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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 ANDTHE UNIVERSiTY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKSbyCAROL BARNHARDTB.A., North Dakota State University, 1965M.A, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1981A THESIS SUBMrrrbD IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Educational StudiesWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardHE-UNWERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAOctober 1994© Carol BarnhardtIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of c71!Tc61 S74.cI, ejThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate O/o.,- /L/99’/DE-6 (2/88)LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE:ALASKA NATIVE TEACHER EDUCATION STUDENTS ANDTHE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKSbyCarol BamhardtABSTRACTThis study examines the conditions that contribute to the success of indigenous minoritystudents in higher education by focusing on the experiences of 50 Alaska Native teachereducation students who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) between1989 and 1993. Although the number of Alaska Native students enrolled at UAF hasincreased in the past 10 years, the percentage of graduates continues to be significantly lowerthan their percentage of the student and state population.The study addresses the question: whatfactors have contributed to the academic successofAlaska Native teacher education graduates at UAF? It includes three components: a briefhistory of schooling for Alaska Native people; a description of the programs, student servicesand academic coursework at UAF designed to respond to the interests and needs of AlaskaNative students; and a review and analysis of the experiences of 50 Alaska Native teachereducation students based on data obtained through interviews, reviews of student records andparticipant observation.The study identifies multiple factors that have contributed to the academic success ofAlaska Native students, including the following: a teaching and learning environmentresponsive to the interests and needs of culturally diverse students; student support servicesrespectful of the interests and needs of culturally diverse students; strong family andcommunity support; supportive prior school and life experiences; and exceptional individualefforts. Accommodations and adaptations by both the students and the institution wereessential. Recommendations are made for institutions, faculty, students and communities whoare interested in developing campus environments where Alaska Native, and other culturalminority students, can be fully represented, respected, involved and successful.IITABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract 11Table of Contents iiiList of Tables viAcknowledgment viiCHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION______________________________ 1The University of Alaska Fairbanks as a Microcosm_____________________________ 3Overview of the Research Process___________________________________________ 7Research Components_________________________________________________ 10Historical Account of Schooling for Alaska Native People__________________ 10Alaska Native Programs, Student Services and Academic Courseworkon the Fairbanks Campus of the University of Alaska_____________________11University Experiences of 50 Alaska Native Teacher Education Graduates 11CHAPTER 2. MINORITY STUDENTS AND HIGHER EDUCATION 14Comparative Education: A Commonality of Challenges___ _____15Minority Students in Higher Education in the United States 20Changing Demographics___________________________________________ 22Expanded Research Approaches_______________________________________ 24Native Americans in Higher Education_______________31Comments 34CHAPTER 3. RESEARCH DESIGN____37Qualitative Educational Research: Multiple Approaches________________________ 41Critical Ethnography____________________________________________ 44Cultural Anthropology Ethnography___________________________________ 46Other Qualitative Approaches_ _____ _52Methodology________________53Site and Sample____ _ __ _53Researcher as Participant and Observer_ ___ ___54Time Line 55Data Collection Techniques_________________________________________ 56Guiding Considerations________________________________________________ 63The Role of Theory 63Sociolinguistics in Educational Research 65Focus of Research and Interpretation_66First Principle—Do No Harm_________________________________________ 68IIICHAPTER 4. HISTORY OF SCHOOLING FOR ALASKA NATIVE PEOPLE______ 73The Alaska Context_________________________________________________75Federal Indian Policy and Schooling in Alaska_ _____ _____78Treaties 79Reservations and Allotments_________________________________________ 80Civilization Fund Act_________ _______82The Dual System of Schools in Alaska_____ _82Federal Educational Reform Efforts________________________________________ 89Federal Programs for All Students_90Federal Programs for Native Americans___91Alaska Educational Reform Efforts Since 1970 94Alaska Schools Today_________________________________________________ 97Comments 98CHAPTER 5. ALASKA NATIVE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES AT UAF:CHALLENGES AND CHANGES___________________________ 101The University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Research University Context 104The Challenge of Multiculturalism in Higher Education 109The Challenge at UAF______________________________________________ 111The Changes at UAF: Alaska Native Programs, Student Services and Coursework_ 114Alaska Native Departments, Programs and Academic Coursework 116General Multicultural Course Requirements_________________________ 120Alaska Native Faculty_122Alaska Native Research Jistitutes and Faculty Development 124Alaska Native Advising and Academic Support Programs 125Alaska Native Advisory Councils___________________________________ 130Comments 131Catalysts for Change at UAF_____________________________________________ 131Responses to Pressures from Outside the University 132Accommodations to Pressures from Within the University 137Comments 140CHAPTER 6. FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO COLLEGE:SURVIVING THE TRANSITION__________________________ 142Getting Ready for College_______________________________________________ 145High School Demographics__ _147Reflections on High School Experiences_150Why College?_____ __154Routes to UAF_____________________________ 156Transferring to UAF_______________________________________________ 157UAF as a First Choice 158Previous Work Experiences 161The First Year: Out-of-Classroom Concerns 162Housing for Students Who Were Parents 163Housing for Single Students 166University Significant Others 168Other Non-Academic Considerations 170The First Year: Academic Concerns_______________________________________ 174Math Classes and Test Scores_________________________________________ 177English and Speech Classes and Test Scores 179Science Classes and Test Scores_______________________________________ 182Grade Point Averages______________________________________________ 184Comments_______185ivCHAPTER 7. BEING A NATIVE STUDENT AND BECOMING A TEACHER____187Being aNative Student at UAF___________________________________ __ __187The Middle Years______________________________________________________ 192Finding Good Courses___________________________________________ 192Alaska Native and Rural Courses___________________________________ 196Declaringa Major______ _______ _______197Why Teach?____198Campus Jobs 201Takinga Break 204Maintaining Family Contact__ __ _207The Professional Year__210The UAF Teacher Education Program 210Urban Schools 212Differences in Interaction Styles_____ ____ _ _215Student Teaching in Rural Schools__________________________________ 218Student Teaching in Urban Schools__ ___ _220Students’ Recommendations_______________________________________ 221Employment and Future Plans__________________________________________ 223Keys to Success 225Comments 228CHAPTER 8: LEARNING ABOUT LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE:RECOMMENDATIONS_______________________________ 230Factors That Helped Students to be Academically Successful___________________ 231Institutional Recommendations 234Faculty Recommendations_____________________________________________ 245Student Recommendations_____________________________________________ 249Community Recommendations 252Implications for Further Research 253Comments 255Bibliography 257Appendix A Alaska Native Programs and Student Services On Campus at theUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks_____________________________ 273Appendix B Alaska Native and Rural Undergraduate Courses at the Universityof Alaska Fairbanks, 1993-94 296Appendix C Student Data Base Field Names______________________________ 298Appendix D Student Interview Themes_________________________________ 300VLIST OF TABLES1. UAF Departments, Programs and Special Academic Activities With an AlaskaNative Focus 1172. UAF Academic Course Offerings With an Alaska Native and/or Rural Focus — 1193. UAF Alaska Native and Other Native American Full-Time Faculty Distributionby Academic Unit, 1992____________________________________________1234. UAF Alaska Native Advising and Student Support Programs onCampus at UAF 1255. Students’ High School Contexts and Years of Graduation________1496. Students’ High School Organizations and Sizes by Enrollment 1507. Students’ ACT Math Scores and Grades Received in Required UAFMath Courses 1778. Students’ ACT English Scores and Grades Received in Required UAFCommunication Skills Courses________1809. Students’ ACT Natural Science Scores and Grades Received in RequiredUAF Science Courses__18310. Students’ Grade Point Averages at UAF 184viACKNOWLEDGMENTWithout exception, every student I interviewed for this study said that support from theirfamily, friends, and people at the university was essential to their success. The experiencesrelated to me by students took on new meaning throughout this study as I too realized howimportant it was to have family, friends, colleagues and committee members who weregenuinely interested in this study, and who cared enough about it to provide thoughtful andhonest critiques and conversations. I am grateful to many people for what I have learned in thepast few years.I have learned from my committee. Jean Barman, Vincent D’Oyley and Allison Tomindividually shared with me “everything they knew.” In addition, their work as a committeeserved as a powerful example of how university faculty members with quite diverseprofessional and personal expertise and experiences could work together in ways thatgenuinely 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 theexpertise of a very diverse group of doctoral students. Reva Joshee in particular has taught memuch.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 peoplein Rural Student Services and Alaska Native Studies patiently answered questions or helpedme to find answers. Pat Dubbs, in the Department of Rural Development, served as anunofficial sounding board and responded to three full years of requests for advice andinformation—and then he promptly retired!I have learned from all the students I have worked with at UAF, but many of my mostpowerful lessons have come from those who participated in this study because I had theopportunity to get to know them better. These students are now my colleagues, and alreadythey are making important and innovative contributions to families, schools and communitiesthroughout Alaska where they are living and working. Their willingness to share theiruniversity experiences for this study will benefit those that follow in their footsteps, andcontribute to our understanding of how to best develop campuses that meet the interests andneeds of students who come from diverse cultural backgrounds.I have learned new lessons about “family” throughout my study. I was very fortunate tohave so much support—and a great deal of frank feedback—from our three young adultchildren. They tolerated my constant requests for conversations about their own college andwork experiences in settings that ranged from Africa to East Harlem to rural Alaska. John’scomputer knowledge, Amy’s understanding of how schools work, and Anna’s ability to seethe big picture contributed directly to the process and product of this dissertation. Ray, myhusband, has served in multiple roles throughout this study. I am grateful for all of thereading, 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 andaccomplishments at utilizing a university environment as a place and context for bringingtogether people from very diverse cultural backgrounds to learn from one another has servedas a powerful role model for what I hope to accomplish personally and professionally.viiCHAPTER 1INTRODUCTIONI have heard it said by some parents speaking about the return of their children fromschool that they had changed. One young lady told me that to cope in her newenvironment while attending college, she had to become “mean.” She told me that aftergrowing up being taught in the Yup’ilc custom to be humble, kind and friendly, shediscovered that life on the other side was not the same. She said she had to becomeanother 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 abovecomments by John Active, a Yup’ik Eskimo commentator for a radio and TV station in therural community of Bethel, appeared in the Fairbanks newspaper. As I read the article Irealized that he was describing some of the same issues that were central to my researchproject. His examples of the contradictions between traditional Yup’ilc ways of teaching andlearning and formal Western ways, and the images provoked by his articles resonated with thestories 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 Nativestudents, parents and community members that I have worked with during the 24 years I havebeen involved with education in Alaska. I have frequently heard students talk or write aboutthe notion of duality, or life in two worlds, and papers with titles like “Not In Two WorldsBut 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 inAlaska 100 years ago.The dilemmas inherent in living in two worlds are frequently discussed not only byAlaska Native people, but by others who are also vigorously involved in debates about theimplications of this duality for higher education institutions. Three weeks after John Active’sarticle was published in the Fairbanks newspaper, an article entitled “Professors Caution UAFon Student Diversity Goal” described the response of several faculty members to some of the1goals proposed by the UAF Strategic Leadership Planning Board—a university-wide groupcharged with charting the future of the institution (Troyer, 1992). The goal they wereresponding 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 “makeUAF the first choice for Alaska Natives.” However, a prominent faculty member challengedthe wisdom of the recommendation by stating that “a strict student diversity goal could hurtthe university,” and he supported his view by stating that “the undergraduate program of theUniversity of California at Berkeley is in ‘shambles’ because it has tried too hard to haveproportional representation in the student body.” Another professor said that “giving breaks tominority 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 beenoccurring 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 willreflect their belief system. However, when the values and priorities are polarized at oppositeends 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 forequal opportunity and recognition.The overall intent of this study is to better understand what John Active means by “lifeon the other side.” To address this question, I first review aspects of the history of schoolingfor Alaska Native people and examine the development of Alaska Native programs andstudent services for University of Alaska Fairbanks students. The core of the project is anaccount of the experiences of 50 Alaska Native teacher education graduates. I seek todetermine what it was in their experiences that contributed to their academic success. In sodoing, I look beyond the long standing conventional question of How College AffectsStudents, (Pascarella and Terenzini, 1991), and also ask “How Do Students Affect Colleges?”2In addressing questions such as these in higher education, previous researchers haveoften 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 EberHampton, 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 “boththe problem and the solution” (1993). Through this research I have attempted to identify someof 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 campuscommunities 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 orderto succeed.The University of Alaska Fairbanks as a MicrocosmThe 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 manyAmerican campuses, as viewed from the perspective of academics and non-academics alike.The attempts by institutions to respond to the presence of culturally diverse studentpopulations has stimulated heated debates about minority issues, and many of thesediscussions are taking place in very public and politicized arenas. Assumptions about thefundamental goals and structures of Western higher education institutions are increasinglybeing questioned almost everywhere. Few institutions have been successful in determiningwhen, how, or whether to reorganize for diversity. In the book Campus Life: In Search ofCommunity. 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 verymuch alike. . . . Today, men and women students come from almost every racial andethnic group in the country and from every other nation in the world. While colleges anduniversities celebrate this pluralism, the harsh truth is that, thus far, many campuseshave not been particularly successful in building larger loyalties within a diverse studentbody, and there is disturbing evidence that deeply ingrained prejudices persist. Faculty,3administrators, 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 highereducation’s response to a changing student population because in many ways it is amicrocosm of public higher education institutions. Although the University of Alaska beganas a single-campus land-grant College of Agriculture and Mining in Fairbanks in 1917, it hassince evolved into a complex statewide university system. There are urban campuses inFairbanks (UAF), Anchorage (UAA) and Juneau (University of Alaska Southeast, UAS) andmultiple rural campuses and centers located throughout the state. Each of the three urbancampuses has its own chancellor, and the offices of the University of Alaska Statewidepresident and administration are located in Fairbanks.UAF is identified as “the flagship campus” within the University of Alaska systembecause it is the only doctoral granting institution in the state (with approximately 10 Ph.D.seach year), the site of an internationally recognized Geophysical Institute established by theUnited States Congress in 1946, and the focal point for Alaska’s land- sea- and space-grantefforts. In 1987 UAF was also designated as the unit responsible for nearly all of thestatewide system’s rural programs and campuses. With its mandate to serve and provideeducational programs and services for most of the rural areas of the state, as well as forcampus-based students in Fairbanks, UAF has evolved into an institution that provides a widevariety 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 inover 50 fields, and 7 doctoral programs—primarily in science fields.Like universities elsewhere in the United States, the UAF student population hasbecome far more heterogeneous than at any time previously, with a student body that isdiverse with respect to age, gender, class, ethnicity, culture, and race. According to the UAF1992-93 Undergraduate Catalog and the UAF 1992 Fact Book, the following demographicsdescribed 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 werefrom foreign countries• 92 percent were undergraduate students, 8 percent were graduate studentsAlaska Native students are the largest ethnic and cultural minority group at UAF. In1993, approximately 450 were students on the Fairbanks campus (about 9 percent), and anadditional 850 were enrolled through the rural campuses. Over ninety percent of AlaskaNative students on the Fairbanks campus were enrolled as full-time students. The next largestethnic 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 studentsfrom 45 countries, and they represented 21 percent of the graduate student population. Thecountries with the largest representations were China (30 percent of the international studentpopulation), Canada (20 percent), and India (14 percent). Twelve percent of UAF studentscame 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 armyor air-force bases in the Fairbanks area.Although accurate statistics are extremely difficult to obtain and verify, the data availablesuggest that the actual number, and the percentage, of Native students relative to the totalenrollment at UAF make it one of the highest concentration of Native American students atany public four-year institution in the United States. Like Native American students in highereducation institutions elsewhere in the United States, more Alaska Native students areparticipating 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 Fairbanks5Fact Book, 1993; Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education & The College Board,1991). Yet disproportionately high numbers of Native students (in comparison to the overallpopulation) continue to leave the university system each year before completing theirprograms, and the percent of Alaska Native graduates (5 percent average over the past 15years) is about half of their proportion of the overall enrollment. At the same time, severalpolitical and institutional interest groups in Alaska, including the University of Alaska Boardof Regents, the 12 Alaska Native regional corporations, and the National EducationAssociation/Alaska, have publicly stated their strong support for policies, programs andpractices that will lead to increased opportunities and greater success in higher education formore Alaska Native people.There is an especially urgent concern about the small number of Native people withteaching degrees. Approximately 4.0 percent of the teachers in Alaska are Native, whileNative people comprise 15.6 percent of the total state population. The pressure for a greaternumber of Native teachers is especially strong in rural areas where the Native population isconcentrated, and where there has been a history of high teacher turnover rates and perennialshortages. Teachers who are currently recruited from urban Alaska or from the Lower 48states do not usually stay long in Alaska Native villages because of the geographic and culturalisolation (Dickerson, 1980). Numerous reports have indicated that the best way to address themajor problems caused by the shortages and high turnover rates is to increase the number ofpeople in rural teaching positions who are knowledgeable about rural Alaska, and who havefirst-hand familiarity with, and long-term commitments to village people and the ruralenvironment. Historically, Alaska Native students have enrolled in the teacher educationprogram 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 isdecreasing—a nationwide trend for all minority students (Blankenship et al, 1992; EducationCommission of the States, 1990; Futrell, 1989; James, 1993).6Like elsewhere, information currently available about the experiences of Alaska Nativestudents at UAF is primarily quantitative, and these data serve as the basis for making mostdecisions about programs and policies. There is little written documentation or research thathas attempted to provide explanations for these statistics. This study has been designed toprovide such information. It is intended to increase our understanding of what the statisticsmean for the UAF community, as well as for other institutions that are developing programsand policies for changing student populations—especially other public institutions where asignificant number of minority students are enrolled. Concerned groups within institutionsinclude students, faculty, student services personnel, administrators, and policy makingbodies at different levels (e.g. departments, colleges, central administration, studentgovernment groups, faculty senate, Board of Regents). Interested groups external to theinstitution include state agencies involved in education, governing and policy-making bodies,Native for-profit and non-profit organizations, employers, school districts, parents and schoolboards.Overview of the Research ProcessThe specific intent of this study is to systematically determine whatfactors contributed tothe academic success of50 Alaska Native teacher education students at the University ofAlaska Fairbanks. It is a research question that has grown out of many years of work withNative and non-Native students in a variety of Alaskan educational settings in my roles as auniversity instructor and researcher, and as a result of my associations with First Nationspeople in Canada and Maori people in New Zealand.The impetus for this specific question emerged from my experiences with students onthe Fairbanks campus of UAF, following several years of work with students who were inoff-campus, rural settings. On the Fairbanks campus one of the most frequently discussedtopics in faculty meetings and seminars has been how to improve the recruitment and retentionrates of Alaska Native students. Many of the policies and practices developed to respond tothis concern have been based on research findings about the variables that lead to success in7higher education for traditional college students in the United States. Those most frequentlyreferred to include high school preparation, standardized test scores, financial security, andqualified faculty.During the first few semesters I taught on the Fairbanks campus I had the opportunity towork with several Alaska Native students who theoretically were “low risks,” because theymet the criteria considered important for predicting success in college. These students came toUAF from demanding high schools with high GPAs and good test scores. They had more-than-adequate financial aid packages, and they had the opportunity to work with academically-qualified 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 severalothers chose to leave the university even after successfully completing three or four years. Itbecame evident to me that the typical reasons for “dropping out,” and the university’ssubsequent reliance on traditional solutions, did not provide an adequate explanation orsolution for the disproportionately low retention and graduation rates of Alaska Nativestudents at UAF.Because of my previous experiences with students in rural areas, I was aware thatseveral conditions for Alaska Natives were quite different on the Fairbanks campus than inrural areas. In Fairbanks, Native students were a minority; most lived on campus and werefull-time students; and few had extended family, community, linguistic or cultural supportsystems available in the Fairbanks region. It seemed evident that these were importantvariables for a program, department or institution to consider if it desired to make changes thatwould respond to, and respect, a non-traditional student population that included a largenumber of cultural minority students.My research challenge therefore was to make a contribution to the “recruitment andretention” debate by designing a study that would help identify factors that contributed to theacademic success of Alaska Native students—i.e. make an effort to learn more about “life onthe other side.” In order to accomplish this, I knew that the study would have to be8comprehensive enough to allow me to look for and identify factors that may not have beenconsidered in previous studies, and it would have to take into account the influence of thoseconditions that are specific to Alaska, and to Alaska Native people, because of the state’sunique economic, geographic, and educational environment.I chose to focus my attention on the experiences of students who had alreadydemonstrated they could “survive” in college because this allowed me to draw upon theinsights and experiences of successful Alaska Native students. I would thus have theopportunity to learn more about “what really worked” as opposed to the more traditionalapproach in which the focus is on students who drop-out. In addition, because I had workedwith many Native students who had left the university, I was well aware of the difficulties Iwould face if I attempted to locate a representative group of students who had left UAF beforegraduation, and the time and money necessary to interview these students would haverequired a considerable amount of outside funding.As well as drawing upon what I have learned from my teaching and researchexperiences in both on- and off-campus environments at UAF, I have relied upon an eclecticbody of academic literature to help develop and organize my study. The literature I foundmost useful, as described in Chapter 2, came from people whose professional work crossedacademic 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) anthropologyand education. These four areas were most instrumental in contributing to the development ofthe conceptual base for my research and to the organization of a methodological frameworkrelevant to my research question.In Chapter 3 I identify the following considerations as central to framing and conductingmy research, as well as thinking through issues related to interpretation and analysis.• No single discipline provides an appropriate theoretical and methodological frameworkfor addressing my research question. Therefore, an interdisciplinary approach hasbeen used to develop and implement my research design.9• Culture has been a central construct in the research question I posed, and anethnographic research approach, from a cultural anthropology tradition, has providedboth a way of thinking and a methodology that best facilitates the kind of culturalanalysis necessary for this study.