursued as mutually exclusive objectives. Given a supportive state climate, institutions can attain both through committed leadership and systematic interventions” (p. vii). In a related article, Richardson and Skinner (1990) recommend a more careful analysis of “relevant practices in the experiences of other institutions” and deride much of the current literature on minority higher education because it suggests “ready-made  28  ‘cookbook’ strategies that can be used without regard for the unique circumstances of each college” (p. 507). Richardson’s holistic and interdisciplinary approach to research design and analysis reflects a constructive response to some of the weaknesses identified by Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) in their review and analysis of research on students’ experiences in colleges, mostly notably the tendency of researchers to rely on a positivistic, quantitative approach to inquiry. Although they conclude that this paradigm served researchers well in the past, they state that important “fme-grained” work is called for now, and they refer to the “important inroads that are being made by scholars trained as sociologists and anthropologists” (p. 632). Although the work of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has not focused specifically on minority students, the research supported by this group has contributed significantly to a better understanding of the experiences of minority students on campuses in the United States. In 1990, the Foundation cooperated with the American Council on Education and published a special report Campus Life: In Search of Community. This report proposed six principles that “defined the kind of community every college and university should strive to be.” Their third principle states that a college or university must be “a just community, a place where the sacredness of the person is honored and where diversity is aggressively pursued” (p. 7). The authors of the report argue that in the coming decade colleges and universities must “commit themselves to increase the enrollment of minority students so that their participation in higher education at least matches their representation in the population.  .  .  this vision of the college or university as a just community must be  aggressively pursued, since it is becoming increasingly apparent that time is running out” (p.  35). In 1992, Irving Spitzberg and Virginia Thorndike, the two principal researchers on the year-long Carnegie Study, published their own book, Creating Communication on Coliee Campuses. The book is based upon material from the original Carnegie study and from the results of three national surveys conducted in 1989: an update of the 1984 Carnegie survey,  29  “The Condition of the Professoriate,” a joint survey with the American Council on Education in which college and university presidents were asked about their views on the current condition of student life, and a survey of chief student affairs officers organized by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in cooperation with the American Council on Education. Spitzberg and Thomdike’s (1992) effort to examine “undergraduate experience of community” by using the following three foci makes their book especially relevant for those of us interested in the factors that influence the experiences of minority students in higher education: (1) student diversity, particularly racial and ethnic diversity and the climate on campus for women students; (2) individual and small-group rights and responsibilities in relation to institutional authority; (3) student-faculty relations and the learning community. Their recommendations call for creating a “revitalized, pluralistic learning community, not looking backward to a Golden Age that never was” (p. xv). They emphasize that, although “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” universities today are “pluralistic houses [that] must contain rooms of their own for the many subcommunities that wish to express their difference” (p. 190). Finally, Daryl Smith’s book, The Challenge of Diversity: Involvement or Alienation in the Academy?, commissioned by the ERIC Clearinghouse for Higher Education (1989), provides a comprehensive review of the ways that institutions can improve the experiences of minority students—and more specifically, how they can organize for diversity. Like Richardson, Smith examines the implications of the perceived conflict between quality and diversity and concludes that this misperception is one of “the most compeffing arguments for reshaping questions and discourse about this topic.  .  .  it requires a reframing of meaning of  quality, definition of standards, performance criteria and assessment” (p. vil). The question that she raises in the title of her book became a central theme for my research, as it framed the issues institutions face in their attempts to develop campus environments where all students can be fully represented and successful.  30  Native Americans in Higher Education The literature focusing specifically on Native Americans in higher education appears to have followed a pattern similar to that addressing the participation of other minority students in higher education. Much of the material written in the last three decades provides detailed descriptions of new and innovative programs for Native American students, but there are few long term, qualitative research studies. Many of the writings suggest a sense of optimism—a conviction that Native students can, and will, be successful if universities make changes that take into account their special interests. The Journal of American Indian Education and the Tribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education provide an important forum for the circulation of many of these ideas (Beaty & Chiste, 1986; Brown, 1980; Clark, 1972; Crum, 1989; Davis, 1992; FaIk & Aitken, 1984; Forbes, 1985; Garcia & Eubank, 1976; Hornett, 1989; Knowles, Gill, Beauvais & Medearis, 1992; Lin, 1990; Otis, 1980; Patton & Edington, 1973; Reyhner, Lee & Gabbard, 1993; Wells, 1989). In the last few years, however, there has been a shift in both the content and tone of some of the academic writings about Native American education. Articles have taken on a more critical perspective, and alternative explanations for the continued low participation and lack of success of Native American students in higher education are being offered. Recommendations are moving beyond the surface-level changes that institutions can make to far more complex issues related to cultural discontinuity, empowerment, legacies of colonialism, and individual and institutional racism (Adams, 1988; Carnegie Foundation, 1989; Duchene, 1988; Hampton, 1989; Jensen, 1984; Kawagley, 1994; Kidwell, 1991; Locust, 1988; Pottinger, 1989; Tierney, 1991, 1992, 1993b; Tierney & Wright, 1991, Wright, 1990). Kathryn Tijerina and Paul Biemer’s work (1988), and also that of Vine Deloria (1991), provide syntheses and overviews of many of the issues currently being addressed by those writing about Native Americans and higher education. They present interpretations that resonate with the voices of many other contemporary writers, and their analyses serve as a 31  link between earlier studies and the more current ones. Some of the key issues they address include the significant differences and discontinuities between Native American cultures and the majority culture as reflected in schools and universities, the movement away from affirmative action and preference for Native hire by the federal government, growing national indifference to civil rights, and increasing tolerance of institutional racism. The title of the Tijerina and Biemer article “The Dance of Indian Higher Education: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back” (1988) captures well the current status of Native American higher education programs and policies as depicted in several recent works. William Tierney’s recent (1992) study on Native Americans in higher education, Official Encouragement: Institutional Discouragement, reinforces Tijerina and Biermer’s assessment. He examines the experiences of undergraduate Native American students enrolled in a variety of different higher education institutional settings and challenges the “persistence” theories of Vincent Tinto (1987) who asserts that students must “socially as well as physically disassociate themselves from the communities of the past” in order to be successful in university settings. He refutes this argument and suggests instead that there are alternative routes to success when institutions build environments where the lives of minority students are “celebrated and affirmed throughout the culture of the institution (1993b, p. 322). His recommendations call for actions that lead to organizational change and student empowerment. Academe must do more than officially encourage students to attend college on mainstream society’s terms, for when this is done Indian students generally encounter institutional discouragement. Instead, participants in academic organizations need to develop rituals of empowerment that enable American Indian students to celebrate their culture and become critically engaged in the life of the institution, their tribes, their families, and themselves. To do so offers American society vast potential for the 21st century and fuffills an obligation to Native Americans that has yet to be met. (p. 165) Don-Paul Benjamin and Stephen Chambers (1989) work represents another study that attempts to look beyond statistics to explain students’ experiences. They conducted a fouryear research project with 70 Native American freshmen who entered a four-year comprehensive university in the fall of 1984. During the study, they identified patterns regarding persistence and attainment of both Native American and non-Native American  32  students that contradicted some of the commonly-held assumptions in higher education about what it takes to succeed in college. They found that “something else appears to be operating among Native Americans; something for which present measures appear unable to account” (p. 12). In an effort to identify that “something else,” they interviewed 11 students and organized the interviews according to three themes (which appear to have been identified by the researchers prior to the interviews). They included frequency and reasons for “going home” during school times, consequences of late recruitment practices for otherwise noncollege bound students, and the tension for students that comes with efforts to adopt university “white” traits while attempting to maintain their traditional perspectives. Based on the interviews and other data they gathered, they concluded that they would need to expand their study to a larger group and take “a cross-cultural/multi-cultural approach” in order to develop a model that would account for cultural diversity (p. 21). They concluded that “Native Americans differ in persistence and educational attainment from most college students (including other ethnic minorities) and the reasons for these differences are not readily apparent” (p. 3). Their findings clearly indicate the need for continued research addressing the inconclusiveness they identified in their own research. It is hoped that my study will shed some light on these questions and offer insight into factors that contribute to Native student success at UAF. Published information about Alaska Native student participation in higher education includes quantitative reports such as those that have provided general demographic information about the educational status of ethnic and racial minorities in Alaska (e.g. Kleinfeld, Gorsuch & Kerr, 1988), and an examination of postsecondary success rates of Native students based on the relationship between test scores, courses taken and grade point averages (e.g. Kleinfeld and Kohout, 1974). Studies and articles offering a more qualitative, descriptive perspective include those that focus on the experience of Alaska Native students participating in the UAF off-campus Cross-Cultural Education Development ProgramlX-CED (e.g. R. Barnhardt, 1977, in press; Harrison, 1982; Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991; Lipka,  33  1990, 1991, 1994; Madsen, 1990); and others that include information, but do not necessarily focus, on some of the experiences of Alaska Native students on the Fairbanks campus (e.g. Delpit, 1988; Gilmore & Smith, 1989; Scollon, 1981). A doctoral dissertation by Louis Jacquot in 1974 provides historical information on the context of higher education for Alaska Native students prior to 1972. Current doctoral research by Wendy Esmailka (1994) on the experiences of Athabaskan female students at UAF and by Michael Jennings on the development of rural campuses in the UAF system will provide important additional contemporary perspectives. Comments Several patterns emerge from this review of the status of cultural minority students in higher education, and from the brief examination of some of the research approaches being used to document these experiences. It is evident that there is no disagreement among experts about the changing demographics, and although the voices of those who are threatened by increasing diversity and the notion of multiculturalism are louder than in the past, there is little debate, or doubt, that issues surrounding diversity have assumed a central position in the policy making arenas of institutions, countries and worldwide organizations. We also know that colleges and universities are having only minimal success in their attempts to provide environments that encourage and allow students from cultural minority groups to stay in school and to graduate. It is clear that in many institutions more time and resources are used for recruiting additional students than are used for helping those who are already enrolled. In most colleges and universities where “success” has been achieved, students have borne the major responsibility in adapting to meet the demands of the universities, but there is an emerging call for institutions to begin to accommodate and share responsibility for change. The area in which there is the most agreement, however, revolves around what we do not know. The fact that we have so little accurate information or “empirical evidence” upon which to build policies and programs is highlighted in nearly every study. People deride not 34  only the ambiguity and inaccuracy of the statistical information on minority students, but increasingly demand qualitative studies that will provide explanations for the trends suggested by the quantitative data. Few studies examine the issue of minority participation from the perspective of the student as well as the institution. Many studies of minority students and higher education continue to meld together students from all ethnic and racial groups, while only a relatively small number provide an indepth analysis of the experiences of single minority groups. This is especially true for minority students who attend school in a majority setting. Native American students are frequently not included in larger studies of minority students, and only rarely do the few studies that focus specifically on Native American students in higher education include Alaska Natives. The cross-national literature that focuses on the experiences of indigenous people in higher education is more likely to include reference to Alaska Natives than most of the United States-oriented studies of minority education. Many program and policy decisions, unfortunately, continue to be made on the basis of myths and stereotypes. Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) state unequivocally that the future direction for research should be that growing proportion of students whom we have typically classified as “nontraditional,” but who are rapidly becoming the majority participants in the American post secondary system. They caution that “Some of our most cherished notions about the determinants of impact may have little relevance to these students,” and they indicate that researchers may need to revise their traditional ideas about what the impact of college really means for nontraditional students (p. 632). In addition, they offer the following suggestions about how this research should be done. An important direction of future research on college impact should be a greater dependence on naturalistic and qualitative methodologies. When employed judiciously, such approaches are capable of providing greater sensitivity to many of the subtle and fme-grained complexities of college impact than more traditional quantitative approaches. Naturalistic inquiries may be particularly sensitive to the detection of the kinds of indirect and conditional effects. We anticipate that in the next decade important contributions to our understanding of college impacts will be yielded by naturalistic investigations. (p. 634)  35  In the following chapter, I respond to Pascarella’s and Terenzini’s challenge by describing how the research tradition of anthropology and education has contributed to the development of the conceptual base for my research on Alaska Native students’ experiences in higher education.  36  CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN Prior to leaving for graduate study at the University of British Columbia (UBC), I had questions in mind for a research study, and I had some ideas about how I might go about finding answers to my questions. As indicated previously, my interests revolved around the question, Whatfactors contribute to the academic success ofAlaska Native teacher education students at the University ofAlaska Fairbanks ? which had grown out of my university  teaching and research experiences with Native and non-Native students over a ten-year period. The issues I wanted to address were drawn from a “practical wisdom” perspective (McMillan & Schumacher, 1989, p. 4) gained from working closely with students within the university system. My concerns were a product of the kind of “ordinary knowledge” that Charles Lindblom and David Cohen (1979) describe as being an important tool for social scientists in addition to the “professional social inquiry” methods that are most frequently used for addressing social problems. This common sense knowledge led me to recognize that insights and explanations about UAF programs and students’ experiences would require a research design that would allow me to gather accurate data on UAF programs and policies, and detailed information on the experiences of a representative sample of successful Alaska Native students. In addition, it would be essential that I do whatever I could to ensure that this research would “do no harm” to the participants (Sizer, 1990). Experiences in other educational arenas also influenced the formation of my questions and research design. I had been involved in education in various professional capacities for twenty-two years before beginning work on my Ph.D. In all of my teaching and research experiences I had worked with students and colleagues who were members of ethnic minority groups, and this helped to shape my notions of teaching and learning in a variety of ways. My  37  work, as a speech pathologist, with Black students and Black teachers in the inner-city schools of Baltimore, Maryland led me to seriously question the behavioral conditioning model as the dominant model of education at the time (and the accompanying view that cultural and linguistic differences were deficits to be overcome); my teaching experiences with deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Fairbanks propelled me into sociolinguistics; and my work with Alaska Native students, teachers and faculty at the University of Alaska moved me toward ethnography in a cultural anthropology tradition. While living in New Zealand and Canada, my personal and professional experiences with Maori and First Nations people provided the impetus to look to comparative education, and particularly to the experiences of other indigenous people. In each of these educational settings, an overriding and always lingering question has been “why aren’t public school systems able to serve certain groups of students as well as others?” In each of the settings in which I worked, the people whose ideas made the most sense to me were those who were asking contextual and relational questions within a qualitative framework, and generally from a tradition of cultural anthropology and/or sociolinguistics. Therefore when I began my doctoral work at UBC, I came with some familiarity of qualitative research based on past experience, and some expertise in the field of sociolinguistics from the work I completed for my master’s degree (C. Barnhardt, 1981), but with no real understanding of how all of the various research traditions fit together. What I assumed was that I needed a research design that would allow me to do the following. • Study a complex and dynamic social system • Use culture as the framework for interpretation • Conduct my research over an extended period of time • Convey respect for the participants The approach that appeared to be best suited to these needs was some variation of ethnography. During my first year at UBC I spent a great deal of time thinking and learning about formal research traditions—and I focused on trying to understand how my intuitive hunches  38  fit or did not fit with: (1) academic research models in the social sciences, particularly in educational research; and (2) research that had been done previously with minority students in higher education. As is evident from the literature review in Chapter 2, there are few precedents for doing qualitative research in higher education—most research has been quantitative in origin and most data have been drawn from the experiences of traditional mainstream students. The primary studies used to explain success and failure in higher education have been based on samples that have not included accurate representations of minority students. As William Tierney (1993b) makes evident in his analysis of Vincent Tinto’s (1987) conventional explanatory model, and as Ernest Pascarella and Patrick Terenzini (1991) indicate in their work, the majority of research methodologies are simply not adequate to explain the experiences of cultural, ethnic and racial minority students in today’s colleges and universities. During my first doctoral seminar at UBC we were asked to introduce ourselves and to share something about the research issues and methodologies in which we were interested. Although some students’ research ideas were more clearly formulated than others, all nine of us said that we were interested in using some form of qualitative methodology, and several of us described what we wanted to do as ethnography. The nods of agreement and acknowledgment from the three faculty members (representing the disciplines of history, philosophy and sociology) suggested approval for the direction in which we were interested in moving. Similar exchanges occurred in other classes, with students expressing an interest in doing qualitative research, with a particular emphasis on ethnography, and there was general agreement and approval from faculty members. I moved ahead and began to develop my research plans, naively assuming that the terms we were all brandishing about, especially qualitative and ethnographic, implied at least some consensus about what it was we wanted to do and how we would go about doing it. How mistaken I was. By the end of my second term, I realized that faculty members from the education departments and from other social science disciplines had quite different perspectives on  39  qualitative research in general and ethnography in particular, and several were not aware of alternative perspectives outside their own area of interest Faculty members and visiting scholars with backgrounds in sociology, and especially those from the British “new school,” touted Paul Willis’ work (1977) as the seminal model of ethnographic work and assumed that all graduate students would be able to carry on academic conversations about “the lads” in Willis’ study. Educators with a critical theory perspective linked ethnography with empowerment, and those with a neo-Marxist and/or feminist perspective focused primarily on gender, social class and race issues, with some advocating radical activist ethnography as a meaus of correcting imbalances in the social system. Educational psychologists, and other faculty with more traditional training, discussed ethnography as an approach that could add to, or build upon, quantitative studies, and they offered new techniques for analysis such as programs for computer coding of open-ended interviews. Educational historians either embraced ethnography because it reflected features of their own methodologies, or became defensive because, although it appeared to be similar, it was not the same. Comparative education practitioners had a more eclectic approach and endorsed the multiple perspectives and realities reflected in ethnography, while cultural anthropologists focused on cross-cultural comparisons, cultural interpretation, and the anthropology of education. No one talked about sociolinguistics or the ethnography of communication. Initially, I was somewhat surprised about the wide-ranging sets of definitions and criteria used to describe “good” ethnography, and I wondered why there was not more interdisciplinary awareness and cross-fertilization. A year later, after weaving