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A Yupiaq world view : implications for cultural, educational, and technological adaptation in a contemporary… Kawagley, Angayuqaq O. 1993

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A YUPIAQ WORLD VIEW: IMPLICATIONS FOR CULTURAL, EDUCATIONAL,AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADAPTATION IN A CONTEMPORARY WORLDbyANGAYUQAQ OSCAR KAWAGLEYB.Ed., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1958M.Ed., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1968Ed.S., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1987A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Social and Educational StudiesWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY-OF BRITISH COLUMBIAMarch 1993© Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, 1993In 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.Department oThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, Canada„CA lc) °‘ .c sDateDE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThis case study examines some of the cultural and educationalimplications of the intersection of a Western world view and a Yupiaqworld view in a remote Yupiaq Eskimo village on the Kuskokwim River insouthwestern Alaska. The study examines how the contemporary Yupiaqpeople have adapted their belief system, educational practices andsubsistence lifestyle to accommodate a mix of Western and indigenouscultural traditions and technologies. It involves the documentation ofYupiaq practices in a traditional fish camp and science education in aschool setting. The most important vehicle for data gathering was the roleof participant-observer, because it was congruent with the way Yupiaqpeople learn. In addition to patient observation, emphasis was placed ondocument analysis, informal conversations, and interviews as the primarysources of data from the fieldwork. The study addresses the aspirations ofYupiaq people for self-determination and self-reliance by providing apedagogical framework which attempts to meld Western and Yupiaqknowledge generation and use, based on the data gathered in the field.Special attention is given to the generation and application of scientificknowledge in a manner suited to the maintenance of Yupiaq culturaltraditions and world view in a contemporary world.TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract^ iiTable of Contents^ iiiAcknowledgmentsChapter I. Introduction^ 1Purpose of the Study 4Chapter II. Yupiaq World View: The Meeting of Old and New^7Alaska Native World View^ 8Yupiaq World View^ 14Yupiaq Ways of Knowing: An Illustration^ 28Alaska Native Lifeways and Education 43Chapter III. Research Considerations^ 47Research Setting^ 49Methodology 50Background and Biases of the Researcher^ 54Domains and Instrumentation^ 65Field Methodologies in Retrospect 67Chapter IV. Akiak and the Yupiit Nation^ 71The Yupiit Nation^ 71Akiak on the Kuskokwim^ 77Akiak and the Modern World 81Chapter V. Yupiaq Science, Technology, and Survival^89Science and Mathematics from a Yupiaq Perspective^90Science and Technology for Survival on the Kuskokwim^93Weather^ 94The Science of Obtaining Fish^ 96Fish Preparation and Storage for Subsistence^99The Native Diet^ 106Traditional Medicines and Admonitions 108Healing and Mental Health^ 112Technology and Modern Life 115Village Life in Changing Times 119Summary^ 125Chapter VI. Education and Science in a Yupiaq School^128Education: The Meeting of Old and New^ 128Education on the Kuskokwim^ 132Native People, Science, and Education 145Summary^ 149Chapter VII. Yupiaq Cultural Adaptation in the Contemporary World 151Soft Technology: Adaptations to Culture and Environment^152Alaska Natives and Schooling^ 160Yupiaq Ethnoscience: Implications for Village Education^163Integrating Schooling and Yupiaq Ways of Knowing 168The Fish Camp as Classroom^ 170A Fish Camp Science Odyssey Curriculum^176From the Yupiaq Fish Camp to Gaia 189Summary^ 193Conclusion 196Bibliography^ 199Appendix 1. Sample Interview Questions^ 207ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSOne does not do research or write the results in isolation, especially whendealing with people. I am no exception. I have many people to bethankful to: my late Grandmother Matilda (Kinavin) Oscar, as well as myfamily and community who taught me the philosophy and ways of theYupiaq people. Their roles, stories and teachings have given me strengthas I struggled to live in two worlds.In the academic world, I have my thesis committee with Drs. VincentD'Oyley (chairman), Ray Barnhardt, and Verna Kirkness to thank. Theygave of their time to inspire, encourage, and goad when my resolve incompleting studies and planning the research flagged. Sometimes myinner sense was "At your age, why should you be punishing yourself?"They kept me going. Upon Dr. D'Oyley's retirement, Dr. Jean Barman kindlyconsented to be the co-chair of my committee. I have been blessed withthese people who have worked with people of a different world view andthus are familiar with my situation. This has made it easier for a Yupiaqman trying to come at things from a different perspective. Dr. Barmanapplied some timely incentive for me to get off my blessed assurance andget with it. One needs that at times.The Tribal Council of the Yupiit Nation and the Yupiit School District Boardof Education were kind enough to allow me to work in the village of Akiak.They gave me the freedom to observe, review curricula, visit classroomsand interview teachers and villagers. Otherwise, I would not have beenable to accomplish what I set out to do.The Yupiaq villagers made me welcome, and it was my own sense ofrespect for the people that perhaps kept the association from becoming asclose as it could have been. They inspired, gave ideas, gave criticisms ofmy sometimes errant viewpoints, and informally shared many intellectualconcepts with me. Their values and traditions still persist in spite ofbarrages from within and without. Thank you, Akiak, home of my father'sancestors!One person stands out who has been mentor, friend, advisor, editor, andconstant reminder of the things I have to do -- Dr. Ray Barnhardt. Withouthis help, I would not have gotten this thesis off the ground. Rayunderstands and realizes what I am attempting to do. He, and people likehim from the Western society, make possible change for the better inpursuit of integration into one world. QUYANA tamarpetal Thank you toall of you.CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTIONThe incursion of Western society has brought about many cultural andpsychological disruptions in the flow of life in traditional societies.Indigenous people have become subservient to the Western system andare confronted with new social structures which they do not always findcompatible with their needs. The effects of this assimilative process ofteninclude altered child-rearing practices, shifts from nomadic to sedentarylifestyles, changes in dietary orientation from natural to processed foods(oftentimes with less nutritional value), alterations in design and efficiencyof housing, and dependence on numerous government institutions whichcontrol what people do. The traditional ways of knowing with theattendant life skills and self-regulating processes on which indigenouspeople have relied for many generations are usually left along the trail inthe name of "progress" (Bodley, 1982).The Western educational system has made an attempt to instill amechanistic and linear world view in indigenous cultural contextspreviously guided by a typically cyclic world view. The "modern" viewtends to be oriented toward the manipulation of the world's resources(including the people) to make political, social, and economic "progress,"with the presumed end result being an advanced quality of life (Berger,1976). This view is reinforced by an underlying notion of "manifestdestiny," whereby the Western way of life is considered superior to thoseof traditional societies (Bodley, 1982). Notions such as manifest destinyreflect the historical intent of Western society in its approach to indigenous1peoples wherever they were encountered, and the residue of such notionsare still present today in the socio-political practices of governinginstitutions regulating the lives of indigenous people in places like Alaska,Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Norway.Most indigenous people's world views seek harmony and integrationwith all life, including the spiritual, natural, and human domains (Knudtson& Suzuki, 1992; Burger, 1990). These three realms permeate traditionalworld views and all aspects of indigenous people's lives. Their constructedtechnology was mediated by nature. Their traditional education processeswere carefully constructed around mythology, history, observing naturalprocesses, copying animals' and plants' styles of survival and obtainingfood, and using natural materials to make their tools and implements, all ofwhich was made understandable through thoughtful stories andillustrative examples. This view of the world and approach to educationhas been brought into jeopardy with the onslaught of Western socialsystems and institutionalized forms of cultural transmission.The indigenous peoples of the world have experienced varying degreesof disruption or loss with regard to their traditional life styles and worldviews. This disruption has contributed to the many psycho-social maladiesthat are extant in indigenous societies today. The Western world viewwith its aggressive educational practices and techno-science orientationhas placed indigenous cultures in "harm's way" (Bodley, 1982). Thesecultures, having been characterized as primitive and backward andtherefore wanting, are subjected to an endless stream of assimilativeprocesses to bring their practitioners into mainstream society. Theindigenous peoples are forced to live in a constructed and psychic worldnot of their own making or choosing. There is little left in their lives to2remind them of their indigenous culture, nor is there recognition of theirindigenous consciousness and its application of intelligence, ingenuity,creativity and inventiveness in the making of their world.This is not to say that modernity has brought only negativeconsequences for indigenous peoples, for there have been benefits derivedas well. Infant mortality is down and childhood diseases are greatlydiminished. Disastrous fluctuations in food supplies have been reduced,and there are improved modes of transportation and means ofcommunication with telephones, radio, and so forth. However, in balance,the benefits to traditional societies are often offset by the many newpsycho-social and physical health ailments, problems of costly andinefficient housing, disruptions in parent-child relationships, domesticviolence, suicides, alcohol and drug abuse, and other forms of dysfunctionalsocial behavior, along with a general sense of powerlessness and loss ofcontrol over individual lives. Consequently, the issue of the long-termconsequences of the collision of contrasting world views on the survival ofindigenous peoples takes on an urgency that can no longer be ignored.While many studies and reports have addressed these concerns, nearly allhave been from a Western perspective. Rarely has the world view andvalue structure underlying the way indigenous people look at such issuesbeen examined and an attempt been made to approach the issues from anindigenous perspective.Since this study is written from the perspective of a Yupiaq researcherworking in a traditional Yupiaq setting, the interpretations andgeneralizations pertaining to attributes of both the Yupiaq and Westernworld views will be presented as seen through Yupiaq eyes. This is not todeny that Yupiaq and Western societies include within them many variant3perspectives and that ideas on values, lifestyles, and interrelationshipsamong the human, natural and spiritual worlds can differ markedly. Nor isit to ignore the fact that within Western society there are many ideas,practices and artifacts derived from indigenous peoples throughout theworld.When representing the Western world view from a Yupiaq perspective,it must be understood that the Yupiaq have experienced particularnuances in thinking, ways of doing things and other idiosyncracies of theWestern world through the envoys of the various institutions establishedto administer to the needs of the Yupiaq people. From the Yupiaq person'sperspective, the constellation of these new values, beliefs and practicesintroduced through schooling, religion, government, economics, andnumerous technological devices represents a world view quite distinctfrom that of the Yupiaq. In Yupiaq eyes, Western society often appears asa monolithic entity, despite the fact that it is made up of many diverseinstitutions and divergent points of view.This research will attempt to establish an indigenous platform fromwhich to examine some of these issues, utilizing a case study of a YupiaqEskimo community in southwestern Alaska to identify ways in which thevalues extant in the competing Western and Yupiaq world views impactthe lives and choices of the people in that community.PURPOSE OF THE STUDYThe primary purposes of this study are as follows:1. To examine some of the historical consequences of the intersection ofa Western world view and a Yupiaq world view.42. To examine how people in a contemporary Yupiaq community(Akiak, Alaska) have adapted their cultural values and principles