• Native Americans, and Alaska Natives specifically, need to be recognized asdistinctive from other minority groups in the United States. For my purposes it is notappropriate to conduct a study in which Alaska Natives are represented as members ofa single classification of people referred to as “minorities.” It has been important toidentify some of the beliefs and values that Native Americans share; recognize and besensitive to fundamental differences among the 400 tribal groups in the Lower 48 andthe 20 distinct cultural groups of Alaska Native people; and be cognizant of some ofthe special economic, geographic and educational conditions that exist in the State ofAlaska.Research ComponentsBased on these considerations, I determined that the following three researchcomponents were necessary to provide the kind of data that would enable me to respond to myresearch question, and to provide a frame of analysis for the issues raised.1. Historical Account of Schooling for Alaska Native PeopleA small, but significant, component of my research design has been the preparation of abrief historical account of schooling for Alaska Native people. This is included in Chapter 4and is presented in the wider framework of federal Native American policies. This chapterprovides information on the contemporary social, political and economic conditions that arecritical for understanding and interpreting some of the unique circumstances of the Alaskacontext.Providing the historical context of Native American/Alaska Native schooling isimportant in examining the experiences of Alaska Native students at UAF for the followingreasons: (1) despite the unique legal standing recognizing the aboriginal rights of Nativepeople and the federal government’s binding treaty obligations to Native Americans (whichhave been extended in large part to Alaska Natives), there continue to be manymisunderstandings about the status and rights of Alaska Natives with regard to publiceducation, health, social and economic services; (2) the history of Native American educationis 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 fromthose of most other students in the United States; and (4) even though Alaska is the state withthe largest percentage of Native Americans and the fifth largest numerically, most of the bookswritten about Native education focus on Indian education in the Lower 48 states.Chapter 4 provides the necessary context for understanding and interpreting theassumptions that have guided the development of policies, programs and services for AlaskaNative students at UAF, and the schooling experiences of Native students currently enrolled atUAF.2. Alaska Native Programs. Student Services and Academic Coursework at the FairbanksCampus of the University of Alaska FairbanksThe second component of this study is a review and discussion of the development ofAlaska Native programs, student services and academic coursework on the Fairbanks Campusof UAF. In Chapter 5, I examine the UAF campus context and describe UAF’s responses toits changing student population in relation to those made in other institutions. The discussionmakes it evident that conificts have developed within the UAF community as it has attemptedto balance its role as a research university with its obligations as a comprehensive land grantinstitution which is charged with the responsibility of meeting the needs of all of the citizensof the state—including an increasingly heterogeneous student population. Descriptions ofAlaska Native programs, student services and coursework, and a review of the ambiguity thathas surrounded their development and continuation, make it evident that this contextualinformation is essential for understanding and interpreting the students’ experiences that arepresented in Chapters 6 and 7.113. University Experiences of 50 Alaska Native Teacher Education GraduatesThe third and most significant component of this study consists of the documentationand analysis of the experiences of Alaska Native students who completed the majority of theiracademic work on the Fairbanks campus of UAF and graduated with a major or a minor inteacher education between May of 1989 and May of 1993—50 students in all. Although muchof the research in this study is applicable to students in any academic field of study, I chose tolimit the participants to teacher education students as a way to reduce the variables, and inrecognition of the fact that the university experiences of students in a teacher educationprogram are different to the extent that they are required to spend a significant amount of timeoutside the university setting while completing student teaching and other practicumexperiences.I use “graduation” as my operational definition of academic success because it providesa logical and discrete means of identifying a group of students, and it is the most frequentlyused criterion of success in higher education research. This is in no way meant to imply thatstudents who did not graduate were “failures.” I believe that Alaska Native students havemany reasons for coming to, and leaving, the university that do not lend themselves toconventional notions of success or failure.Using students’ university records, I assembled a data base for all 50 students on 84variables (e.g. age, first language, courses taken, major, semesters in attendance, homecommunity, GPA, high school size, attendance at other universities, test scores). I gatheredadditional 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-Nativestudents in a variety of roles, including instructor for teacher education courses, instructor foran Alaska Native high school bridging program, academic advisor, faculty advisor for aNative student education association, pre-school and special education teacher, and researcherin six studies related to Alaska Native education. Chapters 6 and 7 are built upon information12that has been integrated from the data base, from student interviews and from my role as aparticipant observer.The final chapter is a synthesis of Chapters 1 through 7 presented as a summary of thefactors that helped the 50 students in this group to be academically successful, and as a set ofrecommendations that can be used by institutions, faculty, students and communities who areinterested in developing campuses where Alaska Native, and other cultural minority students,can be fully represented, respected, involved and successful.13CHAPTER 2MINORITY STUDENTS AND HIGHER EDUCATIONIn May of 1993, at the International Conference on Higher Education and IndigenousPeople, representatives of higher education institutions in Australia, Canada, Guatamala, NewZealand, Russia and the United States came together in Anchorage, Alaska to discuss issuesof common concern. In the final session of the conference, Turoa Royal, a Maori delegatefrom the University of Raukawa (Te Wanagna o Raukawa) in New Zealand, reflected uponthe events of the four-day conference, and summarized the sentiment of many of theparticipants when he said, “I thought Maori people were the only ones that had theseproblems, but I find the issues that confront us are shared by the world.. . We have acommonality of challenges” (Royal, 1993).We can all learn a great deal from reading about and observing higher education effortsin other communities, countries and continents. What is happening at the University of AlaskaFairbanks, and other United States’ institutions today, is not unique, although for participantsin the midst of an institutional controversy it may seem so. Therefore, it is essential that welisten to, and learn from, the experiences of people in other institutions in other places. Itwould be foolish not to share our problems and our concerns, but more importantly, it wouldbe shortsighted not to share our solutions. With academic disciplinary boundaries shiftingalmost as rapidly as countries’ political boundaries, and with technology allowing for fast andinexpensive communication, even in many areas of the Third World, it is essential that weunderstand our shared history and begin to connect more with one another as we seeksolutions to common concerns.In this chapter I examine the literature that has helped me to better understand: (1) thehigher education experiences of indigenous people in other countries and minority groups inthe United States, and (2) the variety of research approaches that have been used to document14those experiences. The insights drawn from this literature have contributed to the developmentof my research design and have provided a larger context in which to interpret the experiencesof indigenous people in Alaska.Comparative Education: A Commonality of ChallengesThe literature that usually falls under the label of “comparative education” refers, in itsbroadest connotation, to an eclectic body of work that focuses upon the experiences of peoplein educational institutions across a wide variety of national contexts. The comparativeeducation literature that has been most useful for this research has been that which describesthe efforts of people in Third World countries who are struggling to develop higher educationinstitutions that will respond to the needs of their own people in their own way, as well as thatof indigenous people in what is sometimes described as the Fourth World (i.e. colonizedpeople within industrialized nations) who are actively involved in their own institutionaldevelopment efforts. A review of some of the comparative education literature reveals strongparallels between the experiences and contexts of Alaska Native people and those of people inmany Third and Fourth World countries who are making the transition from colonial status toindependent self-government and who are in the process of developing higher educationinstitutions that are responsive to the needs of their own diverse cultures.The cross-national higher education literature provides information on alternative typesof educational initiatives and allows us to examine United States policies and practices with abroader, and hopefully less ethnocentric, viewpoint. This literature also makes it apparent thatmany of the issues faced by Alaska Natives are frequently more similar to those of indigenouspeople in other industrialized countries (e.g. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway,Sweden) than to other minority groups in the United States. The perspectives drawn fromcomparative education have provided me not only with information relevant to my researchstudy, but more importantly with an expanded conceptual framework in which to conduct myresearch. Many people who work and write in this field address education issues from a15holistic, relational, interpretive, and participatory perspective, all of which I have foundespecially helpful in shaping my own theoretical concepts and research methodologies.The theoretical and analytical work of Philip Aitbach addressing higher education inThird World settings (1974, 1979, 1982, 1989, 1992) has been especially relevant to myresearch. His work highlights the fact that in most Third World countries that have gainedindependence over the past 50 years, the establishment of a national university system hasbeen one of the primary arenas of conflict between Western and non-Western ideological andinstitutional perspectives. Altbach’s global orientation is also clearly evident in thecomparative 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 andeducation, comparative education, and sociology of education, offers additional comparativeperspectives that are relevant to my research, particularly in his work on the participation ofminority groups in formal education systems (1983, 1987, 1992). His typology of minoritygroups is perhaps the most widely recognized—and most frequently debated—component ofhis 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 chooseto become members of a particular society, such as Blacks and indigenous peoples). Thistypology has relevance for my research primarily because it helps identify qualities anddistinctions between and among minority groups that need to be taken into account in researchrelated to minorities and schooling. This is a particularly important consideration in Alaskawhere many of the policies affecting the state’s largest minority group, Alaska Natives, havebeen modeled after those designed for other minorities in the United States, especially Blacksand Hispanics. Even policies developed to serve Indian people in the Lower 48 do not alwaystranslate well to Alaska Natives. There are numerous problems inherent in adopting policiesbased on the generic label of minority status, but this is a practice that is frequently followed16in schools throughout the United States. Ogbu’s work lays the groundwork for theimportance of paying attention to the complex variables that need to be taken into account inthis particular area.Several African writers, including Aif Andrew Heggoy (1984), Au Mazrui (1984) andIssa Oman (1991), have also provided useful perspectives for examining contemporary issuesfacing minority students in higher education. (Although frequently used even in Third Worldliterature, the term minority is a curiously inappropriate label for people who represent 99percent of the population in their own homelands.) The many issues examined by these andother authors suggest that there are fundamental differences that surface when non-Westernpeople attempt to utilize Western institutions to address their own unique culturally-basedneeds and aspirations. Their writings reaffirm that the challenges of developing appropriateand meaningful higher education systems in countries with culturally heterogeneous non-Western populations are many of the same challenges faced by minority groups andinstitutions in the United States. Issues related to equity, hegemony and human rights arecommon features of the debate as policy-makers make choices about programs and services.The challenges of resolving fundamental tensions between rural and urban, traditional andmodern, tribal and individual, subsistence and market-based, become readily apparent whenattempts are made to develop a monolithic system in which diverse groups of people canparticipate equally.The powerful and convincing parallels in the issues that confront Alaska Natives at UAFand indigenous people in other parts of the world became quite evident during presentations atthe 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 ofthe 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” reformmovements, and (3) backlash or “whitelash.” Because the insights of these participants havedirect bearing on issues related to minority participation and success in majority institutions,17but are not yet published, I have summarized some of the relevant points from the oralpresentations.In a keynote address, Ranganui Walker, Head of the Maori Studies Department at theUniversity of Auckland, documented the repercussions of colonial expansion for indigenouspeople in countries around the world. These included disease, population collapse, religiousconversion, treaty-maldng, military invasion, cultural erosion, language decline andsuppression, and political subjugation—all consequences that are easily verified for AlaskaNatives and American Indians as well. Verna Vos, Director of the Institute of AppliedAborignal Studies at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, reminded people that it isnot necessary to go back to early colonial times to document oppression as she described howAboriginal people were not allowed to become citizens of Australia until 1967.Sonny Mikaere from the Te Rangakura Teacher Training Institute in New Zealanddescribed several reform movements, which he referred to as “flaxroots” initiatives that havebeen responsible for changing conditions in Maori educational institutions. These programs,such as the very successful Te Kohango Reo (Language Nest) pre-school Maori languageprograms, have been initiated, controlled and managed by the Maori people themselves.Walker, too, emphasized the critical importance of the efforts of people outside themainstream system, and pointed to the development of the Te Kohango Reo as an example ofone of the “biggest political movements in New Zealand.”Mikaere also talked about the “whitelash” (i.e. backlash) that has developed in manyplaces where indigenous reforms have been successfully initiated. He provided examples ofways in which universities are showing their reluctance to adopt or support programs thatchallenge the standard way of doing things and described how he and his colleagues arepursuing the development of an International Certificate for Indigenous Studies withaccreditation through an international indigenous body. Margaret Valadian, Director of theAboriginal Education Centre’ at the University of Wollongong, reinforced this position whenshe 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 learnhas to be added to, or accommodated within, the pre-existing framework of our owneducational background.. . . We need to reconnect the grandparent generation and the studentgeneration today. We can do this through higher education by linking the principles andpractice 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 andrecorded as educators in their own right.”Walker described some of the unwritten policies that are operative in higher educationtoday and indicated that in many institutions the only indigenous people that are hired arethose “whose value system is Pakeha” or European. He indicated that “indigenous universityappointments are conservative,” and faculty who pose no threat and who will “continue withthe hegemonic role” are appointed. He also commented that “isolated appointments [forindigenous faculty in university systems] are very lonely jobs.”Representatives from several First Nations higher education programs in Canadacontributed information on a variety of initiatives that have been implemented in mainstreaminstitutional settings to support goals that First Nations people have identffied as important(Kirkness & R. Barnhardt, 1991; Tehenepee, 1992). Verna Kirkness, who was director ofthe First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia, described one ofthe most important functions of First Nations programs as “demystifying the university toFirst Nations’ communities and demystifying the communities to the university” and sheidentified “peer support and a physical place where people can meet” as being crucial to thesuccess of First Nations students in university settings.Some of the underlying assumptions that appear in the comparative education literatureas well as in many of the presentations at the International Conference, can be summarized asfollows.• Cross-cultural and cross-national comparisons of educational systems must be madein a spirit of cooperation and collaboration, rather than being judgmental andevaluative. The goal is to learn from one another, not to develop a single prescriptivesolution.19• A pluralistic perspective is essential. This is expressed by support and advocacy forthe legitimacy of a wide range of world views, and a respect for diversity andheterogeneity.• Research and analysis should be collaborative and participatory whenever appropriate(i.e. from UNESCO officials working with education ministry personnel at thenational level to classroom teachers working with parents and students at the locallevel). 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 ofindigenous people in higher education confirms that the world has become small enough, andinterdependent enough, that it is now essential (and not just an academic luxury) that we drawupon the perspectives and resources of people from multiple disciplines and from othercountries in order to address what the comparative educator Bruce Fuller (1991) describes as“deepening and collectively-held social problems.” His comments reinforce the necessity ofthinking globally while acting locally.The contradiction between the press for modernity versus respect for local pluralismconfronts Third-World states with particular clarity. Yet central governments throughoutEurope and North America also are struggling for legitimacy in the face of growingcounterforces: a broadening rainbow of ethnic diversity, an increasing political strengthof pluralistic groups, a widening recognition that central bureaucracies erode localcommunity, 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 highereducation at home just might come from afar.Minority Students in Higher Education in the United StatesIn this section I present a brief overview of what we know about the participation andexperiences 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 researchapproaches 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, higher20education in the United States has evolved into a highly diversified system that includes over3,500 distinct institutions. Although higher education has been established in the UnitedStates for 345 years (since the founding of Harvard College in 1645), some of the mostdramatic changes have occurred in the past 50 years. The purposes, goals and structures ofcontemporary American higher education institutions have been subjected to continuingchallenges since the end of WW II when the first wave of “non-traditional” students appearedon 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 hasoccurred because of the significant change in the demographics of student populations and theshift from a fairly homogeneous group of young white students to a far more diverse group ofstudents with regard to gender, age, race, ethnicity, culture and religion. Females nowaccount for over 50 percent of undergraduate enrollment. Ethnic and cultural minority studentsrepresent approximately 18 percent of the total higher education population, and in sometraditionally 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; UnitedStates Department of Education, 1990a, 1990b).The increase in enrollment of ethnic and cultural minority students in higher educationcame about in the 1960s and 1970s, parallel with the Civil Rights Movement and the GreatSociety Programs. In much of the early literature that described these changes, minoritystudents 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 AsianAmericans. (The term “minority” was, and continues to be, used almost exclusively todescribe racial, ethnic or cultural groups whose minority status is based not only on numericalrepresentation, but on political, economic and social status relative to a white majority.)21Some studies did include data which distinguished students as members of distinct racialor ethnic groups (Altman & Snyder, 1970; Astin, 1982; Brown & Stent, 1977). However,most related to policies and programs for Black students—a logical development since theyrepresented the largest ethnic minority group in the United States at the time and because theyplayed 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 researchcontributions to the literature about Black students in higher education as even a cursoryreview of sociology journals from this period will confirm. Many of these studies were of aquantitative nature where the focus of analysis was on two areas of students’ universityexperiences: access and outcome—with little attention given to that which occurred inbetween. There was much less written about students from other minority groups, especiallyNative Americans who had only minimal representation in higher education institutions at thetime.Changing DemographicsDuring the late 1980s and now in the 1990s, additional minority-related issues havemoved into a central position and are at the heart of higher education challenges, as thefollowing 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 prioritiesof 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 itstreatment of them, has been found wanting, and that there have been, and will be,even more serious consequences. . . the greatest single imperative before Americanhigher 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 fullparticipation of minority citizens in the life and prosperity of the nation.. . . The issueof minority participation is higher education’s most important priority. (Commissionon Minority Participation in Education and American Life, 1988)Support for minority students in higher education in the 1960s and 1970s was followedby a period of retrenchment and backlash during the Reagan and Bush administrations. Their22policies openly supported legal and legislative action that challenged some of the educationalinitiatives of the original Civil Rights Movement, such as affirmative action, bilingualeducation, desegregation measures, and race-specffic fmancial aid policies. During the lateryears of the Reagan/Bush era, the academic debate about minority student participation wasfueled and brought to the public’s attention by the widely distributed writings of conservativesocial 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 theirarguments 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, andsubsequent analyses of these actions, suggests that many people who thought the minorityproblem might simply “go away” after the 1960s, or those who operated with the belief thatall minorities would meld into the mythical melting pot, are now having to face thedemographic reality that the White non-Latino population continues to decline in relation toother racial/ethnic groups (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education & TheCollege Board, 1991). In fact, the number and proportion of minority people in the UnitedStates has continued to increase rapidly and predictions are that by the year 2000, 1 in 3United States citizens will identify themselves as a member of an ethnic minority group. TheBlack population increased 12 percent between 1980 and 1990 and continues to be the largestracial minority group with 12 percent of the nation’s population. The Hispanic populationincreased 53 percent, and in 1990 represented over 9 percent of the total population. AsianAmericans are the fastest-growing population group in the United States today, mostlythrough immigration, and they now represent approximately 3 percent of the population. TheAmerican Indian/Alaskan Native population is the smallest racial/ethnic group in the UnitedStates, but it increased significantly (21 percent) between 1980 and 1990, and today there aremore than 2 miffion Native Americans, or about 2 percent of the United States population.(Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education & The College Board, 1991).23Although there are increasing numbers of students from these minority groupsparticipating in higher education and moving into positions of influence throughout societytoday, there is strong evidence to suggest that Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americanscontinue to be disproportionately under-represented and do not have equal access to, and/oropportunities for success in, education or employment (Green, 1989; Mingle, 1987; UnitedStates Department of Education, 1990a, 1990b; Western Interstate Commission for HigherEducation and The College Board, 1991).Expanded Research ApproachesErnest Pascarella and Patrick Terenzini (1991) identified some of the inherent problemsthat have prevented us from gaining a better understanding of minority students’ participationin higher education after they examined nearly 3,000 higher education research studies. Theyconcluded that “The evidence [in these studies] has a bias because it focuses largely on non-minority students of traditional college age” (p. 13). They called for more holistic andinterdisciplinary approaches and expressed concern that “a number of [the 3,000] studiesreflect little familiarity with the knowledge base outside the author’s main disciplinaryparadigm” (p. 633). They recommended that researchers bring a new orientation to theirstudies and begin to look for and be sensitive to what they describe as “indirect causes” forstudent success or failure by extending their research designs to include more than traditionalcause and effect relationships.Patrick Callan, vice president of the Education Commission of the States, identifiesanother problem that has continued to impede our ability to develop appropriate policies andprograms 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 andother facets of American higher education that provide a portrait of the progress made byminorities. With the enormity of the task facing American higher education in evaluatingits success in the recruitment, retention and graduation of minorities, this should nolonger be tolerated. Too often the parties involved—the institutions which collect thedata, the states which compile it and the federal government which reports it—haveapproached the issue from a ‘compliance’ perspective.This is not enough. Commitment, not compliance, will be needed to turn theAmerican dream into an American reality. (Mingle, 1987, p. v.)24Researchers from a broader range of social science disciplines are beginning to respondto the call for more encompassing and expanded research approaches by moving beyond thehighly visible and easily quantifiable indicators. There is evidence of this shift in an increasingnumber of long-term, qualitative, interdisciplinary studies.Some of the groups that have been most instrumental in providing impetus and supportfor a more integrated and holistic approach to research on minority student participation inhigher education include the American Council on Education (ACE), the EducationCommission of the States (ECS) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers(SHEEO). The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, through its directsupport of research in higher education, also provides indirect support for research related tominority participation and success in colleges and universities. In addition, Change: TheMagazine of Higher Learning, which is published under the editorial leadership of theAmerican Association for Higher Education (AAHE), has devoted some issues to matters ofminority 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 aspecial meeting to consider how higher education could take a leadership role in “rekindlingthe nation’s commitment to the full participation of minority citizens” (Green, p.vii). Fromthis 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 camethe report, One-Third of a Nation (1988). The message of the report was that “America ismoving backward—not forward—in its efforts to achieve the full participation of minoritycitizens in the life and prosperity of the nation” (p. 3). One of the direct outcomes of thisassessment was the commissioning of Minorities on Campus: A Handbook for EnhancingDiversity (Green, ed., 1989). This handbook provides information on strategies that haveworked on a variety of campuses and suggests that the conditions for successfully involvingminority students hinge on three variables: involvement and commitment of college and25university administrative leaders, development of an integrated approach to change, andinstitutional change. The American Council on Education also makes an on-going contributionby publishing an annual status report on minority participation in education.The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is a nonprofit, nationwide interstatecompact formed in 1965, whose primary purpose is to help governors, state legislators, stateeducation 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 VirginIslands are members (Montana is not). This group’s work on minority issues in highereducation 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 ofthe chief executive officers serving state-level coordinating boards and governing boardsassociated with post secondary education. Their membership includes 49 states, the district ofColumbia, Puerto Rico and the Canadian province of Quebec.In 1987 two reports were jointly published by the Education Commission of the Statesand the State Higher Education Executive Officers that advocated strongly for stategovernment involvement and leadership in helping minorities to achieve full participation inhigher education. In Focus on Minorities: Trends in Higher Education Participation andSuccess, James Mingle provides a statistical overview of the status of minorities in highereducation over the past 30 years and provides accompanying interpretive information. Hisreport makes clear that “progress is distressingly stalled,” and there is “strong evidence thatwe are losing ground in the effort to make full participation of minority students in collegesand universities a reality.” Mingle states that “America faces not only a moral mandate but aneconomic necessity when it seeks to include all of its citizens in a quality post secondaryeducation.. . [if we fail to do so] we will not only create a permanent underclass of Americancitizens 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 to261984 (nearly three times the rate of Whites), much of the increase occurred before 1980, andfrom 1980 to 1984, Black enrollment declined, as did that of Native Americans. Mingle alsoindicates that the few research studies he was able to find and review “are in no wayconclusive about the institutional factors that lead to minority academic success. Mostinstitutional efforts remain unevaluated” (p. 23).The companion piece, Focus on Minorities: Synopsis of State Higher EducationInitiatives (Mingle, 1987), was prepared with information gathered from a survey of the StateHigher Education Executive Officers members which asked about state- or system-levelinitiatives targeted at minorities. Thirty-three states responded to the survey (Alaska was notone of them), and the report provides summaries of the major initiatives in each of theresponding states, but not at specific institutions. It includes a list of documents that areavailable from each state, and provides a useful sampling of initiatives and addresses forresource material.In 1989 the National Task Force for Minority Achievement in Higher Education wasformed by the American Council on Education and the State Higher Education ExecutiveOfficers to identify and advance policies that contribute to the participation and achievement ofminority students in higher education. The group included educators and state policy makerswho worked together for a year and a half. Their final report (National Task Force forIvlinority Achievement in Higher Education, 1990) concludes that full minority participationand achievement requires coordinated and sustained commitment from states and universities,and the role of the federal government should be to stimulate and support policies andpractices in states and on campuses that “offer the greatest promise for successfully educatingmore minority students” (p. v).The work of Richard Richardson and several colleagues, through the EducationCommission of the States and in conjunction with the former National Center forPostsecondary Governance and Finance at Arizona State University, provides not onlyinformation, but a useful