my way through a myriad of seminars, lectures, assignments, journal articles, books, and discussions with students and faculty members, I realized that what I was experiencing at the University of British Columbia was a microcosm of the debates taking place throughout the academic world of educational research in the 1990s. My personal puzzlement over “the real meaning” of ethnography simply reflected the reality of a still-evolving field of qualitative  40  research processes, methodologies and products. Evidence for, and details of, this debate can be found in a myriad of studies (e.g. Adler & Adler, 1987; Atkinson, Delamont & Hammersley 1988; Eisner & Peshkin 1990; Erickson, 1986; Gage, 1989; Howe & Eisenhart, 1990; Jackson, 1990; Jacob, 1988; LeCompte, Millory & Preissle, 1992; LeCompte & Preissle, 1993; Mehan, 1992; Paulston, 1991; Sherman & Webb, 1988; Spindler, 1987; Van Maanen, 1988; Wolcott, 1990, 1992, 1994). Unlike the more conventional notion of graduate study, many of us today are pursuing an academic career backwards—at least according to the traditional linear models that recommend and presume theory before practice. My previous experiences with “ethnographic” research had occurred primarily with people in education who were working from a cultural anthropology perspective, whereas at the University of British Columbia most of the graduate education faculty that I worked with had their disciplinary roots in sociology. This forced me to try and make sense of where these different views of ethnography did, or did not, fit together—and where all of this fit within the larger qualitative framework I had in mind for my own research. In this chapter, therefore, I review and describe: (1) general trends within the qualitative educational research community, (2) my own research design/methodology, and (3) how and why my methodology fits into the ethnographic tradition as practiced in cultural anthropology and the subfield of anthropology and education. Qualitative Educational Research: Multiple Approaches Several of the social and political events of the 1960s (e.g. the Civil Rights Movement, the Great Society programs) had a significant influence in shaping what I perceive to be some of the major trends within the “qualitative community,” particularly on those members of the community who were interested in education. (I have deliberately chosen community in an attempt to move beyond the roadblocks that so often dominate any discussions in which the term paradigm is used, and as a recognition of the shifting boundaries of academic disciplines—the “blurred genres” that Clifford Geertz describes (1983).) The trends that I 41  perceive to be occurring within the qualitative community include: (1) a movement from a debate on quantitative vs. qualitative to a debate within the qualitative community; (2) an opportunity for educators to choose from a much broader selection of options for research and writing; and (3) an increased focus on the actual writing process. The vocabulary used today to describe non-quantitative approaches to educational research and evaluation is confusing, but it is also informative. Discussions of terminology are now almost mandatory in education research books that include the term “qualitative” in their title (e.g. Eisner & Peshkin, 1990, LeCompte & Preissle, 1993; Marshall & Rossman, 1989; Sherman & Webb, 1988; Wolcott, 1994) and in general research textbooks (Borg & Gall, 1983; LeCompte, Milfroy & Preissle, 1992; McMillan & Schumacher, 1989). Unfortunately, in many qualitative studies themselves, the choice of labels is not even addressed. These new labels do however provide important clues about the development of the qualitative community, the nature of the evolving debate, and the new range of options for people interested in qualitative research. Even a quick review of the following labels, which I have gathered from people and texts, provides clues about the emerging qualitative community, and its processes and products. The following terms were all used to describe qualitative research. They were used as independent nouns or as a modifier of the word research or evaluation: action research, case study, constructivist, connoisseurship, critical ethnography, ethnology, ethnography, ethnography for empowerment, ethnography of communication, ethnomethodology, feminist, field research, field studies, interpretive ethnography, Marxist ethnography, micro-ethnography, naturalistic, non-interventionist, participant-observation, participatory research, phenomenology, postmodemism, symbolic interactionist and holistic. What does such a list tell us? The qualitative community is attracting people from a wider variety of epistemological and theoretical perspectives, boundaries are expanding and being crossed, and the legitimate options and space in which to work and write have increased. This list also suggests that the most interesting current debate has shifted from the  42  original quantitative/objective vs. qualitative/subjective debate to one within the qualitative community itself. Perhaps we have already moved into what N. L. Gage (1989) describes as a possible “peaceful reconciliation” (his “second stage”) of the “paradigm wars” of the 1970s and 1980s. Other evidence of a shift in the debate includes the presence of new or changed journals in which the focus is intentionally qualitative. In just the past few years Ih International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education was initiated with international and  interdisciplinary boards of editors; and the Journal of Urban Studies changed its name to the Journal of Contemporary Ethnographv, made its editorial board explicitly interdisciplinary, and issued a statement that it is “the first journal in sociology dedicated to ethnography” (Adler & Adler, 1987, p. 4). In university settings, an increasing number of options are available for students and faculty who are interested in qualitative research, and advertisements for some faculty positions now specffically call for qualitative expertise. The requirements for graduate students in the educational policy program at the University of British Columbia appear to be representative of programs in many other research universities where the introductory graduate research class is co-taught by faculty members with qualitative and quantitative expertise and the primary research textbook includes a substantial qualitative research section (McMillan and Schumacher, 1989). Although these examples do indicate substantive change in the place and position of qualitative research and evaluation practices, it is important to locate these changes within the larger educational research community and realize that the quantitative community continues to have a disproportionate influence in most education settings. The large percentage of articles published in the main education research journals and the presentations at many educational professional meetings continue to be quantitative. A large percentage of government research money continues to support quantitative research and evaluation—a decision based perhaps on fmancial and efficiency reasons as much as on any strong theoretical convictions. The increase in options, and labels, for qualitative research is seen as a liability by some and as an asset by others. Jan-Ingvar Lofstedt (1990) calls for “terminological streamlining..  43  • [because] far too many terms are now used to label the different paradigms and approaches, and some concepts are used differently by proponents of different approaches” (p. 79). Others celebrate the diversity and envision a qualitative community that is defined by its heterogeneity, pluralism and tolerance for the other (Eisner & Peshkin, 1990; Paulston, 1991; Sherman &Webb, 1988). This “opening up of options in qualitative research” forces those of us who participate in qualitative, interdisciplinary educational research to explain and justify our research decisions more explicitly. The security of working within the orthodoxy of a single discipline with well defined research traditions is not an option, and we must defend our choices to people outside of our comfortable and often homogeneous networks. In the next section I review the development, composition, and perspectives of what I perceive to be the two central ethnographic groups in the qualitative educational research community today: critical ethnography and cultural anthropology ethnography. Although others working in this area have prepared rigorous and far more detailed qualitative research typologies (e.g. Jacob, 1988, Paulston, 1991, Wolcott, 1992), my simple two-part grouping of ethnographies has helped me sort through current uses of ethnography in education, and it has helped me to formulate a research design that best address my research question. It also responds to Harry Wolcott (1990) who suggests that “anyone who engages in ethnography also assumes responsibility to participate in the continuing dialogue to defme and redefme it both as process and as product” (p. 47). Critical Ethnography Critical etimography developed from, and within, the critical theoiy/criticalpedugogy tradition, and I use the term critical ethnography to represent the thinking and work of a wide range of people—including some who might not label their work as such. I use this term because it appears to be the label used most frequently in the literature (e.g. Anderson, 1989; Lather, 1986) to describe the theory and practice of a group of people who work within a larger sociological framework that has been informed by the work and writing of three 44  primary groups: European social scientists (e.g. Bernstein, Bourdieu, Foucault, Gramsci) and Paulo Freire; those who identify with the interpretive movement (including phenomenologists, ethnomethodologists, and postmodemists); and the critical theorists and pedagogues. I have included in this category people and ideas from the British “new school of sociology” (also known as “the new sociology of education”) because their work was instrumental in the formation of critical ethnography. McLaren (1989) in fact equates “the new sociology of education” with “a critical theory of education” (p. 159). Most critical ethnographers today continue to work within a sociological framework; focus on the relationship between social class, race, and gender; and have as an important research goal a desire to “free individuals from sources of domination and repression” (Anderson, 1989, p. 249). Most rely on, and are guided by: theory; a search for the relationship between social/structural forces (especially class, race and gender) and human agency; and an open reflection on their own biases (e.g. Anderson, 1989; Roman & Apple, 1990; Lather, 1986; McLaren, 1989). Their theoretical and empirical writings include much of the vocabulary of critical theory (e.g. critical, dialectic/dialogue, domination, emancipation, empowerment, marginalization, powerlessness, resistance, student voice, transformation). Critical research is often described by researchers as designed to: be empowering; change participants’ level of awareness; have an arousal effect; change the relationship between the researcher and other participants; and politically influence and inform educational action (Anderson, 1989; Apple, 1988; Giroux, 1988; Lather, 1986; McLaren, 1989; Paulston, 1991). These perspectives are summed up by Gary Anderson (1989) who observes that critical ethnographers “study society with the goal of transforming it and freeing individuals from sources of domination and repression” (p. 253). In the United States, research studies often cited as representative of critical ethnography include those by Jean Anyon (1980) who focused on differences among students from different social class backgrounds in five separate schools (1980); Robert Everhart (1983) who focused on Reading. Writing and Resistance in urban junior high schools; and Lois Weis  45  (1985) who examined the experiences of Black students in an urban community college. The research of Michele Fine (1985), Jay MacLeod (1987), Linda Valli (1986), and some of Tierney’s work (1992, 1993a, 1993b) provides other examples in a critical ethnographic genre. It is interesting to note that nearly all critical ethnography has been done in urban settings. Although many critical ethnographers work within a sociological framework, the only education journal published by the American Sociological Association, Sociology of Education, focuses primarily on reporting quantitative research studies. The eight-year old International Journal of Oualitative Studies in Education appears now to be providing an important publication place for those education researchers working within a critical ethnographic perspective. Patricia Adler and Peter Adler observed that, when Urban Life and Culture was first founded in 1971, it was the only sociological outlet designated exclusively for qualitative work. Now, however, there are at least five such outlets: Journal of Contemporary Education. Symbolic Interaction. Oualitative Sociology. Human Studies. and Humanity and Society. but only one is specifically directed toward education (1987, 1 p. 5). In this very abbreviated and oversimplified review, I have examined some of the ways in which academics within a sociological tradition responded to the educational questions highlighted and generated during the 1960s as they looked for ways to make schools more equitable for an increasingly heterogeneous student population, and as they examined issues of power and control and the new role of the federal government in education. In addition to turning to sociology for explanations and recommendations, educators who were looking for answers outside the quantitative paradigm, like myself and several colleagues in Alaska, also looked to the discipline of anthropology. Cultural Anthropology Ethnographv In the Dictionary of Anthropology (1970), Charles Winick’s description of cultural anthropology includes the observation that it “is sometimes used interchangeably in America for what in England is called social anthropology, reflecting the traditional British interest in 46  social systems and the major interest in culture of American anthropologists” (p. 29). This observation captures what is perhaps the most central and organizing aspect of cultural anthropology, and of cultural anthropology ethnography. The centrality of culture in understanding, describing, and interpreting phenomena is what distinguishes cultural anthropology ethnography from other genres of ethnographic research. In its discipline of origin [anthropology] the underlying rationale for doing ethnography is understood to be cultural interpretation. To commit to ethnography traditionally has meant to commit to looking at, and attempting to make sense of, human social behavior in terms of cultural patterning (Wolcott, 1990, p. 48). In The White Man’s Indian (1978), Robert Berkhofer’s review of anthropology in helping to shape “Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present” provides a useful perspective on the development of anthropology, especially in relation to minority peoples. He examines the work and influence of Franz Boas in the early 20th century, as founder of the first comprehensive graduate program in anthropology at Columbia University, and as co worker and teacher of many future cultural anthropologists. He states that Boas was “instrumental in developing new conceptions about human diversity... [and that] other professional anthropologists in the United States followed Boas and his students in repudiating raciology and evolutionism, and espousing the idea of culture as the way of understanding human diversity in lifestyles and as the foundation concept of their discipline” (p. 62). As part of his historical review, Berkhofer examines changing concepts of culture in the United States and says that, even though the concept of culture in a modern anthropological sense did not prevail in the social sciences in the United States until the 1930s at the earliest, “the basic presuppositions of cultural pluralism and relativism as established by Boas and his followers remain as fundamental to the new developments as they were to the American or historical school” (p. 65). By the 1950s British social anthropology had come to the United States with challenges to the Boasian school, but “although these new developments in anthropology provided new ways of understanding Native American lifestyles.  .  .  they did not repudiate the basic moral and intellectual assumption of the idea of  47  culture itself: the pluralism and relativism of moral non-judgment on and non-hierarchical ranking of social groups” (Berkhofer, 1978, p. 66). Cultural anthropologists have continued to modify their theoretical orientations in the past twenty years just as they did during their first one hundred years of history. The concept of culture(s), relativism and cultural pluralism have continued to maintain a central position, and like other social scientists, anthropologists have become more introspective and reflective about their theories, methodologies, goals, and their own role in the research and writing process. Like sociologists, several have been influenced by the work of the European social scientists, the interpretive perspective (especially the work of Geertz) and critical theory. Cultural anthropologists have used the long-established method of ethnography as their primary approach for learning about other people and other cultures. In the past, the rite of passage for anthropologists was to do ethnography by working with people in some “other place,” but in the past 20 years anthropologists have increasingly used their ethnographic perspectives and “tools” to work within the United States (Messerschmidt, 1981). Many anthropological studies do continue to be with people from minority groups, thus providing the rationale for the continued use of the term cross-cultural. Today, ethnography continues as the primary tool of the cultural anthropologist, and it is the term used to describe both the process of research, and the written product. I reviewed the work and analytical writings of several people who have used ethnography in a cultural anthropology tradition, and in the process discovered wide variation in both methodology (process) and in the manner of reporting the research (product). However, in all of the work there is a strong consensus about what I refer to as an ethnographic approach. Despite the differences in terminology it is evident that the group of researchers who practice in this tradition share a set of beliefs about what is integral to a cultural anthropology ethnographic approach. These include: (1) the importance of respect for participants and for their world views, (2) the value of exploratory or discovery-oriented  48  research using an inductive approach in a natural setting, and (3) the necessity of a holistic perspective interpreted through cultural constructs. In the “Introduction” to Qualitative Inquiry in Education, Elliot Eisner and Man Peshkin (1990) review the link between cultural anthropology ethnography and education that developed in the late 1960s. Where ethnography and education are joined, we find the longest, most secure attachment to qualitative research, for ethnographers have long been comfortable with the efficacy of their nonquantitative means of inquiry. The fruits of their labor are manifest in the approximately twenty-year old Council on Anthropology and Education and its equally old publication, once a newsletter and now an established periodical, called Anthropo1ov and Education Ouarterly. The marriage of anthropology and education, among the most robust of the links between education and a social science discipline, is further apparent in the Holt, Rinehart and Winston Case Studies in Education and Culture series that George and Louise Spindler have edited since 1967 and that Waveland Press has continued to keep in print (p. 5-6). The Council on Anthropology and Education (CAE) was established as a sub-section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in 1968. It “is a professional association of anthropologists and educational researchers concerned with the application of anthropology to research and development in education” (from the official policy statement of the Anthropology and Education Ouarterlv). It is an organization that includes 11 working committees in its structure. These committees organize on the basis of specific interests and issues, and the groups’ foci range from “Cognition, Language and Literacy” to “Ethnographic Approaches to Evaluation in Education” to “Women in Schools and Society.” People who participate in the Council on Anthropology and Education, and who contribute to its journal include not only those formally trained in anthropology, but a growing number from other disciplines who are interested in, and have been influenced by, anthropology. The common bond of the diverse group of people in the anthropology and education community is the belief that the theory and methodology of cultural anthropology can contribute to understanding and solving educational problems. In the larger community of professional educators, the work that is most familiar and most often referred to as cultural anthropology ethnography is the work of people in the anthropology and education tradition whose work is broad-based, and sometimes described as 49  macroethnography (Wolcott, 1990). It includes the kinds of ethnographies found in the Spindler series, Case Studies of Education and Culture with studies ranging from the Canadian and Alaskan North to Africa, and from urban schools to Gypsy communities in the United States. Also included under this classification are the case studies in Sol Kimball’s Anthropology and Education series that range from urban settings to Third World countries, as well as edited books such as Functions of Language in the Classroom. and the ethnographic case study series edited by Ray Rist. Examples of work done in this macro cultural anthropology ethnographic tradition include that of Elizabeth Eddy (1969), John Hostetler & Gertrude Huntington (1971), Alan Peshkin (1978, 1982), Ray Rist (1973), Louise Spindler & George Spindler (1971), and Harry Wolcott (1973). The contributions of two other cultural anthropology ethnographers, Hugh Mehan (1979, 1984, 1992) and John Ogbu (1974, 1978, 1987, 1992), are noteworthy because their work is published, and claimed, in both anthropology and sociology. Whereas most critical ethnography has thus far occurred in large urban areas in the United States or in Britain, cultural anthropology ethnographic research appears to be about evenly divided between rural and urban areas in the United States and elsewhere, including Third World countries. Two research projects that provide examples of how an ethnographic approach has been used successfully to document and examine the experiences of students in university settings are Michael Moffatt’s Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture (1989) and Dorothy Holland and Margaret Eisenhart’s Educated in Romance: Women. Achievement and College Culture (1991). They both illustrate the depth and breadth of description and analysis that is afforded through the use of ethnography for research in university settings. Current work by Hugh Mehan with minority high school and beginning college students in the San Diego area will serve as another useful resource. William Tiemey’s research with Native American university students (1991, 1992, 1993b) provides an interesting melding of the perspectives of critical theory and cultural anthropology perspectives.  