toaccommodate the intersection of Western and Yupiaq world views.3. To document contemporary Yupiaq practices in a traditional activityand setting (i.e., a fish camp) and explore implications for thedevelopment of social, political, economic, and educationalinstitutions suited to the aspirations of Yupiaq communities andindigenous people generally.4. To construct an epistemological framework and pedagogicalorientation in which the Western and Yupiaq traditions of knowledgegeneration and utilization can be addressed, particularly as theypertain to the learning and use of scientific knowledge in atraditional Yupiaq environment.The study will attempt to identify critical elements of the constellationof values and life principles currently operative in a Yupiaq community. Itwill explore the extent to which the existing configuration will allow theYupiaq to reconstruct a world that will empower them with sufficientcontrol over their own lives and give solidarity in their efforts. TheRandom House dictionary defines "value" as "the quality of anything thatrenders it desirable or useful," and "principle" as "an accepted or professedrule of action or conduct." The Yupiaq terms that are roughly equivalent inmeaning are piciyarat, (qualities for life), and yungnaqsarat (rules of life).The first helps to make a life, while the second helps one to make a living.These are the meanings that will be ascribed to the usage of the terms inthis study.A task of this magnitude requires eventually narrowing the focus to afew of the most critical values and principles that define the intersection5between the Western and indigenous world views, such that theimplications can be examined in various sectors of society, e.g. social,political, economic, and educational. Of central concern in such anendeavor will be identifying certain core values and principles that areessential to the well-being of Yupiaq society and then determining how tomake these values and principles an indelible part of a newly constructedschool curriculum that can serve to revive and reorient the indigenouspeoples to a more harmonious and sustainable life in this rapidly changingworld. The exploration of contrasting values and principles in this waymay open doors for further research and action to begin to implementinitiatives that take the best from the two worlds and reconstruct a worldto fit the times.The study will progress from an analysis of available information onthe lifeways, world view, and ways of knowing of the Yupiaq people asthey have evolved over time, followed by a more detailed description ofhow the people in a particular community and region live their life today.Attention will then be given to a Yupiaq perspective on the practice ofscience and technology, and how that perspective does or does not comeinto play in the context of education and schooling. Finally, someimplications of the study for the application of science and technology andthe practice of schooling in a Yupiaq setting will be outlined.6CHAPTER II. YUPIAQWORLD VIEW: THE MEETING OF OLD AND NEWBasic philosophical questions are raised in the course of observing andquestioning local people with respect to notions of inquiry, explanation,technology, science, and religion, as they relate to particular lifeways.Accordingly, world view as discussed here will attempt to answer thequestions deftly set out by Barry Lopez. Lopez refers to "metaphysics,epistemology, ethics, aesthetics and logic -- which pose, in order, thefollowing questions. What is real? What can we understand? How shouldwe behave? What is beautiful? What are the patterns we can rely upon?"(1986:202). Added to the above list will be "ontology:" Why are we? Isthere something greater than the human? Lopez goes on to point out, "Therisk we take is of finding our final authority in the metaphors rather thanin the land. To inquire into the intricacies of a distant landscape, then,provokes thoughts about one's own interior landscape, and the familiarlandscapes of memory. The land urges us to come around to anunderstanding of ourselves" (247).The concept of "world view" is very closely related to the definitions ofculture and cognitive map (Berger, Berger, & Kellner 1974:148). A worldview consists of the principles we acquire to make sense of the worldaround us. These principles, including values, traditions, and customs, arelearned by youngsters from myths, legends, stories, family, community,and examples set by community leaders (Deloria, 1991, Hardwick, 1991).The world view, or cognitive map, is a summation of coping devices whichhave worked in the past, and may or may not be as effective in the7present (Netting, 1986). Once a world view has been formed, the peopleare then able to identify themselve as a unique people. Thus, the worldview enables its possessors to make sense of the world around them, makeartifacts to fit their world, generate behavior, and interpret theirexperiences. As with many other indigenous groups, the world views ofthe traditional Alaska Native peoples have worked well for theirpractitioners for thousands of years.ALASKA NATIVE WORLD VIEWAmong Alaska Native peoples there exist many languages and dialectsand as many world views or variations thereof. Thus, rather than attemptto describe them all, I will deal first with the more prominent sharedcharacteristics of the Alaska Native world views, and then focus morespecifically on the Yupiaq world view.Alaska Native peoples have traditionally tried to live in harmony withthe world around them. This has required the construction of an intricatesubsistence-based world view, a complex way of life with specific culturalmandates regarding how the human being is to relate to other humanrelatives as well as to the natural and spiritual worlds.This world view, as demonstrated historically by the Native peoples ofAlaska, contained a highly developed social consciousness and sense ofresponsibility. As indicated by the writings of outside researchers andobservers, Native people's myths, rituals, and ceremonies were consistentwith their relationship to each other and to their environment (Fienup-Riordan, 1990; Freeman & Carbyn, 1988; Locust, 1988). Fienup-Riordanpostulates that wisdom, insight, knowledge and power were considered theprerogative of the elders, who were honored and respected in recognition8of their achievements (1990:55). Attitude was thought to be as importantas action, therefore one was to be careful in thought and action so as not toinjure another's mind or offend the spirits of the animals and surroundingenvironment. For one to have a powerful mind was to be "aware of orawake to its surroundings" (1990:74).To help practitioners along this reciprocal path, many rituals andceremonies were developed with respect to motherhood and child rearing,care of animals, hunting and trapping practices, and related ceremonies formaintaining balance between the human, natural, and spiritual realms.This intricate sense of harmony with all things has been identified by mostobservers as central to understanding Alaska Native world views (Freeman& Carbyn, 1988; Locust, 1988; Scollon & Scollon, 1979). A hallmark ofAlaska Native peoples was their success at adapting to ever-changingenvironmental conditions "while strengthening their cultural integrity"(Bielawski, 1990:5). This was demonstrated in their ability to reconstructand continuously modify their world views, such that "new" Nativetraditions have evolved even up to the present day (Fienup-Riordan,1990).The Alaska Native and other indigenous peoples have been referred toas the "original ecologists" (Fienup-Riordan, 1990:32). One reason for thisconclusion is that their world views are dependent upon reciprocity -- dounto others as you would have them do unto you. All of life is consideredrecyclable and therefore requires certain ways of caring in order tomaintain the cycle. Native people cannot put themselves above otherliving things because they were all created by the Raven, and all areconsidered an essential component of the universe. They were able tosustain their traditional subsistence economy because "they possessed9appropriate ecological knowledge and suitable methods/technology toexploit resources, possessed a philosophy and environmental ethic to keepexploitative abilities in check, and established ground rules forrelationships between humans and animals" (Freeman & Carbyn, 1988:7).Out of this ecologically based emphasis on reciprocity, harmony, andbalance has evolved some common values and principles that areembedded in the world views of most Alaska Native people. By way of anexample, the following excerpt is provided from a story called "InupiaqRules for Living" by Mary Muktoyuk (1988):Back then, my parents would give us lessons on correct behavior,back when I was first becoming aware. My parents spoke with greatwisdom of things that we did not know about.Also, when we were small, from time to time someone would kill apolar bear. The people were very happy when a hunter killed apolar bear, for polar bears were considered extremely dangerousthen.Then after they had slept a certain number of nights, they wouldgive thanks for it by dancing. They would give thanks for the polarbear.Then they would give some pieces of skin for sewing to those whowere growing old, and they gave them food, too, because they werethankful for that polar bear and were celebrating it. They tried tomake those who were growing old happy, too. These days, people10are no longer like that, because we are no longer in our land, andbecause those wise people of long ago have died, all of them. Theywould give freely of food or skins for sewing. In those days, theygave and gave freely. They lived a good life then. These days, theyno longer live in a good way, for they are no longer as they used tobe.The elders, in those days, we held in great respect. Whatever theytold us, we would listen very carefully, trying not to make mistakeswhen we listened, because we respected them so highly, becausethey knew much more than we did while we were still growing up.In these times, though, people seem to have stopped doing things inthe old way. It is known that they no longer do things as they usedto. And these days all of them have become that way. Even if theyare close friends or relatives, they are no longer like members of afamily.In the past we were aware that even people who were not closelyrelated seemed like close relatives. Now what was is no more. Youno longer see people like those who lived then. These people of onevillage all lived as close relatives; that's how they used to be. Theyprobably can never be the same again. If somehow they couldreturn to a village of their own, I wonder if they might go back to theway they lived long ago.This story incorporates three important ethical and moral teachings ofNative people, namely, the importance of sharing, the role of cooperation in11the extended family, and giving thanks to the creative force. It was thepractice of the Native hunter to show his wealth and success as a providerby sharing what he obtained with his fellow villagers and invited guests."In those days, they gave and gave freely," knowing that they would berepaid in kind, respected and taken care of by others in their time of need.The food had been given freely by nature, so it was only right to share it.Particular attention was given to elders who did not have offspring forsupport, to widows with children, and to orphans. The gratitude of theseless fortunates was considered powerful "medicine" leading to good fortunein future hunts. The more one gave, the happier one would be, and themore likely one would lead a long and satisfied life.The extended family was important for survival and keeping abloodline alive, but did not necessarily consist only of the blood relatives.It included as family members those associated through marriage and"naming." When a family member died, whoever was named after thedeceased became a member of the family and was accorded the kin termof the deceased. Regardless of the familial relationship, "people of onevillage lived as close relatives" (Muktoyuk, 1988).The Native people continue to maintain a complex kin relationship, witha term for each person. The Yupiaq term for "relatives" is associated withthe word for "viscera," with connotations of deeply interconnected feelings.One must acknowledge and take pride in a relationship, and this feelingcomes from within. Among the Athabascans, this sense of caring andrespect derives from "distant time" (Nelson, 1983) and is reinforcedthrough many rituals and stories. These stories often include events inwhich humans become animals or vice versa, implying inter-relationships12with all living things, so care and respect must be shown all humans andnon humans alike, to maintain harmony and balance.Inherent in all aspects of Alaska Native world views is respect for thespiritual forces that govern the universe, so that following a successfulhunt, "they would give thanks for it by dancing" (Muktoyuk, 1988). Thecreative force, as manifested in nature, is more profound and powerfulthan anything the human being can do, because in it is the very essence ofall things. Yet within this profound and powerful force is efficiency,economy, and purpose, the expression of which is dependent on the humanbeing. As with other indigenous people, within the Native world view isthe notion that "a spiritual landscape exists within the physical landscape"(Lopez, 1986:273). This