research model for studying the issue of minority participation. They27conducted a major five-year study that included case studies of 10 public colleges anduniversities with good records of graduating African Americans, Hispanics or AmericanIndians (Richardson and Skinner, 1991). The information from these case studies was thenused to develop a survey in which 142 public, four-year institutions in 10 states providedinformation about the institutional practices associated with high or improved “equityoutcomes” during the 1980s. These 10 states were home to 42 percent of the nation’spopulation in 1985, and together they enrolled 39 percent of all American Indian collegestudents, 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 macroanalysis of the data. His conclusions correspond with those of several other recent studies thathave sought to identify characteristics of programs and policies leading to increased equity inaccess, retention, achievement and outcome for minority students (e.g. Green, 1989; Smith,1989; Spitzberg and Thorndike, 1992). He states that higher levels of administrativecommitment, greater use of strategic planning, more careful attention to institutional outcomesfor minorities, and greater emphasis on staff diversity were present in those institutions thatrecorded the greatest gains in participation and graduation rates for African Americans andHispanics. These institutions also reported more extensive and more systematic use ofstrategies to: (1) reduce barriers to minority participation, (2) help students achieve highexpectations, and (3) make learning environments more responsive to cultural diversity (1990,p. vi). He concludes that the results of this investigation “demonstrate clearly that diversityand quality need not be pursued as mutually exclusive objectives. Given a supportive stateclimate, institutions can attain both through committed leadership and systematicinterventions” (p. vii). In a related article, Richardson and Skinner (1990) recommend a morecareful analysis of “relevant practices in the experiences of other institutions” and deride muchof the current literature on minority higher education because it suggests “ready-made28‘cookbook’ strategies that can be used without regard for the unique circumstances of eachcollege” (p. 507).Richardson’s holistic and interdisciplinary approach to research design and analysisreflects a constructive response to some of the weaknesses identified by Pascarella andTerenzini (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 toinquiry. Although they conclude that this paradigm served researchers well in the past, theystate that important “fme-grained” work is called for now, and they refer to the “importantinroads 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 notfocused specifically on minority students, the research supported by this group hascontributed significantly to a better understanding of the experiences of minority students oncampuses in the United States. In 1990, the Foundation cooperated with the AmericanCouncil 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 anduniversity 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 diversityis aggressively pursued” (p. 7). The authors of the report argue that in the coming decadecolleges and universities must “commit themselves to increase the enrollment of minoritystudents so that their participation in higher education at least matches their representation inthe population. . . this vision of the college or university as a just community must beaggressively 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 theyear-long Carnegie Study, published their own book, Creating Communication on ColieeCampuses. The book is based upon material from the original Carnegie study and from theresults 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 Educationin which college and university presidents were asked about their views on the currentcondition of student life, and a survey of chief student affairs officers organized by theNational Association of Student Personnel Administrators in cooperation with the AmericanCouncil on Education.Spitzberg and Thomdike’s (1992) effort to examine “undergraduate experience ofcommunity” by using the following three foci makes their book especially relevant for thoseof us interested in the factors that influence the experiences of minority students in highereducation: (1) student diversity, particularly racial and ethnic diversity and the climate oncampus for women students; (2) individual and small-group rights and responsibilities inrelation to institutional authority; (3) student-faculty relations and the learning community.Their recommendations call for creating a “revitalized, pluralistic learning community, notlooking backward to a Golden Age that never was” (p. xv). They emphasize that, although “ahouse 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 theirdifference” (p. 190).Finally, Daryl Smith’s book, The Challenge of Diversity: Involvement or Alienation inthe Academy?, commissioned by the ERIC Clearinghouse for Higher Education (1989),provides a comprehensive review of the ways that institutions can improve the experiences ofminority students—and more specifically, how they can organize for diversity. LikeRichardson, Smith examines the implications of the perceived conflict between quality anddiversity and concludes that this misperception is one of “the most compeffing arguments forreshaping questions and discourse about this topic. . . it requires a reframing of meaning ofquality, definition of standards, performance criteria and assessment” (p. vil). The questionthat she raises in the title of her book became a central theme for my research, as it framed theissues institutions face in their attempts to develop campus environments where all studentscan be fully represented and successful.30Native Americans in Higher EducationThe literature focusing specifically on Native Americans in higher education appears tohave followed a pattern similar to that addressing the participation of other minority studentsin higher education. Much of the material written in the last three decades provides detaileddescriptions of new and innovative programs for Native American students, but there are fewlong term, qualitative research studies. Many of the writings suggest a sense of optimism—aconviction that Native students can, and will, be successful if universities make changes thattake into account their special interests. The Journal of American Indian Education and theTribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education provide an important forum forthe 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 ofsome of the academic writings about Native American education. Articles have taken on amore critical perspective, and alternative explanations for the continued low participation andlack of success of Native American students in higher education are being offered.Recommendations are moving beyond the surface-level changes that institutions can make tofar more complex issues related to cultural discontinuity, empowerment, legacies ofcolonialism, 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 thosewriting about Native Americans and higher education. They present interpretations thatresonate with the voices of many other contemporary writers, and their analyses serve as a31link between earlier studies and the more current ones. Some of the key issues they addressinclude the significant differences and discontinuities between Native American cultures andthe majority culture as reflected in schools and universities, the movement away fromaffirmative action and preference for Native hire by the federal government, growing nationalindifference to civil rights, and increasing tolerance of institutional racism. The title of theTijerina and Biemer article “The Dance of Indian Higher Education: One Step Forward andTwo Steps Back” (1988) captures well the current status of Native American higher educationprograms and policies as depicted in several recent works.William Tierney’s recent (1992) study on Native Americans in higher education, OfficialEncouragement: Institutional Discouragement, reinforces Tijerina and Biermer’s assessment.He examines the experiences of undergraduate Native American students enrolled in a varietyof different higher education institutional settings and challenges the “persistence” theories ofVincent Tinto (1987) who asserts that students must “socially as well as physicallydisassociate themselves from the communities of the past” in order to be successful inuniversity settings. He refutes this argument and suggests instead that there are alternativeroutes to success when institutions build environments where the lives of minority studentsare “celebrated and affirmed throughout the culture of the institution (1993b, p. 322). Hisrecommendations call for actions that lead to organizational change and student empowerment.Academe must do more than officially encourage students to attend college onmainstream society’s terms, for when this is done Indian students generally encounterinstitutional discouragement. Instead, participants in academic organizations need todevelop rituals of empowerment that enable American Indian students to celebrate theirculture and become critically engaged in the life of the institution, their tribes, theirfamilies, and themselves. To do so offers American society vast potential for the 21stcentury 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 thatattempts to look beyond statistics to explain students’ experiences. They conducted a four-year research project with 70 Native American freshmen who entered a four-yearcomprehensive university in the fall of 1984. During the study, they identified patternsregarding persistence and attainment of both Native American and non-Native American32students that contradicted some of the commonly-held assumptions in higher education aboutwhat it takes to succeed in college. They found that “something else appears to be operatingamong 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 andorganized the interviews according to three themes (which appear to have been identified bythe researchers prior to the interviews). They included frequency and reasons for “goinghome” during school times, consequences of late recruitment practices for otherwise non-college bound students, and the tension for students that comes with efforts to adoptuniversity “white” traits while attempting to maintain their traditional perspectives. Based onthe interviews and other data they gathered, they concluded that they would need to expandtheir study to a larger group and take “a cross-cultural/multi-cultural approach” in order todevelop a model that would account for cultural diversity (p. 21). They concluded that “NativeAmericans differ in persistence and educational attainment from most college students(including other ethnic minorities) and the reasons for these differences are not readilyapparent” (p. 3). Their findings clearly indicate the need for continued research addressing theinconclusiveness they identified in their own research. It is hoped that my study will shedsome light on these questions and offer insight into factors that contribute to Native studentsuccess at UAF.Published information about Alaska Native student participation in higher educationincludes quantitative reports such as those that have provided general demographicinformation about the educational status of ethnic and racial minorities in Alaska (e.g.Kleinfeld, Gorsuch & Kerr, 1988), and an examination of postsecondary success rates ofNative students based on the relationship between test scores, courses taken and grade pointaverages (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 studentsparticipating in the UAF off-campus Cross-Cultural Education Development ProgramlX-CED(e.g. R. Barnhardt, 1977, in press; Harrison, 1982; Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991; Lipka,331990, 1991, 1994; Madsen, 1990); and others that include information, but do not necessarilyfocus, 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 LouisJacquot in 1974 provides historical information on the context of higher education for AlaskaNative students prior to 1972. Current doctoral research by Wendy Esmailka (1994) on theexperiences of Athabaskan female students at UAF and by Michael Jennings on thedevelopment of rural campuses in the UAF system will provide important additionalcontemporary perspectives.CommentsSeveral patterns emerge from this review of the status of cultural minority students inhigher education, and from the brief examination of some of the research approaches beingused to document these experiences. It is evident that there is no disagreement among expertsabout the changing demographics, and although the voices of those who are threatened byincreasing diversity and the notion of multiculturalism are louder than in the past, there is littledebate, or doubt, that issues surrounding diversity have assumed a central position in thepolicy making arenas of institutions, countries and worldwide organizations.We also know that colleges and universities are having only minimal success in theirattempts to provide environments that encourage and allow students from cultural minoritygroups to stay in school and to graduate. It is clear that in many institutions more time andresources are used for recruiting additional students than are used for helping those who arealready enrolled. In most colleges and universities where “success” has been achieved,students have borne the major responsibility in adapting to meet the demands of theuniversities, but there is an emerging call for institutions to begin to accommodate and shareresponsibility for change.The area in which there is the most agreement, however, revolves around what we donot know. The fact that we have so little accurate information or “empirical evidence” uponwhich to build policies and programs is highlighted in nearly every study. People deride not34only the ambiguity and inaccuracy of the statistical information on minority students, butincreasingly demand qualitative studies that will provide explanations for the trends suggestedby the quantitative data. Few studies examine the issue of minority participation from theperspective of the student as well as the institution.Many studies of minority students and higher education continue to meld togetherstudents from all ethnic and racial groups, while only a relatively small number provide an in-depth analysis of the experiences of single minority groups. This is especially true forminority students who attend school in a majority setting. Native American students arefrequently not included in larger studies of minority students, and only rarely do the fewstudies that focus specifically on Native American students in higher education include AlaskaNatives. The cross-national literature that focuses on the experiences of indigenous people inhigher education is more likely to include reference to Alaska Natives than most of the UnitedStates-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 researchshould be that growing proportion of students whom we have typically classified as“nontraditional,” but who are rapidly becoming the majority participants in the American postsecondary system. They caution that “Some of our most cherished notions about thedeterminants of impact may have little relevance to these students,” and they indicate thatresearchers may need to revise their traditional ideas about what the impact of college reallymeans for nontraditional students (p. 632). In addition, they offer the following suggestionsabout how this research should be done.An important direction of future research on college impact should be a greaterdependence on naturalistic and qualitative methodologies. When employed judiciously,such approaches are capable of providing greater sensitivity to many of the subtle andfme-grained complexities of college impact than more traditional quantitativeapproaches. Naturalistic inquiries may be particularly sensitive to the detection of thekinds of indirect and conditional effects. We anticipate that in the next decade importantcontributions to our understanding of college impacts will be yielded by naturalisticinvestigations. (p. 634)35In the following chapter, I respond to Pascarella’s and Terenzini’s challenge bydescribing how the research tradition of anthropology and education has contributed to thedevelopment of the conceptual base for my research on Alaska Native students’ experiences inhigher education.36CHAPTER 3RESEARCH DESIGNPrior to leaving for graduate study at the University of British Columbia (UBC), I hadquestions in mind for a research study, and I had some ideas about how I might go aboutfinding answers to my questions. As indicated previously, my interests revolved around thequestion, Whatfactors contribute to the academic success ofAlaska Native teacher educationstudents at the University ofAlaska Fairbanks ? which had grown out of my universityteaching 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 universitysystem. My concerns were a product of the kind of “ordinary knowledge” that CharlesLindblom and David Cohen (1979) describe as being an important tool for social scientists inaddition to the “professional social inquiry” methods that are most frequently used foraddressing social problems.This common sense knowledge led me to recognize that insights and explanations aboutUAF programs and students’ experiences would require a research design that would allowme to gather accurate data on UAF programs and policies, and detailed information on theexperiences of a representative sample of successful Alaska Native students. In addition, itwould 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 questionsand research design. I had been involved in education in various professional capacities fortwenty-two years before beginning work on my Ph.D. In all of my teaching and researchexperiences I had worked with students and colleagues who were members of ethnic minoritygroups, and this helped to shape my notions of teaching and learning in a variety of ways. My37work, as a speech pathologist, with Black students and Black teachers in the inner-cityschools of Baltimore, Maryland led me to seriously question the behavioral conditioningmodel as the dominant model of education at the time (and the accompanying view thatcultural and linguistic differences were deficits to be overcome); my teaching experiences withdeaf and hard-of-hearing students in Fairbanks propelled me into sociolinguistics; and mywork with Alaska Native students, teachers and faculty at the University of Alaska moved metoward ethnography in a cultural anthropology tradition. While living in New Zealand andCanada, my personal and professional experiences with Maori and First Nations peopleprovided the impetus to look to comparative education, and particularly to the experiences ofother indigenous people. In each of these educational settings, an overriding and alwayslingering question has been “why aren’t public school systems able to serve certain groups ofstudents as well as others?” In each of the settings in which I worked, the people whose ideasmade the most sense to me were those who were asking contextual and relational questionswithin a qualitative framework, and generally from a tradition of cultural anthropology and/orsociolinguistics. Therefore when I began my doctoral work at UBC, I came with somefamiliarity of qualitative research based on past experience, and some expertise in the field ofsociolinguistics from the work I completed for my master’s degree (C. Barnhardt, 1981), butwith no real understanding of how all of the various research traditions fit together. What Iassumed 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 participantsThe approach that appeared to be best suited to these needs was some variation ofethnography.During my first year at UBC I spent a great deal of time thinking and learning aboutformal research traditions—and I focused on trying to understand how my intuitive hunches38fit or did not fit with: (1) academic research models in the social sciences, particularly ineducational research; and (2) research that had been done previously with minority students inhigher education. As is evident from the literature review in Chapter 2, there are fewprecedents for doing qualitative research in higher education—most research has beenquantitative in origin and most data have been drawn from the experiences of traditionalmainstream students. The primary studies used to explain success and failure in highereducation have been based on samples that have not included accurate representations ofminority students. As William Tierney (1993b) makes evident in his analysis of VincentTinto’s (1987) conventional explanatory model, and as Ernest Pascarella and PatrickTerenzini (1991) indicate in their work, the majority of research methodologies are simply notadequate to explain the experiences of cultural, ethnic and racial minority students in today’scolleges and universities.During my first doctoral seminar at UBC we were asked to introduce ourselves and toshare 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 ofus said that we were interested in using some form of qualitative methodology, and several ofus described what we wanted to do as ethnography. The nods of agreement andacknowledgment from the three faculty members (representing the disciplines of history,philosophy and sociology) suggested approval for the direction in which we were interested inmoving. Similar exchanges occurred in other classes, with students expressing an interest indoing qualitative research, with a particular emphasis on ethnography, and there was generalagreement and approval from faculty members. I moved ahead and began to develop myresearch plans, naively assuming that the terms we were all brandishing about, especiallyqualitative and ethnographic, implied at least some consensus about what it was we wanted todo 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 educationdepartments and from other social science disciplines had quite different perspectives on39qualitative research in general and ethnography in particular, and several were not aware ofalternative perspectives outside their own area of interest Faculty members and visitingscholars 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 thatall graduate students would be able to carry on academic conversations about “the lads” inWillis’ study. Educators with a critical theory perspective linked ethnography withempowerment, and those with a neo-Marxist and/or feminist perspective focused primarily ongender, social class and race issues, with some advocating radical activist ethnography as ameaus of correcting imbalances in the social system. Educational psychologists, and otherfaculty 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 asprograms for computer coding of open-ended interviews. Educational historians eitherembraced ethnography because it reflected features of their own methodologies, or becamedefensive because, although it appeared to be similar, it was not the same. Comparativeeducation practitioners had a more eclectic approach and endorsed the multiple perspectivesand realities reflected in ethnography, while cultural anthropologists focused on cross-culturalcomparisons, cultural interpretation, and the anthropology of education. No one talked aboutsociolinguistics or the ethnography of communication.Initially, I was somewhat surprised about the wide-ranging sets of definitions andcriteria used to describe “good” ethnography, and I wondered why there was not moreinterdisciplinary awareness and cross-fertilization. A year later, after weaving my waythrough a myriad of seminars, lectures, assignments, journal articles, books, and discussionswith students and faculty members, I realized that what I was experiencing at the Universityof British Columbia was a microcosm of the debates taking place throughout the academicworld 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 qualitative40research processes, methodologies and products. Evidence for, and details of, this debate canbe 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; VanMaanen, 1988; Wolcott, 1990, 1992, 1994).Unlike the more conventional notion of graduate study, many of us today are pursuingan academic career backwards—at least according to the traditional linear models thatrecommend and presume theory before practice. My previous experiences with“ethnographic” research had occurred primarily with people in education who were workingfrom a cultural anthropology perspective, whereas at the University of British Columbia mostof 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, ordid not, fit together—and where all of this fit within the larger qualitative framework I had inmind for my own research.In this chapter, therefore, I review and describe: (1) general trends within the qualitativeeducational research community, (2) my own research design/methodology, and (3) how andwhy my methodology fits into the ethnographic tradition as practiced in cultural anthropologyand the subfield of anthropology and education.Qualitative Educational Research: Multiple ApproachesSeveral 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 someof the major trends within the “qualitative community,” particularly on those members of thecommunity who were interested in education. (I have deliberately chosen community in anattempt to move beyond the roadblocks that so often dominate any discussions in which theterm paradigm is used, and as a recognition of the shifting boundaries of academicdisciplines—the “blurred genres” that Clifford Geertz describes (1983).) The trends that I41perceive to be occurring within the qualitative community include: (1) a movement from adebate on quantitative vs. qualitative to a debate within the qualitative community; (2) anopportunity for educators to choose from a much broader selection of options for research andwriting; and (3) an increased focus on the actual writing process.The vocabulary used today to describe non-quantitative approaches to educationalresearch and evaluation is confusing, but it is also informative. Discussions of terminologyare now almost mandatory in education research books that include the term “qualitative” intheir 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 evenaddressed. These new labels do however provide important clues about the development ofthe qualitative community, the nature of the evolving debate, and the new range of options forpeople interested in qualitative research. Even a quick review of the following labels, which Ihave gathered from people and texts, provides clues about the emerging qualitativecommunity, and its processes and products. The following terms were all used to describequalitative research. They were used as independent nouns or as a modifier of the wordresearch or evaluation: action research, case study, constructivist, connoisseurship, criticalethnography, ethnology, ethnography, ethnography for empowerment, ethnography ofcommunication, ethnomethodology, feminist, field research, field studies, interpretiveethnography, Marxist ethnography, micro-ethnography, naturalistic, non-interventionist,participant-observation, participatory research, phenomenology, postmodemism, symbolicinteractionist and holistic.What does such a list tell us? The qualitative community is attracting people from awider variety of epistemological and theoretical perspectives, boundaries are expanding andbeing crossed, and the legitimate options and space in which to work and write haveincreased. This list also suggests that the most interesting current debate has shifted from the42original quantitative/objective vs. qualitative/subjective debate to one within the qualitativecommunity itself. Perhaps we have already moved into what N. L. Gage (1989) describes asa possible “peaceful reconciliation” (his “second stage”) of the “paradigm wars” of the 1970sand 1980s. Other evidence of a shift in the debate includes the presence of new or changedjournals in which the focus is intentionally qualitative. In just the past few years IhInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education was initiated with international andinterdisciplinary boards of editors; and the Journal of Urban Studies changed its name to theJournal 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 forstudents and faculty who are interested in qualitative research, and advertisements for somefaculty positions now specffically call for qualitative expertise. The requirements for graduatestudents in the educational policy program at the University of British Columbia appear to berepresentative of programs in many other research universities where the introductorygraduate research class is co-taught by faculty members with qualitative and quantitativeexpertise 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 ofqualitative research and evaluation practices, it is important to locate these changes within thelarger educational research community and realize that the quantitative community continues tohave a disproportionate influence in most education settings. The large percentage of articlespublished in the main education research journals and the presentations at many educationalprofessional meetings continue to be quantitative. A large percentage of government researchmoney continues to support quantitative research and evaluation—a decision based perhaps onfmancial 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 someand 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). Otherscelebrate the diversity and envision a qualitative community that is defined by itsheterogeneity, 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 inqualitative, interdisciplinary educational research to explain and justify our research decisionsmore explicitly. The security of working within the orthodoxy of a single discipline with welldefined research traditions is not an option, and we must defend our choices to people outsideof our comfortable and often homogeneous networks.In the next section I review the development, composition, and perspectives of what Iperceive to be the two central ethnographic groups in the qualitative educational researchcommunity today: critical ethnography and cultural anthropology ethnography. Althoughothers working in this area have prepared rigorous and far more detailed qualitative researchtypologies (e.g. Jacob, 1988, Paulston, 1991, Wolcott, 1992), my simple two-part groupingof ethnographies has helped me sort through current uses of ethnography in education, and ithas helped me to formulate a research design that best address my research question. It alsoresponds to Harry Wolcott (1990) who suggests that “anyone who engages in ethnographyalso assumes responsibility to participate in the continuing dialogue to defme and redefme itboth as process and as product” (p. 47).Critical EthnographyCritical etimography developed from, and within, the critical theoiy/criticalpedugogytradition, and I use the term critical ethnography to represent the thinking and work of a widerange of people—including some who might not label their work as such. I use this termbecause 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 alarger sociological framework that has been informed by the work and writing of three44primary groups: European social scientists (e.g. Bernstein, Bourdieu, Foucault, Gramsci) andPaulo Freire; those who identify with the interpretive movement (including phenomenologists,ethnomethodologists, and postmodemists); and the critical theorists and pedagogues. I haveincluded in this category people and ideas from the British “new school of sociology” (alsoknown as “the new sociology of education”) because their work was instrumental in theformation of critical ethnography. McLaren (1989) in fact equates “the new sociology ofeducation” 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 importantresearch 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 therelationship between social/structural forces (especially class, race and gender) and humanagency; 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 ofthe 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; changeparticipants’ level of awareness; have an arousal effect; change the relationship between theresearcher 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 thatcritical ethnographers “study society with the goal of transforming it