50  A subgroup in anthropology and education that has made a significant contribution to studying inequality in schools is the group of researchers that has used the cultural anthropology ethnographic perspective to study language. (It is interesting to note that this represents a logical merger between two of the four main subfields in the discipline of anthropology: archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistics and physical anthropology.) This group’s work, done primarily in the past 20 years and much of it with people for whom English is a first language, has come to be known as sociolinguistics and, sometimes, as the ethnography of communication. Some of the participants in this group work within a formal linguistic and sociolinguistic framework, while others work within a broader, and less technical, communication framework as they focus on language use (rather than, or in addition to, language structure) within the school environment (e.g. Cazden, John & Hymes, 1972; Gilmore & Glatthorn, 1982; Gumperz & Cook-Gumperz, 1979). Sometimes this type of research is described as microethnographic. As described earlier, anthropologists have had a longtime relationship with Native Americans and that tradition continues today. Nearly all ethnographic educational research  with Native Americans has been done by people in the cultural anthropology ethnographic community, and much of it has been reported in the Anthropology and Education Ouarterlv. Some of the people who have used cultural anthropology to shape their studies of education with Native Americans include the following: John Collier (1973, 1988), Malcolm Collier, (1986), Donna Dehyle (1989), Robert Dumont, (1972), Fred Erickson and Gerald Mohatt, (1982), Vera John, (1972), Wendy Kasten, (1992), Dan McLaughlin, (1989), Barry Osborne (1989), Susan Philips (1982), Ron Scollon and Suzanne Scollon (1979), George Spindler and Louise Spindler (1971), William Tierney (1992), Murray Wax (1964), and Harry Wolcott (1967). Some who have worked within this tradition with Alaska Native people include Carol Barnhardt (1981, 1982), Ray Bamhardt (1977, 1991a, 1991b), Patrick Dubbs (1982, 1992), Perry Gilmore and David Smith (1989), Barbara Harrison (1982), Oscar Kawagley (1990, 1993), Jerry Lipka (1990, 1991, 1994), Eric Madsen (1990) and Ron Scollon (1981). Their  51  work has helped to identify some of the cultural dissonance that occurs between the beliefs and practices of Native Americans and those espoused by the American educational system. Other Oualitative Approaches In the field of education there are of course other important qualitative educational research approaches and methods, in addition to critical ethnography and cultural anthropology ethnography. The contributions of three groups in particular are important and should be included in any broad review of qualitative research in education. The first includes people who focus on the use of ethnography in evaluation, including Yvonna Lincoln and Egon Guba (1985, 1989), and David Fetterman (1988). The second group are people whose eclectic contributions to qualitative educational research defy easy categorizing. This includes people like Elliot Eisner (1991) and Maxine Greene (1988) who work within a discipline but whose contributions to the qualitative debate extend far beyond their own academic community. A third group includes university educators, practicing teachers, and other practitioners who do not necessarily affiliate professionally with one of the social science disciplines, but whose research practice and writing falls within a qualitative framework. While such people often do not devote a major portion of their time to formal academic research, they do apply their qualitative orientation to developing programs or to writing and distributing publications that are qualitative in nature such as those by Samuel Freedman, (1990); Garret Keizer, (1988), Herbert Kohl (1990), Sara Lightfoot (1983), Mike Rose (1989), and Theodore Sizer (1984, 1990, 1992). Some of the most interesting reflections on inquiry in qualitative educational research today can be found in Eisner and Peshkin’s edited book, Oualitative Inquiry in Education: The Continuing Debate (1990). The assemblage of contributors from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives, the actual format of the book (with presentations, responses and opportunities for real dialogue) and its content allow it to serve as a summary of the current status of the qualitative debate. Eisner and Peshkin, two of the most experienced and knowledgeable members of the qualitative research community, treat their readers as thinking, 52  capable, sense-making individuals who can make choices if they are presented with a wide range of options for theory and practice in a non-prescriptive manner. Their metaphorical reference to the “quiet revolution in which a coalition government emerges” provides an indication of where Eisner and Peshkin think the qualitative debate is headed (p. 13). Their very candid observation about the book’s contents provides one of the most accurate and honest assessment of the state of the art, and the place of the arguments, for the qualitative educational debate of the 1990s: “Here’s some good stuff, but as we get wiser and better at what we do, our stuff will improve” (p. 17). Methodology After reviewing and learning more about the variety of ethnographic traditions, I returned to my research question “Whatfactors contribute to the academic success ofAlaska Native teacher education students at UAF?” and determined that an ethnographic approach, drawing most directly from the cultural anthropology tradition, was the most appropriate for my purposes. This approach provided me with a framework for studying a complex and dynamic social system; allowed me to conduct my research over an extended period of time; encouraged me to respect the perspectives of all participants; and “insisted” that culture be an integral component of my interpretation and analysis. In addition, there appeared to be a natural fit between the research question, my own professional educational experiences and the particular Alaskan context in which I was working. In this section, I describe the methodological components of my study, and following that, I examine more thoroughly why cultural anthropology ethnography was the most appropriate “community” in which to ground my research. Site and Sample In Designing Oualitative Research, Marshall and Rossman (1989) describe the ideal research site as a place in which  53  (1) entry is possible; (2) there is a high probability that a rich mix of many of the processes, people, programs, interactions, and/or structures that may be a part of the research question will be present; (3) the researcher can devise an appropriate role to maintain continuity of presence for as long as necessary; and (4) data quality and credibility of the study are reasonably assured by avoiding poor sampling decisions. (p. 54) I was fortunate to have such a site. Entry was possible and I had the support of students expressed formally, through a letter from support from the Alaska Native Education Student Association (ANESA), and informally through the positive response to requests for interviews, and I had endorsement and support from people in various positions within the UAF community. My multiple roles as an instructor, advisor and member of several committees guaranteed that my professional (and personal) life was “a rich mix of many of the processes, people, programs, interactions, and/or structures that were part of the research question” that Catherine Marshall and Gretchen Rossman (1989) describe (p. 54). I included in my study all undergraduate Alaska Native students who met the following criteria: (1) graduated between May of 1989 and May of 1993; (2) completed all requirements for an elementary or secondary Alaska teaching certificate by completing either a B. Ed. program or an education certification minor; and (3) completed the majority of their coursework on the Fairbanks campus of UAF (as distinguished from the UAF field-based teacher education program, “X-CED,” which serves approximately 100 students in rural areas of Alaska). Fifty students met these criteria. By including all of the students who had graduated since May of 1989 my sample was large enough to ensure broad representation of Alaska Native students who completed the teacher education program in Fairbanks. Alaska Native students represent about 15 to 20 percent of the total number of teacher education students at UAF. Students were identified as Alaska Native or American Indian through university records and personal knowledge. Researcher as Participant and Observer My role as a participant and observer in the study was facilitated by the instructor’s position I held at UAF and by my past involvement in a wide variety of educational settings in 54  both rural and urban Alaskan settings. My relationship with students and other participants in the university provided me with the opportunity to do this research, and my research topic, questions and design have been shaped and informed by these experiences and relationships. During the time of the study, I was in the position of being both an insider and an outsider, a participant and an observer with different groups associated with the project, and in some instances the boundaries between roles were quite fluid. Although I was an insider in some aspects of the university system, because I was a non-tenure track, term-funded instructor, I was an outsider in other circumstances (e.g. education faculty meetings where only tenure-track faculty are allowed to participate, grant policies that are restricted to fulltime/tenure-track faculty, participation in university-wide governing bodies). I am an outsider in the Alaska Native community because I am not an Alaska Native. However, because of the responsibilities associated with some of the roles in which I have served, I have been privy to insiders’ perspectives, and in some instances I have been viewed as an insider because of my advocacy role on behalf of Native students within the University system. During the period of time in which I did my fieldwork and analysis, I had no evaluative responsibilities in relation to the students directly involved in the study. Time Line I formally initiated this research after I presented and successfully defended my proposal before my doctoral committee at the University of British Columbia in the fall of 1991, and after I had received formal approval for my research from the University of British Columbia Behavioural Sciences Screening Committee For Research and Other Studies Involving Human Subjects in the Spring of 1992. Informally, however, I had imagined a study somewhat like this on many occasions since I had begun teaching courses on the Fairbanks campus of UAF. During 1992 I gathered information on Alaska Native programs and services at UAF, completed research on and prepared a history of schooling for Alaska Native people, and began interviewing students. In 1993, I prepared a summary report that included information 55  on all of UAF’s Alaska Native programs, student services and courses. I also completed the student interviews, prepared the transcriptions, entered information from student records into a data base, and began the formal analysis and writing. In 1994, I wrote, circulated drafts of individual chapters to a variety of people within the UAF community—and rewrote. I presented reports on this study at four conferences and incorporated feedback that I received from those presentations. Data Collection Techniques Due to the complexity of my research question I used a variety of sources and approaches for gathering data about three different contexts: (1) the Alaska Native educational context, which I studied primarily through written sources (Chapter 4); (2) the UAF institutional context, which I examined primarily from information available in public documents and reports (Chapter 5); and (3) the student context which I learned about by gathering data from students’ university records, through individual student interviews, and through participant observation (Chapters 6 and 7). The use and integration of these varied sources and approaches provided a means for coritextualizing the issues to which the study is addressed. 1. Historical Work The first component of my research design was the preparation of a brief historical account of schooling for Alaska Native people. This account places Alaska Native education in the wider framework of federal Native American policies, and includes contemporary social, political and economic information that is critical for understanding and interpreting some of the unique circumstances of the Alaska context. I drew primarily on secondary sources for my historical research on federal policies related to Native American educational policies and programs, and I used primary sources, including those from my own previous historical research study (C. Barnhardt, 1985), to gather information on the history of Alaska  56  Native education. Chapter 4 provides the necessary context for interpreting data about UAF and about students’ experiences. 2. Document Ana1ysis I collected, reviewed and analyzed a wide variety of public documents that described policies, programs, students services and courses at UAF—in particular those that were designed in response to the perceived interests and needs of Alaska Native and rural students. These include UAF responses to the increasing number of Alaska Native and rural students on the Fairbanks campus, as well as responses to the general needs of Alaska Native people and others in rural communities. Since my intention in gathering information on these programs was descriptive rather than evaluative, I relied upon official university publications when available (especially the University of Alaska and University of Alaska Fairbanks “fact books,” undergraduate catalogs, and department or program brochures), as well as articles from the Fairbanks and UAF newspapers, and occasionally, internal reports. When necessary, I sought guidance from the handful of people whose past experience constituted the “institutional memory,” and thus could provide clarification or information about the best route to pursue to compile the historical facts on certain programs where current information was not readily available. Gathering even the most basic data was one of the more challenging aspects of the research because of the lack of official records in this area. From these documents I prepared a summary report which includes a narrative description of the 27 Alaska Native programs I identified, including information on each of the following variables: year initiated, administrative unit, people eligible to participate, approximate percentage of Alaska Native/Native American participants, and original and primary source of funding. This report, Alaska Native Programs and Students Services On  Campus at the University ofAlaska Fairbanks, (which serves as the source of information for several tables included in Chapter 5, and is included as Appendix A) pulls together in one place, for the first time, information on all of the various programs, student services, and  57  courses that address Alaska Native people and issues on the Fairbanks Campus of UAF. I also prepared a list of all of the regularly-offered undergraduate academic courses that had “Alaska Native” and/or “rural” in the course title or description in the UAF Undergraduate Catalog, 1993-94. This is included as Appendix B. 3. Student University Records Since the Education Department at UAF does not have a data base with information on students in its undergraduate teacher education program, I gathered information from original sources (student files) rather than relying on the statistics presented in official university publications such as the annually published UAF Fact Book or the University of Alaska Statewide Statistical Abstract. Although these reports are useful for establishing trends and generating researchable questions, the information related to race and ethnicity in these publications is frequently misleading and/or inaccurate because of the ambiguity in the categories that students are asked to select from when they identify themselves for university, state or federal purposes. For instance, on one UAF form, Yup’ik Eskimo students have the option of identifying themselves as E=Alaska Eskimo or N=Alaska Native Unspecified or O=Other or Y=Alaska Eskimo Yup’ik, and Athabaskan students can choose from I=Alaska Indian or N=Alaskan Native Unspecified or O=Other or T=Alaskan Indian Athabaskan. If I had relied upon official records for identifying students who are Alaska Native, it would not have been possible to compile an accurate listing because of the vagueness of the choices or because students chose not to complete this optional section of the form. I used student’s academic transcripts to gather data on such variables as age, high school attended, semesters at UAF, GPA, test scores, major, etc. I used information from other forms in student’s files for information on other variables such as previous work experiences, availability of transportation, location of student teaching, etc. For each of the 50 students I entered information into a database (Panorama II) on 84 variables, and since I entered it all myself the chances for inconsistency were minimized (Appendix C). This data base serves as a major part of the research findings. It supplements and corroborates descriptive data from 58  the interviews and the program descriptions, and it serves as an important tool for the analysis in Chapters 6 and 7. It also provides a quantitative dimension to the qualitative information generated from the interviews and from my participant/observer role. 4. Ethnographic Interviews The use of interviewing as a research tool is described in nearly every description of any type of ethnographic process, and data from interviews is included in almost all ethnographic products. The ethnographic interviews were one of the most central and important methodological tools in my research because they served as the primary means for obtaining students’ perspectives. Descriptions in the research literature of general ethnographic interviews contain several common themes. In their textbook description, McMillan and Schumacher (1989) state that “Ethnographic interviews, which use open-response questions to obtain data of participant meanings, may be the primary data collection strategy or a natural outgrowth of observation strategies. Participant meanings refer to how individuals in social scenes conceive of their world and how they explain or ‘make sense’ of the important events in their lives” (p. 405). Marshall and Rossman (1989) discuss the value of the ethnographic interview as coming from “its focus on the culture through a native perspective and through a firsthand encounter.. it .  provides for flexibility in the formulation of hypotheses and avoids oversimplification in description and analysis because of the rich descriptions” (p. 93). Hammersley and Atkinson (1983) expand on these themes in a larger context, and provide more detail about the questioning process itself. The main difference between the way in which ethnographers and survey interviewers ask questions is not, as is sometimes suggested, that one form of interviewing is “structured” and the other is “unstructured.” All interviews, like any other kinds of social interaction, are structured by both researcher and informant. The important distinction to be made is between standardized and reflexive interviewing. Ethnographers do not decide beforehand the questions they want to ask, though they may enter the interview with a list of issues to be covered. Nor do they restrict themselves to a single mode of questioning. On different occasions, or at different points in the same interview, the approach may be non-directive or directive, depending on the function that the questioning is intended to serve. (p. 112)  59  My role and purpose in interviewing followed the guidelines described above. I developed a list of general themes for the interviews (Appendix D), and from this developed a list of questions for each student that was appropriate and applicable for each individual. I used the list as a guide, rather than as a checklist, and also as a place to jot down questions that were generated by student’s responses. My policy and practice were very much like what McMillan and Schumacher (1989) describe as “the interview guide approach” in which “topics are selected in advance but the researcher decides the sequence and working of the questions during the interview.  .  .  it is relatively conversational and situational” (p. 405).  My intention was to interview about half of the students in the group because I felt this would provide a good representation, and the transcription process would not be too overwhelming. I was correct on the first part of my assumption and wrong on the second! I wrote to all of the students and asked if they were interested in being interviewed, knowing that it would not be possible for many of them due to scheduling problems, distance from Fairbanks, etc. I interviewed 20 students (from the group of 50) who were representative of the entire group considering variables of age, gender, culture, home region and family status. In addition, I interviewed four students who would have been part of the group had they not voluntarily chosen to delay their graduation time (and whose records were therefore not included in the data base). Time spent meeting with each student for the interview process was approximately one and a half hours. During the first 15 minutes we usually visited and caught up on events in each other’s lives. During the next 15 minutes we usually talked about the necessity for, and the options available on, the UBC consent forms in which students made their choices about confidentiality, future use of the tape-recordings and transcripts, freedom to shut the tape recorder off at any time, options to review the transcript of their interview, etc. Five students asked to have the interview transcript returned to them so that they could review what they said—none of them chose to make any modifications.  60  Each of the interviews was tape-recorded, and the majority were about an hour in length. Students chose the location where the interview would take place, and they occurred in dorm rooms, work places, homes, restaurants, my university office, the university student center and one in a hotel where a statewide conference was being held. When the weather was nice, we often had the interview outside on the university lawn. I always brought snack food and beverages or purchased a meal for the student if we met in a place where that was an option. Following the interviews, I made quick notes to myself about things that I particularly wanted to remember. In order to assure confidentiality, I did the transcribing of the interviews myself. 5. Participant/Observation and Analytic Journal As described in the section on the role of the researcher, my role varied somewhat from the more traditional role of a participant/observer. I was “on the scene” during the three years I did the formal research and writing as an instructor in the teacher education program, but I was not directly involved in the academic activities of the students who participated in the study. I consciously attempted to follow some advice offered by George Spindler (1982) in his “Criteria For a Good Ethnography of Schooling”—that “inquiry and observation must disturb as little as possible the process of interaction and communication in the setting being studied” (p. 7). I documented and reflected on the research process, and on my role in that process, from the time that I was accepted into the Ph.D. program at UBC in the spring of 1990 until the end of the writing process in the summer of 1994. I used a format that Hammersley and Atkinson (1983) describe as “analytic notes.” Equally important is regular review and development of analytic ideas in the form of analytic memos. [These are] written notes whereby progress is assessed, emergent ideas are identified, research strategy is sketched out. This process of progressive focusing means that the collection of data must be guided by the unfolding but explicit identification of topics for inquiry... It is a reflexive monitoring of the research process. .  61  The construction of such notes therefore constitutes precisely that sort of internal dialogue, or thinking aloud, that is the essence of reflexive ethnography. one is forced to question what one knows, how such knowledge has been acquired, the degree of certainty of such knowledge and what further lines of inquiry are implied. (pp. 164-165) .  .  “Progressive focusing” was important, and one of the essential components in this focusing process was the feedback I received on a regular basis—from my committee—and from a variety of people within the UAF setting. Before I began my study, I had circulated a draft of a shortened version of my proposal among several UAF students, faculty and student services personnel. From them I received several suggestions and statements of support for the direction of the study. Later in the process, I gave drafts of the chapters on the history of schooling and the UAF context to people who were especially knowledgeable in these areas. I asked them to provide me with feedback—particularly on the accuracy of my information and on whether or not they felt I had provided sufficient data to warrant my conclusions. I also gave drafts of the two student chapters to some of the students I had interviewed, as well as other individuals who had worked with many of the students involved. I asked them to comment on the same areas, and to be attuned to whether or not I might have included comments that would have allowed an individual student to be identified. The comments from these individuals were an important part of the research process for me. They caused me to pay attention to the kinds of questions and issues raised by individuals who were also “on the scene,” and they helped me to keep in mind that my descriptions and explanations needed to make sense to audiences who were both here (at UAF) and there (everywhere else). My informal analytic (computer) journal did serve the purpose Hammersley and Atkinson (1983) suggest. It allowed me to continually review and reflect upon the development of my research design and it aided in the identification of themes and patterns. Data collection and data analysis went hand-in-hand.  62  Guiding Considerations There are clearly many similarities as well as differences between the theories, methodologies and goals of people who work within critical ethnography and cultural anthropology ethnography. Attempts to develop typologies or identify distinctions between disciplines, subdisciplines or certain traditions is a heuristic exercise that, if carried to extreme, can place us right back in a positivistic, objective model. Boundaries are obviously crossed and genres blurred by real people who practice social science, so at some stages of research these distinctions can seem superfluous. Critical ethnography and cultural anthropology ethnography have more in common than those general considerations that identify the work of all qualitative researchers. Members of both groups are bringing their social science perspectives to bear on education in an attempt to address the problems that are inherent in a compulsory system of public schooling. Sociologists and anthropologists who are using the perspectives of their respective disciplines for research within the field of education are influenced by many of the same academic and intellectual movements. Ethnographers from both traditions are engaged in research and teaching that will inform and hopefully enrich our understanding of how public schooling can provide equal opportunities and comparable outcomes, where one group of students will not be privileged over another. There are some important differences, however, between the two traditions in their history and emergent orientation—some very obvious and some more subtle. In order to guide my research process, I considered some of the implications of these differences—particularly as they related to the role of theory, sociolinguistic contributions, bases for interpretation, and impact considerations. The Role of Theory During my exploratory work on critical ethnography and cultural anthropology ethnography, I found that I was able to locate more theoretical and analytical writings about critical ethnography than actual ethnographic studies, whereas the opposite was true for  63  cultural anthropology ethnography. For those working within the critical ethnography community, theory appears to play a more central and directing role than it does for those working in cultural anthropology ethnography, where it tends to be an emergent property. Mary Metz served as guest editor for a special ethnographic issue of Sociology of Education in 1984. In that role she was required to work with writers and reviewers from both anthropology and sociology, so she was in the advantageous position of being able to listen and learn from people in both disciplines, and to think about the two in relationship to one another. Her observations speak directly to the issue of theory. As I worked with the papers submitted, I noticed that authors with an anthropological orientation were much more comfortable with the complexity of data and analysis than those with a sociological orientation. Anthropologically oriented authors gave rich accounts but sometimes needed to be encouraged to draw overall conclusions and to establish their relevance to other work. Sociologically oriented authors emphasized explanations and theoretical inferences but sometimes rushed through a schematic presentation of data. Editorial encouragement often elicited both richer accounts of data and more thoroughly grounded analyses. Perhaps we need to remember to honor the early sociologists who rooted our discipline in qualitative studies. Encouraging the rising generation of sociologists to do qualitative work and to accept its complexity and untidiness may reward us with fresh insight in the long term at the cost of clarity and certainty in the short term. (Metz, p. 199) My own questions and concerns about theory have been generated not only on the basis of the role that theory plays before or after research, but on whether or not theory takes precedence over practice and whether theoretical language dominates the written account. Central to my research orientation has been the use of culture as a focal construct to address the unique perspectives and conditions of Native Americans, and Alaska Natives specifically. Since “culture” has a long history of both theoretical and practical application in several disciplines, it provided an analytical frame of reference that offered the latitude to incorporate interdisciplinary perspectives as outlined in Chapter 2. The disciplines, people and ideas who were most influential in shaping my conceptual perspective, and thus my research design and interpretation, included those associated with the study of comparative education, higher education and minority students; the history of Native American education, and anthropology and education.  64  I have come to recognize that it is important for me to work within a tradition where theory does not take precedence over practice and possibly limit the options for flexibility— especially so in an area like higher education where the variables have changed so significantly in the past twenty years. As Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) remind us “readers should understand that the evolving character of higher education’s clientele, specifically the growing numbers of minority group and older students, raises serious questions about the universal applicability of [conventional] theories and models” [italics added] (p. 17). Consequently, the approach I have taken is intended to be more explanation-derived than theory-driven. Sociolinguistics in Educational Research I have found the work of sociolinguists who work within a cultural anthropology tradition essential in helping me understand and interpret what is going on in cross-cultural settings in the past, and there is no question that this knowledge played an important role in shaping the design and conduct of this study. I was especially aware of this as I listened to the audiotapes of the interviews and realized, because of its absence, how powerful and important the non-verbal communication was in providing meaning in the actual face-to-face sessions. I was also very aware that the conversational style in some of the interviews would be quite unfamiliar to some people because of cross-cultural differences in some of the Native students’ communication patterns as contrasted with the general student population at UAF (e.g. the use of indirect comments and/or stories to respond to a question, longer pause times, distinct intonation and rhythm patterns). An awareness of, familiarity with, and respect for cultural differences in interactional styles (gleaned from sociolinguistic research and/or immersion experiences) can be pivotal to the success of cross-cultural projects. Successful communication, especially in a research setting, can occur only in contexts where the participants have genuine respect for one another and for communication patterns different than their own, and where participants have ways to comfortably deal with, and work through, the miscommunications that inevitably occur in cross-cultural exchanges. 65  As I listened to the taped interviews I was reminded of other approaches to interviewing that do not take into account different communication styles. In particular, I remembered the interview training I had received several years ago when I was a member of an educational research team that was about to depart to several rural areas of Alaska to do fieldwork that involved a lot of interviewing. To prepare us for this, an outside academic “expert” was brought in to train us in the mechanics of interviewing. The interview process we were to use with parents, teachers and administrators was bound by very rigid and specific rules. This approach may have been appropriate in a culturally homogeneous context; however, the artificial and impersonal rules for interaction and their inappropriateness in a rural, crosscultural context made the methodology not only very uncomfortable for both interviewee and interviewer, but it also made the data from the interviews quite problematic. There does not appear to be a great deal of utilization of sociolinguistic research by critical ethnographers, and as Anderson (1989) observes “critical ethnographers in education, with few exceptions, seem to underestimate in their own work the potential of sociolinguistic analysis to systematically explore how relations of domination are sustained through the mobilization of meaning” (p. 263). Mehan (1992), too, argues for the inclusion of “ethnographically informed sociolinguistic research [because it offers] a model of mutual accommodation in which both teachers and students can modify their behavior in the direction of a common goal” (p. 7). It would be especially challenging to attempt to do research in a cross-cultural setting without having been either immersed in that community or setting for an extended period of time or without having the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge that is available in the cultural anthropology sociolinguistic literature. The ability of researchers and participants to recognize and resolve misinterpretations and miscommunications that develop because of cross-cultural differences can “make or break” a research project. Focus of Research and Interpretation The commitment of cultural anthropology ethnography is to cultural interpretation, in both the process and the product of ethnography, whereas the commitment of critical 66  ethnography is to an interpretation based on the structures of social class, race and gender (which of course have cultural roots). Although many critical ethnographic studies make reference to culture, there does not appear to be a consensus about what culture is and where it fits into the interpretations. Identifications of cultures as “high and low, popular and elite, dominant and subordinate” suggest a hierarchical orientation that is different from a cultural anthropologist’s interpretation of culture. The definition of culture provided by Dubbs (1982) as “the learned and shared knowledge, beliefs, values, and expressive modes that people have in their heads and which they use to interpret and interact with the world around them” (p. 14) is typical of a cultural anthropologist’s understanding of culture. In Alaska, and in other places where there are populations of Native Americans, an awareness and recognition of the centrality of culture in interpretation is essential to understanding what is going on. In a series of articles on the history and problems of American Indian education, Vine Deloria (a Sioux Indian and a political scientist) makes frequent reference to the importance of culture. The second most popular argument in Indian education is that Indians are really a different cultural set and therefore generate different kinds of problems. Cultural difference should have been reasonably clear in 1492 and by the early 1700s when formal educational efforts for Indians began someone should have started to think about what cultural difference meant. Certainly after almost three centuries people ought to be getting a grip on the nature of this cultural difference. But now, less than two years away from the 500th anniversary of European contact, it should not come as any surprise that Indians really do represent an entirely different set of cultural beliefs and practices even though many of the most profound differences have disappeared over the last century (1991, p.62). The research tradition in which I work must provide an avenue for learning about and recognizing the nature of these cultural differences, and it must allow for the inclusion of cultural differences in the interpretation. This is not meant to imply that the factors of race, class and gender are not important, but they too must be considered within the larger cultural context. In Alaska, social class and workers’ struggles do not have the same meaning as in large, industrial settings where neo-Marxist interpretations are likely to be far more central and appropriate. Likewise, many of the issues associated with gender in higher education are quite different for Alaska Native people than for non-Natives. While Alaska Native women are 67  moving into professional and leadership roles in rapidly increasing numbers, Native men are experiencing a degree of cultural dislocation that is producing the highest rate of suicide in the nation. It is necessary to use caution when imposing frameworks for interpreting social class or gender differences in a context where broader cultural considerations play such a central role. Interpretation of human behavior in a research framework where culture is not a central construct assumes a level of uniformity that is rarely, if ever, present in educational settings. It is always problematic to interpret the actions and belief systems of other people, but it is especially so in research environments that include participants from cultural systems as different as those in Alaska. In the next chapter, “History of Schooling for Alaska Native People,” I provide contextual and cultural knowledge about Native American people, and about Alaska Native people specffically, as an aid to interpreting the information in Chapters  5, 6 and 7. First Principle—Do No Harm For critical ethnographers, politics and power are central to the purpose of educational research (Giroux, 1988). Anderson’s statement that critical ethnographers do research “to free individuals from sources of domination and repression” (1989, p. 249) provides an accurate summary of what is presented in most critical ethnographic texts. Although I am in complete agreement with the notion that research should contribute to “empowerment,” and a decrease in domination and repression, I personally am uncomfortable about asserting that my research will directly help “to free individuals from sources of domination and repression.” I am most concerned about such claims in cross-cultural research because of the dangers of imposing one’s own norms and interpretations. One of the limitations of formal academic research is that it is nearly always laden with and bound by restrictions related to funding, publication, advancement, and status within the academic community. While academic research can make a contribution to empowerment it needs to be coupled with other initiatives if it is to lead to responsive changes in oppressive 68  social systems. One example researchers can consider is the model provided by Myles Horton at the Highlander Folk School in Appalachia where disenfranchised people have been inspired to act through the information and support provided in a safe environment. Horton insisted that problems be identified by the people themselves and his role was that of facilitator. He was successful in helping very divergent groups of people address their problems because he did not impose his own agenda, but rather provided a place for critical dialogue and guidance for community-based participatory research (Adams, 1980; Horton, 1990; Social Policy, 1991). One of the more frequently discussed options today for blurring the distinction between researchers and “those researched,” and between theory and practice, is collaborative research because it does offer the possibility of a more balanced and democratically produced research process and product. Anderson (1989) describes collaboration as an approach that many critical ethnographers choose as a way to operationalize empowerment. However, collaboration has the same potential pitfalls as other forms of research if one is not alert to cross-cultural differences. In four out of the six Alaska Native cross-cultural education research projects in which I have participated, the modus operandi has been “collaborative.” Each of these collaborative experiences was productive, rewarding—and always challenging because of the complexity of cross-cultural interactions. I have become appreciative of the very real potential for misunderstanding, miscommunication, and abuse of power that can exist in cross-cultural research situations in institutional settings, especially where the fmal responsibility to make decisions on what is written and what is made public falls on one person, usually the principal-investigator. Joseph Tobin and Dana Davidson’s (1990) very frank analysis of their own problems in collaborative, i.e. “polyvocal,” cross-cultural research illustrates why ethnographers need to be cautious about generating unrealistic expectations of both researchers and participants while participating in, and producing, what they believe will result in genuinely collaborative efforts when research and writing is involved. They conclude  69  that, in many instances, collaborative ethnographic research is both an illusion and a reality of “shared interpretive authority between researcher and informant.” Although it holds the potential for “letting researchers and informants interact on a more equal footing and of letting informants’ voices come through in the final text,” the authors have also come to realize that “in our enthusiasm and naiveté, we failed to prepare informants for the feelings of being textualized and contextualized that we now believe to be inevitable in polyvocal research. We also are concerned that the promise of polyvocality may encourage informants to reveal more than they ordinarily might do to more obviously authoritarian researchers” (p. 279). Tobin and Davidson concluded: In qualitative research that emphasizes reflexivity, consent and confidentiality are only the beginnings of ethical issues to be addressed. A fundamental ethical precept of research is “to do no harm.”. In a cross-cultural study such as ours, this question [i.e. were participants harmed by the research process] is very hard to answer. We must consider which culture’s ethical standards and child socialization practices should serve as our ethical touchstones. (p. 275) .  .  My intention, in this research project, was to conduct a study that would have maximum benefit for individuals and institutions, and it did not lend itself to the level of collaboration that might be appropriate for responding to other types of research questions and other goals. My primary role, both within the institution, and in this research study, has been that of a liaison and broker. I have tried to translate the culture of the university (e.g. its traditions, priorities and practices) to Native students, while at the same time attempting to translate what I have learned from experiences of UAF Alaska Native students to others within the university community. I am very aware of many instances when Alaska Native people have been betrayed because of the abuse or misuse of “findings” obtained in the guise of academic research, and I do know UAF students and graduates who have been victimized by unethical research practices. During this research project, I have made every effort to be as up-front and honest as possible with members of the Alaska Native community at UAF about what I was doing and why. The UBC ethical consent forms served as a good tool for initiating discussion about the uses and the limitations of academic research (particularly since there were no comparable 70  requirements at UAF during the time I was doing my research). In an interesting observation, one of the Native students said that she saw my non-Native status as an advantage because in my quasi-outsider position I was a “safe” person to talk with. All of the results in this study have obviously been filtered through the perspective of a non-Native person—myself as the “researcher.” That’s neither bad, nor good. What is critical is that I not misrepresent this research as something other than what it is. The analysis presented here represents my interpretation from my perspective as a liaison who is working within the system. I have asked students to share their perspectives with me and have made every attempt to present their views and their voices as accurately as possible. However, readers must not forget that my decisions about what to emphasize and include from the extensive data I gathered represents a judgment call on my part. To augment the information from the interviews, I have packed a great deal of data from the students’ university records into the description and analysis. The information on the programs and services that UAF has developed for Alaska Native students, the data included in the database and summary statements about on-campus UAF Alaska Native students and their experiences, together with the historical information, provides readers with a solid foundation with which to make their own interpretations and offer alternative analyses of both UAF’s response and students’ experiences. With the exception of the interviews, which nearly all students described as a satisfying process that allowed them to reflect on their college experiences in a way they had not done previously, the impact of this study on these and future students’ lives will most likely be indirect and will come more from the product than the process. Policy and program decisions that are made on the basis of hearsay, hunches, emotion or stereotypes—by students or by university personnel—are not likely to lead to meaningful long-term change. Hopefully, the information assembled here will serve as impetus for a broad-based dialogue and provide a framework for generating future discussions about policy and practice. Accurate information is still one of the most potent tools for improvement—and empowerment.  71  If we are really interested in understanding more about the experiences of minority students in higher education, we need to foster research in a wide variety of contexts and from people with different histories and perspectives. We do need more research that comes just from Native people, and we do need to provide research opportunities in our institutions where people from different cultural groups have the freedom and the flexibility to do genuinely collaborative work. We need to expand our defmition of poiyvocal research by supporting not only collaborative research in which people with multiple voices work with one another, but we also need to encourage comparative and contrastive research that allows for a much broader range of methodologies.  72  CHAPTER 4 HISTORY OF SCHOOLING FOR ALASKA NATIVE PEOPLE In this chapter I describe some of the historical circumstances that have helped to shape the educational experiences of Alaska Native students who come to study at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Through a brief review of the conditions of schooling for students in this study (and for their parents and grandparents), I examine how the legacy of these students was partially defined by the school experiences they had because they were Alaskans, and Native Americans, and Alaska Natives. As was stated in Chapter 1, understanding the historical context of Native American/Alaska Native schooling is important in examining the experiences of Alaska Native students at UAF for the following reasons: (1) despite the unique legal standing recognizing the aboriginal rights of Native people and the federal government’s binding treaty obligations to Native Americans (which have been extended in large part to Alaska Natives), many misunderstandings continue about the status and rights of Alaska Natives with regard to public education, health, social and economic services; (2) the history of Alaska Native education is not the same as the history of Native American education, and the differences are significant; (3) student’s prior schooling experiences influence their performance in a university setting, and the schooling experiences of most Alaska Native students at UAF are significantly different from those of most students in any other state. An additional reason for including this historical information is the scarcity of published information on the history of education in Alaska. The most recent treatment of the subject was an article in the Polar Record in 1979 (Darnell). Even though Alaska ranks as the state with the fifth largest Native American population, most books written about Native American education focus only on Indians in the Lower 48 states. Some authors do give Alaska Natives a cursory nod, as Margaret Szasz (1974) does when she prefaces her historical account of Indian education by saying that “Alaskan Native children are mentioned only briefly; their 73  school conditions are unique and should be the subject of a separate study” (vii). Others attempt to explain away the Alaska oversight in their analyses, as Francis Prucha (1984) does when he states that: Alaska Natives—Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts—offered unique problems [for the federal government], for they had never been fully encompassed in the federal policies and programs developed for the American Indians. Alaska for decades seemed remote and out of the way; no treaties were made with the natives there, few reservations were established for them, and only small appropriations were made for their benefit. Not until the mid-twentieth century did striking changes occur that demanded attention to the claims of the aboriginal peoples of Alaska. (p. 1128) In this chapter, therefore, I present a brief historical account of Native American and Alaska Native educational policies and practices, embedded in a description of the broader, and in some instances unique, socio-political environment. I have done this to provide the necessary context for understanding the development of Alaska Native policies, programs and services at UAF as described in Chapter 5; and the experiences of the 50 Alaska Native students in this study as presented in Chapters 6 and 7. The chapter is organized around: (1) an overview of the Alaskan context; (2) a review of federal policies that have directly affected schooling for Alaska Native people; and (3) a brief history of schooling for Alaska Native people, with an emphasis on the development of a dual system of schools, the influence of federal reform efforts, and the impact of Alaska reform efforts. I conclude by describing the current status of schooling in Alaska. Throughout the chapter I use the terms “Alaska Native” or “Native” when I am referring to all of the indigenous people in the state. When I refer to a specific cultural/linguistic group or subgroup, I use the term with which people identify themselves (e.g. Aleut, Koyukon Athabaskan Indian, Inupiat Eskimo, Thngit Indian, Yup’ik Eskimo). I follow the conventional pattern of using “American Indian” to describe Native American people outside the state of Alaska, and I use “Native American” when I refer to all indigenous people of the United States.  