spiritual landscape provides a platform throughwhich integration with other life forces is achieved. "Careful observationwas made of animal behavior and the inner qualitites and the genius of aparticular animal species with a view of deriving spiritual and morallessons from that animal species. There is a metaphysical basis for thebelief that animals have much to teach man concerning the divine wisdomand about his own inner nature" (Bakar, 1991:95).Alaska Native world views are oriented toward the synthesis ofinformation gathered from interaction with the natural and spiritualworlds so as to accommodate and live in harmony with natural principlesand exhibit the values of sharing, cooperation and respect. Native people'sreciprocity with the natural and spiritual realms implies a form of cross-species interaction which perhaps is only now being learned by Westernscientists: "The science of ecology, the study of the interactions betweenliving things and their environments, circles back to the ancient wisdomfound in the rich oral traditions of American Indian stories. Time and13again the stories have said that all of the living and non-living parts of theEarth are one and that people are a part of that wholeness. Today,Western ecological science agrees" (Caduto & Bruchac, 1989:5).YUPIAQ WORLD VIEWThe description of the Yupiaq world view that follows is drawn fromhaving lived the life of a Yupiaq and having been tutored by the peoplewho embody that world view. Much of what will be presented has notbeen written before, but references to written descriptions of commonroots in other indigenous societies will be incorporated where appropriate.Alaska is divided into twelve cultural regions, each inhabited byindigenous people who call these places home. Alaska, the "land of themidnight sun," extends from the Arctic to the subarctic. The ecologicalsystems change markedly as one goes north. The people of the Arctic andsubarctic have adapted to these ecosystems and still maintain a viable,sustainable subsistence economy (Netting, 1986). The world views of thepeoples of these regions recognize that the land is a giver of life. The landhas become their life and their metaphysic, such that they live by thecircadian rhythms of the universe in which they are situated.Historically, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region "supported the largestEskimo population in the world. As many as fifteen thousand people mayhave lived in western Alaska in the early 1800s, divided into at leasttwelve socially and territorially distinct regional populations" (Fienup-Riordan, 1990). In my own travels in the delta villages, I have oftentalked to elders regarding the size of the villages. The late Carl Flynn ofTununak said that his village was so large that they had to have an upperand lower gasegik, or community house. The "upper" and "lower" do not14mean a caste arrangement, but pertain to the topography of the land. Thepopulation was subsequently reduced due to new diseases brought to themby explorers, fur traders and missionaries (Fortuine, 1989; Napoleon,1991).According to Fienup-Riordan (1990) the delta region was able tosupport a large Yupiaq population because of the many and variedresources. The region is criss-crossed with numerous rivers and streamswhich support many types of fish, including sheefish, blackfish,stickleback, northern pike, burbot, five species of salmon, and severalspecies of white fish, trout, grayling, etc. Coastal areas also have flounder,halibut, several species of seals, walrus, herring, and tomcod. The delta isthe nesting area for numerous migratory birds. Inland streams and lakesare homes to muskrat, otter, and mink. Bear, moose and woodland caribouare found further inland. "Scarcity is not nearly as threatening as thepopular representation of Eskimos allows" (Fienup-Riordan, 1990). Yet, Irecall stories told by my grandmother and others of periods of starvationdue to unusual conditions, such as extreme cold or heavy snow cover,animal and fish cycles at a low point, or bird or animal migration pathschanged due to natural catastrophes, such as heavy rains causing floodingand silty waters.According to Yupiaq creation mythology, the Yupiaq people werecreated and emerged at their present location which is the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta. The two rivers flowing into the region have laid down amarshy alluvial plain on which the Yupiaq people have lived for manythousands of years. This is called the tundra. This tundra home is knownto have very harsh winters reaching chill factors of -80 degrees15Fahrenheit. The wind blows almost constantly making wind drivensnowdrifts and blizzards.The summers are short, but provide a sufficient season to accommodatemigratory birds by the hundreds of thousands. These include geese, ducks,cranes, sea birds, sea gulls, arctic terns, swans, and a variety of song birds.The marshy tundra provides nesting areas for the birds as well as food forthe young hatchlings. Mosquitoes and flies abound. Summer temperaturesmay reach +80 degrees Fahrenheit. There are twelve varieties of bushesthat grow along lakes and streams. Spruce trees, alder, and other types oftrees grow on the banks of the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers. The deltaregion is criss-crossed by sloughs and streams as well as many lakes.Many of the streams and tributaries of the two rivers are spawninggrounds for a variety of fish. These include five species of salmon,sheefish, burbot, Dolly Varden trout, rainbow trout, blackfish, Northernpike, whitefish, grayling, tomcod, herring and halibut. Along the coastalarea are found seals, walruses, and an occasional beluga whale. The belugawere once numerous in the Kuskokwim Bay.The land provides animals which include moose, caribou, beaver, mink,muskrat, land otter, marten, lynx, snowshoe and arctic hare, wolf, bear,and foxes. These provide food and/or clothing for the Yupiaq people.The outsiders' perceptions of its inhospitability for humans and itsrelative lack of natural resources kept the Yupiaq people isolated for manyyears after the Russians explored the region and after its later purchase bythe United States. The first externally induced developments in the regionwere the fur industry, commercial fishing and mining.According to anthropologists, the pre-contact Yupiaq villages consistedof 50 - 250 people in each, and the population may have reached 15,00016altogether in the delta region (Fienup-Riordan, 1990). Their means ofdecision making was by consensus, with an egalitarian or communitariantype of government, which meant that the Yupiaq numbers would have toremain relatively small to accommodate this type of governance.Today, we have villages ranging from 25 to 1000 Yupiaq people. Thetotal Yupiaq population is over 17,000 people. Having been taught adifferent language and lifeways, the Yupiaq people have exhibited manypsycho-social ailments. In response to this confused state of being, there isa movement underway to revitalize the language and lifeways. However,there exists no consensus among the Yupiaq people as to the steps thatmust be taken. Many are convinced that the English language andmodernity are the only pathways to progress, while others undertakerelearning the Yupiaq language and world view. For the latter, it is amatter of unlearning some of the ideas that pose barriers, before thisimportant revitalization process can be effectively undertaken.The original Yupiaq based their philosophy and lifeways on maintainingand sustaining a balance between the human, natural and spiritual worlds.They made their winter and summer settlements a part of nature,disturbing the environment as little as possible. Their rituals andceremonies were intended to help maintain this balance and to regain it ifmessages from nature and the spiritual realm so indicated. Year after yearthese ceremonies were performed in exactly the same way, with the ideathat someone performing or observing would gain intuitive understandingof something that the person had not understood before.The balance of nature or ecological perspective was of utmostimportance to the Yupiaq. In looking at history and archeological findingsof different races in the world, there seems to be a common philosophical17or ecological thread between all people, and that is the concept ofinterconnectedness of all things of the universe. The Yupiaq people were,and still are, proponents of this world view, in spite of the ecologicalperspective having been weakened by modern intrusions.To understand the Yupiaq world view it is necessary to understand themultiple meanings of a word that epitomizes Yupiaq philosophy. TheYupiaq word is ella. This base word can be modified to change its meaningby adding a suffix or suffixes. Examples are: Qaill' ella auqa? 'How's theweather?'; Qaill' ellan auqa? 'How are you feeling?'; Ellam nunii 'Theworld's land'; Ellagpiim yua 'Spirit of the Universe'; Ellapak 'Universe':Ella amigligtuq 'The sky is cloudy'. Variations of this one word can bemade to refer to weather, awareness, world, creative force or god,universe, and sky. The key word is awareness, or consciousness. "Everysource of knowledge is dependent on consciousness -- be it perception, orinference, or scripture" (Ravindra, 1991:67) For "scripture," I would insertYupiaq mythology. Ravindra goes on to say that "the mind or intellectcannot give us knowledge of anything without the functioning of the Self.The Self is consciousness, and in the absence of consciousness, noknowledge is possible" (1991:67). Consciousness is the highest attainmentof the human being, and we must keep in mind that it is not attributable toany one race. The human being must possess consciousness to be able tomake sense out of values and traditions as juxtaposed with the "objects" ofthe universe. As a manifestation of their ella, the Yupiaq developed abody of values and traditions that would enable them to maintain andsustain their ecological world view.To help illustrate the interrelationship between human nature, nature,and supernature (or spirituality) in the Yupiaq world view, I will utilize a18tetrahedral metaphor (see diagram below). The tetrahedral structure, adevice recognized for its strength by engineers, is often utilized in theYupiaq fish or hunting camp by erecting a tripod of wooden poles to holdup game and drying meat or fish. The structure of the tetrahedron allowsfor several important dynamic forces to be examined in relation to oneanother. If we use the three corners of the base to represent the humanbeing, nature, and spirituality respectively as elements in a common circleof life, we can see the apex as representing the world view that over-arches and unites the base elements of our existence. The lines connectingthese "poles" can be seen as the life forces which flow all ways betweenand among the human, spiritual, and natural worlds and are unitedthrough the world view. The three base poles all provide essentialsupports to the Yupiaq world view.World ViewHuman RealmThis tetrahedral framework allows for triangulation whereby humanbeings can locate themselves in relation to the other domains of their19existence and check to make sure that the values and traditions are inbalance. It illustrates that the Yupiaq world view is based on an allianceand alignment of all elements and that there must be constantcommunication between the three constituent realms to maintain thisdelicate balance. When everything is in alignment, it is an exceptionallystrong structure. It does not require a very earth-shaking change,however, to upset the balance. The Yupiaq would agree with Chief Seattle,who stated that "This we know: the earth does not belong to man, manbelongs to earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all.Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whateverhe does to the web, he does to himself" (Vanderwerth, 1971).The tetrahedral universe requires constant communication between thethree base realms. This reciprocity of conversations and interrogations isan essential element to the world view. It allows for ongoing monitoring tomake sure the balance is there. The most important fact shown by thisconstruct is that the human being is a key figure, but does not stand apartor above the other elements. The human being is a participant-observer inthis universe. We, the human beings, having consciousness and reasoningability, are the ones who pose questions and devise methodologies forlearning about the world around us. Therefore, we are the keys tounderstanding life and living things and trying to solve the conundrums ofnature and our inner worlds. The structure is functional with the leastamount of thought and manipulation, requires the least amount of effortand resources, and its purpose becomes evident with observaton andthought. A priori, natural laws are placed in the universe to guide thehuman beings' thoughts and actions.20What are the conditions in which this world view works with efficiency,economy and purpose? The traditional Yupiaq people as young childrenwere given specially ground lenses through which to view their world.The resulting cultural map was contained in their language, myths, legendsand stories, science and technology, and role models of communitymembers. This oral orientation and learning by observation worked totheir advantage. To hear stories being told in the qasegiq (communityhouse) allowed the children and other hearers to savor the words andvisualize the events. For the duration of the story, they became a part ofthe imagery. The modern written word is useful for many things, but itremoves the reader from the human interaction element. In the qasegiq,the hearer becomes a part of the story, an essential participant-observer inthe events. All participants in the storytelling are expected to behave, notonly by the elders, but by all community members. So the child is not onlylistening quietly but is learning self-discipline and respect for the rights ofothers. The children learn and the grown-ups are reminded of who andwhat they are, where they came from, and how they are to interact withothers, with natural things and with spirits. This is truly living history.Our creation myths say that Raven is the creator. Some say that thecreative force took the form of the Raven to make the world so that theYupiaq will never think that they are above the creatures of the earth.How can they be when their creator is a creature of earth? Modernbiology has come to a similar conclusion that "there exists no objectivebasis on which to elevate one species over another" (Augros & Stanciu,1987).The type of governance structure created for this ecological mindset isof utmost importance. Yupiaq thought holds that all creatures, including21humans, are born equal. This does not imply that all functions or jobs ofthe creatures are equal, but holds that each does its job equally well. Allhuman beings are equal as they have been endowed with consciousness,thus having the ability to develop culturally, intellectually, and morally,each in their own way. Each individual human being in this type ofgovernment is afforded the greatest freedom in pursuing the pathsavailable for making a living and living a life. "Being autonomous is beingthe origin of one's own actions" (Milbrath, 1989:78). The endosomaticsense makers of humanity are "both your freedom of expression and wallsof your prison" (Roads, 1987:43). So it is with the Yupiaq person inseeking knowledge. This quest for knowledge which will open the road tomaking a living is rigorously sought through the use of the five physicalsenses, well sprinkled with intuition. From the juggling of values andtraditions in the life of the Yupiaq comes the wisdom to make a life.The Yupiaq person's methodologies include observation, experience,social interaction, and listening to the conversations and interrogations ofthe natural and spiritual worlds with the mind. The person is always aparticipant-observer. Roads (1987) captures the Yupiaq way succinctly:"To inquire suggests that we seek always to explore rather than exploit --to seek, rather than find -- to live life as an open-ended agreement withGod, rather than search for a nonexistent conclusion" (p. 132). He goes onto write that "Separation and connection, fragmentation and wholeness --all are strands in a single universal thread. While all threads are woveninto the human experience as one energy, it is we moderns who separatethe strands" (p. 148).There are a number of values that are important to this world view.Milbrath has written that some idea or some practice becomes a value22when a feeling has been attached to it (1989). An example of this mightbe the Yupiaq value of sharing. No one knows when it became a value, butit is likely that it took a very long time to come to mean what it doestoday. Over the years, Yupiaq people may have found that owning manythings was hazardous to their well-being and their nomadic way of life.The pros and cons of owning versus sharing were probably considered,discussed, and practices from other societies observed. On the other hand,maybe because of their spirituality they did not have to go through thisprocess. However it happened, eventually through a lengthy process ofobservation, experimentation and reflection, they found that sharing wasthe best policy for them. Not only were they to share with one another butalso with the rest of their world. This was done to recognize andacknowledge the interconnectedness of the universe. The value of sharingwas realized when they found that to have little or nothing is to treasureeverything, and it fit very nicely into their ecological mindset. They foundthat to restrict wants was to always have enough, and they created waysto enjoy to the utmost that which they had.Cooperation is another valued condition. The Yupiaq world view ispremised on cooperation between the human and natural worlds, thereforeit adapts well to the circadian rhythm of the universe. Earlier Yupiaq mayhave experienced or envisioned circumstances in which irresponsibleindividualism lead to ambition and avarice, such that the negative effectsof ambition for power and avarice for owning things became apparent tothem in some way. In the Yupiaq tetrahedral model of a world view,cooperation seems to be an a priori condition of the universe, for without itbalance is difficult to achieve.23For the Yupiaq world view to work, it required a respect for thewisdom of the elders. There were always a few people in each communitywho reached a very old age. Some were so old that when they sat on thefloor of the qasegiq with their knees bent and elevated, their heads wouldextend below the knee level. There were others whose teeth had beenworn to the gum level. Those who had lost their teeth required food to bechewed by family members for consumption. These people were wellcared for, honored and respected for their knowledge and wisdom. Thisrespect was extended to the aged who completed the life cycle by enteringthe "second childhood," in which they once again were accorded care andnurturing. The attainment of knowledge and respect was based on theirreasoning ability and accumulated experience.One other Yupiaq value that deserves attention is the value of theextended family, not only for survival but to be very aware andappreciative of the blood line. It was so important that special terms andan elaborate system of relationships were devised. These relationshipsformed the identity of the person -- who they were, where they werefrom, and what they represented. A person had to have a dynamic senseof self-esteem, self-confidence, and pride without arrogance to survive in avery harsh environment.The social structure of the Yupiaq people was maintained primarily atthe extended family level. Perhaps by observing and recounting stories,they came to the conclusion that chaos would result when a certainpopulation balance was exceeded. In order for the Yupiaq world view andgovernance to work, it required a stable and constant population. To cometo this understanding, they might have observed other socially organizedanimals, such as wolves, beaver, bees, and ants. In each case, they realized24that when the population reached a critical level, the leadership of thegroup would slough off a certain number to start their own new group orsuccumb to the elements. An additional factor for the Yupiaq people wasthe high birth mortality and short life span of most mature people thathelped keep the population constant. Not only did this population balancegive stability, but it kept to a minimum the "status tension" (Morris,1969:38) present in larger social systems. The limited number fosteredcollective tolerance by the Yupiaq people and allowed forcommunitarianism to work.This self-governing population level allowed the Yupiaq people to live asatisfactory life as they were in balance with the carrying capacity of theland and waters. Modern communities with their technologicalinfrastructure tend to ignore the confusion and social chaos that can occurwhen too many people congregate in a large city or village. The profusionof laws needed to regulate the conduct of people then obfuscates who theyare and how they are to act.The Yupiaq teachings of humility and tenderness to all human beingsand things promoted tolerance. Hand in hand to this is a sense of humorwhich teaches the individual not to take oneself too seriously, to laughwith others at oneself, and to use humor to teach another not to repeat anunacceptable act.For matters of survival, the Yupiaq found that it was necessary to learnmuch about their immediate landscape. Of course, a few of their peoplehad made exploratory forays into other parts of the world, and sometimesthe "explorer" did not have a choice because a storm took him off course orhe got caught by ice and had to go whereever it went. The Yupiaq havemany stories of this type. It was important to know intimately the land on25which they dwelled. As Lopez put it, "one is better off with a precise andlocal knowledge, and a wariness of borders" (1986:259). Lopez goes on tosay that the land makes the myths real and subsequently the people realalso.The Yupiaq world view of harmony with their surroundings wasreinforced by their construction of houses and storage shelters made ofnatural materials, so as to be one with and of nature. This is reflected inthe statement by Morris, "A genuine village, seen from the air, looks likean organic growth, not a piece of slide-rule geometry, a point which mostplanners seem studiously to ignore (1969:197)." This value of being withand of nature gave a social identity to the Yupiaq, which is in contrast tothe geometric detachment reflected in the "modern" design of villagestoday. To insure balance in their world view it was necessary to considerearth as a resource for living. Thom Alcoze has stated that "we have toturn to a people, a culture, where you don't have to prove that the earth isalive. It's understood. It is the fundamental basis of Native culturesthroughout indigenous global society. The earth, she is our mother" (citedin Greer, 1992:18). Therefore, for the Yupiaq, there was no need toseparate the things of earth into living vs. non-living or renewable vs. non-renewable. Doing so would essentially bifurcate and breach the concept ofinterconnectedness.As the tetrahedron suggests, the Yupiaq infrastructure had to include adynamic sense of sacredness, and as Richard Nelson has written, whereverthe Native person is, that place serves as a kind of cathedral deserving ofrespectful behavior (1983). This deep sense of sacredness was compatiblewith the Yupiaq's nature-mediated technology whereby the huntingimplements and tools were themselves made of natural materials and thus26were less likely to offend the hunted animal. To insure that balance wasalways maintained or regained, the Yupiaq created rituals and ceremonieswith songs, dances, and all the needed accouterments. The paraphernaliaincluded masks which were often an attempt at reification of a vision,dream, or unusual experience. They always included a story withattendant values. Very often the mask was an experience that a shamanhad, and upon his return he would render it into a mask using wood, stone,bone, feathers, and natural paints. If the shaman was not given to carvingthen he or she would have a carver carve the mask under his or hercareful guidance.In concert with all of the above was and is the giving of thanks to theEllam Yua, 'The Spirit of the Universe.' This was and is done throughrituals, cermonies, singing, and dancing, which reinforce the belief that allnature is alive and everything has its own being. These activities allowpeople to spiritually center themselves, reintegrate their relationship tonature and supernature, renew or gain new friendships, share, joke andlaugh, size up possible husbands or wives for marriageable offspring, andthus ensure harmony and sustainability.For Native people, teaching and learning was holistic and an integralpart of everyday life (Bielawski, 1990; Wilson, 1969). Culturallyappropriate knowledge was gained through activity as well ascontemplation and observation, and production of knowledge was also asocial activity (Bielawski, 1990) "Inuit knowledge is consensual, replicable,generalizable, incorporating, and to some extent experimental andpredictive" (Bielawski, 1990:15). "Predictions" were made on the comingwinter's weather, plentifulness or scarcity of fish for the followingsummer, the coming summer's berries and where they will be most27plentiful, etc. This was done by observing and reading the sign-makers ofnature, and reflects the power of the thinking Native mind. Predictionswere made based on observable phenomena.In distant time, education was well suited to the people and to theirecological systems (Nelson, 1983). Education was a part of life. It wasprovided effectively and stress-free by parents, family, extended family,and the community (Hopson, 1977; Darnell, 1979). Every member knewthat they would have a part in the community and be a contributingmember. They took care of the community and the community took careof them. Traditional education's foremost purpose was to insure that theprinciples or rules for constructing a cognitive map for life were learnedwell by all people (Spradley, 1980). From this they would make tools formaking a living. The environment was their school and their cathedral,and reading its natural processes gave meaning to all life. The elders werethere to give guidance with natural meanings and spiritual matters.YUPIAQ WAYS OF KNOWING: AN ILLUSTRATIONTo help illustrate how the many elements of a Yupiaq world view aremanifested and integrated in the teachings of Yupiaq people, I will includehere a story with many lessons, first told to me in Yup'ik by mygrandmother, under whose tutelage I was raised.When the earth's crust was thin, there came into