and freeing individualsfrom sources of domination and repression” (p. 253).In the United States, research studies often cited as representative of critical ethnographyinclude those by Jean Anyon (1980) who focused on differences among students fromdifferent 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 Weis45(1985) who examined the experiences of Black students in an urban community college. Theresearch of Michele Fine (1985), Jay MacLeod (1987), Linda Valli (1986), and some ofTierney’s work (1992, 1993a, 1993b) provides other examples in a critical ethnographicgenre. It is interesting to note that nearly all critical ethnography has been done in urbansettings.Although many critical ethnographers work within a sociological framework, the onlyeducation journal published by the American Sociological Association, Sociology ofEducation, focuses primarily on reporting quantitative research studies. The eight-year oldInternational Journal of Oualitative Studies in Education appears now to be providing animportant publication place for those education researchers working within a criticalethnographic perspective. Patricia Adler and Peter Adler observed that, when Urban Life andCulture was first founded in 1971, it was the only sociological outlet designated exclusivelyfor qualitative work. Now, however, there are at least five such outlets: Journal ofContemporary Education. Symbolic Interaction. Oualitative Sociology. Human Studies. andHumanity and Society. but only one is specifically directed toward education (1987, p.15).In this very abbreviated and oversimplified review, I have examined some of the waysin which academics within a sociological tradition responded to the educational questionshighlighted and generated during the 1960s as they looked for ways to make schools moreequitable for an increasingly heterogeneous student population, and as they examined issuesof power and control and the new role of the federal government in education. In addition toturning to sociology for explanations and recommendations, educators who were looking foranswers outside the quantitative paradigm, like myself and several colleagues in Alaska, alsolooked to the discipline of anthropology.Cultural Anthropology EthnographvIn the Dictionary of Anthropology (1970), Charles Winick’s description of culturalanthropology includes the observation that it “is sometimes used interchangeably in Americafor what in England is called social anthropology, reflecting the traditional British interest in46social systems and the major interest in culture of American anthropologists” (p. 29). Thisobservation captures what is perhaps the most central and organizing aspect of culturalanthropology, and of cultural anthropology ethnography. The centrality of culture inunderstanding, describing, and interpreting phenomena is what distinguishes culturalanthropology ethnography from other genres of ethnographic research.In its discipline oforigin [anthropology] the underlying rationale for doing ethnographyis understood to be cultural interpretation. To commit to ethnography traditionally hasmeant to commit to looking at, and attempting to make sense of, human social behaviorin terms of cultural patterning (Wolcott, 1990, p. 48).In The White Man’s Indian (1978), Robert Berkhofer’s review of anthropology in helping toshape “Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present” provides a usefulperspective on the development of anthropology, especially in relation to minority peoples. Heexamines the work and influence of Franz Boas in the early 20th century, as founder of thefirst comprehensive graduate program in anthropology at Columbia University, and as coworker and teacher of many future cultural anthropologists. He states that Boas was“instrumental in developing new conceptions about human diversity... [and that] otherprofessional anthropologists in the United States followed Boas and his students inrepudiating raciology and evolutionism, and espousing the idea of culture as the way ofunderstanding 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 inthe United States and says that, even though the concept of culture in a modernanthropological sense did not prevail in the social sciences in the United States until the 1930sat the earliest, “the basic presuppositions of cultural pluralism and relativism as established byBoas and his followers remain as fundamental to the new developments as they were to theAmerican or historical school” (p. 65). By the 1950s British social anthropology had come tothe United States with challenges to the Boasian school, but “although these newdevelopments in anthropology provided new ways of understanding Native Americanlifestyles. . . they did not repudiate the basic moral and intellectual assumption of the idea of47culture itself: the pluralism and relativism of moral non-judgment on and non-hierarchicalranking of social groups” (Berkhofer, 1978, p. 66).Cultural anthropologists have continued to modify their theoretical orientations in thepast twenty years just as they did during their first one hundred years of history. The conceptof culture(s), relativism and cultural pluralism have continued to maintain a central position,and like other social scientists, anthropologists have become more introspective and reflectiveabout their theories, methodologies, goals, and their own role in the research and writingprocess. Like sociologists, several have been influenced by the work of the European socialscientists, the interpretive perspective (especially the work of Geertz) and critical theory.Cultural anthropologists have used the long-established method of ethnography as theirprimary approach for learning about other people and other cultures. In the past, the rite ofpassage for anthropologists was to do ethnography by working with people in some “otherplace,” but in the past 20 years anthropologists have increasingly used their ethnographicperspectives and “tools” to work within the United States (Messerschmidt, 1981). Manyanthropological studies do continue to be with people from minority groups, thus providingthe rationale for the continued use of the term cross-cultural. Today, ethnography continues asthe primary tool of the cultural anthropologist, and it is the term used to describe both theprocess of research, and the written product.I reviewed the work and analytical writings of several people who have usedethnography in a cultural anthropology tradition, and in the process discovered wide variationin 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 anethnographic approach. Despite the differences in terminology it is evident that the group ofresearchers who practice in this tradition share a set of beliefs about what is integral to acultural anthropology ethnographic approach. These include: (1) the importance of respect forparticipants and for their world views, (2) the value of exploratory or discovery-oriented48research using an inductive approach in a natural setting, and (3) the necessity of a holisticperspective 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 thatdeveloped in the late 1960s.Where ethnography and education are joined, we find the longest, most secureattachment to qualitative research, for ethnographers have long been comfortable withthe efficacy of their nonquantitative means of inquiry. The fruits of their labor aremanifest in the approximately twenty-year old Council on Anthropology and Educationand its equally old publication, once a newsletter and now an established periodical,called Anthropo1ov and Education Ouarterly. The marriage of anthropology andeducation, among the most robust of the links between education and a social sciencediscipline, is further apparent in the Holt, Rinehart and Winston Case Studies inEducation and Culture series that George and Louise Spindler have edited since 1967and 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 ofthe American Anthropological Association (AAA) in 1968. It “is a professional association ofanthropologists and educational researchers concerned with the application of anthropology toresearch and development in education” (from the official policy statement of theAnthropology and Education Ouarterlv). It is an organization that includes 11 workingcommittees in its structure. These committees organize on the basis of specific interests andissues, and the groups’ foci range from “Cognition, Language and Literacy” to “EthnographicApproaches to Evaluation in Education” to “Women in Schools and Society.” People whoparticipate in the Council on Anthropology and Education, and who contribute to its journalinclude not only those formally trained in anthropology, but a growing number from otherdisciplines who are interested in, and have been influenced by, anthropology. The commonbond of the diverse group of people in the anthropology and education community is the beliefthat the theory and methodology of cultural anthropology can contribute to understanding andsolving educational problems.In the larger community of professional educators, the work that is most familiar andmost often referred to as cultural anthropology ethnography is the work of people in theanthropology and education tradition whose work is broad-based, and sometimes described as49macroethnography (Wolcott, 1990). It includes the kinds of ethnographies found in theSpindler series, Case Studies of Education and Culture with studies ranging from theCanadian and Alaskan North to Africa, and from urban schools to Gypsy communities in theUnited States. Also included under this classification are the case studies in Sol Kimball’sAnthropology 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 theethnographic case study series edited by Ray Rist. Examples of work done in this macrocultural anthropology ethnographic tradition include that of Elizabeth Eddy (1969), JohnHostetler & Gertrude Huntington (1971), Alan Peshkin (1978, 1982), Ray Rist (1973),Louise Spindler & George Spindler (1971), and Harry Wolcott (1973). The contributions oftwo other cultural anthropology ethnographers, Hugh Mehan (1979, 1984, 1992) and JohnOgbu (1974, 1978, 1987, 1992), are noteworthy because their work is published, andclaimed, in both anthropology and sociology. Whereas most critical ethnography has thus faroccurred in large urban areas in the United States or in Britain, cultural anthropologyethnographic research appears to be about evenly divided between rural and urban areas in theUnited States and elsewhere, including Third World countries.Two research projects that provide examples of how an ethnographic approach has beenused successfully to document and examine the experiences of students in university settingsare 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. Achievementand College Culture (1991). They both illustrate the depth and breadth of description andanalysis 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 inthe San Diego area will serve as another useful resource. William Tiemey’s research withNative American university students (1991, 1992, 1993b) provides an interesting melding ofthe perspectives of critical theory and cultural anthropology perspectives.50A subgroup in anthropology and education that has made a significant contribution tostudying inequality in schools is the group of researchers that has used the culturalanthropology ethnographic perspective to study language. (It is interesting to note that thisrepresents a logical merger between two of the four main subfields in the discipline ofanthropology: 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 whomEnglish is a first language, has come to be known as sociolinguistics and, sometimes, as theethnography of communication. Some of the participants in this group work within a formallinguistic and sociolinguistic framework, while others work within a broader, and lesstechnical, communication framework as they focus on language use (rather than, or inaddition to, language structure) within the school environment (e.g. Cazden, John & Hymes,1972; Gilmore & Glatthorn, 1982; Gumperz & Cook-Gumperz, 1979). Sometimes this typeof research is described as microethnographic.As described earlier, anthropologists have had a longtime relationship with NativeAmericans and that tradition continues today. Nearly all ethnographic educational researchwith Native Americans has been done by people in the cultural anthropology ethnographiccommunity, 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 educationwith 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 Spindlerand 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 CarolBarnhardt (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). Their51work has helped to identify some of the cultural dissonance that occurs between the beliefsand practices of Native Americans and those espoused by the American educational system.Other Oualitative ApproachesIn the field of education there are of course other important qualitative educationalresearch approaches and methods, in addition to critical ethnography and culturalanthropology ethnography. The contributions of three groups in particular are important andshould be included in any broad review of qualitative research in education. The first includespeople who focus on the use of ethnography in evaluation, including Yvonna Lincoln andEgon Guba (1985, 1989), and David Fetterman (1988). The second group are people whoseeclectic contributions to qualitative educational research defy easy categorizing. This includespeople like Elliot Eisner (1991) and Maxine Greene (1988) who work within a discipline butwhose contributions to the qualitative debate extend far beyond their own academiccommunity. A third group includes university educators, practicing teachers, and otherpractitioners who do not necessarily affiliate professionally with one of the social sciencedisciplines, 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 academicresearch, they do apply their qualitative orientation to developing programs or to writing anddistributing 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 researchtoday can be found in Eisner and Peshkin’s edited book, Oualitative Inquiry in Education: TheContinuing Debate (1990). The assemblage of contributors from a wide range of disciplinarybackgrounds and perspectives, the actual format of the book (with presentations, responsesand opportunities for real dialogue) and its content allow it to serve as a summary of thecurrent status of the qualitative debate. Eisner and Peshkin, two of the most experienced andknowledgeable members of the qualitative research community, treat their readers as thinking,52capable, sense-making individuals who can make choices if they are presented with a widerange of options for theory and practice in a non-prescriptive manner. Their metaphoricalreference to the “quiet revolution in which a coalition government emerges” provides anindication of where Eisner and Peshkin think the qualitative debate is headed (p. 13). Theirvery candid observation about the book’s contents provides one of the most accurate andhonest assessment of the state of the art, and the place of the arguments, for the qualitativeeducational debate of the 1990s: “Here’s some good stuff, but as we get wiser and better atwhat we do, our stuff will improve” (p. 17).MethodologyAfter reviewing and learning more about the variety of ethnographic traditions, Ireturned to my research question “Whatfactors contribute to the academic success ofAlaskaNative teacher education students at UAF?” and determined that an ethnographic approach,drawing most directly from the cultural anthropology tradition, was the most appropriate formy purposes. This approach provided me with a framework for studying a complex anddynamic 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 anintegral component of my interpretation and analysis. In addition, there appeared to be anatural fit between the research question, my own professional educational experiences andthe particular Alaskan context in which I was working.In this section, I describe the methodological components of my study, and followingthat, I examine more thoroughly why cultural anthropology ethnography was the mostappropriate “community” in which to ground my research.Site and SampleIn Designing Oualitative Research, Marshall and Rossman (1989) describe the idealresearch site as a place in which53(1) entry is possible; (2) there is a high probability that a rich mix of many of theprocesses, people, programs, interactions, and/or structures that may be a part of theresearch question will be present; (3) the researcher can devise an appropriate role tomaintain continuity of presence for as long as necessary; and (4) data quality andcredibility 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 studentsexpressed formally, through a letter from support from the Alaska Native Education StudentAssociation (ANESA), and informally through the positive response to requests forinterviews, and I had endorsement and support from people in various positions within theUAF community. My multiple roles as an instructor, advisor and member of severalcommittees guaranteed that my professional (and personal) life was “a rich mix of many of theprocesses, people, programs, interactions, and/or structures that were part of the researchquestion” that Catherine Marshall and Gretchen Rossman (1989) describe (p. 54).I included in my study all undergraduate Alaska Native students who met the followingcriteria: (1) graduated between May of 1989 and May of 1993; (2) completed all requirementsfor 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 theircoursework on the Fairbanks campus of UAF (as distinguished from the UAF field-basedteacher education program, “X-CED,” which serves approximately 100 students in rural areasof Alaska). Fifty students met these criteria. By including all of the students who hadgraduated since May of 1989 my sample was large enough to ensure broad representation ofAlaska Native students who completed the teacher education program in Fairbanks. AlaskaNative students represent about 15 to 20 percent of the total number of teacher educationstudents at UAF. Students were identified as Alaska Native or American Indian throughuniversity records and personal knowledge.Researcher as Participant and ObserverMy role as a participant and observer in the study was facilitated by the instructor’sposition I held at UAF and by my past involvement in a wide variety of educational settings in54both rural and urban Alaskan settings. My relationship with students and other participants inthe 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 anoutsider, a participant and an observer with different groups associated with the project, andin some instances the boundaries between roles were quite fluid. Although I was an insider insome aspects of the university system, because I was a non-tenure track, term-fundedinstructor, I was an outsider in other circumstances (e.g. education faculty meetings whereonly tenure-track faculty are allowed to participate, grant policies that are restricted to full-time/tenure-track faculty, participation in university-wide governing bodies). I am an outsiderin the Alaska Native community because I am not an Alaska Native. However, because of theresponsibilities associated with some of the roles in which I have served, I have been privy toinsiders’ perspectives, and in some instances I have been viewed as an insider because of myadvocacy role on behalf of Native students within the University system. During the period oftime in which I did my fieldwork and analysis, I had no evaluative responsibilities in relationto the students directly involved in the study.Time LineI formally initiated this research after I presented and successfully defended myproposal before my doctoral committee at the University of British Columbia in the fall of1991, and after I had received formal approval for my research from the University of BritishColumbia Behavioural Sciences Screening Committee For Research and Other StudiesInvolving Human Subjects in the Spring of 1992. Informally, however, I had imagined astudy somewhat like this on many occasions since I had begun teaching courses on theFairbanks 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, andbegan interviewing students. In 1993, I prepared a summary report that included information55on all of UAF’s Alaska Native programs, student services and courses. I also completed thestudent interviews, prepared the transcriptions, entered information from student records intoa data base, and began the formal analysis and writing. In 1994, I wrote, circulated drafts ofindividual chapters to a variety of people within the UAF community—and rewrote. Ipresented reports on this study at four conferences and incorporated feedback that I receivedfrom those presentations.Data Collection TechniquesDue to the complexity of my research question I used a variety of sources andapproaches for gathering data about three different contexts: (1) the Alaska Native educationalcontext, which I studied primarily through written sources (Chapter 4); (2) the UAFinstitutional context, which I examined primarily from information available in publicdocuments and reports (Chapter 5); and (3) the student context which I learned about bygathering data from students’ university records, through individual student interviews, andthrough participant observation (Chapters 6 and 7). The use and integration of these variedsources and approaches provided a means for coritextualizing the issues to which the study isaddressed.1. Historical WorkThe first component of my research design was the preparation of a brief historicalaccount of schooling for Alaska Native people. This account places Alaska Native educationin the wider framework of federal Native American policies, and includes contemporarysocial, political and economic information that is critical for understanding and interpretingsome of the unique circumstances of the Alaska context. I drew primarily on secondarysources for my historical research on federal policies related to Native American educationalpolicies and programs, and I used primary sources, including those from my own previoushistorical research study (C. Barnhardt, 1985), to gather information on the history of Alaska56Native education. Chapter 4 provides the necessary context for interpreting data about UAFand about students’ experiences.2. Document Ana1ysisI collected, reviewed and analyzed a wide variety of public documents that describedpolicies, programs, students services and courses at UAF—in particular those that weredesigned 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 onthe Fairbanks campus, as well as responses to the general needs of Alaska Native people andothers in rural communities.Since my intention in gathering information on these programs was descriptive ratherthan evaluative, I relied upon official university publications when available (especially theUniversity of Alaska and University of Alaska Fairbanks “fact books,” undergraduatecatalogs, and department or program brochures), as well as articles from the Fairbanks andUAF newspapers, and occasionally, internal reports. When necessary, I sought guidancefrom the handful of people whose past experience constituted the “institutional memory,” andthus could provide clarification or information about the best route to pursue to compile thehistorical 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 researchbecause of the lack of official records in this area.From these documents I prepared a summary report which includes a narrativedescription of the 27 Alaska Native programs I identified, including information on each ofthe following variables: year initiated, administrative unit, people eligible to participate,approximate percentage of Alaska Native/Native American participants, and original andprimary source of funding. This report, Alaska Native Programs and Students Services OnCampus at the University ofAlaska Fairbanks, (which serves as the source of information forseveral tables included in Chapter 5, and is included as Appendix A) pulls together in oneplace, for the first time, information on all of the various programs, student services, and57courses that address Alaska Native people and issues on the Fairbanks Campus of UAF. Ialso 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 UndergraduateCatalog, 1993-94. This is included as Appendix B.3. Student University RecordsSince the Education Department at UAF does not have a data base with information onstudents in its undergraduate teacher education program, I gathered information from originalsources (student files) rather than relying on the statistics presented in official universitypublications such as the annually published UAF Fact Book or the University of AlaskaStatewide Statistical Abstract. Although these reports are useful for establishing trends andgenerating researchable questions, the information related to race and ethnicity in thesepublications is frequently misleading and/or inaccurate because of the ambiguity in thecategories 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 theoption of identifying themselves as E=Alaska Eskimo or N=Alaska Native Unspecified orO=Other or Y=Alaska Eskimo Yup’ik, and Athabaskan students can choose from I=AlaskaIndian or N=Alaskan Native Unspecified or O=Other or T=Alaskan Indian Athabaskan. If Ihad relied upon official records for identifying students who are Alaska Native, it would nothave been possible to compile an accurate listing because of the vagueness of the choices orbecause 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 schoolattended, semesters at UAF, GPA, test scores, major, etc. I used information from otherforms 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 Ientered information into a database (Panorama II) on 84 variables, and since I entered it allmyself the chances for inconsistency were minimized (Appendix C). This data base serves asa major part of the research findings. It supplements and corroborates descriptive data from58the interviews and the program descriptions, and it serves as an important tool for the analysisin Chapters 6 and 7. It also provides a quantitative dimension to the qualitative informationgenerated from the interviews and from my participant/observer role.4. Ethnographic InterviewsThe use of interviewing as a research tool is described in nearly every description ofany type of ethnographic process, and data from interviews is included in almost allethnographic products. The ethnographic interviews were one of the most central andimportant methodological tools in my research because they served as the primary means forobtaining students’ perspectives.Descriptions in the research literature of general ethnographic interviews contain severalcommon themes. In their textbook description, McMillan and Schumacher (1989) state that“Ethnographic interviews, which use open-response questions to obtain data ofparticipantmeanings, may be the primary data collection strategy or a natural outgrowth of observationstrategies. Participant meanings refer to how individuals in social scenes conceive of theirworld 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.. . itprovides for flexibility in the formulation of hypotheses and avoids oversimplification indescription 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 thequestioning process itself.The main difference between the way in which ethnographers and survey interviewersask 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 ofsocial interaction, are structured by both researcher and informant. The importantdistinction to be made is between standardized and reflexive interviewing.Ethnographers do not decide beforehand the questions they want to ask, though theymay enter the interview with a list of issues to be covered. Nor do they restrictthemselves to a single mode of questioning. On different occasions, or at differentpoints 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)59My role and purpose in interviewing followed the guidelines described above. I developed alist of general themes for the interviews (Appendix D), and from this developed a list ofquestions for each student that was appropriate and applicable for each individual. I used thelist as a guide, rather than as a checklist, and also as a place to jot down questions that weregenerated by student’s responses. My policy and practice were very much like what McMillanand Schumacher (1989) describe as “the interview guide approach” in which “topics areselected in advance but the researcher decides the sequence and working of the questionsduring 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 thiswould provide a good representation, and the transcription process would not be toooverwhelming. I was correct on the first part of my assumption and wrong on the second! Iwrote to all of the students and asked if they were interested in being interviewed, knowingthat it would not be possible for many of them due to scheduling problems, distance fromFairbanks, etc. I interviewed 20 students (from the group of 50) who were representative ofthe 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 notvoluntarily chosen to delay their graduation time (and whose records were therefore notincluded in the data base).Time spent meeting with each student for the interview process was approximately oneand a half hours. During the first 15 minutes we usually visited and caught up on events ineach other’s lives. During the next 15 minutes we usually talked about the necessity for, andthe options available on, the UBC consent forms in which students made their choices aboutconfidentiality, future use of the tape-recordings and transcripts, freedom to shut the taperecorder off at any time, options to review the transcript of their interview, etc. Five studentsasked to have the interview transcript returned to them so that they could review what theysaid—none of them chose to make any modifications.60Each of the interviews was tape-recorded, and the majority were about an hour inlength. Students chose the location where the interview would take place, and they occurred indorm rooms, work places, homes, restaurants, my university office, the university studentcenter and one in a hotel where a statewide conference was being held. When the weather wasnice, we often had the interview outside on the university lawn. I always brought snack foodand beverages or purchased a meal for the student if we met in a place where that was anoption. Following the interviews, I made quick notes to myself about things that I particularlywanted to remember. In order to assure confidentiality, I did the transcribing of the interviewsmyself.5. Participant/Observation and Analytic JournalAs described in the section on the role of the researcher, my role varied somewhat fromthe more traditional role of a participant/observer. I was “on the scene” during the three years Idid the formal research and writing as an instructor in the teacher education program, but Iwas not directly involved in the academic activities of the students who participated in thestudy. I consciously attempted to follow some advice offered by George Spindler (1982) inhis “Criteria For a Good Ethnography of Schooling”—that “inquiry and observation mustdisturb as little as possible the process of interaction and communication in the setting beingstudied” (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 untilthe end of the writing process in the summer of 1994. I used a format that Hammersley andAtkinson (1983) describe as “analytic notes.”Equally important is regular review and development of analytic ideas in the form ofanalytic memos. [These are] written notes whereby progress is assessed, emergentideas are identified, research strategy is sketched out.This process of progressive focusing means that the collection of data must beguided by the unfolding but explicit identification of topics for inquiry... . It is areflexive monitoring of the research process.61The construction of such notes therefore constitutes precisely that sort of internaldialogue, or thinking aloud, that is the essence of reflexive ethnography. . . one isforced to question what one knows, how such knowledge has been acquired, thedegree ofcertainty 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 focusingprocess was the feedback I received on a regular basis—from my committee—and from avariety of people within the UAF setting.Before I began my study, I had circulated a draft of a shortened version of my proposalamong