74  The Alaskan Context Alaska has many features by which it is readily identified by people throughout the world. Traveling Alaskans discover that people in nearly all parts of the world have some familiarity with the midnight sun, weather extremes, rich oil fields, vast amounts of land, Mt. McKinley, or the Yukon River. These geographical features are responsible for much of what “Outsiders” perceive Alaska to be about. They have prompted many to describe it as a “land of contrasts” or a “land of extremes.” The geographical and physical features are remarkable. With a land mass of 586,402 square miles, it is equal in size to one-third of the rest of the United States. Its far northern position isolates it from other states but places it within 47 miles of the former Soviet Union, and its 33,000-mile coastline is longer than the east and west coastlines of the contiguous states combined. Alaska has the highest mountain on the North American continent, the second longest river in America, two active volcanoes, over half the glaciers in the world, and spectacular aurora borealis. Its extension through two climactic zones and its summer sunlight and winter darkness account for great differences in temperature between summer and winter. It has rich oil, timber, coal, and gold resources, and its natural environment continues to support animals now absent in other locations. Alaska also has the most northern, the most western, and the most eastern locations in the United States (some of the Aleutian Islands are on the other side of the International Date Line). Alaska is indeed a land of contrasts and extremes, but not only because of its physical features. The diversity of its people, along with major changes and events in the state since 1970, has resulted in social, political, economic, and educational contrasts that are no less remarkable. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the building of the trans-Alaska pipeline, decentralization of the state school system, establishment of a network of small rural high schools, and bilingual education legislation may not be as familiar as the geographical features of the state to non-Alaskans, but the impact of these events upon the everyday life of Alaskans is at least as significant.  75  The population of Alaska in the 1990 census was 550,000 people, including 86,000 of aboriginal ancestry—Eskimos, Indians, and Aleuts, who collectively refer to themselves as Alaska Natives. The large majority of non-Native people are migrants from the Lower 48 states, with increasing numbers of Asian and Latin American immigrants. English is spoken by nearly everyone in the state. With twenty different Alaska Native languages, several Asian and European languages, and American dialects from all regions of the United States, there is an unusual linguistic diversity for such a small population. With only 550,000 people spread over 586,402 square miles, Alaska has one of the lowest population densities in the world. There are three major urban areas, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, as well as 20 smaller towns and about 180 villages. The urban areas of Alaska (Anchorage 227,000, Fairbanks 78,000 and Juneau 27,000) offer the same kinds of amenities found elsewhere in the United States. They have well-developed transportation systems, modem shopping complexes, fully-equipped homes, and extensive educational facilities. Most villages in Alaska are accessible only by air and, in some cases, by water. Even the state capital Juneau can be reached only by airplane or ferry, and it is as far from communities in northern and western Alaska as Colorado is from New York. The majority of the residents in rural Alaska are Alaska Natives who live in villages with populations ranging between 25 and 5,000. Although an increasing number of Native people live in urban areas of the state, the terms rural and Native are frequently used interchangeably. Alaska Native people who live in rural areas maintain a distinct and unique lifestyle. Even though in most rural communities today one will see trucks, cars, snowmachines, refrigerators, televisions, telephones, and modern school buildings these will be next to log cabins, dog teams, fish wheels, food caches, meat drying racks, and outhouses. Each village has at least one store, but many Native residents continue to practice a subsistence lifestyle and depend heavily on moose, caribou, seal, walrus, whale, fish and berries for their supply of food.  76  Native people in Alaska identify with, and are organized into, distinct groups on the basis of language, culture and geographic location. The three primary groups are Eskimo, Indian and Aleut. Among these groups are four different Native language families (Eskimo Aleut, Athabaskan-Eyak, Tsinishian, and Haida), and these language families include 20 distinct Alaska Native languages. Although some of the twenty languages are related, they are different enough from one another that speakers of one language usually cannot understand speakers of another language. All of the Alaska Native languages are linguistically very different from the Indo-European languages, and few non-Natives, other than linguists, have become proficient speakers of an Alaska Native language. Children still speak their Native language as a first language in four of the languages. Alaska Native people often identify themselves with a tiered description: as Alaska Native, as belonging to a particular linguistic/cultural group (e.g. Aleut, Haida Indian or Siberian Yup’ik Eskimo) and as being a member of a particular region, village and/or family. In some areas, further clan distinctions are made. The diverse geographic areas that Alaska Native people occupy dictate quite distinct life styles with a broad range of subsistence practices, modes of transportation, accessibility to others for economic and social functions, and political structures. Aleut people live on the Aleutian Islands and along the southern coast of the mainland (the name “Alaska” comes from the Aleut word for continent). Eskimo people live along the Northern and Western coastal areas of Alaska and include Yup’ik people who live in the Southwest—both inland and along the coasts of the Bering Sea; Inupiat people who live in the north primarily along the Arctic Sea; and Siberian Yup’ik people who live on two islands very near the Russia border. Indian people include 11 different groups of Athabaskans in the Interior, and Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian in the Southeast coastal area of Alaska. Although the actual population figures for Alaska Native people have changed since 1887 (a decrease beginning in 1867, and an increase in the past 20 years), the proportion of Alaska Native people across the three primary groups  77  has remained fairly consistent: Eskimos at 56 percent, Indians at 34 percent, and Aleuts at 10 percent. Although there are important differences among Alaska Native groups, most share with one another—and with other Native Americans—a set of beliefs that include the following: a priority of communal and family considerations over individual considerations; a belief in sharing versus accumulating; and a respect for spirituality and an interconnectedness with the natural world. These beliefs are encompassed in world views that sometimes clash in fundamental ways with Western views grounded in a Judeo-Christian belief system, economic capitalism and political democracy, and the values inherent in these beliefs and ideologies. In a number of ways, most Native American tribes interpreted life from a certain common perspective, employing a set of values sharply at odds with the assumptions of European civilization. When compared to one another, the tribes are highly diverse; but when all of them are compared to European society, a Native American culture becomes discernible—one that revolved around Native American visions of life, time, community, and the environment. (Olson & Wilson, 1984, p. 15) Federal Indian Policy and Schooling in Alaska When the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, the policies, programs and relationships that had already developed between the government and American Indians directly influenced Native Americans in Alaska. Although many American Indian educational policies and programs were not designed specifically for Alaska Natives, they all have directly or indirectly influenced decisions about schooling in Alaska. Moreover, the policies established in this early period set a precedent for federal and state schooling practices for Alaska Natives that continues even today. Many current misunderstandings about educational policies for Alaska Native people are the result of misinformation about early federal practices that affected schooling in Alaska. Of particular consequence are the federal government’s early actions in the negotiation of treaties with American Indian tribes, the establishment of reservations, and the adoption of the Civilization Fund Act.  78  Treaties During the Revolutionary War, the colonial government opened treaty deliberations as a means of negotiating with Indians who controlled land, resources, and trade routes that the newcomers wanted access to. These treaties recognized the sovereignty and independent nation status of Indian tribes, and when the United States Constitution was written, it specifically authorized Congress to enter into these treaties. Included in almost every treaty were contractual, legally-binding agreements in which the federal government agreed to provide Indian people with education, health care, and social services in exchange for Indiancontrolled resources. Between 1779 and 1871, 389 treaties were negotiated between the United States government and Indian groups, and through the process a precedent for federal control of Indian affairs, including education, was firmly established. The treaties also established the dual rights of Native Americans in United States society: special rights that evolved from the treaties and, eventually (in 1928), rights also as United States citizens. Treaties were the first instance in which federal responsibility for Native American schooling was identified, and since that time the government has legally extended its educational responsibility through other means including congressional acts, executive orders and court decisions. While there continue to be many problems in following through on the intent of the treaties, of equal concern are some of the unintended consequences. The first was that many of the treaties were not honored by the United States government and this betrayal influenced further relationships. The second was that the treaties initiated a relationship of dependency. Indian people were forced to rely on the federal government for essential services because their traditional, and historically effective, means of providing these services for themselves was lost through displacements resulting from the treaty arrangements. Although Alaska Natives were not directly involved in formal treaty arrangements, the precedent of negotiating with the federal government for land, rights and resources, and the dependency that developed from the legacy of federal responsibility for education continue to be critical issues in Alaska 79  today. Two federal-state-Alaska Native task forces are currently addressing the residual effects of this relationship—the Alaska Native Commission, and the Joint Federal-State Task Force on the role of the BIA in Alaska. Reservations and Allotments The process that led to the eventual development of a national system of reservations for Indians occurred over several decades, but was not formally instituted until the 1850s. The beliefs and assumptions that led government officials to recommend this type of institutional and jurisdictional structure are described and rationalized by the federal Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Luke Lea in 1850. It is indispensably necessary that [the Indians] be placed in positions where they can be controlled and finally compelled by sheer necessity to resort to agricultural labor or starve. Considering, as the untutored Indian does, that labor is a degradation, and that there is nothing worthy of his ambitions but prowess in war, success in the chase, and eloquence in council, it is only under such circumstances that his haughty pride can be subdued, and his wild energies trained to the more ennobling pursuits of civilized life. There should be assigned to each tribe, for a permanent home, a country adapted to agriculture, of limited extent and well-defmed boundaries; within which all, with occasional exception, should be compelled constantly to remain until such time as their general improvement and good conduct may supersede the necessity of such restrictions. In the meantime, the government should secure to them the means and faculties of education, intellectual, moral, and religious. (Commissioner of Indian Affairs Report, 1850, as cited in Prucha, 1984) This statement is a harsh reminder of the extreme ethnocentrism and moral righteousness of the time, and it provides an indication of the extent of power and control which government officials envisioned through the reservation system policy. Although Alaska, for the most part, was not directly affected by the reservation plan (the Annette Island Reserve for the Metlakatla Indian Community and the village of Venetie being the exceptions), the beliefs that led the United States government to support the policy were the same beliefs that shaped its future relationship with Native people in Alaska. After the establishment of the reservations, the Dawes Act, also referred to as the  Allotment Act, was passed in 1887 and caused an even further breakup of Native people. First divided by the creation of the reservations, Indian people’s family and tribal systems were broken down even further when the government allotted small parcels of reservation land to 80  individual Indians to promote private ownership and encourage agricultural pursuits. In a period of thirty-two years, 75 percent of this land was then sold to non-Natives. As a provision of the Dawes Act, the government again included education as a compensation for its actions. The government’s justification for the Allotment Act is captured succinctly by David Adams (1988) when he describes the “coincidence of interests between two races... that Indians had land and needed civilization, and whites had civilization and needed land” (p. 18). Therefore, from the White man’s perspective this was a fair trade. Prucha’ s (1984) comments about the eventual extension of the Allotment Act to Alaska (19 years later) are interesting. “The Alaska Allotment Act in 1906 extended to Alaska the provisions of the Dawes Act, allowing allotments of 160 acres to individual Indians that would give clear title to their homesites; but quarter-section allotments made little sense in the subsistence economy carried on by most Alaska Natives” (p. 1129). Treaties, reservations, allotment policies, and boarding school programs, all of which were developed at about the same time, endorsed and ensured restricted environments in which the government could control all aspects of Native American life including education, religion, medicine, and law. Each of the federal initiatives served to sever connections between family members, villages and tribal units. In addition, the policies inaugurated a long-standing policy of assimilation through segregation (e.g. the goal of boarding schools was to assimilate Native American students into mainstream society by separating them from their communities). Federal policies were designed so that Natives and non-Natives had little occasion or opportunity to interact for educational, economic, social or political purposes, except for the often stilted interactions with outside government or missionary representatives on reservations or in the villages. Treaties, reservations, and the Allotment plan dealt a blow to Native American initiative, pride and self respect, and the net effect of these policies has contributed to the cycle of poverty, disease, and high incidence of alcoholism that continues to impact many Native people today.  81  Civilization Fund Act The Civilization Fund Act, passed in 1819, also had a direct impact on schooling practices. It appropriated an annual “civilizing” fund and initiated a program whereby the federal government contracted with religious groups to operate schools for Native children—a policy that continued to influence Native education long after it was declared unconstitutional in the 1 890s. With the passage of this act, the federal government established a second legal basis for federal responsibility for schooling for all Indian children (not just those covered under treaty arrangements). The assumption that Indian people’s needs would best be served through schools that promote “civilization” and Christianity has continued to be a powerful theme throughout the history of American Indian and Alaska Native education. The Dual System of Schools in Alaska The recorded history of the relationship of Native people in Alaska to the United States government begins almost 200 years after the history of relationships with other Native Americans because Alaska did not become part of the United States until it was purchased from Russia in 1867. Because few government, church and education records are available (in English) for the period of time Russians were in Alaska, we have only a limited understanding of their relations with Native people from the time of initial contact. We do know that Russian explorers, fur traders and missionaries had been in the country since the 1700s, and we know that the territory was sparsely settled by groups of indigenous people whose languages and cultures varied significantly. Prior to the time of purchase, formal education for Alaska Native people came primarily from the efforts of the Russian Orthodox church and the Russian-American Company. They provided schools for Indian people in Southeast Alaska and for Aleut people in the Aleutian area. Literacy programs flourished, especially in the Aleutians, and many Aleut people became sophisticated readers and writers in both the Russian and the Aleut languages (Dauenhauer, 1982).  82  It was not until 1881, 17 years after Alaska became a territory of the United States, that the first official federal legislation impacting Alaska, the Organic Act, was passed. This act established the first civil government in Alaska, provided the legal basis for federal provision of education and affirmed that the United States Government did not recognize aboriginal ownership of land. The Act delegated responsibility for providing schooling “for children of all races” to the Office of the United States Secretary of the Interior. Four years later the task of providing education was specifically delegated to the Bureau of Education, a unit within the Department of the Interior. Federal involvement with Alaska Native education continues to the present day through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (the “BIA”)—a unit in the Department of the Interior that assumed the responsibilities of the former Bureau of Education. The Bureau of Education fulfilled its legal obligation to Alaska by providing schools that were consistent with its emerging comprehensive national Native American school system—a system based on the belief that it was possible to transform Native people into civilized and Christian Americans, and that the best mechanism for achieving assimilation into American society was education. There was little recognition of important differences between Native Americans in Alaska and those in the other states, and even less recognition of important differences among indigenous peoples within Alaska. Olson and Wilson (1984) speculate about why differences among Native Americans were overlooked. Europeans were blind to [thej diversity and insisted on viewing Native American culture through a single lens, as if all Native Americans could somehow be understood in terms of a few monolithic assumptions. Social life in colonial and frontier America was terribly complex—a cauldron of competing racial, religious, and linguistic groups—and settlers saw Native Americans as just one more group among many. It is an irony that probably because of their own diversity, Europeans were unable to see Native Americans as anything more than a single group. Unlike black Africans, who came from diverse tribal backgrounds but were forced into one, highly integrated African American slave culture, Native Americans were divided tribally by economic organization, language, religion, and political loyalty. (p. 14) ..  .  In order to achieve the goals of civilizing and Christianizing Native children in Alaska, in the late 1800s, the federal government established day schools in villages and a limited number of vocational boarding schools. Instruction was provided in the three “R’ s,” in industrial skills, and in patriotic citizenship. A strict “English-Only” policy governed all 83  language and curriculum decisions. Some schools were operated directly by the federal government while others, referred to as “contract schools,” were contracted to missionary groups (Catholic, Congregational, Episcopal, Methodist, Moravian, Presbyterian, and Swedish-Evangelical). By the early 1900s, the number of non-Native people coming into the Territory of Alaska had increased steadily due to the discovery of gold and the development of commercial fishing and timber industries. Because the federal Bureau of Education was not able to provide adequate schooling for all of the newcomers, the United States Congress granted authority to individual communities in Alaska to incorporate and establish schools, and maintain them through taxation. Many small, non-Native towns did this and opened schools immediately. However, several communities that were too small to incorporate still desired some degree of regional autonomy in the management of their schools. Consequently, in 1905 Congress passed the Nelson Act that provided for the establishment of schools outside incorporated towns. The governor of Alaska was made the ex-officio superintendent, and new schools were established, but only “white children and children of mixed blood leading a civilized life” were entitled to attend. Thus, a dual system of education in Alaska was inaugurated, with schools for Native students run by the federal Bureau of Education, and schools for White children and a small number of “civilized” Native children operated by the Territory of Alaska and incorporated towns. The federal Bureau of Education, meanwhile, continued to extend its services to more remote sections of Alaska, and by 1931 it had assumed responsibility for the social welfare and education of most rural Native people. Its expanded services included not only education, but medical services, the Reindeer Service (i.e. an effort to bolster the economy for Alaska Natives by introducing reindeer herding), cooperative stores, operation of a ship (the North Star) for supplying isolated villages, and the maintenance of an orphanage and three industrial schools. In Alaska, as in other places in the United States, the autonomy and self-sufficiency of Native people continued to erode as the federal government assumed greater responsibility  84  over their lives and livelihood. Most of the elders in Alaska Native communities today (and several of the grandparents of the university students in this study) were the “recipients” or “victims” of these early federal Indian policies and practices. In 1928 an extensive survey of Indian social and economic conditions was commissioned, and from it the Meriam Report was issued. The report was highly critical of Indian education (and of most other Bureau of Education programs too). It was the first major report to document and bring to the nation’s attention the status of Indian conditions. The report’s recommendations called for a major refonnation of Indian education with Indian involvement at all levels of the educational process and with specific recommendations that education be tied to communities, day schools extended, boarding schools reformed, Indian culture included in the development of the curriculum, and field services decentralized. These recommendations continue to be referenced, and relevant, even today. At the time the report was prepared approximately 40 percent of all Native American children attended federal BIA schools and about 80 percent of this group were in boarding schools. Only a handful of government schools offered instruction above the eighth grade level, and the teacher turnover rate was nearly 50 percent per year. In Alaska in the late 1920s, the majority of Alaska Native students were enrolled in BIA day schools in villages where the teacher turnover rate was even higher than the national average, and few were able to attend the limited number of BIA or church-affiliated boarding high schools. Using the Meriam Report as both a catalyst and blueprint, John Collier, Sr., Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1934 to 1945, initiated a major shift in Indian policy in the United States. During his administration, a wide variety of new programs were implemented—nearly all with the goal of providing Indian self-determination in economic development, social services and education. Two pieces of legislation that supported these goals, the Indian Reorganization Act and the Johnson-O’Malley Act (both commonly referred to today by their initials) were enacted in 1934, and both had long term  85  effects on United States Indian policy, and a direct impact on Alaska Native people that continues today.  