consciousness twosparks of life, a girl and a boy. As they surveyed and explored theremnants of a very large village, they often were puzzled: What hadhappened to cause the people to vanish? Why were she and her male28friend alive? How did they survive? A conundrum only to bepossibly answered by the supernature!The old village was located on a river which emptied into the oceannot too far distant. The village faced south, the river flowed west.The flood plain on which it sat was bordered by mountains to thenorth. The village had been very large, judging by the number ofhouses in various stages of decay. Their house was in good repair, thecache full of much food and furs.Each of these young people had to learn their roles by patientlystudying, observing, experimenting and discussing how their clothingwas made and the use of tools and hunting implements. Visions ordreams would come to them as to what to do and how to do it. Inpondering the makeup of the mukluk or the parka for many days,she would tire of it and leave it alone, and then one day the ideawould come to her -- use the bone needle and make thread for it outof sinew. He learned to launch the kayak and use the paddles forpropulsion. Their minds were young and receptive to ideas forworking with the things at hand and in their world. Watching thegrass bend in the breeze, he pulled on a tree limb and watched itspring back. Curiously, he put a stick on it, repeated the motion andwatched it being propelled, and suddenly thought, what about thatcurved stick with sinew attached, and the sticks with feathers in oneend and a pointed rock on the other end? Thus came into being thebow and arrow, followed closely by the bow and drill for startingfires. So they grew and expanded their world always as participants.29They eventually became a couple and had a child. They were rich infood and clothing and independence. The man in his hunting alwayssearched for others like themselves or for any signs whenever hewent out. One day he returned from the ocean carrying a piece ofwood that had not been cut by an animal but with a tool. Then theyknew that there must be others somewhere. One day the husbandprepared to go on an extended trip to explore further than he hadever done. He said that he would go out to the ocean and follow thecoastline around the bend which must be a peninsula. He tookenough food to last several days.Several days passed -- no husband. A moon passes into fall. Winter isupon them. No husband. Food is still plentiful. Summer comes andpasses twice. During the spring of the thrice-arriving summer, food isshort. She must now soak skins to remove hairs, and then boil it forfood. One spring day, she climbs again to the top of the house facingthe ocean. The sun is warming, but she is now skinny and must wearher hood. She cries for her lost husband, her son, and herself. Shewipes the tears away and looks around. There is nothing to be seen.She again cries. She distinctly hears a voice saying:"Pitegcurli has married two ladies on the other side of the mountain,Curlik."Clearing her eyes, she looked around. The only thing in sight is alittle dark bird with a red breast.30"Aye! Aye! Who is talking?"Silence.Then the little bird opens its mouth, and repeats its song."Alright, if this is true, show me the direction of his place."Without another word, the bird takes to the air. It follows whatmight have been a trail through the woods, streaks for a pass, anddisappears over it."So my husband is not dead! It will take me days with my child justto get to the mountains. My child will get tired. I must find someother means to get me there."She ponders the problem. The solution slowly emerges in her mind --use an animal! She goes up to the cache and examines the animalskins. As she picks up each she thinks of the attributes andweaknesses of each. The caribou is fleet of foot and has food inabundance for it; however, it tires easily, would not have sure footingon rocks, and has enemies like the wolf, so she decides against it. Sheexamines many skins and finally comes upon a bear skin."Now this is the animal. It has no enemies, no shortage of food, hasgreat strength, and won't tire easily. It has no problems climbing nordescending a mountain. This is my choice."She takes it down, fills a wooden bowl with water, and soaks theskin. While it is soaking she prepares what little food she has for thechild. She tells him that she will be gone for some time and for himto wait for her. She goes out and finds that the skin is softening. Sheremoves it and hangs it until the water has dripped off. She getsdown on her hands and knees and throws the skin over herself. It istoo large! The stomach reaches to the ground. She thinks, runs intothe house, comes out with her large cutting board, places it on herback and throws the skin over her once more. This time it seems thatit will fit. She removes all, goes into the house, and reassures her sonthat she will only be gone for a while. She then places a walrus skinover the door and weights it down. She is now ready for atransformation.She goes to the bearskin and quietly begins to talk to it. "I am inneed of your help. My husband has been gone for a long time. I amtold that he is alive and living on the other side of that mountain. AsI have taken good care of you when you gave yourself to myhusband, now I am asking for your help."With that she kneels, places the cutting board upon her back and theskin over her. Lo and behold, the skin closes in on her, attachingitself to her, and they become one. She runs toward the mountain.32Before long, she is at the pass looking down at another valley. A rivermeanders down it. Close to the mouth is a house with smoke comingout the skylight. As she watches a young lady comes out, wanders tothe riverbank and intently looks seaward. Soon she returns to thehouse. Soon another lady in a different parka repeats the actions ofthe other. This must be the place.She goes down, removes the skin and board, and places them on theground, telling the skin to be ready when she needs it. She walks tothe house, stepping lively so as to be heard by those within. Sheenters the house. There are two surprised ladies sitting beside thefirepit both with cooking pots over the fire. She quickly scans theroom and sees her husband's clothes that she had made for him onthe bench."Wagaa! Where did you come from?" said one of the women."I've been looking for others like myself for quite some time. I justhappened to see your house, and was very glad and curious to seewho it was.""Do you live far?""Yes, I do.""You wouldn't happen to be our husband's wife, would you? He hastold us that he has a wife," asked the other suspiciously.33"No, I have always lived by myself.""You are so good looking! How did you get those marks on yourchin?" asked the first."Well, you know at one time I was homely. But one day I wascooking, just as you are doing now. I had a thought, so I quicklydipped my ladle into the boiling broth and drank it quickly. The painwas so much that I became unconscious. When I came to, I went overto the pail and looked in. I had become lovely with these beautifulmarkings on my chin. Would you like to try?""Yes," they both answered."Now when I say go, both of you dip into the broth and drink as fastas you can no matter how much it hurts. Are you ready? Go!"They soon were stretched out dead. Before this act, they had told herthat their husband had a strange request -- that when he returnedfrom hunting in the ocean, they were to dance for him. She draggedthe bodies down by the river, erected two posts, and hung them onit, the parkas being placed over the posts with the top end in thehood.She waited. Soon there was a rhythmical glistening in the distance.As it got closer, she could see it was a kayak. Soon she recognized herhusband. He began to sing, but the women never moved."Why is it you don't dance?" he screamed.He grounded his kayak, jumped out, ran to one and grabbed it by thearm. It just swung around. He worriedly walked to the other."They are dead!" Disbelief turns to rage. "Who could have done this?I will kill whatever killed them."The wife slowly stands up from the tall grass. "I killed them becausethey kept you away and let us suffer all these years.""You meddle in my life! I will kill you!" He runs to his kayak andtakes out his bow and arrow. He starts toward her. She slowly kneelsdown and says to the bear skin, "NOW!" He is running toward herhiding place. She rears up. He stops, assesses his situation, and pleadswith her not to harm him. She bounds toward him. He runs towardthe cache and begins to climb. She just barely reaches his leg, pullshim down, pummels, tears, and rips him apart. She goes to the otherbodies and does the same. Then she enters the house and rips itapart. Finally, the anger dissipates and disappears and her rationalself returns."Oh, my anger, now I am alone. My son! I must return."35She quickly returns to her house. Her son is crying inside. She musthurry, she must remove the skin. Try as she will, she cannot. In herfrustration she bellows, runs around the house, and as she nears theentrance, rears on her hind legs and with another bellow hits theside of the house with all her strength. The house collapses. A littlebird flies out and hovers around its mother, the bear. To this day,the Yupiaq say that a bear is unpredictable because of the woman,and that there is a certain little bird that is always very close to itbecause of their past kinship.Myths are the Alaska Native's tool for teaching. The human values thatmake me uniquely Yupiaq in cadence with the circadian and life rhythmsof the universe are all slowly unfolded as my grandmother and otherelders teach me through myths and legends. Just exactly how did mypeople get to know so much about the world and reality?As I contemplate this question and reflect back to the stories mygrandmother told me, I begin to see that the tools for teaching a culture, ascience, a way of knowing, have always been with us. I know my peopleare intelligent and ingenious as reflected in their metaphysics andhandicrafts, including the snowgoggles, the qayaq, snowshoes, andspecialized use of furs for clothing. How then did this come about?The story my grandmother told me has all the feelings of a humanbeing: peace and harmony, sadness, hunger, jealousy, anger, remorse, andso forth. The Yupiaq have many stories, this one included, where a humanbeing changes readily from human to animal form. The animals areconsidered to wear a special parka characterizing each as the animal it36represents. All they need to do is remove the hood by taking hold of it atthe chin and pulling upward and backward, and behold, a human head isrevealed. In this story, the robin is the communicator of the message to thewoman. As she considers which animal parka to use, she already hasintimate knowledge of the animals' behavior and needs. This is because,"when the earth's crust was thin," the humans and animals were acceptingof one another and saw no problem with changing into another form ofwhich they were a member already. After all, they believed in Ellam Yua,the Spirit of the Universe. However, they were created by the Raven, sohow could they be better than or superior to other animals, plants, and theearth? Some shamans and lost hunters spent up to a year with animalpeople. During that time they learned their behaviors, their likes anddislikes, and how they were to be treated when they gave of themselves tothe hunter. There was ready communication between humans and animals,displaying a feeling of oneness, a unity of being.There has been much said of intuition as a way of knowing derivingfrom the unconscious mind, but in an interconnected world even theunconscious is attuned to the forces of nature. Intuition and knowledgemade the woman in this story choose the bear. It was only her extremeand uncontrollable anger which made the parka permanently attach to herbody. Therefore, we have the admonition to meekness and moderation,even-temperedness and slowness to anger.Shamans and certain other individuals with no particular credentialswere given to visions and dreams. Shamans were trained to have visionsvia a pot of water, through an animal's eyes, through a star, and othermeans. These abilities were referred to as Tangruak or 'pretend to see,'and the visions were often brought to fruition. Dreams often told of the37future, especially with respect to an individual's impending death. Theshaman could tell by the "picture" or aura of a sick individual whether hewould be ill for a long time, get well, or die. He could tell why animalswere scarce for a particular time. He was an expert in human nature andthe spirit world, and could project himself out of his body to other placesknown or unknown. The shaman was a messenger between nature, humanbeings, and the supernatural, and he commuted easily and readily betweenthem.The elders and others would talk about conditions of their environmentwhen there was plenty of food -- conditions which portended a scarceseason. After several seasons, as they reviewed their observations orally,they would serendipitously discover the sense makers of nature tellingthem what to expect. They would note these and discuss them amongthemselves -- the years of plenty and those of scarcity. Out of this wouldcome natural control of births, elders saying to all, "Now is not the time tobear children." They also needed to know how cold and how long thewinter