several UAF students, faculty and student services personnel. From them I receivedseveral suggestions and statements of support for the direction of the study. Later in theprocess, I gave drafts of the chapters on the history of schooling and the UAF context topeople who were especially knowledgeable in these areas. I asked them to provide me withfeedback—particularly on the accuracy of my information and on whether or not they felt Ihad provided sufficient data to warrant my conclusions. I also gave drafts of the two studentchapters to some of the students I had interviewed, as well as other individuals who hadworked with many of the students involved. I asked them to comment on the same areas, andto be attuned to whether or not I might have included comments that would have allowed anindividual student to be identified. The comments from these individuals were an importantpart of the research process for me. They caused me to pay attention to the kinds of questionsand issues raised by individuals who were also “on the scene,” and they helped me to keep inmind that my descriptions and explanations needed to make sense to audiences who were bothhere (at UAF) and there (everywhere else).My informal analytic (computer) journal did serve the purpose Hammersley andAtkinson (1983) suggest. It allowed me to continually review and reflect upon thedevelopment of my research design and it aided in the identification of themes and patterns.Data collection and data analysis went hand-in-hand.62Guiding ConsiderationsThere are clearly many similarities as well as differences between the theories,methodologies and goals of people who work within critical ethnography and culturalanthropology ethnography. Attempts to develop typologies or identify distinctions betweendisciplines, subdisciplines or certain traditions is a heuristic exercise that, if carried toextreme, can place us right back in a positivistic, objective model. Boundaries are obviouslycrossed and genres blurred by real people who practice social science, so at some stages ofresearch these distinctions can seem superfluous.Critical ethnography and cultural anthropology ethnography have more in common thanthose general considerations that identify the work of all qualitative researchers. Members ofboth groups are bringing their social science perspectives to bear on education in an attempt toaddress the problems that are inherent in a compulsory system of public schooling.Sociologists and anthropologists who are using the perspectives of their respective disciplinesfor research within the field of education are influenced by many of the same academic andintellectual movements. Ethnographers from both traditions are engaged in research andteaching that will inform and hopefully enrich our understanding of how public schooling canprovide equal opportunities and comparable outcomes, where one group of students will notbe privileged over another. There are some important differences, however, between the twotraditions in their history and emergent orientation—some very obvious and some moresubtle. In order to guide my research process, I considered some of the implications of thesedifferences—particularly as they related to the role of theory, sociolinguistic contributions,bases for interpretation, and impact considerations.The Role of TheoryDuring my exploratory work on critical ethnography and cultural anthropologyethnography, I found that I was able to locate more theoretical and analytical writings aboutcritical ethnography than actual ethnographic studies, whereas the opposite was true for63cultural anthropology ethnography. For those working within the critical ethnographycommunity, theory appears to play a more central and directing role than it does for thoseworking 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 ofEducation in 1984. In that role she was required to work with writers and reviewers fromboth anthropology and sociology, so she was in the advantageous position of being able tolisten and learn from people in both disciplines, and to think about the two in relationship toone another. Her observations speak directly to the issue of theory.As I worked with the papers submitted, I noticed that authors with an anthropologicalorientation were much more comfortable with the complexity of data and analysis thanthose with a sociological orientation. Anthropologically oriented authors gave richaccounts but sometimes needed to be encouraged to draw overall conclusions and toestablish their relevance to other work. Sociologically oriented authors emphasizedexplanations and theoretical inferences but sometimes rushed through a schematicpresentation of data. Editorial encouragement often elicited both richer accounts of dataand more thoroughly grounded analyses. Perhaps we need to remember to honor theearly sociologists who rooted our discipline in qualitative studies. Encouraging therising generation of sociologists to do qualitative work and to accept its complexity anduntidiness may reward us with fresh insight in the long term at the cost of clarity andcertainty in the short term. (Metz, p. 199)My own questions and concerns about theory have been generated not only on the basisof the role that theory plays before or after research, but on whether or not theory takesprecedence 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 addressthe unique perspectives and conditions of Native Americans, and Alaska Natives specifically.Since “culture” has a long history of both theoretical and practical application in severaldisciplines, it provided an analytical frame of reference that offered the latitude to incorporateinterdisciplinary perspectives as outlined in Chapter 2. The disciplines, people and ideas whowere most influential in shaping my conceptual perspective, and thus my research design andinterpretation, included those associated with the study of comparative education, highereducation and minority students; the history of Native American education, and anthropologyand education.64I have come to recognize that it is important for me to work within a tradition wheretheory 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 significantlyin the past twenty years. As Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) remind us “readers shouldunderstand that the evolving character of higher education’s clientele, specifically the growingnumbers of minority group and older students, raises serious questions about the universalapplicability of [conventional] theories and models” [italics added] (p. 17). Consequently, theapproach I have taken is intended to be more explanation-derived than theory-driven.Sociolinguistics in Educational ResearchI have found the work of sociolinguists who work within a cultural anthropologytradition essential in helping me understand and interpret what is going on in cross-culturalsettings in the past, and there is no question that this knowledge played an important role inshaping the design and conduct of this study. I was especially aware of this as I listened to theaudiotapes of the interviews and realized, because of its absence, how powerful and importantthe non-verbal communication was in providing meaning in the actual face-to-face sessions. Iwas also very aware that the conversational style in some of the interviews would be quiteunfamiliar to some people because of cross-cultural differences in some of the Nativestudents’ 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 interactionalstyles (gleaned from sociolinguistic research and/or immersion experiences) can be pivotal tothe success of cross-cultural projects. Successful communication, especially in a researchsetting, can occur only in contexts where the participants have genuine respect for one anotherand for communication patterns different than their own, and where participants have ways tocomfortably deal with, and work through, the miscommunications that inevitably occur incross-cultural exchanges.65As I listened to the taped interviews I was reminded of other approaches to interviewingthat do not take into account different communication styles. In particular, I remembered theinterview training I had received several years ago when I was a member of an educationalresearch team that was about to depart to several rural areas of Alaska to do fieldwork thatinvolved a lot of interviewing. To prepare us for this, an outside academic “expert” wasbrought in to train us in the mechanics of interviewing. The interview process we were to usewith parents, teachers and administrators was bound by very rigid and specific rules. Thisapproach may have been appropriate in a culturally homogeneous context; however, theartificial and impersonal rules for interaction and their inappropriateness in a rural, cross-cultural context made the methodology not only very uncomfortable for both interviewee andinterviewer, 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 bycritical ethnographers, and as Anderson (1989) observes “critical ethnographers in education,with few exceptions, seem to underestimate in their own work the potential of sociolinguisticanalysis to systematically explore how relations of domination are sustained through themobilization of meaning” (p. 263). Mehan (1992), too, argues for the inclusion of“ethnographically informed sociolinguistic research [because it offers] a model of mutualaccommodation in which both teachers and students can modify their behavior in the directionof a common goal” (p. 7). It would be especially challenging to attempt to do research in across-cultural setting without having been either immersed in that community or setting for anextended period of time or without having the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge thatis available in the cultural anthropology sociolinguistic literature. The ability of researchersand participants to recognize and resolve misinterpretations and miscommunications thatdevelop because of cross-cultural differences can “make or break” a research project.Focus of Research and InterpretationThe commitment of cultural anthropology ethnography is to cultural interpretation, inboth the process and the product of ethnography, whereas the commitment of critical66ethnography 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 makereference to culture, there does not appear to be a consensus about what culture is and where itfits 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 culturalanthropologist’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 havein 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, anawareness and recognition of the centrality of culture in interpretation is essential tounderstanding what is going on. In a series of articles on the history and problems ofAmerican Indian education, Vine Deloria (a Sioux Indian and a political scientist) makesfrequent reference to the importance of culture.The second most popular argument in Indian education is that Indians are really adifferent cultural set and therefore generate different kinds of problems. Culturaldifference should have been reasonably clear in 1492 and by the early 1700s whenformal educational efforts for Indians began someone should have started to think aboutwhat cultural difference meant. Certainly after almost three centuries people ought to begetting a grip on the nature of this cultural difference. But now, less than two yearsaway from the 500th anniversary of European contact, it should not come as anysurprise that Indians really do represent an entirely different set of cultural beliefs andpractices even though many of the most profound differences have disappeared over thelast century (1991, p.62).The research tradition in which I work must provide an avenue for learning about andrecognizing the nature of these cultural differences, and it must allow for the inclusion ofcultural 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 culturalcontext. In Alaska, social class and workers’ struggles do not have the same meaning as inlarge, industrial settings where neo-Marxist interpretations are likely to be far more central andappropriate. Likewise, many of the issues associated with gender in higher education are quitedifferent for Alaska Native people than for non-Natives. While Alaska Native women are67moving into professional and leadership roles in rapidly increasing numbers, Native men areexperiencing a degree of cultural dislocation that is producing the highest rate of suicide in thenation. It is necessary to use caution when imposing frameworks for interpreting social classor gender differences in a context where broader cultural considerations play such a centralrole.Interpretation of human behavior in a research framework where culture is not a centralconstruct 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 isespecially so in research environments that include participants from cultural systems asdifferent as those in Alaska. In the next chapter, “History of Schooling for Alaska NativePeople,” I provide contextual and cultural knowledge about Native American people, andabout Alaska Native people specffically, as an aid to interpreting the information in Chapters5, 6 and 7.First Principle—Do No HarmFor critical ethnographers, politics and power are central to the purpose of educationalresearch (Giroux, 1988). Anderson’s statement that critical ethnographers do research “to freeindividuals from sources of domination and repression” (1989, p. 249) provides an accuratesummary of what is presented in most critical ethnographic texts. Although I am in completeagreement with the notion that research should contribute to “empowerment,” and a decreasein domination and repression, I personally am uncomfortable about asserting that my researchwill directly help “to free individuals from sources of domination and repression.” I am mostconcerned about such claims in cross-cultural research because of the dangers of imposingone’s own norms and interpretations.One of the limitations of formal academic research is that it is nearly always laden withand bound by restrictions related to funding, publication, advancement, and status within theacademic community. While academic research can make a contribution to empowerment itneeds to be coupled with other initiatives if it is to lead to responsive changes in oppressive68social systems. One example researchers can consider is the model provided by Myles Hortonat the Highlander Folk School in Appalachia where disenfranchised people have been inspiredto act through the information and support provided in a safe environment. Horton insistedthat problems be identified by the people themselves and his role was that of facilitator. Hewas successful in helping very divergent groups of people address their problems because hedid not impose his own agenda, but rather provided a place for critical dialogue and guidancefor community-based participatory research (Adams, 1980; Horton, 1990; Social Policy,1991).One of the more frequently discussed options today for blurring the distinction betweenresearchers and “those researched,” and between theory and practice, is collaborative researchbecause it does offer the possibility of a more balanced and democratically produced researchprocess and product. Anderson (1989) describes collaboration as an approach that manycritical 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 tocross-cultural differences.In four out of the six Alaska Native cross-cultural education research projects in which Ihave participated, the modus operandi has been “collaborative.” Each of these collaborativeexperiences was productive, rewarding—and always challenging because of the complexity ofcross-cultural interactions. I have become appreciative of the very real potential formisunderstanding, miscommunication, and abuse of power that can exist in cross-culturalresearch situations in institutional settings, especially where the fmal responsibility to makedecisions on what is written and what is made public falls on one person, usually theprincipal-investigator. Joseph Tobin and Dana Davidson’s (1990) very frank analysis of theirown problems in collaborative, i.e. “polyvocal,” cross-cultural research illustrates whyethnographers need to be cautious about generating unrealistic expectations of bothresearchers and participants while participating in, and producing, what they believe willresult in genuinely collaborative efforts when research and writing is involved. They conclude69that, in many instances, collaborative ethnographic research is both an illusion and a reality of“shared interpretive authority between researcher and informant.” Although it holds thepotential for “letting researchers and informants interact on a more equal footing and of lettinginformants’ 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 beingtextualized and contextualized that we now believe to be inevitable in polyvocal research. Wealso are concerned that the promise of polyvocality may encourage informants to reveal morethan they ordinarily might do to more obviously authoritarian researchers” (p. 279). Tobinand Davidson concluded:In qualitative research that emphasizes reflexivity, consent and confidentiality are onlythe beginnings of ethical issues to be addressed. A fundamental ethical precept ofresearch 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 mustconsider which culture’s ethical standards and child socialization practices should serveas our ethical touchstones. (p. 275)My intention, in this research project, was to conduct a study that would have maximumbenefit for individuals and institutions, and it did not lend itself to the level of collaborationthat 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 ofa 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 whatI have learned from experiences of UAF Alaska Native students to others within the universitycommunity.I am very aware of many instances when Alaska Native people have been betrayedbecause of the abuse or misuse of “findings” obtained in the guise of academic research, and Ido know UAF students and graduates who have been victimized by unethical researchpractices. During this research project, I have made every effort to be as up-front and honestas possible with members of the Alaska Native community at UAF about what I was doingand why. The UBC ethical consent forms served as a good tool for initiating discussion aboutthe uses and the limitations of academic research (particularly since there were no comparable70requirements 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 inmy 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 anon-Native person—myself as the “researcher.” That’s neither bad, nor good. What is criticalis that I not misrepresent this research as something other than what it is. The analysispresented here represents my interpretation from my perspective as a liaison who is workingwithin the system. I have asked students to share their perspectives with me and have madeevery 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 theextensive data I gathered represents a judgment call on my part. To augment the informationfrom the interviews, I have packed a great deal of data from the students’ university recordsinto the description and analysis. The information on the programs and services that UAF hasdeveloped for Alaska Native students, the data included in the database and summarystatements about on-campus UAF Alaska Native students and their experiences, together withthe historical information, provides readers with a solid foundation with which to make theirown 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 satisfyingprocess that allowed them to reflect on their college experiences in a way they had not donepreviously, the impact of this study on these and future students’ lives will most likely beindirect and will come more from the product than the process. Policy and program decisionsthat are made on the basis of hearsay, hunches, emotion or stereotypes—by students or byuniversity personnel—are not likely to lead to meaningful long-term change. Hopefully, theinformation assembled here will serve as impetus for a broad-based dialogue and provide aframework for generating future discussions about policy and practice. Accurate informationis still one of the most potent tools for improvement—and empowerment.71If we are really interested in understanding more about the experiences of minoritystudents in higher education, we need to foster research in a wide variety of contexts and frompeople with different histories and perspectives. We do need more research that comes justfrom Native people, and we do need to provide research opportunities in our institutionswhere people from different cultural groups have the freedom and the flexibility to dogenuinely collaborative work. We need to expand our defmition of poiyvocal research bysupporting not only collaborative research in which people with multiple voices work withone another, but we also need to encourage comparative and contrastive research that allowsfor a much broader range of methodologies.72CHAPTER 4HISTORY OF SCHOOLING FOR ALASKA NATIVE PEOPLEIn this chapter I describe some of the historical circumstances that have helped to shapethe educational experiences of Alaska Native students who come to study at the University ofAlaska Fairbanks. Through a brief review of the conditions of schooling for students in thisstudy (and for their parents and grandparents), I examine how the legacy of these studentswas partially defined by the school experiences they had because they were Alaskans, andNative Americans, and Alaska Natives.As was stated in Chapter 1, understanding the historical context of NativeAmerican/Alaska Native schooling is important in examining the experiences of Alaska Nativestudents at UAF for the following reasons: (1) despite the unique legal standing recognizingthe aboriginal rights of Native people and the federal government’s binding treaty obligationsto Native Americans (which have been extended in large part to Alaska Natives), manymisunderstandings continue about the status and rights of Alaska Natives with regard topublic education, health, social and economic services; (2) the history of Alaska Nativeeducation is not the same as the history of Native American education, and the differences aresignificant; (3) student’s prior schooling experiences influence their performance in auniversity setting, and the schooling experiences of most Alaska Native students at UAF aresignificantly different from those of most students in any other state.An additional reason for including this historical information is the scarcity of publishedinformation on the history of education in Alaska. The most recent treatment of the subjectwas an article in the Polar Record in 1979 (Darnell). Even though Alaska ranks as the statewith the fifth largest Native American population, most books written about Native Americaneducation focus only on Indians in the Lower 48 states. Some authors do give Alaska Nativesa cursory nod, as Margaret Szasz (1974) does when she prefaces her historical account ofIndian education by saying that “Alaskan Native children are mentioned only briefly; their73school conditions are unique and should be the subject of a separate study” (vii). Othersattempt to explain away the Alaska oversight in their analyses, as Francis Prucha (1984) doeswhen he states that:Alaska Natives—Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts—offered unique problems [for thefederal government], for they had never been fully encompassed in the federal policiesand programs developed for the American Indians. Alaska for decades seemed remoteand out of the way; no treaties were made with the natives there, few reservations wereestablished for them, and only small appropriations were made for their benefit. Notuntil the mid-twentieth century did striking changes occur that demanded attention to theclaims of the aboriginal peoples of Alaska. (p. 1128)In this chapter, therefore, I present a brief historical account of Native American andAlaska 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 thenecessary context for understanding the development of Alaska Native policies, programs andservices at UAF as described in Chapter 5; and the experiences of the 50 Alaska Nativestudents 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 affectedschooling for Alaska Native people; and (3) a brief history of schooling for Alaska Nativepeople, with an emphasis on the development of a dual system of schools, the influence offederal reform efforts, and the impact of Alaska reform efforts. I conclude by describing thecurrent status of schooling in Alaska.Throughout the chapter I use the terms “Alaska Native” or “Native” when I am referringto all of the indigenous people in the state. When I refer to a specific cultural/linguistic groupor subgroup, I use the term with which people identify themselves (e.g. Aleut, KoyukonAthabaskan Indian, Inupiat Eskimo, Thngit Indian, Yup’ik Eskimo). I follow theconventional pattern of using “American Indian” to describe Native American people outsidethe state of Alaska, and I use “Native American” when I refer to all indigenous people of theUnited States.74The Alaskan ContextAlaska has many features by which it is readily identified by people throughout theworld. Traveling Alaskans discover that people in nearly all parts of the world have somefamiliarity 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 ofcontrasts” 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 theUnited States. Its far northern position isolates it from other states but places it within 47miles of the former Soviet Union, and its 33,000-mile coastline is longer than the east andwest coastlines of the contiguous states combined. Alaska has the highest mountain on theNorth American continent, the second longest river in America, two active volcanoes, overhalf the glaciers in the world, and spectacular aurora borealis. Its extension through twoclimactic zones and its summer sunlight and winter darkness account for great differences intemperature between summer and winter. It has rich oil, timber, coal, and gold resources, andits natural environment continues to support animals now absent in other locations. Alaskaalso has the most northern, the most western, and the most eastern locations in the UnitedStates (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 physicalfeatures. The diversity of its people, along with major changes and events in the state since1970, has resulted in social, political, economic, and educational contrasts that are no lessremarkable. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the building of the trans-Alaskapipeline, decentralization of the state school system, establishment of a network of small ruralhigh schools, and bilingual education legislation may not be as familiar as the geographicalfeatures of the state to non-Alaskans, but the impact of these events upon the everyday life ofAlaskans is at least as significant.75The population of Alaska in the 1990 census was 550,000 people, including 86,000 ofaboriginal ancestry—Eskimos, Indians, and Aleuts, who collectively refer to themselves asAlaska Natives. The large majority of non-Native people are migrants from the Lower 48states, with increasing numbers of Asian and Latin American immigrants. English is spokenby nearly everyone in the state. With twenty different Alaska Native languages, several Asianand European languages, and American dialects from all regions of the United States, there isan unusual linguistic diversity for such a small population.With only 550,000 people spread over 586,402 square miles, Alaska has one of thelowest 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 areasof Alaska (Anchorage 227,000, Fairbanks 78,000 and Juneau 27,000) offer the same kindsof amenities found elsewhere in the United States. They have well-developed transportationsystems, modem shopping complexes, fully-equipped homes, and extensive educationalfacilities. 