The Indian Reorganization Act provided for Indian political self-government and economic self-determination by allowing tribes to organize and incorporate. It was the first piece of legislation that addressed, and attempted to counter, the economic destruction that had resulted from treaty negotiations and reservation allotment policies. However, Alaska Natives were once again slighted in the process due to an oversight in the law. To remedy the oversight Congress passed the Alaska Reorganization Act in 1936 which authorized the creation of reservations on land occupied by Alaska Natives. However, since Alaska Natives were less “tribally oriented” than other Native Americans, they were granted special permission to establish “village” governments and constitutions, and most groups chose this option (Olson & Wilson, 1984). The Johnson-O’Mafley (JOM) Act initiated a new federal approach to Native American  education that was based on the Meriam Report recommendations—emphasizing that Indian education should be closely tied to communities. This act authorized the Secretary of the Interior (specifically the BIA) to negotiate contracts with any state or territory to provide federal funds to help the states or territories defray expenses they incurred for education, medical aid, agricultural assistance, and social welfare programs they provided for Native Americans. In Alaska, this call for more local control led to the beginning of negotiations between the Alaska Territorial Department of Education and the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the transfer of federally-operated rural BIA elementary schools to the territory. Between 1942 and 1948, 20 BIA schools were transferred to the territory. The Territory and the BIA continued to pursue the unification of the dual system of education and by the mid 1950s, 22 more school transfers were completed. In the early 1950s, about 50 percent of Alaska Native students were in territory supported public schools and 50 percent were in BIA schools, the same ratio as nationwide at that time. Alaska Native students who attended the territory-supported public schools in urban  86  areas were in racially integrated schooling environments, whereas students who lived in smaller incorporated towns with Native and non-native populations, where there were both federal BIA and territory schools, continued to attend school in a racially segregated environment. The majority of Alaska Native students attended elementary school in their own rural villages where there was only one school—run either by the Territory or by the BIA. In these settings most of the school population was Alaska Native because it reflected the population of the village—not because of restrictive official or unofficial educational policies. The only options open to Alaska Natives in small rural communities who wished to attend high school were the distant BIA boarding high schools, with the exception of a few church affiliated boarding high schools in some areas of the state. Although there were several reasons for continuing the merger between the federal and territorial school systems, the momentum that began in the early 1950s came to an abrupt halt shortly after. By 1954 efforts to bring the two school systems together ceased—for a variety of reasons, some at a national level and some within the state. In the years following World War II, the pendulum of federal Indian policy had begun to move back toward “de-Indianizing the Indian” once again. As a result of the just-concluded war and as a response to the developing Cold War, an insistence on conformity to national, narrowly-defined standards became prevalent. At the same time, the new postwar economy supported private economic growth and reduced government spending. This conservative political and economic environment led to the passage of legislation legalizing the termination of Native Americans’ official relationships with the government in 1953, and to the establishment of programs to relocate Native Americans to urban areas in 1954. The reversal of public support for Native American self-determination impacted Alaska where the educational reform efforts recommended by the Meriam Report and the Collier administration had just begun to be implemented. In the mid 1950s Alaska was placing a great deal of time, effort and money into its bid for statehood, and the motivation for federal and state education officials to work together to develop a unified system for rural Alaska Native  87  education waned significantly. Therefore, when Alaska did achieve statehood in 1959, the state and federal school systems were still a dual presence in rural Alaska. Although some of the most negative consequences of the original dual system no longer existed (i.e. single communities in which students attended separate schools on the basis of race), many of the other negative consequences of the dual system continued (e.g. lack of coordination, high expenses, duplication of services). The serious lack of documentation about schooling in Alaska’s rural areas makes it difficult to really understand what kinds of differences existed in schools operated by the BIA as compared to those operated by the territory. The stories of Alaska Native people who attended rural elementary schools in both systems (e.g. some of the students who participated in this study and several of their parents) suggest that the federally mandated policies of the BIA schools provided fewer opportunities for community input and participation in matters related to school design, language use, curriculum, and hiring of school personnel than did the territory/public schools. It was not until 1965 that the state began to pay attention once again to the educational needs of Alaska Native people in rural areas. It established the Division of State-Operated Schools (SOS) with special responsibility for rural and on-base military schools, and created a governor’s committee to again explore the merger of BIA and state schools. Fifteen years later, there were still 43 BIA schools in Alaska and the final transfer of federal schools to the state school system did not occur until 1986. Many of the students in this study, and nearly all of their parents and grandparents, attended Alaska’s rural schools during the period of time when schooling policies and practices reflected the ambiguity of state and national beliefs about the best way to educate Native American students. Many students’ parents were not able to complete the eighth grade, and most did not have the opportunity to enroll in high school. The policies of the BIA and territory schools attended by some students and by nearly all of their parents and grandparents forbade students to speak their Native languages and did not allow for a curriculum that  88  reflected anything Alaskan, Native American, or Alaska Native. Only rarely did students in this study have the opportunity to be taught by an Alaska Native teacher. Federal Educational Reform Efforts At the beginning of this chapter I referred to events after 1970 in Alaska that “caused the development of social, political, economic, and educational contrasts” and I mentioned the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the building of the trans-Alaska pipeline, decentralization of the state school system, establishment of a network of small rural high schools, and bilingual education legislation. Each of these did have a major impact on Alaska Native education, and although each was specific to Alaska, all were influenced to some extent by events in the rest of the United States. By the mid 1960s and early 1970s, a new awareness and unease was developing in the United States about the increasing economic and academic disparity between different groups of people, usually on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or social class. Public demonstrations, civil rights pressures, and independence movements were prevalent in countries all around the world. In the United States, the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement were two efforts that led to new legislation and to court decisions that directly and indirectly affected members of all ethnic and cultural minority groups. Native American people capitalized on the vigorous and supportive mood of this period and became sophisticated public advocates for Native American causes by formally organizing themselves into groups, and by using the established tools of other activist groups (e.g. lobbying, use of publicity, legal expertise, demonstrations, grass-roots efforts). Several pan Indian groups were formed, ranging from special interest groups like the National Indian Education Association (NTEA) and the National Tribal Chairman’s Association to the often militant American Indian Movement (AIIVI). These groups did not challenge, but served to strengthen, the central positions of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) which had been organized in 1944.  89  Best-selling books by Indian authors Dee Brown, Vine Deloria and Scott Momaday, as well as movies like Little Big Man and A Man Called Horse helped to promote interest in and gamer support for Native Americans. The popular media helped, but sometimes hindered, Native American people as they began to increase their use of activism and confrontation to achieve their ends. The seizure of Alcatraz by “Indians of All Tribes” in 1969, the occupation of BIA Headquarters by participants in the “Trail of Broken Treaties” in 1972, and the seizure of the community of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1973 all contributed to establishing a public awareness (and sometimes, a sense of guilt) that led to the development of federal initiatives in the 1970s and 1980s. To organize and describe the virtual flood of federal activity that occurred between 1965 and 1990 in the area of Native American education, I have organized the major national-level educational initiatives into two categories: federal programs designed for all students, and federal programs designed for Native Americans. Federal Programs For All Students Government efforts aimed at providing equal opportunities proliferated during the Great Society period of the 1960s with its bold attempts to fight the “war on poverty,” and these continued well into the 1970s. Education was identified as both a cause and a cure of inequality, and efforts to equalize schooling opportunities assumed a position of prominence in many of the reform efforts during this time. Although funding for several federal programs decreased in the 1980s, the momentum generated by the earlier actions continued. A number of general and comprehensive programs had a direct impact on Native American education programs and policies. The creation of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) in 1964 provided not only Headstart and Community Action Programs (CAP) in which many Alaska Native people and village governments participated; it also created a model for collaboration between the federal government and local communities. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 represented the first major involvement of the federal government in education for children other than Native Americans. 90  It was designed to meet the special needs of children in low-income families, and included special appropriations to public school districts enrolling Native American children. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 included five titles dealing specifically with Native Americans. Several parts of Title VII Bilingual Education legislation had immediate implications for many Native American students as well. Federal Programs for Native Americans As Native Americans continued to make public demands for local control, they developed a broad base of support. In addition to the efforts already described, special congressional subcommittees, independent research associations and grass roots organizations each used their own tools and their persuasive efforts to usher in a wide array of new programs. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon all established Presidential task forces to examine the role of the BIA. The most consequential of these was the Kennedy Task Force on Indian Affairs. Its report Indian Education: A National Tragedy—A National Challenge (U.S. Senate, 1969) was a grave censure of federal Indian policy. An independent group of researchers prepared a report that condemned the policy to terminate Native American relationships with the federal government. The book published from this report, The Indian. America’s Unfinished Business (Commission on the Rights, Liberties, and Responsibilities of the American Indian, 1967), called for Indian control of social, political and education services. A National Study of American Indian Education, funded by the United States Department of Education, also published a book, To Live on This Earth (Fuchs & Havighurst, 1972), which was critical of government policies. In 1991 yet another report, Indian Nations at Risk: An Educational Strategy for Action (U.S. Department of Education), reinforced many of the same positions. Each of these reports echoed the findings of the 1928 Meriam Report and reaffirmed that serious problems still existed and the recommendations offered were still valid—50 years later.  91  In 1972, the Indian Education Act was passed which mandated parental involvement and local control of some educational services for Native Americans. It was directed at meeting the needs of Native American students in public schools, where two-thirds of Native school children were then enrolled. The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 provided authority for tribes to contract directly with the BIA to conduct or administer all or part of any of the Indian programs conducted by the federal Department of the Interior. The 1978 Educational Amendments (Public Law 95-561) provided more opportunities for control and decision-making authority in local public schools boards. The first schools to assert local Indian control were the Rough Rock Demonstration School in 1966 and the Navajo Community College in 1969 in Arizona. Although the Bureau of Indian Affairs had official responsibility for formulating Native American policy, most of the federal educational reform efforts during this period were initiated elsewhere (e.g. Congress, the President’s Office, and other government agencies). Native Americans also began to advance to prominent roles within the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and a National Indian Education Advisory Commission, with membership restricted to Native Americans, was established to report to the President and the Secretary of the Interior. During this same period, many other signfficant legislative, executive, and judicial decisions were made in favor of Native Americans’ sovereignty, land, and resource rights. Although some did not directly relate to education, all clearly had an effect on it, as becomes evident when considering the impact of land and resource issues upon the programs and policies in Alaska education over the past 25 years. The discovery of oil and the subsequent passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act provided the State of Alaska with a great deal of money, and provided Native people with the power and economic status they had not previously held. When oil was discovered on the North Slope of Alaska in 1968, the major oil companies involved immediately applied to the federal government for a right-of-way permit to initiate the largest private construction project  92  in recent United States history. They wanted to build an 800 mile oil pipeline that would extend from Prudhoe Bay in the north to Valdez on the Gulf of Alaska. Since the time of the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, Alaska Native people had not been compensated for their aboriginal land or granted title to any more than small parcels. Therefore, when oil was found, it became clear that Native claims would have to be settled before a pipeline right-ofway permit could be issued to the large oil companies. Natives claimed ownership to land that the pipeline would cross, as well as the land on which the oil fields themselves were located. After five years of negotiation between the oil industry, federal and state governments, Alaska Native leadership, and environmentalists, a permit for construction of the pipeline was issued, and construction finally began in 1973. Four years later this major technological feat was completed, and Alaska became an important supplier of United States oil. Thus, it was the discovery of the rich oil fields that fmally provided the impetus for the state and federal governments to enter into serious negotiations on the long-standing land and compensation disputes with the Native people of Alaska. Through their collective efforts, they achieved what, at the time was “perhaps the most comprehensive and far-reaching legal settlement of aboriginal claims to land and its resources yet witnessed in the contemporary world—the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, ANCSA” (Gaffney, 1977, p. 29). Through ANCSA, Alaska Natives received title to 40 million acres of land (this process has not yet been completed), and $962.5 million dollars. In order to use this land and invest this money in ways that would collectively benefit the Native community, 12 regional Native profit-making corporations were established that coincided with the various cultural and linguistic regions of Alaska. These regional corporations became the largest landowners in Alaska, outside of the state and federal governments.  Today, these 12 Native corporations function like business corporations anywhere in the world. They are governed by corporate laws, are directly responsible to their Native shareholders, and are free to engage in any production or investment profit-making activities, such as hotel construction, oil exploration and drilling, fish processing plant operations, and  93  local business enterprises. Within each of the 12 regions many village-based corporations were also established by ANCSA, along with nonprofit organizations designed to administer a wide range of social service and educational programs, many of which were formerly under the control of the BIA and other federal and state government agencies. The non-profit corporations now annually administer over one hundred million dollars for education, health, employment, and social programs. Alaska Educational Reform Efforts Since 1970 An indication of the level of disorder that existed in the rural educational system in Alaska even in the 1970s (when the parents of some of the UAF students in this study were of high school age) can be found in the account of federal policies described by Margaret Szasz (1974). She indicates that in the late 1960s Alaska was viewed by the BIA as a major educational problem area, second only to the Navajo Reservation. Although more than half of Alaska Native children were enrolled in state public schools, a significant number were still in BIA elementary day schools. When these “overage” and “underachieving” children, as labeled by the BIA, completed the eighth grade they presented “a real problem for the enrollmentconscious Branch of Education” of the BIA because of the lack of high school facilities in Alaska (pp. 127-128). Szasz (1974) describes the situation one year in the late l960s when there were 400 eighth-grade graduates from rural elementary schools for whom there was no space available in the BIA high school boarding facilities available to Alaska students (i.e. Mt. Edgecumbe, Wrangell and Nome-Beltz in Alaska and Chemawa in Oregon). The BIA therefore enrolled 204 Alaska Native students in the Chiocco BIA High School in Oklahoma. Szasz reports that, although a small percentage of these students returned to Alaska before Christmas, most of them stayed through the first year—”perhaps in part because Bureau leaders made it difficult if not impossible for students to leave.  .  .  Each student, the Juneau, Alaska Area  [BIA] Director advised, must be encouraged, persuaded, and even discreetly forced to remain  94  at Chilocco” (p. 127). The Bureau attitude was based on the premise that if the student failed at Chilocco there was no other educational avenue open. Szasz surmises that: Without question, the decision to use the space at Chilocco was attuned to Bureau goals rather than to the needs of the students. Restricted by budgetary limitations and anxious to increase the percentage of pupils in school, the Branch of Education juggled students to fit spaces, regardless of the effect on the students themselves. (pp. 127-128) In 1971, the Alaska State legislature attempted to attend to the chaos in Alaska’s rural schools by making the Alaska State-Operated School System an independent agency with responsibility for rural schools. However, pressure for more local control brought legislative action again in 1975 that abolished this system and in its place set up 21 separate school districts in rural Alaska, referred to as Regional Educational Attendance Areas (REAAs)—the system that is currently in operation. As a result of this massive decentralization effort, the REAAs (like school districts in urban areas) have assumed responsibility for educating children in their regional area. Each REAA has its own locally elected school board and its own superintendent, and although the responsibilities of the school boards and administrators vary from region to region, many of the boards today are directly involved in establishing policies for budgets, hiring, and developing curriculum. There are state guidelines in all areas of education, but each REAA has enough latitude to design the schooling process in ways that will make it most appropriate for its particular region. Special services and some additional resources are provided to the REAAs and to other public schools through the Alaska Department of Education in Juneau. Schools in the REAAs are funded on the basis of a state formula that provides full funding for schools in all communities that are not incorporated. The level of state support for schools in Alaska ranks among the top in the United States. The establishment of regional school districts did not, however, respond to the need for high schools in rural areas. There was in fact no comprehensive effort to remedy this problem by the state or federal governments until a lawsuit was filed against the State of Alaska in 1974. The class-action suit, charging discriminatory practice on the part of the state, was filed by Alaska Legal Services, on behalf of all rural secondary-aged students, for not providing 95  local high school facilities for predominantly Native communities when it did for several same-size, predominantly non-Native, communities. The Hootch family, whose daughter the suit was named after, lived in the Yup’ik Eskimo community of Emmonak, with a population of about 400 people. Like most other rural Alaska Native families, they faced the prospect of sending their high school-aged child away from home for the entire school year. Secondary students in nearly all rural and Native communities in Alaska had been sent to federal Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools in southeast Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, or, for a short time in the 1970s, to state boarding schools and boarding home programs in larger Alaskan communities. The case was argued on grounds of racial discrimination, and in 1976, the Governor of Alaska signed a consent decree as settlement of what had become the Tobeluk v. Lind case because Molly Hootch was no longer in school. In the settlement, the state of Alaska agreed that it would establish a high school program in every community in Alaska where there was an elementary school (which required a minimum enrollment of eight students) and one or more secondary students, unless the community specifically declined such a program. Subsequent legislation and funding brought about sweeping and dramatic changes in the educational system in Alaska. During the year after settlement of the case nearly 30 new high schools were established with staffs of one to six teachers and student enrollments in the new high schools ranging from 5 to 100. During the next seven years, the state invested $133 million in the development of approximately 90 more small high schools. Today there are over 120 small high schools in Alaska villages, nearly all operated by the REAA in which they are located. Twenty-two of the 50 student participants in this study were among the first generation of Alaska Native students who were able to attend high school in their own community. Decentralization of the state educational system, establishment of REAAs with power vested in their regional and local school boards, and the construction of 120 new small high  96  schools did not occur simply because federal policies had paved the way for new organizational structures that made self-determination a viable option. These events were, in fact, made possible by social, political and economic occurrences outside the educational arena. Alaska Schools Today Today, nearly all Alaska Native students entering the University of Alaska system have attended elementary and secondary school in one of three settings. 