would be. Again, nature would give them indicators, as long asthey were willing to observe, learn, and apply knowledge to ensurecontinuation of the people. There were times of sickness also, but it is saidthat there would always be a number of people unaffected whose task wasto care and provide for others unable to do so.The Yupiaq people made many serendipitous discoveries, such as:wolverine fur resists frosting; polar bear fur is especially good forabsorbing radiant energy; pants and parka of caribou with the fur inside isas good or better than a wetsuit; walrus and seal intestines make excellentrainwear, etc. They devised a system of architecture and engineering toconstruct the qayaq for strength, seaworthiness, flexibility, stability,38carrying capacity, resiliency, transportability, and streamlining, so as toassure the user that he can trust its performance unequivocally.Yupiaq knowledge was based on a blending of the pragmatic, inductive,and spiritual realms. The shamans and artists brought to the Yupiaq theby-laws of life, inscribed indelibly into their tools, both intellectual andmaterial. They had the flexibility of thought necessary to use theconscious levels of thinking and to have easy access to the subconsciousmind. The shaman had the added dimension of access to the spiritualworld to solve the conundrums, or puzzles, presented by nature. Hisfunction was to explore and interpret what he saw creatively andpositively, with the insights to be taught to his people.One cannot be aware of others or things around one withoutconsciousness, so for the Yupiaq, its meaning is embedded inextricably intothe short but all-inclusive base word, ella. It epitomizes the Yupiaq worldview of interconnectedness, such that you cannot exclude theconsciousness of the human observer. Our mystical knowledge cannothave been gained merely by observation, which is the main basis forrational knowledge. To obtain mystical knowledge, observation must becoupled with the participation of our whole being -- mind, body, and soul-- with the universe. Culture has much to do with our state of mind, andthe stories are a necessary tool for the transmission of appropriateattitudes and values of mind. Culture also gives hope to its members thatthe attitudes and values, and thus the things that make them uniquelythemselves, will never be lost, but continue on, regardless of internal orexternal changes.Visualization implies a delicate awareness of things perceived visually,"through the mind's eye," including visions of the supernatural. Art may39be thought of as a process, an idea, or a symbol to bring to an intelligiblelevel an idea shared by a group of people. The making of masks is anexpression of what one has experienced through one of the many levels ofthinking. It is bringing into a tangible level the experience one has seen orhad in the world beyond. Art is the essence of this. Take for a moment astory of a man's seal hunting trip as expressed in a Yupiaq dance. It willtell of his preparation, his expending of energy to get there, the behaviorof his prey, his pride and joy in being successfully given a catch, and thereciprocation of making the seal welcome and using all of it for clothingand sustenance for the family and community members. The rhythmicaldrumming, chanting, and singing will help him to reenact his feelings, helphim to become the prey, by behaving and being like it. The traditionalchanters and dancers possessed the ability to enter into the spirit of thehunter and prey. Visualization, and possibly the trance-like state of theperson then seems to say that man, animal, and spirit become one. Itmeans that as we imagine, we cannot separate ourselves from whateverwe are picturing.Shamans, men or women, who have had a profound experience huntingor who have seen an everyday activity in a different or comical way willturn it into song and dance. The Eskimo Orpingalik stated that, "Songs arethoughts, sung out with the breath when people are moved by great forcesand ordinary speech no longer suffices . . . it will happen that the words weuse will come of themselves. When the words we want to use shoot upthemselves—we get a new song" (Halifax, 1979). The "enlightened wisdom"of a spiritual being seems to express itself without the conscious effort ofthe recipient, or the person through whom it is speaking. All it requires isthat the person be willing to be the vehicle for expression.40The Yupiaq refer to "distant time" as nunam qainga mamkillrani or`when the earth's crust was thin,' at which time strange things happened(Nelson, 1983). It was easy for human beings or animals to change form,so that a person could become a bird, bear, or seal, or an animal could takethe human form to communicate with people. Or a small rock could beplaced on a human's body, as when being pursued by a bear, and it wouldappear that the human being disappeared, but in its place was a boulder.The animal might ask, "What happened to the man? Where did thisboulder come from?" but after looking it over, it would eventually leave.The small stone that many Yupiaq people still carry is known as an iinrukor 'medicine' for want of a better term. It is the protector. That wordtoday has also come to represent pharmaceutical prescriptions given bymodern doctors.A major figure in Yupiaq mythology is the Raven. As with other NativeAmerican stories of the Raven, He is a trickster and has supernaturalpowers, but often suffers from frailties, not unlike the human being. TheEllam Yua is rarely if ever mentioned, but Its existence is acknowledgedand It is everywhere. However, the Raven's accomplishments, antics, andmisadventures proliferate in myths and legends. He is profound, clever,and ludicrous all at the same time. With a creator such as He, how can theYupiaq ever feel guilt about being in this world? As long as they arewilling to live with the Yupiaq bylaws of life, admonitions, and rules forbehavior, they should have no fear but to live life to the best of theirability.The Raven is credited with many accomplishments. The Milky Waythat is visible on a clear night represents the tracks of the Raven as Hetravelled across the sky on His snowshoes. Our ancestors have told us to41acknowledge and recognize them. One story has Him living in the Qaluyaaton Nelson Island. The place that He lives in is on an inlet. One day Hehunts and is successful. He has his wife go to butcher the catch. While sheis on the ice butchering His catch, a break opens and the ice floats away.The Raven learns of this, He runs into the house, gathers loose earth,carries it and runs out of the house and throws it into the inlet. This earththat He threw became low lying mountains on the Qaluyaat.Another story has Raven's daughter having her first menstruation. Itwas the practice in those days to separate the menstruating daughter fromothers. He has her sitting on a mound on a mountain a short distance fromHis house. This site of her menstruation became the site of ocher, reddishin color. Only the women were allowed to go to this place to get ocher fornatural coloring of ornaments.It is said that the Raven's doorway was visible at one time, but no onehas gone there to see if it and other signs still exist. It is said that His doorcover was visible in the rock, and that His forefinger imprints werediscernible in the rock. Story knife designs were also present. Somewhereabove Tununermiut (Tununak), the Raven was said to have tried ice-picking a tunnel to the ocean bottom so that hunters who met disasterwould be able to return to the land through this tunnel. However, His pickbroke before He could complete His task. He left the broken pick, saying,"I'll just put it here, and if any one of my descendents finds it, he willbecome wealthy." No one has yet found the broken pick.The Yupiaq world view, including the myths, legends, and stories,reflects the interconnectedness of all things in this world as bestowed bythe Ellam Yua flowing through and being in everything. The Yupiaq ritualsand ceremonies enable them to recognize their own uniqueness as human42beings and the interconnectedness of all. The Yupiaq world viewtraditionally gave its practitioners a way to live a satisfying andharmonious life. It has been shown by current research that our thoughts,beliefs, and expectations largely influence our well-being and our immunesystems. The Yupiaq world view enabled the Yupiaq people to be incontrol of their lives. Their traditional subsistence way of life required aphysically fit body bolstered by natural foods. The Yupiaq people had tomaintain a positive mental attitude to make a living and a life in anunpreditable environment. This meant releasing all negative thoughtsfrom the mind by participating in steam baths, singing and dancing, talkingwith others, games, spending time in silence with one's own thoughts,learning to relax, and visualizing a good life. Their wants and needs werelimited and thus their possessions as well, making their life manageable.The Yupiaq people laughed easily and had a well-developed sense ofhumor. No matter how tough things might get, the laughter helped themadjust to the new situation and not take themselves and life too seriously.All of these produced a quality of life satisfying in Yupiaq eyes.ALASKA NATIVE LIFEWAYS AND EDUCATIONSince the inception of modern education in the villages, the curricula,policies, textbooks, language of instruction, and administration have beenin conflict with the Native cultural systems. The modern public schools arenot made to accommodate differences in world views (Locust, 1988), but toimpose another culture -- their own (Berger, Berger, & Kellner, 1974). Thishas had a confusing effect on the Native students. Alienation and identitycrisis among the youth and their continual search for meaning are43conditions of Native life today (Berger, Berger, & Kellner, 1974:94). Newimages of modernity collide with traditional symbols, values and beliefs.From the time of first contact between Western and Native societies,there has been a clash of world views. The Native peoples were told in nouncertain terms that their ways of life were inferior and that these wouldhave to be changed to fit the newcomers' values and ways. As a result, theNative peoples suffered a loss of control over their daily lives (Darnell,1979; Hopson, 1977; Yupiktak Bista, 1977). Education was one of the firstcolonial institutions. Colonial administrators began to plan the fate of apeople of which they had not been a part. Their ways were considered"superior," and in pursuit of their own imperial needs, they disregardedthe needs of the Native people.These early educational systems were not structured to give knowledgeand skills to Native youngsters for service to their people and country, butrather to give service to the colonial government. It was the colonialists'intent to inculcate the colonial values and to foster docility and obsequiousservice to the state (Darnell, 1979). The colonial system left in thepreviously self-directed Native peoples' consciousnesses a sense ofsubordination, confusion and debilitation, a fate shared by indigenous andcolonized people around the world (Egede, 1985; Kirkness, 1977; Nyerere,1968; Okoko, 1987; Omari, 1990).Most secondary schools for Alaska Natives were located in urban areaswith dormitories for youngsters coming in from rural areas (Darnell, 1979;Pratt, 1976). The rationale behind residential schools was to facilitate theshift away from their languages and lifeways and to separate them fromthe influence of their parents. Because of this and other reasons, theschool's classrooms have often been battlefields for Native children44(Chrisjohn, Towson & Peters, 1988). Many were too young to cope with anew environment, and their removal from family, friends, and communitycontributed to numerous psycho-social problems in later life. It was acataclysmic experience from which Native people are still struggling torecover (Napoleon, 1991).As the Western world encroached on Alaska Native territories, theposture of Native people was not unlike that of other Native Americans, toattempt to "take the best from the white man's knowledge by acquiring aformal education in the field of choice, while affirming the Indian spirtualworld view" (Martin, 1991:28). However, it is apparent that there is asignificant contrast between the Western educational system and Nativeworld views. The former is formulated to study and analyze objectivelylearned facts to predict and assert control over the forces of nature. ButAlaska Native people have their own ways of looking at and relating to theworld, the universe, and to each other. These ways have seldom beenrecognized by the expert educators of the Western world, whoseeducational system is instituted to inculcate Western knowledge andvalues.Recently, however, many Natives as well as non-Natives are recognizingthat the Western system does not always mesh well with the Native worldview, and new approaches are being devised. It is the intent of this studyto contribute to our understanding of the relationship between Nativeworld views and Western education, so we can devise a system ofeducation for all that respects the philosophical foundation provided byNative cultural tradition. How then has that cultural tradition and worldview been affected as a result of prolonged contact with the people andinstitutions of Western society, and what role does and can the educational45system play in ameliorating the