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 fromcommunities 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 withpopulations ranging between 25 and 5,000. Although an increasing number of Native peoplelive 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. Eventhough in most rural communities today one will see trucks, cars, snowmachines,refrigerators, televisions, telephones, and modern school buildings these will be next to logcabins, dog teams, fish wheels, food caches, meat drying racks, and outhouses. Each villagehas at least one store, but many Native residents continue to practice a subsistence lifestyleand depend heavily on moose, caribou, seal, walrus, whale, fish and berries for their supplyof food.76Native people in Alaska identify with, and are organized into, distinct groups on thebasis of language, culture and geographic location. The three primary groups are Eskimo,Indian and Aleut. Among these groups are four different Native language families (EskimoAleut, Athabaskan-Eyak, Tsinishian, and Haida), and these language families include 20distinct Alaska Native languages. Although some of the twenty languages are related, they aredifferent enough from one another that speakers of one language usually cannot understandspeakers of another language. All of the Alaska Native languages are linguistically verydifferent from the Indo-European languages, and few non-Natives, other than linguists, havebecome proficient speakers of an Alaska Native language. Children still speak their Nativelanguage as a first language in four of the languages. Alaska Native people often identifythemselves with a tiered description: as Alaska Native, as belonging to a particularlinguistic/cultural group (e.g. Aleut, Haida Indian or Siberian Yup’ik Eskimo) and as being amember of a particular region, village and/or family. In some areas, further clan distinctionsare made.The diverse geographic areas that Alaska Native people occupy dictate quite distinct lifestyles with a broad range of subsistence practices, modes of transportation, accessibility toothers for economic and social functions, and political structures. Aleut people live on theAleutian Islands and along the southern coast of the mainland (the name “Alaska” comes fromthe Aleut word for continent). Eskimo people live along the Northern and Western coastalareas of Alaska and include Yup’ik people who live in the Southwest—both inland and alongthe coasts of the Bering Sea; Inupiat people who live in the north primarily along the ArcticSea; and Siberian Yup’ik people who live on two islands very near the Russia border. Indianpeople include 11 different groups of Athabaskans in the Interior, and Tlingit, Haida andTsimshian in the Southeast coastal area of Alaska. Although the actual population figures forAlaska Native people have changed since 1887 (a decrease beginning in 1867, and an increasein the past 20 years), the proportion of Alaska Native people across the three primary groups77has remained fairly consistent: Eskimos at 56 percent, Indians at 34 percent, and Aleuts at 10percent.Although there are important differences among Alaska Native groups, most share withone another—and with other Native Americans—a set of beliefs that include the following: apriority of communal and family considerations over individual considerations; a belief insharing versus accumulating; and a respect for spirituality and an interconnectedness with thenatural world. These beliefs are encompassed in world views that sometimes clash infundamental ways with Western views grounded in a Judeo-Christian belief system,economic capitalism and political democracy, and the values inherent in these beliefs andideologies.In a number of ways, most Native American tribes interpreted life from a certaincommon perspective, employing a set of values sharply at odds with the assumptions ofEuropean civilization. When compared to one another, the tribes are highly diverse; butwhen all of them are compared to European society, a Native American culture becomesdiscernible—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 AlaskaWhen the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, the policies, programsand relationships that had already developed between the government and American Indiansdirectly influenced Native Americans in Alaska. Although many American Indian educationalpolicies and programs were not designed specifically for Alaska Natives, they all have directlyor indirectly influenced decisions about schooling in Alaska. Moreover, the policiesestablished in this early period set a precedent for federal and state schooling practices forAlaska Natives that continues even today. Many current misunderstandings about educationalpolicies for Alaska Native people are the result of misinformation about early federal practicesthat affected schooling in Alaska. Of particular consequence are the federal government’s earlyactions in the negotiation of treaties with American Indian tribes, the establishment ofreservations, and the adoption of the Civilization Fund Act.78TreatiesDuring the Revolutionary War, the colonial government opened treaty deliberations as ameans of negotiating with Indians who controlled land, resources, and trade routes that thenewcomers wanted access to. These treaties recognized the sovereignty and independentnation status of Indian tribes, and when the United States Constitution was written, itspecifically authorized Congress to enter into these treaties. Included in almost every treatywere contractual, legally-binding agreements in which the federal government agreed toprovide Indian people with education, health care, and social services in exchange for Indian-controlled resources. Between 1779 and 1871, 389 treaties were negotiated between theUnited States government and Indian groups, and through the process a precedent for federalcontrol of Indian affairs, including education, was firmly established. The treaties alsoestablished the dual rights of Native Americans in United States society: special rights thatevolved 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 schoolingwas identified, and since that time the government has legally extended its educationalresponsibility through other means including congressional acts, executive orders and courtdecisions.While there continue to be many problems in following through on the intent of thetreaties, of equal concern are some of the unintended consequences. The first was that manyof the treaties were not honored by the United States government and this betrayal influencedfurther 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 becausetheir traditional, and historically effective, means of providing these services for themselveswas lost through displacements resulting from the treaty arrangements. Although AlaskaNatives were not directly involved in formal treaty arrangements, the precedent of negotiatingwith the federal government for land, rights and resources, and the dependency that developedfrom the legacy of federal responsibility for education continue to be critical issues in Alaska79today. Two federal-state-Alaska Native task forces are currently addressing the residualeffects of this relationship—the Alaska Native Commission, and the Joint Federal-State TaskForce on the role of the BIA in Alaska.Reservations and AllotmentsThe process that led to the eventual development of a national system of reservations forIndians occurred over several decades, but was not formally instituted until the 1850s. Thebeliefs and assumptions that led government officials to recommend this type of institutionaland jurisdictional structure are described and rationalized by the federal Commissioner ofIndian Affairs, Luke Lea in 1850.It is indispensably necessary that [the Indians] be placed in positions where they can becontrolled and finally compelled by sheer necessity to resort to agricultural labor orstarve. Considering, as the untutored Indian does, that labor is a degradation, and thatthere is nothing worthy of his ambitions but prowess in war, success in the chase, andeloquence in council, it is only under such circumstances that his haughty pride can besubdued, 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 toagriculture, of limited extent and well-defmed boundaries; within which all, withoccasional exception, should be compelled constantly to remain until such time as theirgeneral improvement and good conduct may supersede the necessity of suchrestrictions. In the meantime, the government should secure to them the meansand faculties of education, intellectual, moral, and religious. (Commissioner of IndianAffairs Report, 1850, as cited in Prucha, 1984)This statement is a harsh reminder of the extreme ethnocentrism and moral righteousness ofthe time, and it provides an indication of the extent of power and control which governmentofficials envisioned through the reservation system policy. Although Alaska, for the mostpart, was not directly affected by the reservation plan (the Annette Island Reserve for theMetlakatla Indian Community and the village of Venetie being the exceptions), the beliefs thatled the United States government to support the policy were the same beliefs that shaped itsfuture relationship with Native people in Alaska.After the establishment of the reservations, the Dawes Act, also referred to as theAllotment Act, was passed in 1887 and caused an even further breakup of Native people. Firstdivided by the creation of the reservations, Indian people’s family and tribal systems werebroken down even further when the government allotted small parcels of reservation land to80individual Indians to promote private ownership and encourage agricultural pursuits. In aperiod of thirty-two years, 75 percent of this land was then sold to non-Natives. As aprovision of the Dawes Act, the government again included education as a compensation forits actions. The government’s justification for the Allotment Act is captured succinctly byDavid 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) areinteresting. “The Alaska Allotment Act in 1906 extended to Alaska the provisions of theDawes Act, allowing allotments of 160 acres to individual Indians that would give clear title totheir homesites; but quarter-section allotments made little sense in the subsistence economycarried on by most Alaska Natives” (p. 1129).Treaties, reservations, allotment policies, and boarding school programs, all of whichwere developed at about the same time, endorsed and ensured restricted environments inwhich the government could control all aspects of Native American life including education,religion, medicine, and law. Each of the federal initiatives served to sever connectionsbetween family members, villages and tribal units. In addition, the policies inaugurated along-standing policy of assimilation through segregation (e.g. the goal of boarding schoolswas to assimilate Native American students into mainstream society by separating them fromtheir communities). Federal policies were designed so that Natives and non-Natives had littleoccasion or opportunity to interact for educational, economic, social or political purposes,except for the often stilted interactions with outside government or missionary representativeson 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 ofpoverty, disease, and high incidence of alcoholism that continues to impact many Nativepeople today.81Civilization Fund ActThe Civilization Fund Act, passed in 1819, also had a direct impact on schoolingpractices. It appropriated an annual “civilizing” fund and initiated a program whereby thefederal government contracted with religious groups to operate schools for Native children—apolicy that continued to influence Native education long after it was declared unconstitutionalin the 1 890s. With the passage of this act, the federal government established a second legalbasis for federal responsibility for schooling for all Indian children (not just those coveredunder treaty arrangements). The assumption that Indian people’s needs would best be servedthrough schools that promote “civilization” and Christianity has continued to be a powerfultheme throughout the history of American Indian and Alaska Native education.The Dual System of Schools in AlaskaThe recorded history of the relationship of Native people in Alaska to the United Statesgovernment begins almost 200 years after the history of relationships with other NativeAmericans because Alaska did not become part of the United States until it was purchasedfrom Russia in 1867. Because few government, church and education records are available (inEnglish) for the period of time Russians were in Alaska, we have only a limited understandingof their relations with Native people from the time of initial contact. We do know that Russianexplorers, fur traders and missionaries had been in the country since the 1700s, and we knowthat the territory was sparsely settled by groups of indigenous people whose languages andcultures varied significantly.Prior to the time of purchase, formal education for Alaska Native people came primarilyfrom the efforts of the Russian Orthodox church and the Russian-American Company. Theyprovided schools for Indian people in Southeast Alaska and for Aleut people in the Aleutianarea. Literacy programs flourished, especially in the Aleutians, and many Aleut people becamesophisticated readers and writers in both the Russian and the Aleut languages (Dauenhauer,1982).82It was not until 1881, 17 years after Alaska became a territory of the United States, thatthe first official federal legislation impacting Alaska, the Organic Act, was passed. This actestablished the first civil government in Alaska, provided the legal basis for federal provisionof education and affirmed that the United States Government did not recognize aboriginalownership of land. The Act delegated responsibility for providing schooling “for children ofall races” to the Office of the United States Secretary of the Interior. Four years later the taskof providing education was specifically delegated to the Bureau of Education, a unit within theDepartment of the Interior. Federal involvement with Alaska Native education continues to thepresent day through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (the “BIA”)—a unit in the Department of theInterior that assumed the responsibilities of the former Bureau of Education.The Bureau of Education fulfilled its legal obligation to Alaska by providing schools thatwere consistent with its emerging comprehensive national Native American school system—asystem based on the belief that it was possible to transform Native people into civilized andChristian Americans, and that the best mechanism for achieving assimilation into Americansociety was education. There was little recognition of important differences between NativeAmericans in Alaska and those in the other states, and even less recognition of importantdifferences among indigenous peoples within Alaska. Olson and Wilson (1984) speculateabout why differences among Native Americans were overlooked.Europeans were blind to [thej diversity and insisted on viewing Native American culturethrough a single lens, as if all Native Americans could somehow be understood in termsof a few monolithic assumptions. Social life in colonial and frontier America wasterribly complex—a cauldron of competing racial, religious, and linguistic groups—andsettlers saw Native Americans as just one more group among many. .. . It is an ironythat probably because of their own diversity, Europeans were unable to see NativeAmericans as anything more than a single group. Unlike black Africans, who came fromdiverse tribal backgrounds but were forced into one, highly integrated African Americanslave 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 limitednumber of vocational boarding schools. Instruction was provided in the three “R’ s,” inindustrial skills, and in patriotic citizenship. A strict “English-Only” policy governed all83language and curriculum decisions. Some schools were operated directly by the federalgovernment while others, referred to as “contract schools,” were contracted to missionarygroups (Catholic, Congregational, Episcopal, Methodist, Moravian, Presbyterian, andSwedish-Evangelical).By the early 1900s, the number of non-Native people coming into the Territory ofAlaska had increased steadily due to the discovery of gold and the development of commercialfishing and timber industries. Because the federal Bureau of Education was not able toprovide adequate schooling for all of the newcomers, the United States Congress grantedauthority to individual communities in Alaska to incorporate and establish schools, andmaintain them through taxation. Many small, non-Native towns did this and opened schoolsimmediately. However, several communities that were too small to incorporate still desiredsome degree of regional autonomy in the management of their schools. Consequently, in 1905Congress passed the Nelson Act that provided for the establishment of schools outsideincorporated towns. The governor of Alaska was made the ex-officio superintendent, and newschools were established, but only “white children and children of mixed blood leading acivilized life” were entitled to attend. Thus, a dual system of education in Alaska wasinaugurated, with schools for Native students run by the federal Bureau of Education, andschools for White children and a small number of “civilized” Native children operated by theTerritory of Alaska and incorporated towns.The federal Bureau of Education, meanwhile, continued to extend its services to moreremote sections of Alaska, and by 1931 it had assumed responsibility for the social welfareand 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 AlaskaNatives by introducing reindeer herding), cooperative stores, operation of a ship (the NorthStar) for supplying isolated villages, and the maintenance of an orphanage and three industrialschools. In Alaska, as in other places in the United States, the autonomy and self-sufficiencyof Native people continued to erode as the federal government assumed greater responsibility84over their lives and livelihood. Most of the elders in Alaska Native communities today (andseveral 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 wascommissioned, and from it the Meriam Report was issued. The report was highly critical ofIndian education (and of most other Bureau of Education programs too). It was the first majorreport to document and bring to the nation’s attention the status of Indian conditions. Thereport’s recommendations called for a major refonnation of Indian education with Indianinvolvement at all levels of the educational process and with specific recommendations thateducation be tied to communities, day schools extended, boarding schools reformed, Indianculture included in the development of the curriculum, and field services decentralized. Theserecommendations continue to be referenced, and relevant, even today. At the time the reportwas prepared approximately 40 percent of all Native American children attended federal BIAschools and about 80 percent of this group were in boarding schools. Only a handful ofgovernment schools offered instruction above the eighth grade level, and the teacher turnoverrate was nearly 50 percent per year. In Alaska in the late 1920s, the majority of Alaska Nativestudents were enrolled in BIA day schools in villages where the teacher turnover rate waseven higher than the national average, and few were able to attend the limited number of BIAor 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 inIndian policy in the United States. During his administration, a wide variety of new programswere implemented—nearly all with the goal of providing Indian self-determination ineconomic development, social services and education. Two pieces of legislation thatsupported these goals, the Indian Reorganization Act and the Johnson-O’Malley Act (bothcommonly referred to today by their initials) were enacted in 1934, and both had long term85effects on United States Indian policy, and a direct impact on Alaska Native people thatcontinues today.The Indian Reorganization Act provided for Indian political self-government andeconomic self-determination by allowing tribes to organize and incorporate. It was the firstpiece of legislation that addressed, and attempted to counter, the economic destruction that hadresulted from treaty negotiations and reservation allotment policies. However, Alaska Nativeswere once again slighted in the process due to an oversight in the law. To remedy theoversight Congress passed the Alaska Reorganization Act in 1936 which authorized thecreation of reservations on land occupied by Alaska Natives. However, since Alaska Nativeswere less “tribally oriented” than other Native Americans, they were granted specialpermission to establish “village” governments and constitutions, and most groups chose thisoption (Olson & Wilson, 1984).The Johnson-O’Mafley (JOM) Act initiated a new federal approach to Native Americaneducation that was based on the Meriam Report recommendations—emphasizing that Indianeducation should be closely tied to communities. This act authorized the Secretary of theInterior (specifically the BIA) to negotiate contracts with any state or territory to providefederal funds to help the states or territories defray expenses they incurred for education,medical aid, agricultural assistance, and social welfare programs they provided for NativeAmericans. In Alaska, this call for more local control led to the beginning of negotiationsbetween the Alaska Territorial Department of Education and the Bureau of Indian Affairs forthe transfer of federally-operated rural BIA elementary schools to the territory. Between 1942and 1948, 20 BIA schools were transferred to the territory. The Territory and the BIAcontinued to pursue the unification of the dual system of education and by the mid 1950s, 22more school transfers were completed.In the early 1950s, about 50 percent of Alaska Native students were in territorysupported public schools and 50 percent were in BIA schools, the same ratio as nationwide atthat time. Alaska Native students who attended the territory-supported public schools in urban86areas were in racially integrated schooling environments, whereas students who lived insmaller incorporated towns with Native and non-native populations, where there were bothfederal BIA and territory schools, continued to attend school in a racially segregatedenvironment. The majority of Alaska Native students attended elementary school in their ownrural villages where there was only one school—run either by the Territory or by the BIA. Inthese settings most of the school population was Alaska Native because it reflected thepopulation 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 attendhigh school were the distant BIA boarding high schools, with the exception of a few churchaffiliated boarding high schools in some areas of the state.Although there were several reasons for continuing the merger between the federal andterritorial school systems, the momentum that began in the early 1950s came to an abrupt haltshortly after. By 1954 efforts to bring the two school systems together ceased—for a varietyof reasons, some at a national level and some within the state. In the years following WorldWar II, the pendulum of federal Indian policy had begun to move back toward “de-Indianizingthe Indian” once again. As a result of the just-concluded war and as a response to thedeveloping Cold War, an insistence on conformity to national, narrowly-defined standardsbecame prevalent. At the same time, the new postwar economy supported private economicgrowth and reduced government spending. This conservative political and economicenvironment 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 torelocate Native Americans to urban areas in 1954.The reversal of public support for Native American self-determination impacted Alaskawhere the educational reform efforts recommended by the Meriam Report and the Collieradministration had just begun to be implemented. In the mid 1950s Alaska was placing a greatdeal of time, effort and money into its bid for statehood, and the motivation for federal andstate education officials to work together to develop a unified system for rural Alaska Native87education waned significantly. Therefore, when Alaska did achieve statehood in 1959, thestate and federal school systems were still a dual presence in rural Alaska. Although some ofthe most negative consequences of the original dual system no longer existed (i.e. singlecommunities in which students attended separate schools on the basis of race), many of theother negative consequences of the dual system continued (e.g. lack of coordination, highexpenses, duplication of services).The serious lack of documentation about schooling in Alaska’s rural areas makes itdifficult to really understand what kinds of differences existed in schools operated by the BIAas compared to those operated by the territory. The stories of Alaska Native people whoattended rural elementary schools in both systems (e.g. some of the students who participatedin this study and several of their parents) suggest that the federally mandated policies of theBIA schools provided fewer opportunities for community input and participation in mattersrelated to school design, language use, curriculum, and hiring of school personnel than didthe territory/public schools.It was not until 1965 that the state began to pay attention once again to the educationalneeds of Alaska Native people in rural areas. It established the Division of State-OperatedSchools (SOS) with special responsibility for rural and on-base military schools, and created agovernor’s committee to again explore the merger of BIA and state schools. Fifteen yearslater, there were still 43 BIA schools in Alaska and the final transfer of federal schools to thestate 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 andpractices reflected the ambiguity of state and national beliefs about the best way to educateNative 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 andterritory schools attended by some students and by nearly all of their parents and grandparentsforbade students to speak their Native languages and did not allow for a curriculum that88reflected anything Alaskan, Native American, or Alaska Native. Only rarely did students inthis study have the opportunity to be taught by an Alaska Native teacher.Federal Educational Reform EffortsAt the beginning of this chapter I referred to events after 1970 in Alaska that “caused thedevelopment of social, political, economic, and educational contrasts” and I mentioned theAlaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the building of the trans-Alaska pipeline,decentralization of the state school system, establishment of a network of small rural highschools, and bilingual education legislation. Each of these did have a major impact on AlaskaNative education, and although each was specific to Alaska, all were influenced to someextent by events in the rest of the United States.By the mid 1960s and early 1970s, a new awareness and unease was developing in theUnited States about the increasing economic and academic disparity between different groupsof people, usually on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or social class. Publicdemonstrations, civil rights pressures, and independence movements were prevalent incountries all around the world. In the United States, the Civil Rights Movement and theWomen’s Movement were two efforts that led to new legislation and to court decisions thatdirectly and indirectly affected members of all ethnic and cultural minority groups.Native American people capitalized on the vigorous and supportive mood of this periodand became sophisticated public advocates for Native American causes by formally organizingthemselves 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 panIndian groups were formed, ranging from special interest groups like the National IndianEducation Association (NTEA) and the National Tribal Chairman’s Association to the oftenmilitant American Indian Movement (AIIVI). These groups did not challenge, but served tostrengthen, the central positions of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) whichhad been organized in 1944.89Best-selling books by Indian authors Dee Brown, Vine Deloria and Scott Momaday, aswell as movies like Little Big Man and A Man Called Horse helped to promote interest in andgamer 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 toachieve their ends. The seizure of Alcatraz by “Indians of All Tribes” in 1969, the occupationof BIA Headquarters by participants in the “Trail of Broken Treaties” in 1972, and the seizureof the community of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1973all contributed to establishing a public awareness (and sometimes, a sense of guilt) that led tothe development of federal initiatives in the 1970s and 1980s.To organize and describe the virtual flood of federal activity that occurred between 1965and 1990 in the area of Native American education, I have organized the major national-leveleducational initiatives into two categories: federal programs designed for all students, andfederal programs designed for Native Americans.Federal Programs For All StudentsGovernment efforts aimed at providing equal opportunities proliferated during the GreatSociety period of the 1960s with its bold attempts to fight the “war on poverty,” and thesecontinued well into the 1970s. Education was identified as both a cause and a cure ofinequality, and efforts to equalize schooling opportunities assumed a position of prominencein many of the reform efforts during this time. Although funding for several federal programsdecreased in the 1980s, the momentum generated by the earlier actions continued.A number of general and comprehensive programs had a direct impact on NativeAmerican education programs and policies. The creation of the Office of EconomicOpportunity (OEO) in 1964 provided not only Headstart and Community Action Programs(CAP) in which many Alaska Native people and village governments participated; it alsocreated a model for collaboration between the federal government and local communities. TheElementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 represented the first majorinvolvement of the federal government in education for children other than Native Americans.90It was designed to meet the special needs of children in low-income families, and includedspecial appropriations to public school districts enrolling Native American children. The CivilRights Act of 1968 included five titles dealing specifically with Native Americans. Severalparts of Title VII Bilingual Education legislation had immediate implications for many NativeAmerican students as well.Federal Programs for Native AmericansAs Native Americans continued to make public demands for local control, theydeveloped a broad base of support. In addition to the efforts already described, specialcongressional subcommittees, independent research associations and grass roots organizationseach used their own tools and their persuasive efforts to usher in a wide array of newprograms.Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon all established Presidential task forces toexamine the role of the BIA. The most consequential of these was the Kennedy Task Force onIndian 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 ofresearchers prepared a report that condemned the policy to terminate Native Americanrelationships with the federal government. The book published from this report, The Indian.America’s Unfinished Business (Commission on the Rights, Liberties, and Responsibilitiesof the American Indian, 1967), called for Indian control of social, political and educationservices. A National Study of American Indian Education, funded by the United StatesDepartment 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 1928Meriam Report and reaffirmed that serious problems still existed and the recommendationsoffered were still valid—50 years later.91In 1972, the Indian Education Act was passed which mandated parental involvement andlocal control of some educational services for Native Americans. It was directed at meeting theneeds of Native American students in public schools, where two-thirds of Native schoolchildren were then enrolled. The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of1975 provided authority for tribes to contract directly with the BIA to conduct or administer allor part of any of the Indian programs conducted by the federal Department of the Interior. The1978 Educational Amendments (Public Law 95-561) provided more opportunities for controland decision-making authority in local public schools boards. The first schools to assert localIndian control were the Rough Rock Demonstration School in 1966 and the NavajoCommunity College in 1969 in Arizona.Although the Bureau of Indian Affairs had official responsibility for formulating NativeAmerican policy, most of the federal educational reform efforts during this period wereinitiated 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 IndianAffairs, and a National Indian Education Advisory Commission, with membership restrictedto Native Americans, was established to report to the President and the Secretary of theInterior.During this same period, many other signfficant legislative, executive, and judicialdecisions 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 becomesevident when considering the impact of land and resource issues upon the programs andpolicies in Alaska education over the past 25 years.The discovery of oil and the subsequent passage of the Alaska Native Claims SettlementAct provided the State of Alaska with a great deal of money, and provided Native people withthe power and economic status they had not previously held. When oil was discovered on theNorth Slope of Alaska in 1968, the major oil companies involved immediately applied to thefederal government for a right-of-way permit to initiate the largest private construction project92in recent United States history. They wanted to build an 800 mile oil pipeline that wouldextend from Prudhoe Bay in the north to Valdez on the Gulf of Alaska. Since the time of thepurchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, Alaska Native people had not been compensated fortheir aboriginal land or granted title to any more than small parcels. Therefore, when oil wasfound, it became clear that Native claims would have to be settled before a pipeline right-of-way permit could be issued to the large oil companies. Natives claimed ownership to land thatthe 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 wasissued, and construction finally began in 1973. Four years later this major technological featwas completed, and Alaska became an important supplier of United States oil. Thus, it wasthe discovery of the rich oil fields that fmally provided the impetus for the state and federalgovernments to enter into serious negotiations on the long-standing land and compensationdisputes with the Native people of Alaska. Through their collective efforts, they achievedwhat, at the time was “perhaps the most comprehensive and far-reaching legal settlement ofaboriginal claims to land and its resources yet witnessed in the contemporary world—theAlaska 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 beencompleted), and $962.5 million dollars. In order to use this land and invest this money inways that would collectively benefit the Native community, 12 regional Native profit-makingcorporations were established that coincided with the various cultural and linguistic regions ofAlaska. These regional corporations became the largest landowners in Alaska, outside of thestate and federal governments.Today, these 12 Native corporations function like business corporations anywhere inthe world. They are governed by corporate laws, are directly responsible to their Nativeshareholders, 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, and93local business enterprises. Within each of the 12 regions many village-based corporationswere also established by ANCSA, along with nonprofit organizations designed to administer awide range of social service and educational programs, many of which were formerly underthe control of the BIA and other federal and state government agencies. The non-profitcorporations now annually administer over one hundred million dollars for education, health,employment, and social programs.Alaska Educational Reform Efforts Since 1970An indication of the level of disorder that existed in the rural educational system inAlaska even in the 1970s (when the parents of some of the UAF students in this study were ofhigh 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 majoreducational problem area, second only to the Navajo Reservation. Although more than half ofAlaska Native children were enrolled in state public schools, a significant number were still inBIA elementary day schools. When these “overage” and “underachieving” children, as labeledby the BIA, completed the eighth grade they presented “a