1. Village Schools In rural village schools, students are usually in multi-graded settings, instruction in the early years may be in a Native language (especially in a Yup’ilc or Inupiat community), and most schools have an Alaska Native cultural component in the curriculum. Community members serve as classroom and bilingual teacher aides in most village schools. 2. Urban schools Nearly all urban schools in Alaska now include some programs designed specifically for students who identify themselves as Alaska Native or Native American students. These are funded primarily through federal programs (e.g. Johnson-O’Malley, Indian Education Act), and sometimes supported with state and/or district funds. The special programs often include in-school academic tutoring, community cultural events, provision of a “school-within-a school,” or cultural heritage activities. Urban communities in Alaska include Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. 3. Rural Regional Center and Road System/Marine Highway Schools The elementary and secondary schools in the larger rural communities (Barrow, Bethel, Kotzebue, Nome, etc.) where the population is 30 to 50 percent non-Native, and in the “road system or marine highway” schools (schools accessible by car or ferry and primarily nonNative, such as Glenallen and Tok, or Ketchikan and Sitka) have characteristics of both the village schools and the urban schools. Many of these schools are administered by the same REAA district or borough that administers the village schools in that region. The range of 97  special programs for Native students varies significantly within this group, depending on their representation in the population. Despite the differences among these three school settings, there are some important conamonalties across schools in Alaska. All of the schools that enroll Native American students are now required by federal regulations or by their organizational structure to include parents and other community members in the decision-making process. No school districts in the state have a proportion of Native teachers commensurate with the proportion of Native students. Only 4.0 percent of all teachers in the state are Alaska Native, and the percentage of administrators is even smaller. There are however a few village schools where 50 percent or more of the faculty is Alaska Native. Eighty-five percent of the teachers in Alaska have received their training outside the state, and the annual teacher turnover rate in the rural schools continues to be high—up to 30 percent in some areas. Comments Native American education, and Alaska Native education, have histories that are complex and tightly interwoven. A comprehensive knowledge of these histories is essential for understanding and interpreting the educational institutions, programs and policies that have evolved to serve Native people. Alaska’s educational history has essentially been one of a movement toward self-determination and self-control—in education, tribal government and social services. The passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the decentralization of the federal and state school systems, and the rapid development of an extensive network of village high schools have brought about major transitions in a very short period of time. These events have also brought to the surface many of the dilemmas and contradictions in Native American educational policy. The inherent paradox in a system that requires the government to provide education for Native Americans while at the same time promoting self-determination has not yet been resolved. And the fundamental question of whether or not it is possible for the federal government to maintain its legally-binding trust responsibility, as defmed by  98  constitutional, congressional and judicial actions, without maintaining some level of control has yet to be answered. Alaska Native students at the University of Alaska in this study brought with them a far more diverse set of educational experiences than have any group of Native students in the past. They grew up in a political, social, economic and educational environment that was dramatically different, not only from that of their parents, but even from that experienced by their older brothers and sisters. It is important to be aware of the differences that exist within the group of 50 students, and to remember that they do not all share the same set of educational experiences; that their educational experiences are not a direct parallel with Native Americans in the other 49 states; and that their experiences have not been the same as other minority groups in the United States. The following is a summary of characteristics that distinguish Alaska Native students who currently attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as many of those in this study. • Many of their parents did not complete elementary school or have the opportunity to go to high school, and most are the first generation of students from their family, or village, to attend college. • They have grown up in a political milieu in which Alaska Native people (especially legislators and corporate officials), for the first time, wield economic and political power that is being used to impact schooling. • They are shareholders in their own corporations, as a result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and most have participated in village and regional corporation activities. • They have been the focus of national and international attention in the past few years as a result of events such as the oil spill of the Exxon Valdez, the plight of the whales stuck in the ice in Barrow, renewed efforts to open up Arctic land for further oil development, and continuing unresolved issues dealing with Native hunting and fishing rights. • They are the first generation to grow up with telephones, TVs and VCRs in their homes, and computers and audioconferencing equipment in their classrooms. • They are members of a minority group that continues to rank at the lower end of the spectrum in the United States and in Alaska, on measures related to income, educational attainment, infant mortality rates, life expectancy, alcoholism, suicide and accidental death.  99  In the following chapter I examine the context and climate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks—the next schooling environment in which many Alaska Native people continue their formal education. I look specifically at the ways in which it has responded to the interests and needs of its increasing population of Alaska Native students.  100  CHAPTER 5 ALASKA NATIVE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES AT UAF: CHALLENGES AND CHANGES In 1971 I was hired as a teacher for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. To meet the requirements for Alaska teacher certification I needed to acquire six academic credits during my first year. I was pleased with the prospect of being able to take courses that would help me learn more about teaching in an Alaskan environment, since my teaching assignment included Alaska Native students, students from rural areas, and students for whom English was a second language. However, I was surprised and disappointed to discover that few such courses were available at the University of Alaska. There were only three options: two anthropology courses, and one education course that was described as an “interdisciplinary study of problems encountered by teachers in educating culturally atypical pupils” (University of Alaska Catalog, 1970-71, p. 178). I chose to wait for the summer sessions when visiting professors came to the university to offer courses that were more appropriate for my needs. Two years later I decided to begin a master’s degree program at the University of Alaska. Once again I discovered there was little coursework and no degree options that would allow me to study those issues that I thought would help me to be a successful teacher in Alaska. I therefore met with faculty members who had expertise in the areas in which I wished to study (Alaska Native languages, anthropology, education, linguistics, psychology, and sociolinguistics) and with their assistance, I developed a proposal for what we all agreed was a rigorous interdisciplinary master’s degree in “Language and Cross-Cultural Education.” Since it was an interdisciplinary degree, the plan needed to be approved at several administrative levels in the university. With proposal in hand (and with a great deal of confidence), I met with the first of the administrators whose approval was critical to the acceptance of my proposal. He read it  101  carefully and then told me, in a kind and thoughtful manner, that I would be putting my professional career in jeopardy if I pursued this academic route. He explained that the areas of study I wished to pursue were considered “fringe” and that if I received a master’s degree in an area that included a cross-cultural emphasis it would impede my opportunities for “moving up” within the Fairbanks schools, and it would threaten my chances of getting accepted into quality graduate schools. He urged me to take advantage of the opportunities for research that were already available to me on the Fairbanks campus and pursue one of the standard degrees listed in the catalog. At the end of our meeting, he reluctantly agreed to sign my proposal, but only after I acknowledged that I fully understood that I was taking a personal and professional risk in making this decision. Nevertheless, I chose to proceed with my plans. My experience typifies the situation that existed at UAF and at many other colleges and universities in the early seventies, when issues of multiculturalism were just beginning to challenge the standard modus operandi of higher education institutions. Twenty-five years ago, in 1969, there were few Alaska Native students, faculty or staff on the Fairbanks campus and only one student support service office with an Alaska Native or rural emphasis—Student Orientation Services (SOS). Very few courses in education, humanities or social sciences included information on Alaska Native people or issues—in fact, almost nothing on the Fairbanks campus reflected the presence of Alaska Native people in the state. In 1969 UAF was, however, well on its way to establishing itself as a major research university. Although it was unusual for a campus as small as UAF to have such a strong research emphasis, the far northern geographic location enhanced and contributed to its potential to make important research contributions. The development of several institutes in the physical and biological sciences contributed significantly to this impetus, and by 1969 the university’s goals and priorities were beginning to reflect that of other research universities. Twenty-five years later, UAF is recognized and referred to as the state’s major research center (and 90th in research and development spending out of the nation’s top research and development universities), and during the same period of time it has also become known as  102  the center for Alaska Native studies (UAF Fact Book, 1991). Today the Fairbanks campus of UAF has at least 27 programs or services that directly relate to Alaska Native issues and Alaska Native people, and it has 78 courses that include information about Alaska Native or rural Alaska issues. Prospective UAF students from around the United States now read in national publications that the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is: the major research center for Alaska, [and as such it] offers unusual opportunities for studies relating to the northern environment, including engineering, fisheries science, geological engineering, natural resource management, physical sciences, petroleum engineering, rural development, Russian studies, and wildlife management. It is also the state’s centerfor study in Alaskan native cultures and languages [emphasis added]. (Cass and Cass-Liepmann, 1994, p. 7) What happened during this short time period? What were some of the factors and subsequent changes that propelled UAF into a position where it is now described as “the state’s center for study in Alaska Native cultures and languages” as well as “the state’s center for research?” Has the UAF community responded to and resolved the concerns expressed by my graduate advisor who, like many others, was convinced that the goals and reputation of a developing research university would be threatened by, and not compatible with, the development of a campus that responded to multicultural issues in general and to Alaska Native issues in particular? In Chapter 4, I reviewed the home, community and schooling contexts of Alaska Native students—the legacy they bring to UAF. In this chapter, I examine some of the salient features of the Fairbanks campus to provide a foundation for understanding and interpreting the descriptions of Alaska Native students’ experiences in Chapters 6 and 7. I focus specifically on the context of the Fairbanks campus and examine several factors that have been instrumental in shaping UAF’s response to Alaska Native people and issues by presenting: (1) a description of the characteristics of research universities generally as a basis for interpreting information about the past and current campus climate in Fairbanks; (2) a brief overview of the vocabulary of the multicultural movement; (3) a description of the response of UAF to multiculturalism and specifically, a documentation of the actual changes that have been made  103  in the past 25 years on the Fairbanks campus of UAF in response to Alaska Native students and issues; and (4) a review of the factors that influenced the changes at UAF. The University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Research University Context In the United States the four conventional categories used for identifying the major types of higher education institutions are two year community colleges, liberal arts colleges, comprehensive universities, and research universities. Institutions are placed into this Carnegie Classffication system based on the comprehensiveness of the institution’s mission as determined by the following: level of degrees offered, number of Ph.D’s awarded each year and the range of disciplines in which they are awarded, commitment to graduate education, amount of federal support received, and level of priority given to research (Boyer, 1990, pp. 129-30). An institution’s ranking helps determine its eligibility for certain types of funding, allows it to be grouped with similar institutions for comparisons, and influences its ability to compete for students and faculty. Although differences in the cultural mores of these various categories of higher education institutions are generally not well understood by people outside the system, or by many students and non-faculty participants within the university, higher education literature is filled with references to explicit and implicit differences among categories of institutions. When I began to look deliberately for descriptions of these differences, I was surprised to discover that a fairly explicit and agreed-upon set of characteristics define the qualities of most research-oriented universities in the United States. I was also interested to find how frequently community colleges, liberal arts colleges and research universities were described as having different “cultures” because of their different emphases. UAF is officially classified as a “comprehensive university” and not as a research university because, even though it has graduate programs, it does not meet all of the criteria of a research university (e.g. it does not award at least 50 Ph.D. degrees each year). However, the lack of this official classification has not prevented UAF from choosing to identify itself, in its publications and in the information sent to national college guides, as a research 104  institution. From the time the Geophysical Institute was established in 1949, the Fairbanks campus has prided itself on being a research center, and today it is the campus that is described as “the university’s principal research center” (UAF Undergraduate Catalog, 199394, p. 5) within the wider University of Alaska system. The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ self-conscious pride in being viewed as a research institution was evident when I began my graduate studies, and it has continued to be an important part of its identity. This is evident in current descriptions in UAF’s undergraduate and graduate catalogs, its fund-raising brochures, the UA and UAF “fact books,” and the information provided to the commercially published guides to colleges such as the Comparative Guide to American Colleges (Cass and Cass-Liepmann, 1994). Other evidence that UAF considers itself a research institution can be found in the title of university convocations such as the first one by its new provost in 1994 (“Leadership in a Research University” by Jack Keating) and in its membership in the “Holmes Group” even though membership is restricted to officially-recognized research institutions. (The Holmes Group is a national consortium of 96 American research universities whose focus is the improvement of teacher education.) UAF appears therefore to be the type of institution that Irving Spitzberg and Virginia Thorndilce (1992) describe as “a comprehensive school that espouses the norms of a research institution” [italics added] (p. 129). What are some of the features, and the subsequent implications of being, or “espousing to be,” a research university? Since it is necessary to have a common understanding of what is implied when an institution is described this way, and since UAF’s identity as a “research university” is germane to documenting its past and present orientation to Alaska Native programs and people, the following is a brief review of some of the commonly ascribed characteristics that define the “culture” of research universities. In his book about the growth of American research universities, Roger Geiger (1986) examines the emergence of research as a fundamental goal in higher education and observes that in 1920 “American research universities had established patterns of structure, intellectual  105  organization, and financing that are still recognizable today” (p. 3). The popular media quite effectively presents, to the general public, information on the financial benefits that accrue to those universities that secure research grants, but there is little information available to nonacademics about “the structural and intellectual organizational” implications of being a university with a research focus. Drawing upon the work of several authors (Bok, 1992; Boyer, 1987; Carnegie Foundation, 1990; Edgerton, 1994; Geiger, 1986; Goodlad, 1990; P. Smith, 1990; Spitzberg & Thorndike, 1992; Tierney, 1993a), I describe some of the common features of a United States research university. The single most distinguishing characteristic of research institutions is the existence of a rigid and well-defmed hierarchical system built around research productivity as the basis for determining academic rank, tenure and appointments within an academic unit. Position in this hierarchy depends to a great extent upon an individual’s academic research efforts—the often referred to “publish or perish” imperative—and the rewards for those who make research their top priority are quite different from the rewards for those who do not. A wide schism often exists between people whose primary responsibility and interest is research and those whose primary responsibility and interest is in teaching or in student personnel work. According to Spitzberg and Thomdike, The majority of professors at [research] institutions embrace a culture in which faculty are first and foremost researchers; their role is to advance knowledge and provide services through consulting to government and industry.. undergraduates are sometimes seen as a distraction from the real work of faculty.. colleagues and administrators do not reward good teaching.. At most research institutions, faculty are told, directly or indirectly, to devote their time to research and subordinate teaching and service. (1992, p. 128) .  .  .  .  Faculty members whose primary interest is research usually align themselves closely with discipline-based groups at national or international levels, and research and writing for these groups usually takes priority over more immediate institutional, local or regional needs. There is also uneven status among different departments and faculties in research universities. Physical and biological science faculty frequently have disproportionate status within research universities as reflected by their larger share of resources.  106  At a typical research university, tenure-track faculty usually teach few lower division or undergraduate classes, as it is a common and accepted practice for faculty to use research money to “buy themselves out” of teaching. There is little or no incentive for faculty to spend time with undergraduate students and consequently there is often minimal interaction between faculty and students out of class. In most research institutions, the cultural and institutional norms associated with academic freedom and First Amendment rights (i.e. the principles of freedom of speech, publication and association as provided for in the United States Constitution) are more evident than in other types of institutions. This has helped contribute to the development of a university culture that is supportive of faculty members’ rights to teach and write as they wish, to determine their own course content and to exercise a remarkable amount of freedom within their own classrooms which function as “sacred territory” within the framework of university culture (Bok, 1992, p. 18). This tends to result in courses being offered as a loose collection of discrete components, with little coordination and integration across faculty, programs or academic departments. The high degree of faculty independence also has contributed to the reputation of research universities as institutions in which it is very difficult to implement significant change. The characteristics briefly described—value of research over teaching, higher status for those in science faculties, minimal contact between faculty and undergraduate students, and individual faculty autonomy are evident to some degree at all four-year institutions, but are easily recognized (and documented) as being elements of the culture and modus operandi of most research institutions and those that aspire to be research institutions. It is important to note that there is an increasing amount of public debate and controversy about the place of research in today’s institutions. Some of the central arguments are evident in the following two statements, and their content will shed light on issues discussed later in this chapter. The first is an explanation and defense of research priorities made by Virginia  107  Nordlin, a professor from the Department of Higher Education Policy Studies at the University of Kentucky in a letter to the editor of the Christian Science Monitor. I am disappointed with your editorial “Put Scholars Before Dollars,” on April 12. The purpose of a university is not teaching; it is learning. Faculty members at outstanding universities learn by doing research, giving papers, attending conferences, and consulting in their field. They do this in order to help students learn. Recent discussions of higher education have omitted the students’ duty to learn. If students and parents give teaching a priority, let them spend their money at a small liberal arts college or a teaching university. (Nordlin, 1993, p. 20) ..  .  The second perspective is offered by Derek Bok, president emeritus of Harvard, in his keynote address to the American Higher Education Association in 1992, when he sought to explain why American universities have lost the support and trust of so many people in the Congress and the American public. After discounting several of the usual theories (e.g. rising costs, a conservative agenda), he focused on the research and teaching dichotomy and concluded that the problem has developed because “our leading universities are not making the education of students a top priority”—especially in the arts and science faculties. Although there are smaller colleges where teaching remains the overriding priority, in the modern university the incentives are not weighted in favor of teaching and education—indeed, quite the contrary is true. As we all know, the prizes, the media recognition, the extra income do not come from working with students or engaging in exemplary teaching. And it is not just the professors’ incentives that are out of whack, but also those of administrators. What presidents and deans are held accountable for is improving the prestige of their institutions, and the prestige of their institutions comes from the research reputation of their faculties.. and so administrators, too, often relegate the interests of undergraduates to the background. When we go to recruit a starting professor, the bargaining chip is always a reduced teaching load—never a reduced research load. (pp. 15-17) .  .  .  .  The central issue at UAF and other institutions is not whether a university really is a research university. What is important is that the research university model has historically set the standard for all higher education institutions (Bok, 1992), and UAF has chosen to judge itself by these standards. This model was central in shaping the climate that prevailed at UAF before the demographic and societal changes of the 1960s began to be felt (as described in the first four chapters), and it has continued to influence decisions made at UAF in response to issues of multiculturalism.  108  The Challenge of Multiculturalism In Higher Education As anyone knows who follows the popular or professional press, the labels used to describe the variety of higher education definitions of diversity are frequently puzzling, confounding and numerous. This can be gleaned from a quick perusal of almost any university policy document, since nearly all of them include some reference to diversity, i.e. affirmative action, cross-cultural, discrimination, ethnicity, first amendment, freedom of speech, institutional racism, marginalization, minorities, multicultural, politically correct (PC), prejudice, quotas, racism, sexism, speech codes, under-served, and under-represented. And there continues to be confusion about the appropriate use of terms such as African American, Black, Hispanic, Mexican American, visible minorities and people-of-color. The common denominator in this confusing vocabulary is always “diversity,” and the ensuing debates revolve around the question of whether or not people are advantaged or disadvantaged because of their differences. Efforts to describe, or to compare and contrast university students and programs, are further compounded by the differences in university structures and by significant differences in student populations due to geographic location. The ambiguity of the vocabulary used in university contexts for identifying differences among people is evident from a review of the categories by which students are asked to identify themselves on UAF forms. The 1993 UAF “Undergraduate Application for Admission” form contains an assortment of options that the university believes evinces meaningful race and ethnic distinctions. Race/Ethnicity (circle one): WhitefNon-Hispanic Alaska Native Oriental  Black/Non-Hispanic Alaskan Indian Pacific Islander  109  Hispanic Eskimo Asian  American Indian Aleut Other  Though completion of this section of the form is optional, applicants are informed that “The following information is requested for us to demonstrate compliance with federal laws. This information is used for statistical purposes only.” In response to these choices, students frequently complain that there are no provisions for indicating their “bi-” or “multi-” backgrounds. They point out that the lack of options causes serious inaccuracies when statistics are compiled, and some have said that they resent being forced to place themselves in a single category when in fact they are of MULTIcultural, MULTIethnic or of MULTiracial heritage—and hence many simply choose to not complete this section. They also point out that several of the categories are ambiguous, i.e. how does one determine whether to circle “Alaska Native” or “Eskimo”? The often over-simplistic, erroneous and inappropriate vocabulary that we continue to use to discuss and examine issues related to cultural, ethnic and racial differences has caused a great deal of genuine misunderstanding and distraction in finding solutions. The term that is emerging in both popular and professional literature as the umbrella term for describing this debate in higher education is “multiculturalism.” Although multiculturalism has been used quite extensively in the past to describe and prescribe programs and policies in elementary and secondary school settings, its use in higher education literature is more recent. Although sometimes used broadly to describe a range of differences, it is most often used to refer to issues related to race, ethnicity, culture and language. Multiculturalism appears to be more acceptable to a wider range of people than some of the terminology that has now become so emotionally laden that it evokes immediate positive or negative reactions (e.g. terms such as assimilation and melting pot). When reviewing the use of the term “pluralism” in higher education it appears as though it is the closest progenitor to what is implied by multiculturalism. Pluralism is most frequently defmed and used to imply a climate in which people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds are allowed and encouraged to retain characteristics of their particular groups (e.g. maintaining their own languages, social networks, residential enclaves, churches) while, at the same time, sharing  110  some aspects of a common culture and participating individually and collectively in the larger society’s economic and political life (Cashmore, 1984). In a melding of the terms, Spitzberg and Thorndike (1992) examine the notion of a campus policy of “cultural pluralism” in which the focus is upon the “reciprocity of understanding that the goal of cultural pluralism requires. [It] demands a commitment of all to study and understand each other. The distinction between the assimilationist ideal and pluralism is that the demand for self-transcendence is equally shared by majority and minority” (p. 49). “Mu1tiCULTURALism” does have the potential to be a more accurate and appropriate term for focusing on and examining differences, because it recognizes “culture” as being the most integral and central component of the diversity debate. It is one of the few terms available for talking about the deep and consequential kinds of differences that exist between and within groups of people, i.e. belief systems, communication patterns, styles of interaction, values, and interpersonal (gender and family) relationships. These characteristics are some of the most elusive and difficult to describe, and yet the most essential for defming who we are and who we want to be—and the ones that can cause the most difficulty at an individual or institutional level. Differences based on culture are the least documented, the most complex to understand, and frequently the most difficult to address. They represent the kinds of differences that cause the anxiety and anguish frequently referred to by minority students when they describe their struggle to live in two worlds. The Challenge at UAF In this section I examine the types of changes made at UAF in response to multiculturalism issues in general and, more specifically, the changes made to respond to Alaska Native and rural issues, and to Alaska Native and rural students, on the Fairbanks campus. An analysis of the changes makes it evident that the University of Alaska Fairbanks, like most other institutions, implemented the majority of its changes in response to the needs of peoplefrom its own region and like most institutions, a high percentage of its minority student population come from a single minority group. 111  At UAF, as on many campuses today, a contentious and unresolved area in the multicultural debate continues to be the issue of whether universities should develop programs for students from a single minority group (as opposed to developing single programs for all students regardless of ethnicity, or developing programs in which all minority students are regarded as a single group). With the exception of some national colleges and universities that draw students from many different regions of the United States, and whose admissions policies allow them to be quite selective, most colleges and universities serve people from their own region. As a result, they are likely to have a high percentage of minority students from a single group (e.g. Asian Americans, Blacks, Hispanics, or Native Americans) rather than an even distribution across multiple groups (Cass & Cass-Liepmann, 1994; Yarbrough, 1992; U.S. News & World Report, 1993). At UAF this is clearly the case with Alaska Natives representing approximately nine percent of students on the Fairbanks campus (and 14 percent of all students on UAF’s Fairbanks and rural campuses), and Asian, Black and Hispanic students being just two percent each (UAF Fact Book, 1993; UAF Undergraduate Catalog, 1993-94). Some of the issues involved in this debate are examined by Yarbrough (1992) who argues that no one strategy can be developed and applied universally “because the diverse cultures comprising American society are not equally distributed throughout the country,” and therefore it is only reasonable, and appropriate, for colleges and universities to develop goals and strategies that are designed specifically for the recruitment and retention of students from the regions they serve (p. 66). [Even in the national institutions] it will be necessary for colleges to channel their efforts—so that one becomes a center for some groups, while another becomes a center for others... [This] is not meant to imply that the smaller national colleges should limit their recruiting to only certain groups. It is rather to suggest that they should state very clearly to prospective students that cultural opportunities may be limited at the college, and that ifthese are a significant factor in the selection process (and they will not be for If the desired all students), the students would be better served to look elsewhere. level of diversity is unrealistic, the result will inevitably be disappointing and potentially destructive of future efforts (p. 66-67). .  .  112  .  .  Out of necessity, UAF did channel its efforts, and as a result, it has evolved as the state’s center for the study of Alaska Native culture and languages, and as the institution with the highest number of Alaska Native four-year degree recipients. The number of Alaska Native students studying on the Fairbanks campus has increased steadily in the past 25 years. Despite the fact that accurate enrollment figures have always been difficult to get (because reporting of race and ethnicity is optional, information gathering forms are ambiguous, and data that distinguishes between on- and off-campus students is frequently not available), a review of the number of students graduating can provide useful information on trends. From 1917 (when the university first offered classes) until 1960, there were a total of 12 Alaska Native graduates. Between 1961 and 1974 an additional 103 graduated from all three of the university’s main campuses, a third of them in the first two graduating classes (1972 and 1974) of the off-campus teacher education program at UAF. By assembling graduation data for Alaska Native students who completed the majority of their coursework just on the Fairbanks campus during the 15 year period from 1975 to 1990, it is evident that an increasing number of Native students are entering and completing their degree programs, but there are fairly significant fluctuations among the numbers and percentages of Native graduates each year. The number of Native graduates in all undergraduate degrees ranged from 5 students (in 1978 and 1984) to 42 students (in 1989) with the average number being 16. The percentage of Alaska Native graduates, relative to the total number of UAF students receiving baccalaureate degrees, ranged from 1 percent (in 1984) to 10 percent (in 1989), with the average being 5 percent over the 15 year period. The upswing in the number of Alaska Native students pursuing postsecondary education began in the early 1970s fueled in part by federal initiatives previously examined (e.g. Civil Rights movement, Great Society programs, increase of federal funds), and in response to conditions specific to Alaska—the increase in the number of Alaska Native students graduating from high school and the increase in funding options available. As described in Chapter 4, the state accepted legal responsibility for providing high schools for students in  113  over 120 rural villages in 1976, and the number of Alaska Native high school graduates has increased dramatically since that time. In addition, the availability of more fmancial student assistance—from federal sources (e.g. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pell Grant), state sources (e.g. the Alaska Student Loan Program and the Alaska Teacher Scholarship Program) and students’ own Native corporations—have been other important variables in increasing the number of students who have been financially able to pursue a post-secondary education. Many Alaska Native students chose to pursue their higher education by coming to study in Fairbanks which was the only residential campus at the time. As the Native enrollment increased in the 1970s and as Alaska Native issues assumed a more central position in the state’s economic and political arenas, pressures began to mount on UAF to be more responsive to Native concerns if it expected to contribute to the broader needs of the state and to the needs of its changing student population. The Changes at UAF: Alaska Native Programs, Student Services and Coursework The University of Alaska Fairbanks has responded to the concerns of Alaska Native people in a variety of ways over the past 25 years by implementing new programs and services for students on the Fairbanks campus, as well as in rural communities. It is important to remember that most of the UAF programs and services provided to students in rural areas are not included in this research which focuses only on those that are available to students on the Fairbanks campus. To provide the necessary context for understanding and interpreting the student data in Chapters 6 and 7, I have gathered information about programs and services that have been implemented at UAF in response to Alaska Native issues and Alaska Native students’ interests and needs. Appendix A, Alaska Native Programs and Student Services on Campus at the University ofAlaska Fairbanks, provides a comprehensive report of all of the Alaska Native programs and services currently available on campus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Although the term “rural” is central to understanding and interpreting Alaska Native cultural  114  systems (as discussed in Chapter 4), for the sake of readability I do not always specify “Alaska Native and rural” when I refer to Alaska Native programs or services. In Alaska and at UAF the two are essentially synonymous, though there are non-native rural students as well. In the report (Appendix A), I have included a narrative description for each of the 27 UAF programs and services that I identified as meeting the two criteria listed above, and I have included information on each of the variables listed below. • Title of program or service • Description of program or service • Year program or service was initiated • Current administrative unit in which program or service is housed • Identification of who is eligible to participate in program or service • Approximate percentage of participants who are Alaska Native or American Indian • Original and primary source of funding The majority of the information in this report came from publicly available written descriptions of programs, services and courses, supplemented by clarification from people directly involved. Using the categories identified in a national survey of higher education responses to multiculturalism, I have organized my review of UAF’s responses to Alaska Native students and issues into five major sections: (1) Alaska Native departments, programs and academic courses; (2) general education requirements; (3) Alaska Native faculty; (4) Alaska Native research institutes and faculty development; and (5) Alaska Native advising and academic support programs. Within each of the sections I include the following: a summary statement from a national survey about the types of changes made by other colleges and universities relative to this item; information about specific programs, policies, services or courses at UAF; and a discussion of the data.  115  The national survey I draw from was conducted by the editors of the higher education publication, Change in 1991 when they surveyed 196 colleges and universities to determine “the condition of multiculturalism on campus” (Levine & Cureton, 1992, pp. 25-29). Using a broad defmition of multiculturalism, they sent a questionnaire to a random sample of 270 colleges and universities that had been stratified by Carnegie type to insure that the sample would be representative of all types of American higher education institutions. Although the survey was intended to focus on curriculum issues, it is evident that the findings extend beyond this because of the difficulty of gaining an accurate understanding of a campus climate without a holistic perspective. I have included this information to provide a framework for examining the range of responses to multiculturalism and to provide a yardstick for determining how UAF’ s efforts compare to those of other institutions. Alaska Native Departments. Programs and Academic Coursework According to the Change survey, more than half (54 percent) of all colleges and universities have introduced “multiculturalism” into their departmental course offerings. The leading departments have been English and history, and the most common approach has been to add new materials to existing courses. More than a third of all colleges and universities offer classes in African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American and Native American studies, though formal departments and programs in these areas are less common (Levine & Cureton, 1992). At UAF, the academic structure (i.e. the development of departments and programs), as well as course offerings has changed over the past 25 years. Table 1 provides a list of the departments, programs and special academic activities that have been designed in response to Alaska Native issues, and Native students’ interests and needs.  116  Table 1 UAF  Departments. Programs and Special Academic Activities With an Alaska Native Focus  Title of Program or Service  Description  Current UAF Unit  Year Initiated  Alaska Native Leadership Seminars College of Rural Alaska  Public Seminar! Academic Course Academic! Administrative Unit Academic Department Academic Department Academic Department Student Activity! Academic Course Student Activity! Academic Course Public Seminar! Academic Course Rural Placement Program Student Activity! Academic Course  Department of Alaska Native Languages Department of Alaska Native Studies Department of Rural Development Festival of Native Arts Native Elder-in-Residence Program Orientation to Alaska Native Education Seminars Rural Student Teaching Option TUMA Theater  Department of Alaska Native Studies IJAF  1987  College of Liberal Arts  1972  College of Liberal Arts  1981  College of Rural Alaska  1983  Department of Alaska Native Studies Department of Alaska Native Studies School of Education  1973  1988  School of Education  1982  Department of Alaska Native Studies  1978  1983  1983  Information on specific Alaska Native/rural courses is included in Table 2 As indicated earlier, UAF’ s most substantive response to issues of diversity (or multiculturalism) is reflected in its development of new academic departments, programs, degrees and courses that focus on Alaska Native and/or rural issues. The administrative structures that have been developed to coordinate these academic efforts at UAF include the Department of Rural Development and the College of Rural Alaska, as well as the Departments of Alaska Native Languages and Alaska Native Studies. The College of Rural Alaska was established in 1987 and evolved directly from the College of Human and Rural Development (CHRD) which CHRD administrative structure  was  was  established in 1983. The  designed to consolidate university services for rural and  Native students, and it included most of the UAF departments that had responsibility for preparing students to work in human service-oriented positions in both rural and urban  117  Alaska: education, psychology, rural development, sociology, and social work. Since 1992, after a third restructuring effort, the College of Rural Alaska has been recast as the primary administrative structure for pre-college, certificate and two-year associate degree programs,  with the Department of Rural Development the only remaining four-year degree program; all others have been moved back to the College of Liberal Arts. Two academic departments in the College of Liberal Arts focus specifically on Alaska Native issues and both offer four-year degree programs. The Department of Alaska Native Languages offers coursework and degrees in Alaska Native languages, and the Department of Alaska Native Studies offers coursework, and a degree, in a variety of subjects related to Alaska Native interests. In addition to identifying programs and services at the structural level, I also compiled a list of the regularly-offered undergraduate academic courses that had “Alaska Native” and/or “rural” in the course title or description in the UAF Undergraduate Catalog, 1993-94. (I did not include courses that were listed as being offered on an “As Demand Warrants” basis). There were 78 courses that met these criteria—six percent of the 1,273 regularly-offered undergraduate courses. Appendix B is a list of these courses and the academic unit in which they are offered. There are of course, other courses offered on the Fairbanks campus that likely incorporate information about Alaska Native and/or rural issues, but if such information is not included in the catalog, it is dependent on the interest of the individual instructor. Therefore I could not include them here. The three departments whose specific focus is Alaska Native or rural issues (i.e. Departments of Alaska Native Languages, Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development) offer the majority of these courses. Some UAF departments contribute by collaborating with these three to offer cross-listed courses, while others offer their own courses with an Alaska Native/rural emphasis. The 78 courses are taught by approximately 30 different faculty members,  Out of a total UAF  faculty of 717 (193 of whom are employed part-time).  118  The Department of Alaska Native Studies (ANS) provides one-third of the 78 Alaska Native/rural focus courses—il of its own and 16 that are cross-listed with a co-sponsoring academic department. Table 2 includes information about the regularly scheduled Alaska Native/rural courses offered by each academic department at UAF and indicates which of these are cross-listed. The cross-listing arrangement has been designed to encourage involvement in, and responsibility for, Alaska Native and rural curricula by faculty in other academic departments. In addition, it offers the students an opportunity to take courses for credit in either department, with the extra legitimacy provided by the label of a traditional discipline for a non-traditional course. Table 2 UAF Academic Course Offerin2s With An Alaska Native and/or Rural Focus Academic Department Alaska Native Languages Alaska Native Studies Anthropology Art Cross-Cultural Communications Education English History Justice Music Political Science Psychology Rural Development Social Work Sociology Theater  Number of Alaska Native and Rural Courses 17 11 6 1 4  Number of Cross-Listed Courses (16) 1 6 1 2  3 1 1 1 2 10 3 2  3 1 2  In addition to content oriented coursework, some Alaska Native Studies courses provide students with the option to participate in a variety of Alaska Native traditional and contemporary activities on a volunteer basis. Examples of these “student activity/academic course” options include the Alaska Native Leadership seminars, the Festival of Native Arts, TUMA Theater, and the Native Elder-in-Residence Program. The School of Education’s rural 119  placement program (that allows all students the option of doing their student teaching in rural, Alaska Native communities), and its “Orientation to Alaska Native Education” seminars are two other options that provide academic credit for opportunities to focus on Alaska Native and rural issues. Eighty-five percent of the Alaska Native/rural academic courses are offered through departments that are now located in one college—the College of Liberal Arts. Although this offers the potential for collaborative efforts, it also means that the predisposition of a single administrator can have a great deal of impact. In addition, it indicates that other academic units are not as directly responsible or involved in Alaska Native or rural efforts. While a large number of Native students come to UAF with an interest in degree programs in business, economics or natural resources, rising out of needs associated with the Native regional and village corporations, little is offered in those departments that speaks directly to their interests. In most cases, these students now choose to seek their degrees from the Department of Rural Development because it offers business, economic and natural resources options with a rural and Alaska Native orientation.