consequences of that contact? These arethe questions to which the remainder of this study will be addressed,focusing on the experiences of a particular Yupiaq community and thecultural region in which it is situated.46CHAPTER III. RESEARCH CONSIDERATIONSResearch can be broadly defined as an attempt to find out aboutsomething or find a solution to a problem" (Eisner, 1991:66). Science is away of knowing and doing things. New ways of knowing and doing havebeen brought into the lives of the Yupiaq people through contact withWestern society. Confusion is everywhere. The Yupiaq have had verylittle input into the construction of their new world, so to do this type ofstudy, the methods have to be carefully planned and executed, whilealways mindful that they may have to be modified or changed to fit thevillage situations and local perceptions of the problem (Chrisjohn, Towson,& Peters, 1988). What follows is an account of the considerations thatwent into my preparation for fieldwork and some retrospective reflectionson the fieldwork experience. The actual results are reflected in thepresentation of data in subsequent chapters.Van Manen (1990:35) points out that much modern educationalresearch suffers from1. Confusing pedagogical theorizing with other discipline-based formsof discourse2. Tending to abstraction and thus losing touch with the lifeworid ofthe living child3. Failing to see the general erosion of pedagogic meaning from thelifeworldAs I prepared for my research, I posed the following as some of the salientquestions that had to be kept in mind to try to minimize the abovelimitations:1. Is the research problem observable and operational in the Yupiaqworld?2. Is the research problem appropriate in the mind of the villagers?3. Can the research problem be approachable, touchable, oraddressable with the proposed methodology?4. Is the methodology considered appropriate by the villagers?5. Will documentary and village input be readily available duringmy visits?6. How will I know that my perceptions and interpretations areaccurate?7. How do I alleviate cultural and scientific biases?The research design that follows attempts to address these questions, insome cases explicitly and others implicitly.It is toward the (re)integration of the human, spiritual, and natural, theNative and the Western worlds, in the lives and education of Native peoplethat this study is directed. What is needed as a first step in this process isa study of and by Native people, examining their values, practices,attitudes, and views in relation to their traditional and contemporaryecological perspective. It has been my intent to participate in and observelife in a Yupiaq Eskimo community and fish camp to identify the variedways in which people incorporate traditional and Western knowledge intheir daily lives, and determine how they have been able to reconcile theseemingly antithetical values reflected in each. Can Western teachings andYupiaq practices be understood and taught through a common48epistemological framework? Of particular concern is the application andacquisition of traditional and Western scientific knowledge in the schooland in the everyday life of the community, because such practices aremost readily observable and embody many of the elements that make upthe Yupiaq world view.RESEARCH SETTINGI have chosen the Yupiaq Eskimo fish camp, community, and schoolsetting to examine the ways in which Yupiaq people make sense of theworld in which they live. The summer fish camp season is a time ofhappiness, warm weather, and orderly Yupiaq industry. It also presents acornucopia of traditional and modern technologies. Although the Yupiaqpeople do not always have technical names for the natural processesinvolved, the annual fish camp routines reflect the most concentratedsituation in which they use many sophisticated scientific principles inactivities such as preparing food, catching and preserving fish, readingriver currents and tides, assessing weather and wind conditions, utilizingsolar energy, adapting to seasonal transformations, and classifying plants,fishes, and animals. These principles are an inherent part of daily life infish camp. In the natural context of the camp environment, Yupiaq peoplefeel they are in the realm of science, the world of inquiry, and the processof discovery. In order for the people to live in harmony with nature, theyhave to learn the skills to live with nature. The secrets of nature have tobe learned for mutual nurturing and sustenance and to develop a holisticworld view of the universe (Murchie, 1981).In the fish camp, the whole environment becomes the laboratory, andthus all teaching and learning is drawn from an ecological perspective. The49sensory data that are collected in the mind are used to formulateconclusions based on values, perspectives, philosophy of life, and relationsto the world. Over thousands of years, the Yupiaq culture has establisheda way to make the world accessible to reasoned inquiry and discovery,including ponderous questions about what is real, what is truth, and whatis good and beautiful. This knowledge flows and is channeled throughNative science, art, and practice of the sacred. Natural phenomena in theNative world are explained in terms of characteristics that are easilyobservable or in terms of experiences involving a high degree of intuitivethought (Cornell, 1986).In an effort to gain sufficient insight into the Yupiaq understanding andpractice of "science" to be able to formulate an approach to scienceeducation that incorporates the kinds of principles outlined above, Iobserved and documented the behaviors and related thinking that arereflected in the day-to-day affairs of the community and the subsistenceactivities of the summer fish camp. These observations were thenjuxtaposed against the ways in which science is taught to Yupiaq childrenin the local school, in an effort to identify points of similarity anddifference, which can serve as the basis for a more integrative approach tothe teaching of science for Native people.METHODOLOGYAs a member of the Yupiaq society, I worked from the inside as aparticipant-observer. I became an active participant with the people atthe fish camp, but with constant attention to overt as well as subtle usesof, and comments about, traditional and modern tools and practices. I wasraised by a Yupiaq grandmother and experienced seasonal trips for various50hunting and trapping activities at an early age. I was taught many of theYupiaq values of respect for others and nature. I also have anundergraduate major and have taught in the biological sciences, so I havean academic understanding of Western science and the scientific methodwith its emphasis on objectivity. However, my elementary, high school,and college education convinced me for many years that modernity wasthe only way to go. It was only in the last two decades that I began torealize that I was living contrary to my upbringing as a Yupiaq. I havesince been searching for a synthesis between the two ways ofunderstanding the world.I grew up in a traditional village, but have also worked in themanagement of non-profit and profit corporations on behalf of the Yupiaqpeople. I worked for two and a half years with the Lower KuskokwimSchool District as director of the Native Education Department, whichrequired that I work with a twenty-seven member parent committee. Myposition required that I travel to each of the twenty six villages at leastonce per year and any other time on request. I felt I had excellent rapportwith most villagers. I believe I understand how the Yupiaq think andperceive the world and I speak the language, so I can understand Yupiaqpeople on their own terms. It is these skills that have allowed me topenetrate beyond the external veneer of the Yupiaq world view and gainaccess to some of the deeper understandings that are often hidden topersons outside a culture.The research process needs to go beyond the limits of sciences, whichare built around bodies of knowledge that are restricted to observableobjects of the earth. This so-called "objective knowledge," which is basedon factual observation of phenomena, is constricting to original thought. In51Yupiaq thought there is a similar idea, which is translated as "seeingwithout feeling." In Western thought, the objective way of knowing hasthe greatest value. "Subjective" knowledge is considered less reliablebecause it is not verifiable through the senses. The Yupiaq wordtangruarluku, which means 'to see with the mind's eye,' transcends thatwhich we can perceive with our endosomatic sense makers and illustrateshow a Native perspective may provide a way of bridging the so-calledmythical subjective world and the objective scientific world. It isnecessary, therefore, that both modes of inquiry and sense-making beincorporated in this study, to give credence to the range of phenomenathat will need to be addressed from both the Yupiaq and the Westernperspective.Interaction, observations, and informal interviews with villagersrevealed the cultural beliefs, artifacts, and inherent knowledge used in thefish camp. The process included probing in appropriate cultural domainsto try to tease out the subtle patterns and meanings of verbal and physicalactivities. How do the villagers understand scientific principles? Why dothey carry out certain activities the way they do? Has past scienceeducation in school contributed to their knowing what to do and the skillsneeded to succeed in certain instances? How do the villagers pass on theirknowledge and skills? How has their relationship to the life-givingecological system changed? Are there any differences between the beliefsand practices of the older and the younger generations? Through thepursuit of information that addresses these kinds of questions in a fishcamp setting, I obtained an insight into the Yupiaq scientific view of theworld.On the other hand, to get an idea of what and how the school isattempting to teach students in the sciences required the close examinationand content analysis of curricular materials, textbooks, and sciencemanuals, as well as observation of and interviews with teachers. Havingtaught science for many years, I had a preconceived notion of what toexpect. However, science curricula have changed during the years since Ihave been in the classroom, and circumstances can vary from one school tothe next. So I had to find out what kinds of scientific knowledge are beingtaught, how each succeeding grade is introduced to new scientificprinciples, what kinds of experiments and equipment are being utilized,and most importantly, how the teachers and students view the relationshipbetween school-taught and Yupiaq science.Formal interviews with teachers were conducted to find out how theyuse the textbooks and manuals, whether they have students relate scienceto their own environment, whether they make use of science projects andscience fairs, and to what extent local knowledgeable people areincorporated in the lessons. All these questions and others that teachers,local people, and students bring up give valuable information as to whatgoes on during the teaching of science in school. Open-ended, informaldiscussions also were conducted to identify areas that were not anticipatedin the formal interviews. I maintained a daily journal at all times andused audio tapes when permissible. Through these data gatheringprocesses, I assembled appropriate information to gain insight into thedomains of science teaching, learning, and practice in the school andcommunity.I obtained the consent and cooperation of the Yupiit Nation TribalCouncil and Board of Education to carry out the study. The results are to53be made available to all council and board members. Prior consent andsupport from the community opened the doors of the village and school toassist with the research (Cohen, 1982).BACKGROUND AND BIASES OF THE RESEARCHERI am Yupiaq, born and raised in the village of Bethel, Alaska. Thevillage's Yupiaq name is Mamterilleq, 'a place of many smoke houses.'Having been raised by a Yupiaq-speaking grandmother, I am familiar withthe values, customs, and ways of the Yupiaq. I speak the Yupiaq language.During the years since leaving high school, I have lived intermittently inboth the Yupiaq and modern worlds. My post-secondary education hasbeen mainly from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, with the last threeyears at the University of British Columbia, so the university schooling hasbeen a part of my education, as well as "schooling for qualification"(Kashoki, 1982:32). The majority of my graduate education has been fromthe perspective of the Western middle class intellectuals' world, whichdiffers markedly from the Yupiaq's perspective and consciousness (Berger,1976).My academic background may have been an impediment to myproposed research by influencing the avenues of new thought anddirection, especially in situations where the instructors and classes haveespoused that there is only one way of doing things (Fahim, 1982; Guyette,1983; Kashoki, 1982; Lindblom & Cohen, 1979; Nakane, 1982). However, itwas imperative that I try to use all to my advantage. By careful thinkingand consulting with the villagers, I attempted to see which methodsworked, which needed modification, and which were inappropriate(Petersen, 1982). Netting states that "anthropologists must learn some54new skills and call on other sciences for expert help" (1986:103), and Iwould add that they need to