real problem for the enrollment-conscious Branch of Education” of the BIA because of the lack of high school facilities inAlaska (pp. 127-128).Szasz (1974) describes the situation one year in the late l960s when there were 400eighth-grade graduates from rural elementary schools for whom there was no space availablein 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 enrolled204 Alaska Native students in the Chiocco BIA High School in Oklahoma. Szasz reportsthat, although a small percentage of these students returned to Alaska before Christmas, mostof them stayed through the first year—”perhaps in part because Bureau leaders made itdifficult 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 remain94at Chilocco” (p. 127). The Bureau attitude was based on the premise that if the student failedat 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 goalsrather than to the needs of the students. Restricted by budgetary limitations and anxiousto increase the percentage of pupils in school, the Branch of Education juggled studentsto 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 ruralschools by making the Alaska State-Operated School System an independent agency withresponsibility for rural schools. However, pressure for more local control brought legislativeaction again in 1975 that abolished this system and in its place set up 21 separate schooldistricts in rural Alaska, referred to as Regional Educational Attendance Areas (REAAs)—thesystem that is currently in operation.As a result of this massive decentralization effort, the REAAs (like school districts inurban areas) have assumed responsibility for educating children in their regional area. EachREAA has its own locally elected school board and its own superintendent, and although theresponsibilities of the school boards and administrators vary from region to region, many ofthe boards today are directly involved in establishing policies for budgets, hiring, anddeveloping curriculum. There are state guidelines in all areas of education, but each REAA hasenough latitude to design the schooling process in ways that will make it most appropriate forits particular region. Special services and some additional resources are provided to theREAAs 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 forschools in all communities that are not incorporated. The level of state support for schools inAlaska ranks among the top in the United States.The establishment of regional school districts did not, however, respond to the need forhigh schools in rural areas. There was in fact no comprehensive effort to remedy this problemby the state or federal governments until a lawsuit was filed against the State of Alaska in1974. The class-action suit, charging discriminatory practice on the part of the state, was filedby Alaska Legal Services, on behalf of all rural secondary-aged students, for not providing95local high school facilities for predominantly Native communities when it did for severalsame-size, predominantly non-Native, communities.The Hootch family, whose daughter the suit was named after, lived in the Yup’ikEskimo community of Emmonak, with a population of about 400 people. Like most otherrural Alaska Native families, they faced the prospect of sending their high school-aged childaway from home for the entire school year. Secondary students in nearly all rural and Nativecommunities in Alaska had been sent to federal Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools insoutheast Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, or, for a short time inthe 1970s, to state boarding schools and boarding home programs in larger Alaskancommunities.The case was argued on grounds of racial discrimination, and in 1976, the Governor ofAlaska signed a consent decree as settlement of what had become the Tobeluk v. Lind casebecause Molly Hootch was no longer in school. In the settlement, the state of Alaska agreedthat it would establish a high school program in every community in Alaska where there wasan elementary school (which required a minimum enrollment of eight students) and one ormore secondary students, unless the community specifically declined such a program.Subsequent legislation and funding brought about sweeping and dramatic changes in theeducational system in Alaska. During the year after settlement of the case nearly 30 new highschools were established with staffs of one to six teachers and student enrollments in the newhigh schools ranging from 5 to 100. During the next seven years, the state invested $133million in the development of approximately 90 more small high schools. Today there are over120 small high schools in Alaska villages, nearly all operated by the REAA in which they arelocated. Twenty-two of the 50 student participants in this study were among the firstgeneration of Alaska Native students who were able to attend high school in their owncommunity.Decentralization of the state educational system, establishment of REAAs with powervested in their regional and local school boards, and the construction of 120 new small high96schools did not occur simply because federal policies had paved the way for neworganizational structures that made self-determination a viable option. These events were, infact, made possible by social, political and economic occurrences outside the educationalarena.Alaska Schools TodayToday, nearly all Alaska Native students entering the University of Alaska system haveattended elementary and secondary school in one of three settings.1. Village SchoolsIn rural village schools, students are usually in multi-graded settings, instruction in theearly years may be in a Native language (especially in a Yup’ilc or Inupiat community), andmost schools have an Alaska Native cultural component in the curriculum. Communitymembers serve as classroom and bilingual teacher aides in most village schools.2. Urban schoolsNearly all urban schools in Alaska now include some programs designed specifically forstudents who identify themselves as Alaska Native or Native American students. These arefunded 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 includein-school academic tutoring, community cultural events, provision of a “school-within-aschool,” or cultural heritage activities. Urban communities in Alaska include Anchorage,Fairbanks, and Juneau.3. Rural Regional Center and Road System/Marine Highway SchoolsThe 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 “roadsystem or marine highway” schools (schools accessible by car or ferry and primarily non-Native, such as Glenallen and Tok, or Ketchikan and Sitka) have characteristics of both thevillage schools and the urban schools. Many of these schools are administered by the sameREAA district or borough that administers the village schools in that region. The range of97special programs for Native students varies significantly within this group, depending on theirrepresentation in the population.Despite the differences among these three school settings, there are some importantconamonalties across schools in Alaska. All of the schools that enroll Native Americanstudents are now required by federal regulations or by their organizational structure to includeparents and other community members in the decision-making process. No school districts inthe state have a proportion of Native teachers commensurate with the proportion of Nativestudents. Only 4.0 percent of all teachers in the state are Alaska Native, and the percentage ofadministrators is even smaller. There are however a few village schools where 50 percent ormore of the faculty is Alaska Native. Eighty-five percent of the teachers in Alaska havereceived their training outside the state, and the annual teacher turnover rate in the ruralschools continues to be high—up to 30 percent in some areas.CommentsNative American education, and Alaska Native education, have histories that arecomplex and tightly interwoven. A comprehensive knowledge of these histories is essentialfor understanding and interpreting the educational institutions, programs and policies that haveevolved to serve Native people. Alaska’s educational history has essentially been one of amovement toward self-determination and self-control—in education, tribal government andsocial services. The passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the decentralizationof the federal and state school systems, and the rapid development of an extensive network ofvillage high schools have brought about major transitions in a very short period of time. Theseevents have also brought to the surface many of the dilemmas and contradictions in NativeAmerican educational policy. The inherent paradox in a system that requires the government toprovide education for Native Americans while at the same time promoting self-determinationhas not yet been resolved. And the fundamental question of whether or not it is possible forthe federal government to maintain its legally-binding trust responsibility, as defmed by98constitutional, congressional and judicial actions, without maintaining some level of controlhas yet to be answered.Alaska Native students at the University of Alaska in this study brought with them a farmore diverse set of educational experiences than have any group of Native students in thepast. They grew up in a political, social, economic and educational environment that wasdramatically different, not only from that of their parents, but even from that experienced bytheir 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 theireducational 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 UnitedStates. The following is a summary of characteristics that distinguish Alaska Native studentswho currently attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as many of those in thisstudy.• Many of their parents did not complete elementary school or have the opportunity togo to high school, and most are the first generation of students from their family, orvillage, to attend college.• They have grown up in a political milieu in which Alaska Native people (especiallylegislators and corporate officials), for the first time, wield economic and politicalpower that is being used to impact schooling.• They are shareholders in their own corporations, as a result of the Alaska NativeClaims Settlement Act, and most have participated in village and regional corporationactivities.• They have been the focus of national and international attention in the past few yearsas a result of events such as the oil spill of the Exxon Valdez, the plight of the whalesstuck in the ice in Barrow, renewed efforts to open up Arctic land for further oildevelopment, and continuing unresolved issues dealing with Native hunting andfishing rights.• They are the first generation to grow up with telephones, TVs and VCRs in theirhomes, and computers and audioconferencing equipment in their classrooms.• They are members of a minority group that continues to rank at the lowerend of the spectrum in the United States and in Alaska, on measures related toincome, educational attainment, infant mortality rates, life expectancy, alcoholism,suicide and accidental death.99In the following chapter I examine the context and climate of the University of AlaskaFairbanks—the next schooling environment in which many Alaska Native people continuetheir formal education. I look specifically at the ways in which it has responded to the interestsand needs of its increasing population of Alaska Native students.100CHAPTER 5ALASKA NATIVE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES AT UAF:CHALLENGES AND CHANGESIn 1971 I was hired as a teacher for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the FairbanksNorth Star Borough School District. To meet the requirements for Alaska teacher certificationI needed to acquire six academic credits during my first year. I was pleased with the prospectof being able to take courses that would help me learn more about teaching in an Alaskanenvironment, since my teaching assignment included Alaska Native students, students fromrural areas, and students for whom English was a second language. However, I wassurprised and disappointed to discover that few such courses were available at the Universityof Alaska. There were only three options: two anthropology courses, and one educationcourse that was described as an “interdisciplinary study of problems encountered by teachersin educating culturally atypical pupils” (University of Alaska Catalog, 1970-71, p. 178). Ichose to wait for the summer sessions when visiting professors came to the university to offercourses that were more appropriate for my needs.Two years later I decided to begin a master’s degree program at the University ofAlaska. Once again I discovered there was little coursework and no degree options that wouldallow me to study those issues that I thought would help me to be a successful teacher inAlaska. I therefore met with faculty members who had expertise in the areas in which Iwished to study (Alaska Native languages, anthropology, education, linguistics, psychology,and sociolinguistics) and with their assistance, I developed a proposal for what we all agreedwas 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 severaladministrative levels in the university.With proposal in hand (and with a great deal of confidence), I met with the first of theadministrators whose approval was critical to the acceptance of my proposal. He read it101carefully and then told me, in a kind and thoughtful manner, that I would be putting myprofessional career in jeopardy if I pursued this academic route. He explained that the areas ofstudy I wished to pursue were considered “fringe” and that if I received a master’s degree inan area that included a cross-cultural emphasis it would impede my opportunities for “movingup” within the Fairbanks schools, and it would threaten my chances of getting accepted intoquality graduate schools. He urged me to take advantage of the opportunities for research thatwere already available to me on the Fairbanks campus and pursue one of the standard degreeslisted in the catalog. At the end of our meeting, he reluctantly agreed to sign my proposal, butonly after I acknowledged that I fully understood that I was taking a personal and professionalrisk 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 anduniversities in the early seventies, when issues of multiculturalism were just beginning tochallenge the standard modus operandi of higher education institutions. Twenty-five yearsago, in 1969, there were few Alaska Native students, faculty or staff on the Fairbanks campusand only one student support service office with an Alaska Native or rural emphasis—StudentOrientation Services (SOS). Very few courses in education, humanities or social sciencesincluded information on Alaska Native people or issues—in fact, almost nothing on theFairbanks 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 researchuniversity. Although it was unusual for a campus as small as UAF to have such a strongresearch emphasis, the far northern geographic location enhanced and contributed to itspotential to make important research contributions. The development of several institutes inthe physical and biological sciences contributed significantly to this impetus, and by 1969 theuniversity’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 researchcenter (and 90th in research and development spending out of the nation’s top research anddevelopment universities), and during the same period of time it has also become known as102the center for Alaska Native studies (UAF Fact Book, 1991). Today the Fairbanks campus ofUAF has at least 27 programs or services that directly relate to Alaska Native issues andAlaska Native people, and it has 78 courses that include information about Alaska Native orrural Alaska issues. Prospective UAF students from around the United States now read innational publications that the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is:the major research center for Alaska, [and as such it] offers unusual opportunities forstudies relating to the northern environment, including engineering, fisheries science,geological engineering, natural resource management, physical sciences, petroleumengineering, rural development, Russian studies, and wildlife management. It is also thestate’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 andsubsequent changes that propelled UAF into a position where it is now described as “thestate’s center for study in Alaska Native cultures and languages” as well as “the state’s centerfor research?” Has the UAF community responded to and resolved the concerns expressed bymy graduate advisor who, like many others, was convinced that the goals and reputation of adeveloping research university would be threatened by, and not compatible with, thedevelopment of a campus that responded to multicultural issues in general and to AlaskaNative issues in particular?In Chapter 4, I reviewed the home, community and schooling contexts of Alaska Nativestudents—the legacy they bring to UAF. In this chapter, I examine some of the salientfeatures of the Fairbanks campus to provide a foundation for understanding and interpretingthe descriptions of Alaska Native students’ experiences in Chapters 6 and 7. I focusspecifically on the context of the Fairbanks campus and examine several factors that have beeninstrumental 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 interpretinginformation about the past and current campus climate in Fairbanks; (2) a brief overview ofthe vocabulary of the multicultural movement; (3) a description of the response of UAF tomulticulturalism and specifically, a documentation of the actual changes that have been made103in the past 25 years on the Fairbanks campus of UAF in response to Alaska Native studentsand issues; and (4) a review of the factors that influenced the changes at UAF.The University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Research University ContextIn the United States the four conventional categories used for identifying the major typesof higher education institutions are two year community colleges, liberal arts colleges,comprehensive universities, and research universities. Institutions are placed into thisCarnegie Classffication system based on the comprehensiveness of the institution’s mission asdetermined by the following: level of degrees offered, number of Ph.D’s awarded each yearand 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 tocompete for students and faculty.Although differences in the cultural mores of these various categories of highereducation institutions are generally not well understood by people outside the system, or bymany students and non-faculty participants within the university, higher education literature isfilled 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 todiscover that a fairly explicit and agreed-upon set of characteristics define the qualities of mostresearch-oriented universities in the United States. I was also interested to find how frequentlycommunity colleges, liberal arts colleges and research universities were described as havingdifferent “cultures” because of their different emphases.UAF is officially classified as a “comprehensive university” and not as a researchuniversity because, even though it has graduate programs, it does not meet all of the criteria ofa 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 research104institution. From the time the Geophysical Institute was established in 1949, the Fairbankscampus has prided itself on being a research center, and today it is the campus that isdescribed as “the university’s principal research center” (UAF Undergraduate Catalog, 1993-94, p. 5) within the wider University of Alaska system.The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ self-conscious pride in being viewed as a researchinstitution was evident when I began my graduate studies, and it has continued to be animportant part of its identity. This is evident in current descriptions in UAF’s undergraduateand graduate catalogs, its fund-raising brochures, the UA and UAF “fact books,” and theinformation provided to the commercially published guides to colleges such as theComparative Guide to American Colleges (Cass and Cass-Liepmann, 1994). Other evidencethat UAF considers itself a research institution can be found in the title of universityconvocations such as the first one by its new provost in 1994 (“Leadership in a ResearchUniversity” by Jack Keating) and in its membership in the “Holmes Group” even thoughmembership is restricted to officially-recognized research institutions. (The Holmes Group isa national consortium of 96 American research universities whose focus is the improvement ofteacher education.) UAF appears therefore to be the type of institution that Irving Spitzbergand Virginia Thorndilce (1992) describe as “a comprehensive school that espouses the normsofa research institution” [italics added] (p. 129).What are some of the features, and the subsequent implications of being, or “espousingto be,” a research university? Since it is necessary to have a common understanding of what isimplied when an institution is described this way, and since UAF’s identity as a “researchuniversity” is germane to documenting its past and present orientation to Alaska Nativeprograms and people, the following is a brief review of some of the commonly ascribedcharacteristics 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 observesthat in 1920 “American research universities had established patterns of structure, intellectual105organization, and financing that are still recognizable today” (p. 3). The popular media quiteeffectively presents, to the general public, information on the financial benefits that accrue tothose universities that secure research grants, but there is little information available to non-academics about “the structural and intellectual organizational” implications of being auniversity 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 commonfeatures of a United States research university.The single most distinguishing characteristic of research institutions is the existence of arigid and well-defmed hierarchical system built around research productivity as the basis fordetermining academic rank, tenure and appointments within an academic unit. Position in thishierarchy depends to a great extent upon an individual’s academic research efforts—the oftenreferred to “publish or perish” imperative—and the rewards for those who make research theirtop priority are quite different from the rewards for those who do not. A wide schism oftenexists between people whose primary responsibility and interest is research and those whoseprimary responsibility and interest is in teaching or in student personnel work. According toSpitzberg and Thomdike,The majority of professors at [research] institutions embrace a culture in which facultyare first and foremost researchers; their role is to advance knowledge and provideservices through consulting to government and industry.. . undergraduates aresometimes seen as a distraction from the real work of faculty.. . colleagues andadministrators do not reward good teaching.. . . At most research institutions, facultyare told, directly or indirectly, to devote their time to research and subordinate teachingand service. (1992, p. 128)Faculty members whose primary interest is research usually align themselves closely withdiscipline-based groups at national or international levels, and research and writing for thesegroups usually takes priority over more immediate institutional, local or regional needs. Thereis also uneven status among different departments and faculties in research universities.Physical and biological science faculty frequently have disproportionate status within researchuniversities as reflected by their larger share of resources.106At a typical research university, tenure-track faculty usually teach few lower division orundergraduate classes, as it is a common and accepted practice for faculty to use researchmoney to “buy themselves out” of teaching. There is little or no incentive for faculty to spendtime with undergraduate students and consequently there is often minimal interaction betweenfaculty and students out of class.In most research institutions, the cultural and institutional norms associated withacademic 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 evidentthan in other types of institutions. This has helped contribute to the development of auniversity culture that is supportive of faculty members’ rights to teach and write as theywish, to determine their own course content and to exercise a remarkable amount of freedomwithin their own classrooms which function as “sacred territory” within the framework ofuniversity culture (Bok, 1992, p. 18). This tends to result in courses being offered as a loosecollection of discrete components, with little coordination and integration across faculty,programs or academic departments. The high degree of faculty independence also hascontributed to the reputation of research universities as institutions in which it is very difficultto implement significant change.The characteristics briefly described—value of research over teaching, higher status forthose in science faculties, minimal contact between faculty and undergraduate students, andindividual faculty autonomy are evident to some degree at all four-year institutions, but areeasily recognized (and documented) as being elements of the culture and modus operandi ofmost 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 controversyabout the place of research in today’s institutions. Some of the central arguments are evidentin the following two statements, and their content will shed light on issues discussed later inthis chapter. The first is an explanation and defense of research priorities made by Virginia107Nordlin, a professor from the Department of Higher Education Policy Studies at theUniversity 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. Thepurpose of a university is not teaching; it is learning. Faculty members at outstandinguniversities learn by doing research, giving papers, attending conferences, andconsulting in their field. They do this in order to help students learn. Recent discussionsof higher education have omitted the students’ duty to learn. .. . If students and parentsgive teaching a priority, let them spend their money at a small liberal arts college or ateaching university. (Nordlin, 1993, p. 20)The second perspective is offered by Derek Bok, president emeritus of Harvard, in hiskeynote address to the American Higher Education Association in 1992, when he sought toexplain why American universities have lost the support and trust of so many people in theCongress and the American public. After discounting several of the usual theories (e.g. risingcosts, a conservative agenda), he focused on the research and teaching dichotomy andconcluded that the problem has developed because “our leading universities are not making theeducation of students a top priority”—especially in the arts and science faculties.Although there are smaller colleges where teaching remains the overriding priority, inthe modern university the incentives are not weighted in favor of teaching andeducation—indeed, quite the contrary is true. As we all know, the prizes, the mediarecognition, the extra income do not come from working with students or engaging inexemplary 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 isimproving the prestige of their institutions, and the prestige of their institutions comesfrom the research reputation of their faculties.. . and so administrators, too, oftenrelegate the interests of undergraduates to the background. . . . When we go to recruit astarting professor, the bargaining chip is always a reduced teaching load—never areduced research load. (pp. 15-17)The central issue at UAF and other institutions is not whether a university really is aresearch university. What is important is that the research university model has historically setthe standard for all higher education institutions (Bok, 1992), and UAF has chosen to judgeitself by these standards. This model was central in shaping the climate that prevailed at UAFbefore the demographic and societal changes of the 1960s began to be felt (as described in thefirst four chapters), and it has continued to influence decisions made at UAF in response toissues of multiculturalism.108The Challenge of Multiculturalism In Higher EducationAs anyone knows who follows the popular or professional press, the labels used todescribe the variety of higher education definitions of diversity are frequently puzzling,confounding and numerous. This can be gleaned from a quick perusal of almost anyuniversity policy document, since nearly all of them include some reference to diversity, i.e.affirmative action, cross-cultural, discrimination, ethnicity, first amendment, freedom ofspeech, institutional racism, marginalization, minorities, multicultural, politically correct (PC),prejudice, quotas, racism, sexism, speech codes, under-served, and under-represented. Andthere 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 commondenominator in this confusing vocabulary is always “diversity,” and the ensuing debatesrevolve around the question of whether or not people are advantaged or disadvantagedbecause of their differences. Efforts to describe, or to compare and contrast universitystudents and programs, are further compounded by the differences in university structures andby significant differences in student populations due to geographic location.The ambiguity of the vocabulary used in university contexts for identifying differencesamong people is evident from a review of the categories by which students are asked toidentify themselves on UAF forms. The 1993 UAF “Undergraduate Application forAdmission” form contains an assortment of options that the university believes evincesmeaningful race and ethnic distinctions.Race/Ethnicity (circle one):WhitefNon-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic Hispanic American IndianAlaska Native Alaskan Indian Eskimo AleutOriental Pacific Islander Asian Other109Though completion of this section of the form is optional, applicants are informed that “Thefollowing information is requested for us to demonstrate compliance with federal laws. Thisinformation is used for statistical purposes only.”In response to these choices, students frequently complain that there are no provisionsfor indicating their “bi-” or “multi-” backgrounds. They point out that the lack of optionscauses serious inaccuracies when statistics are compiled, and some have said that they resentbeing 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 completethis section. They also point out that several of the categories are ambiguous, i.e. how doesone 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 issuesrelated to cultural, ethnic and racial differences has caused a great deal of genuinemisunderstanding and distraction in finding solutions.The term that is emerging in both popular and professional literature as the umbrella termfor describing this debate in higher education is “multiculturalism.” Although multiculturalismhas been used quite extensively in the past to describe and prescribe programs and policies inelementary 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 torefer to issues related to race, ethnicity, culture and language.Multiculturalism appears to be more acceptable to a wider range of people than some ofthe terminology that has now become so emotionally laden that it evokes immediate positive ornegative reactions (e.g. terms such as assimilation and melting pot). When reviewing the useof the term “pluralism” in higher education it appears as though it is the closest progenitor towhat is implied by multiculturalism. Pluralism is most frequently defmed and used to imply aclimate in which people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds are allowed andencouraged to retain characteristics of their particular groups (e.g. maintaining their ownlanguages, social networks, residential enclaves, churches) while, at the same time, sharing110some aspects of a common culture and participating individually and collectively in the largersociety’s economic and political life (Cashmore, 1984). In a melding of the terms, Spitzbergand Thorndike (1992) examine the notion of a campus policy of “cultural pluralism” in whichthe 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 distinctionbetween the assimilationist ideal and pluralism is that the demand for self-transcendence isequally shared by majority and minority” (p. 49).“Mu1tiCULTURALism” does have the potential to be a more accurate and appropriateterm for focusing on and examining differences, because it recognizes “culture” as being themost integral and central component of the diversity debate. It is one of the few termsavailable for talking about the deep and consequential kinds of differences that exist betweenand within groups of people, i.e. belief systems, communication patterns, styles ofinteraction, values, and interpersonal (gender and family) relationships. These characteristicsare some of the most elusive and difficult to describe, and yet the most essential for defmingwho we are and who we want to be—and the ones that can cause the most difficulty at anindividual or institutional level. Differences based on culture are the least documented, themost complex to understand, and frequently the most difficult to address. They represent thekinds of differences that cause the anxiety and anguish frequently referred to by minoritystudents when they describe their struggle to live in two worlds.The Challenge at UAFIn this section I examine the types of changes made at UAF in response tomulticulturalism issues in general and, more specifically, the changes made to respond toAlaska Native and rural issues, and to Alaska Native and rural students, on the Fairbankscampus. 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 needsof peoplefrom its own region and like most institutions, a high percentage of its minoritystudent population come from a single minority group.111At UAF, as on many campuses today, a contentious and unresolved area in themulticultural debate continues to be the issue of whether universities should develop programsfor students from a single minority group (as opposed to developing single programs for allstudents regardless of ethnicity, or developing programs in which all minority students areregarded as a single group). With the exception of some national colleges and universities thatdraw students from many different regions of the United States, and whose admissionspolicies allow them to be quite selective, most colleges and universities serve people fromtheir own region. As a result, they are likely to have a high percentage of minority studentsfrom a single group (e.g. Asian Americans, Blacks, Hispanics, or Native Americans) ratherthan 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 AlaskaNatives representing approximately nine percent of students on the Fairbanks campus (and 14percent of all students on UAF’s Fairbanks and rural campuses), and Asian, Black andHispanic students being just two percent each (UAF Fact Book, 1993; UAF UndergraduateCatalog, 1993-94).Some of the issues involved in this debate are examined by Yarbrough (1992) whoargues that no one strategy can be developed and applied universally “because the diversecultures comprising American society are not equally distributed throughout the country,” andtherefore it is only reasonable, and appropriate, for colleges and universities to develop goalsand strategies that are designed specifically for the recruitment and retention of students fromthe regions they serve (p. 66).[Even in the national institutions] it will be necessary for colleges to channel theirefforts—so that one becomes a center for some groups, while another becomes a centerfor others... . [This] is not meant to imply that the smaller national colleges should limittheir recruiting to only certain groups. It is rather to suggest that they should state veryclearly to prospective students that cultural opportunities may be limited at the college,and that if these are a significant factor in the selection process (and they will not be forall students), the students would be better served to look elsewhere. . . . If the desiredlevel of diversity is unrealistic, the result will inevitably be disappointing and potentiallydestructive of future efforts (p. 66-67).112Out of necessity, UAF did channel its efforts, and as a result, it has evolved as the state’scenter for the study of Alaska Native culture and languages, and as the institution with thehighest number of Alaska Native four-year degree recipients.The number of Alaska Native students studying on the Fairbanks campus has increasedsteadily in the past 25 years. Despite the fact that accurate enrollment figures have always beendifficult to get (because reporting of race and ethnicity is optional, information gatheringforms are ambiguous, and data that distinguishes between on- and off-campus students isfrequently not available), a review of the number of students graduating can provide usefulinformation on trends. From 1917 (when the university first offered classes) until 1960, therewere a total of 12 Alaska Native graduates. Between 1961 and 1974 an additional 103graduated from all three of the university’s main campuses, a third of them in the first twograduating classes (1972 and 1974) of the off-campus teacher education program at UAF.By assembling graduation data for Alaska Native students who completed the majorityof their coursework just on the Fairbanks campus during the 15 year period from 1975 to1990, it is evident that an increasing number of Native students are entering and completingtheir degree programs, but there are fairly significant fluctuations among the numbers andpercentages of Native graduates each year. The number of Native graduates in allundergraduate 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 thetotal number of UAF students receiving baccalaureate degrees, ranged from 1 percent (in1984) 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 educationbegan in the early 1970s fueled in part by federal initiatives previously examined (e.g. CivilRights movement, Great Society programs, increase of federal funds), and in response toconditions specific to Alaska—the increase in the number of Alaska Native studentsgraduating from high school and the increase in funding options available. As described inChapter 4, the state accepted legal responsibility for providing high schools for students in113over 120 rural villages in 1976, and the number of Alaska Native high school graduates hasincreased dramatically since that time. In addition, the availability of more fmancial studentassistance—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) andstudents’ own Native corporations—have been other important variables in increasing thenumber 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 studyin Fairbanks which was the only residential campus at the time. As the Native enrollmentincreased in the 1970s and as Alaska Native issues assumed a more central position in thestate’s economic and political arenas, pressures began to mount on UAF to be moreresponsive to Native concerns if it expected to contribute to the broader needs of the state andto the needs of its changing student population.The Changes at UAF: Alaska Native Programs,Student Services and CourseworkThe University of Alaska Fairbanks has responded to the concerns of Alaska Nativepeople in a variety of ways over the past 25 years by implementing new programs andservices for students on the Fairbanks campus, as well as in rural communities. It is importantto remember that most of the UAF programs and services provided to students in rural areasare not included in this research which focuses only on those that are available to students onthe Fairbanks campus.To provide the necessary context for understanding and interpreting the student data inChapters 6 and 7, I have gathered information about programs and services that have beenimplemented at UAF in response to Alaska Native issues and Alaska Native students’ interestsand needs. Appendix A, Alaska Native Programs and Student Services on Campus at theUniversity ofAlaska Fairbanks, provides a comprehensive report of all of the Alaska Nativeprograms and services currently available on campus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.Although the term “rural” is central to understanding and interpreting Alaska Native cultural114systems (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 andat UAF the two are essentially synonymous, though there are non-native rural students aswell.In the report (Appendix A), I have included a narrative description for each of the 27UAF programs and services that I identified as meeting the two criteria listed above, and Ihave 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 fundingThe majority of the information in this report came from publicly available written descriptionsof programs, services and courses, supplemented by clarification from people directlyinvolved.Using the categories identified in a national survey of higher education responses tomulticulturalism, I have organized my review of UAF’s responses to Alaska Native studentsand issues into five major sections: (1) Alaska Native departments, programs and academiccourses; (2) general education requirements; (3) Alaska Native faculty; (4) Alaska Nativeresearch institutes and faculty development; and (5) Alaska Native advising and academicsupport programs. Within each of the sections I include the following: a summary statementfrom a national survey about the types of changes made by other colleges and universitiesrelative to this item; information about specific programs, policies, services or courses atUAF; and a discussion of the data.115The national survey I draw from was conducted by the editors of the higher educationpublication, 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 abroad defmition of multiculturalism, they sent a questionnaire to a random sample of 270colleges and universities that had been stratified by Carnegie type to insure that the samplewould be representative of all types of American higher education institutions. Although thesurvey was intended to focus on curriculum issues, it is evident that the findings extendbeyond this because of the difficulty of gaining an accurate understanding of a campus climatewithout a holistic perspective. I have included this information to provide a framework forexamining the range of responses to multiculturalism and to provide a yardstick fordetermining how UAF’ s efforts compare to those of other institutions.Alaska Native Departments. Programs and Academic CourseworkAccording to the Change survey, more than half (54 percent) of all colleges anduniversities have introduced “multiculturalism” into their departmental course offerings. Theleading departments have been English and history, and the most common approach has beento add new materials to existing courses. More than a third of all colleges and universitiesoffer classes in African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American and Native Americanstudies, 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), aswell as course offerings has changed over the past 25 years. Table 1 provides a list of thedepartments, programs and special academic activities that have been designed in response toAlaska Native issues, and Native students’ interests and needs.116Table 1UAF Departments. Programs and Special Academic Activities With an Alaska Native FocusTitle of Program or Service Description Current UAF Unit YearInitiatedAlaska Native Leadership Public Seminar! Department of Alaska 1983Seminars Academic Course Native StudiesCollege of Rural Alaska Academic! IJAF 1987Administrative UnitDepartment of Alaska Native Academic College of Liberal Arts 1972Languages DepartmentDepartment of Alaska Native Academic College of Liberal Arts 1981Studies DepartmentDepartment of Rural Academic College of Rural Alaska 1983Development DepartmentFestival of Native Arts Student Activity! Department of Alaska 1973Academic Course Native StudiesNative Elder-in-Residence Student Activity! Department of Alaska 1983Program Academic Course Native StudiesOrientation to Alaska Native Public Seminar! School of Education 1988Education Seminars Academic CourseRural Student Teaching Option Rural Placement School of Education 1982ProgramTUMA Theater Student Activity! Department of Alaska 1978Academic Course Native StudiesInformation on specific AlaskaNative/rural courses is includedin Table 2As indicated earlier, UAF’ s most substantive response to issues of diversity (ormulticulturalism) is reflected in its development of new academic departments, programs,degrees and courses that focus on Alaska Native and/or rural issues. The administrativestructures that have been developed to coordinate these academic efforts at UAF include theDepartment of Rural Development and the College of Rural Alaska, as well as theDepartments of Alaska Native Languages and Alaska Native Studies.The College of Rural Alaska was established in 1987 and evolved directly from theCollege of Human and Rural Development (CHRD) which was established in 1983. TheCHRD administrative structure was designed to consolidate university services for rural andNative students, and it included most of the UAF departments that had responsibility forpreparing students to work in human service-oriented positions in both rural and urban117Alaska: 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 primaryadministrative structure for pre-college, certificate and two-year associate degree programs,with the Department of Rural Development the only remaining four-year degree program; allothers have been moved back to the College of Liberal Arts.Two academic departments in the College of Liberal Arts focus specifically on AlaskaNative issues and both offer four-year degree programs. The Department of Alaska NativeLanguages offers coursework and degrees in Alaska Native languages, and the Department ofAlaska Native Studies offers coursework, and a degree, in a variety of subjects related toAlaska Native interests.In addition to identifying programs and services at the structural level, I also compiled alist 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 didnot 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-offeredundergraduate courses. Appendix B is a list of these courses and the academic unit in whichthey are offered. There are of course, other courses offered on the Fairbanks campus thatlikely incorporate information about Alaska Native and/or rural issues, but if such informationis 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 withthese three to offer cross-listed courses, while others offer their own courses with an AlaskaNative/rural emphasis. The 78 courses are taught by approximately 30 different facultymembers, Out of a total UAF faculty of 717 (193 of whom are employed part-time).118The Department of Alaska Native Studies (ANS) provides one-third of the 78 AlaskaNative/rural focus courses—il of its own and 16 that are cross-listed with a co-sponsoringacademic department. Table 2 includes information about the regularly scheduled AlaskaNative/rural courses offered by each academic department at UAF and indicates which ofthese are cross-listed. The cross-listing arrangement has been designed to encourageinvolvement in, and responsibility for, Alaska Native and rural curricula by faculty in otheracademic departments. In addition, it offers the students an opportunity to take courses forcredit in either department, with the extra legitimacy provided by the label of a traditionaldiscipline for a non-traditional course.Table 2UAF Academic Course Offerin2s With An Alaska Native and/or Rural FocusAcademic Department Number of Alaska Number of Cross-ListedNative and Rural CoursesCoursesAlaska Native Languages 17Alaska Native Studies 11 (16)Anthropology 6 1Art 6Cross-Cultural Communications 1Education 4 1English 2History 3Justice 1Music 1Political Science 1 3Psychology 2Rural Development 10 1Social Work 3Sociology 2Theater 2In addition to content oriented coursework, some Alaska Native Studies courses providestudents with the option to participate in a variety of Alaska Native traditional andcontemporary activities on a volunteer basis. Examples of these “student activity/academiccourse” 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 rural119placement 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 aretwo other options that provide academic credit for opportunities to focus on Alaska Native andrural issues.Eighty-five percent of the Alaska Native/rural academic courses are offered throughdepartments that are now located in one college—the College of Liberal Arts. Although thisoffers the potential for collaborative efforts, it also means that the predisposition of a singleadministrator can have a great deal of impact. In addition, it indicates that other academic unitsare not as directly responsible or involved in Alaska Native or rural efforts. While a largenumber 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 andvillage 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 RuralDevelopment because it offers business, economic and natural resources options with a ruraland Alaska Native orientation.The courses, programs and academic activities described here are available to allstudents, and while the number of non-Native students participating in these courses remainssteady, the Native enrollment continues to grow. In 1993, approximately 40 percent of thestudents minoring in Alaska Native Studies were non-Native students.General Multicultural Course RequirementsThe national Change survey reports that more than a third (34 percent) of all collegesand universities have a multicultural general education requirement. While some focus ondomestic diversity (12 percent), more emphasize global multiculturalism (29 percent), andmost include both (57 percent). The programs vary in structure. Some (13 percent) might becalled core curricula, meaning all students take the same courses. Others (68 percent) could beidentified as prescribed electives because students are permitted to choose from a relatively120short list of approved courses, and the remainder (19 percent) include a variety of electivesfrom various disciplines (Levine & Cureton, 1992).The survey indicates many colleges and universities now require students to takecourses that have a multicultural focus. When the students who participated in this studyattended UAF, no courses with a multicultural emphasis were required. The requirements forall students were two specific English composition courses and a speech course (for a total of9 credits), 7 science credits, 6 math/logic credits, and a minimum of 15 humanities and socialstudies credits. Beyond these general requirements, each department and major area of studydetermined its own requirements.In 1990, however, UAF implemented a core curriculum which all students mustcomplete regardless of their choice of major or their career aspirations. The core requirementsnow include the same 9 credits of English composition and speech, 3 math credits, and 8natural science credits. In addition, students are required to complete 18 credits in specifiedhumanities and social science courses that have been assembled under the theme “Perspectiveson the Human Condition.” Based on a review of the “Perspective” course descriptions, it isevident that all UAF students are now required to take three courses (9 credits) that include afocus on broad issues of diversity or multiculturalism. Students do have the option ofsatisfying 6 of the 18 credits of this core requirement by completing two semester-lengthcourses in a single Alaska Native language (or other non-English language) and substitutingthese courses for two of the prescribed human perspectives courses. This is an importantoption because it allows students to use the study of an Alaska Native (i.e. a minority andnon-traditional) language to satisfy 6 credits of core requirements. There are, however, noother instances in the descriptions of any of the core courses where the terms Alaska, AlaskaNative, or rural are found.There are a limited number of majors that do require coursework relating to AlaskaNative issues. Those that call for several courses include the obvious majors in Alaska NativeStudies, Inupiaq Language, Northern Studies (an interdisciplinary degree), Rural121Development, and Yup’ilc Language. Students seeking a degree in education, psychology,social work and sociology are required to take “Native Cultures of Alaska” (Anth 242). Thereare no other majors that require courses that include a reference to Alaska Native issues.In addition to courses with an Alaska Native and rural focus there are additional coursesat UAF that incorporate a cross-cultural or multicultural perspective. On the basis of aninformal review of course titles and descriptions in the UAF Undergraduate Catalog, 1993-94, it appears as though the departments of education, psychology and sociology have beenthe primary initiators of coursework that incorporates general—but not specifically Alaskan—multicultural or cross-cultural issues and perspectives.Alaska Native FacultyAccording to the Change survey, a majority of colleges and universities in the UnitedStates are seeking to increase faculty diversity, and recruitment is the chief mechanism. Morethan one-third of all institutions have an active program to attract under-represented faculty totheir campuses. The survey reported a great deal of variation in the ways schools are goingabout this agenda (e.g. faculty mentor programs to support minority junior faculty, “grow-your-own” policies, recruitment of “ABD” minorities on probationary status, use of numericalguidelines and triggers, and requirement of mandatory reviews of appointment processesfailing to turn up minorities), (Levine & Cureton, 1992).Table 3 provides information on the distribution of Alaska Native and other NativeAmerican full-time faculty at UAF. The figures include information about faculty members onboth the Fairbanks and the rural campuses.122Table 3UAF A1fri Native and Other Native Ampdrcan Full-Time Firii1tv flictdhiitinn by AImirUnit. 1992College or School Alaska Alaska Native: Other Native TotalDepartment Native: Rural American: UAFFairbanks Campuses Fairbanks FacultyCampus CampusCollege of Liberal ArtsAlaska Native Languages 1 6Alaska Native Studies 1 3Art 1 1 8Behavioral Sciences 1 13School of Education 2 3 22Philosophy 1 5Speech Communication 1 7College of Rural AlaskaInterior Campus 2 5Kuskokwim Campus 5 16School of Engineering 1 28School of Fisheries & 1 46Ocean ScienceAll Other Academic UnitS 0 0 0 365UAFTota1 5 11 5 524Source: UAF Fact Book, 1993There were 21 full-time Native American faculty at UAF in 1992. This represented fourpercent of the total number of full-time UAF faculty. Ten of these faculty members hadpositions on the Fairbanks campus; 5 were Alaska Natives, and 5 were Native Americanswith tribal affiliations outside Alaska. Approximately one-half of the group of 21 were intenure-track positions, and most of these held the rank of assistant professor. Other minorityfull-time faculty at UAF included 18 Asian-Americans, 3 African-Americans, 3 Hispanics,and 47 who were classified as “non-resident aliens” (UAF Fact Book, 1993). A review ofUAF policies and practices suggests that efforts to increase faculty diversity have been mademore in recruitment rather than in retention. By June of 1994,5 of the Alaska Native or otherNative American faculty members had left UAF.123Alaska Native Research Institutes and Faculty DevelopmentNationally, more than a third (35 percent) of all colleges and universities haveestablished institutes whose purpose includes the provision of “homes” for faculty research onmulticultural issues. At UAF there are two research and development institutes designed tosupport and house faculty research related to multicultural issues. The Alaska NativeLanguage Center was established in 1972 by the Alaska Legislature to research and documentNative languages, prepare school materials and increase public understanding of AlaskaNative language issues. The other research unit, the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, wasorganized in 1976, and serves as “the research and development unit of the School ofEducation. [It] addresses educational issues and problems inherent in Alaska’s multiculturalpopulation. The Center administers instructional support, contracts and grants for the school,and issues publications and reports designed to improve cross-cultural understanding”(Appendix A).Another step taken by institutions in response to issues of diversity has occurred in thearea of faculty development. The Change study reports that 42 percent of the surveyedinstitutions have programs to support faculty through some combination of research, studyleaves, course development, and campus workshops related to multiculturalism. Another 22percent include multiculturalism as one option from which faculty can choose within theirmore general faculty development portfolios (Levine & Cureton, 1992).Examples of these kinds of recent efforts at UAF include a travel program for facultyand a seminar for faculty and administrators. In 1979 funding was received from the MellonFoundation that allowed new faculty on the Fairbanks campus to travel to rural communitiesas part of an orientation to rural and Native issues. In 1992, a special one-day seminar wasorganized to bring some Fairbanks faculty members and administrators together to exploreideas for “overcoming barriers to more effective education for Native students at UAF” (Fromthe Chancellor, 1992). The seminar was facilitated by two invited Alaska Native educators,and the intention was that subsequent plans for improving Native education would be124prepared by individual UAF units. Although these kinds of programs do help to providefaculty with an awareness of multicultural issues, their effectiveness is limited unless they areoffered on a regular basis.Alaska Native Advising and Student Support ProgramsThe Change survey reports that half of all colleges and universities have multiculturaladvising programs. These programs focus on personal, social, financial, academic, and careeradvising. They make use of the services of faculty, professional counselors, peers andmembers of the external community. They take place on- and off-campus, in freshmanseminars, residence halls, workshops, classes, and campus media of all types anddescriptions. More than a third have specific centers that provide support for multiculturalstudents, including what Levine and Cureton (1992) describe as “a grab bag of activities” (p.27).Table 4 includes information on 12 advising and student support programs and servicesat UAF that have been designed to respond to the interests and needs of Alaska Nativestudents.125Table 4UAF Alaska Native Advising and Student Support Programs on Campus at UAFTitle of Program or Service Description UAF Administrative Unit YearInitiatedAISES: American Indian Academic Club Rural Student Services 1989Science/EngineeringSocietyANESA: Alaska Native Academic Club School of Education 1988Education StudentAssociationAlaska Native Student Academic Club Social Work Department 1989Social Workers AssociationCCC: Cross-Cultural Academic Preparation College of Liberal Arts 1975Communications ProgramNANA House and Residential Option Northwest Arctic Native 1984Proposed Doyon House Association/StudentServicesNSO: Native Student Special Interest Club Rural Student Services 1960sOrganizationRSS: Rural Student Comprehensive Office of Student 1969Services Advising ServicesRAHI: Rural Alaska High School Bridging Department of Alaska 1983Honors Institute Program Native StudiesRecruitment of Rural Rural Recruitment Rural Student Services! 1980High School Students Admissions OfficeStudent Support Services Tutoring/Special Cross-Cultural 1975Program Courses CommunicationsProgramUpward Bound High School Bridging Office of Student 1967Program ServicesWriting Center Services Academic Support Department of English 1991inRSSUAF has adopted a potpourri of programs and services that are referred to in the Changesurvey as “support” programs and/or “advising” programs. Although participation in all butone (NANA House) of these programs and services is open to students from any cultural orethnic group, the program descriptions and data indicate that most have been designedspecifically to respond to the needs of Alaska Native and/or rural students, and Alaska Nativestudents do utilize these services more than do students from other groups. (Since the NANAHouse is funded by the NANA regional Native corporation, student participation is restrictedto students from the NANA area.)126I have organized the 12 programs in this section into five categories for the purposes ofdiscussion: (1) bridging programs for high school students; (2) special housing options; (3)developmental classes and tutoring services; (4) student academic clubs; and (5)comprehensive advising services.1. Bridging Programs for High School Students.Two programs at UAF are intended to help high school students “bridge” the gapbetween high school and post secondary education. Upward Bound is a federally fundednational program that began at UAF in 1967, and the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) isa university funded program that began in 1982. Both sponsor annual summer sessions inwhich high school students (between 40 and 60 students per program) come to Fairbanks,live on the campus for a six to eight week period, and participate in a variety of academic andsocial activities designed to prepare them for success in a university setting. Over 95 percentof the participants are Alaska Native students, and nearly all are from rural areas of the state.In addition to these preparatory programs, personnel from Rural Student Services (andoccasionally from the Office of Admissions and Records) travel to rural communities toacquaint students with UAF programs and services in an effort to recruit more students fromthese areas to attend the university.2. Special Housing Options.UAF, like many other institutions, provides an alternative housing arrangement forsome of its students on the basis of special interests. Since 1984 the NANA House hasexisted at UAF as a result of a collaborative agreement among UAF, the Northwest ArcticBorough School District, and the NANA Regional Corporation (Northwest Arctic NativeAssociation— one of the 12 Alaska Native regional for-profit corporations). NANA Houseprovides a special living and learning environment for Inupiaq Eskimo students from theNANA area in Northwest Alaska. It provides the support and strategies necessary to helpstudents draw on their culture to succeed in college. Students are encouraged to “maintain ties127to the people and values of their home regions” (Appendix A). Doyon, the Native regionalfor-profit corporation for the Interior, is hoping to establish a similar residential facility forAthabaskan students. They have already raised a significant amount of money toward buildingthis facility, which they hope will help to ease the “transition into college life and improvestudents’ chances for success in school” (Appendix A).3. Special Preparatory Classes and Tutoring Services.A third category of multicultural services includes special preparatory classes andtutoring services. There are several developmental and entry-level courses and tutoringservices at UAF that have been designed specifically for Alaska Native and rural students.Some of the courses, such as “University Communications” (CCC 104) and “IntensiveReading Development” (CCC 105) are offered through the Cross-Cultural CommunicationsProgram which was developed to “serve the needs of Alaska Native and rural students... [inrecognition of the fact that] the transition to university communication patterns presentschallenges which vary in type as well as degree, depending on a student’s culturalbackground.” (Appendix A). Associated with the Cross-Cultural Communications Program isthe Student Support Services Program (SSSP) which is a federally funded TRIO grantprogram designed to improve student retention and success rate. (TRIO programs were set upby the federal government in the 1960s to provide assistance, support and encouragement tolow-income and first generation college students to allow them to continue their educationbeyond high school.) To qualify for tutoring or other forms of assistance through SSSP,students must demonstrate that they are a first generation college student, financiallydisadvantaged, and academically unprepared. Between 80 and 85 percent of the SSSPparticipants at UAF are Alaska Native students, and according to the program’s brochure aneffort has been made to design programs that will specifically meet the needs of Alaska Nativestudents.1284. Student Academic Clubs.Other forms of support available to studen