learn new skills from sciences of indigenouspeoples. This says to me that I must always question my training and bemindful that I may be inadvertently exporting cognitive content andmethods from my adopted culture in my efforts to reinterpret andunderstand my original culture (Berger, 1976). It has been argued thatmany Western research methods and theories are flawed or incompletewhen applied to other cultures (Madan, 1982). Being mindful of thismeans that as I assumed the responsibility of researcher, I did not leavemy Yupiaq heritage behind and adopt only the vocabulary and concepts ofthe modern world as my own (Deloria, 1991a). If Spradley is correct instating that "culture is a tool for solving problems" (1979:201), then I amhopeful that I too shall overcome these impediments.I gathered data on things that I saw, heard or were pointed out to meby villagers. Especially, I sought to identify ways in which two differentworld views are made to articulate. A world view is a composite of ideaswhich give people a way of picturing "sheer reality, their concept ofnature, of self, of society. It is the underlying attitude toward themselvesand their world" (Geertz, 1973:127). This case study was difficult forvarious reasons. I was dealing with the Yupiaq, human beings who holdthought, attitudes and emotions as cultural artifacts (Geertz, 1973). Justhow does one go about selecting methods of observing, listening, andinterpreting the Yupiaq thoughts, actions, and words? The Yupiaq peoplehave established an innovative self-determining Yupiit Nation, which isasserting their claim of having a fundamental right to alternatives to thestate-mandated municipal village government (Kashoki, 1982). Thisknowledge alone should be an advantage for me because I am trying to55use that same right for asserting the presence and assessing the effects ofmultiple forms of consciousness.School classrooms have been referred to as "hostile environments"(Chrisjohn, Towson, & Peters, 1988:257). Native students have usedseveral ways of adapting to this situation. The individual student canadapt by passive resistance, unconditional surrender to modern schooling,surrender on his own terms, or after having left school, going back withthe intent of legitimizing informal knowledge. The latter is referred to as"creative adaptation" (Chrisjohn, Towson & Peters, 1988:262). Nativestudents' perceptions of schooling may be affected by the opinions held bytheir parents. Some parents may feel that their school experience wasabsolutely awful or have the belief that academic success has no bearingon real life or believe education makes Native people less Native(Chrisjohn, Towson, & Peters, 1988). These to me are the weighty reasonsfor my choice of participant-observation, so that I could listen, talk, andvisually evaluate what goes on in the village. This is an important conceptif I am to understand the situation described by the above authors. Byattempting to visually discover meaning in the Yupiaq world, I amavoiding the use of conventional written reports whose results do notalways match reality. Among the Native students, the use of various testsoften take on a different function from what they are purportedlymeasuring (Chrisjohn, Towson & Peters, 1988). The tests can become abarrier. Just introducing them can have a negative affect on how theNative student performs, adapts, or maladapts to the testing situation.This is my reason for shying away from the use of official reports as aprimary source of data.I will use three sources of information. The first is through observingYupiaq behaviors in their daily lives. The second is listening to and payingparticular attention to the content of their conversation. The third islooking at the use of "modern artifacts" in the form of housing, tools,museum archives, written tribal government, and school board reports andminutes, curricula, textbooks, and so forth.In this case study, a small Yupiaq community of 385 was studiedcomprehensively. The study took place in the village and at the fishcamps, where I was an insider while also being a participant-observer(Spradley, 1980). Participant observation allowed me to experience theactivities directly, to get a feel for them, and to record my own perceptions(Eisner, 1991; Freilich, 1970; Guyette, 1983; Hall, 1988; Pelto & Pelto, 1978;Shug & Beery,1984; Spradley, 1979; Spradley, 1980). Depending on theneed of the moment, I varied the method of observation. For instance, Imade broadly descriptive observations from the time the Yupiaqfisherman landed on the beach of the fish camp to the care and handling offish by all family members and through to the completion of the activity. Ilooked at the activities of the women only, therefore my observationbecame focused, or I watched how each species of fish was split and notedthe differences, thus utilizing selective observation (Spradley, 1980).The description of an activity should be an attempt to clarify why theaction is done the way it is. In my case, I tried to gain a betterunderstanding of how the Yupiaq and modern ways of knowing and doingare made to work together in everyday life and whether compromises aremade between them or if one is favored over the other. This requiresrigorous recording of things seen and heard for later interpretation (Geertz,1973; Pelto & Pelto, 1978). The important thing in the description is not57the characteristics or traits of the culture bearers (Yupiaq), but thesystematic search for relationships in the cognitive maps of the observed(Netting, 1986; Pelto & Pelto, 1978). Yupiaq people are not only mapreaders, but also map makers. Their cognitive maps are coding deviceswhich have been built from and adapted to the values, customs, andtraditions of their own Yupiaq culture (Netting, 1986; Spradley, 1980). Itis for me to figure out the relationships between behaviors and why theseare generated.Cultural information was gleaned from the words and actions of theYupiaq in the fish camp. By writing it down, I am preserving whatotherwise would have passed away into history. I am trying to captureboth the word and the act and fix it into written form so that it can bepreserved for future generations (Geertz, 1973; Van Maanen, 1988). Thismeans that I decoded the words or actions of the Yupiaq and recoded theminto English, which then becomes a microscopic representation of Yupiaqbehavior (Geertz, 1973; Van Maanen, 1988). This process becomesproblematic, however, because I cannot represent the Yupiaq except on myown terms (Van Maanen, 1988). I have three roles when entering thevillage. I have a professional role, which requires that I uphold the valuesand standards required of the profession. I have a bureaucratic role as anassistant professor of the University of Alaska and as a doctoral student atthe University of British Columbia, which means that I operate beingmindful of the policies and norms of both institutions. And lastly, I have aclient orientation, which means I must always be very much aware of theYupiaq needs (Guyette, 1983; Haurofa, 1982). Rothman advises a mixedorientation as being the one most conducive to practical effectiveness(1974). I determined the degrees of mix myself to fit the situation.58By the end of the fieldwork, I had many microscopic Yupiaqrepresentations which were contextualized for analysis. Geertz puts itsuccinctly: "Cultural analysis is guessing at meanings, assessing the guesses,and drawing explanatory conclusions from the better guesses, notdiscovering the Continent of Meaning and mapping out its bodilesslandscape" (1973:20). I, as an insider, should have a better chance thanmost to come upon a closer or more accurate interpretation.Why a better chance? I already have more in-depth understanding ofthe particular research problem because I am Yupiaq, and therefore, Ihave much in common with the people I am studying. This is a researchproblem which comes from familiarity with living the conditions and theproblems experienced by Yupiaq people (Barnes, 1982; Guyette, 1983;Petersen, 1982).As a researcher and as a Yupiaq, I had to be involved with thecommunity to gain the respect and trust of the villagers (Pelto, 1965). Ihad to be honest, which requires I be direct, clear and straightforward.This was accomplished by continually being aware of what I was doing andespecially what I was saying. I had to think things through before utteringwords because my words, or the things I do had to match the feelings orintentions I wanted to convey to people (Wilson, 1969).Words are so important, and among the Yupiaq, words have power andso must be used very carefully. Words are so much a part of the humanbeing and the product of the human being's conceptual world that I mustpay close attention (Wilson, 1969:129). In order to make another personunderstand clearly, words must be conveyed objectively, but one shouldkeep in mind that words have subjective and intuitive power as well.Rapport allowed me to be looked on as an honorable person with whom59people can share things publicly, confidentially among a group of insiderssuch as a Native Youth Club, secretly within a closed group, or between twopeople sharing intimate thoughts and feelings (Freilich, 1970). Thisrapport allowed me to become my own research tool (Eisener, 1991;Spradley, 1980). It helped me to become more sensitive to the interestsand sensibilities of the Yupiaq (Hau'ofa, 1982; Spradley, 1979).In the case of those Yupiaq who did not know me very well, we had togo through the rapport stages as depicted by Spradley (1979). Theyexperienced some apprehension or uncertainty about why this Yupiaqperson had showed up in their village. After this phase came exploration,a time when they listen to what I say, observe what I do, and, perhaps,begin to ask to find out what I am all about, what I know, and what I wantfrom their village. A mutual trust is established. People who trust me arewilling to be associated with me and consent to my questions when theyconclude that I mean well. They allow me to be around them, listeningand observing. This leads to all villagers participating as informants, areciprocal relationship between them and myself. The informant is thevillager who will be my guide to sense-making markers for meanings ofwords or actions according to the world they have constructed.Rapport made it easier for this research project to become "ours,"because the approval and changes to the research question andmethodology came from within the community (Guyette, 1983).Constructive motivation was gained by us all with the knowledge thevillagers are a necessary element of the research. Constructive motivationis an attitude of wanting to do the very best we can so that the desired endresult will be brought to fruition (Hardwick, 1991). We learned from eachother during the process of investigation. I insisted on and enlisted60villager participation by appealing to the people's sense of communityresponsibility and by using their collective creativity for problem-solving.The more villagers I involved in information gathering, analysis andunderstanding in order to arrive at a solution or recommendation, thebroader and more in-depth knowledge was accumulated (Hardwick, 1991).I let them know early in the project that I did not have a singlemethodology that would work in the village, and therefore, I did not haveany easy solutions or answers. I may be a professional, but knowledgeproduction is not delegated only to professionals. Knowledge production isbeing done daily by the villagers. In fact, it is a mistake for professionalsto exclude the ordinary knowledge of ordinary people which is derived bycommon sense, casual empiricism, or thoughtful speculation (Lindblom &Cohen, 1979). The more people involved in knowledge production and inthe process of analysis leading to problem-solving, the more likely we willgenerate the most accurate interpretation (Guyette, 1983; Hall, 1988).There are many sources of tension that can cause one to becomeineffective. Most often these tensions are caused by cultural differences(Guyette, 1983; Rothman, 1974). I handled this as long as I was aware ofhow I interrelated and interacted with the villagers. I asked them to tellme when I said or did something wrong. As long as they saw me reactpositively to their anecdotal observations by listening and practicing, theyperceived that I really was interested in becoming a sensitive Yupiaq.I have many relatives in the three villages. Some may have been alittle jealous of my accomplishments, others may have had pet theories orprojects that they would want me to support, which created problems forme at times. Depending on the situation, I most often would be merely asounding board, the sympathetic listener. Freilich calls this role "therapy61capital" (1970). I did not want to get so politically and socially involved,however, that I had no time to do my own work.Another problem area was moral conflict and value clashes. In order tocompensate for this, I would listen to people talk, observe respectedleaders' deportment, and, especially, how villagers conduct themselvesduring various meetings and gatherings (Pelto & Pelto, 1970). Villagers,assuming that I knew more than I did about Yupiaq language and culture,made statements or did things without explaining themselves (Eisener,1991). When I did not understand the meaning of the word used or action,I asked for clarification. The meaning of the word may have changed overtime. How did I develop a routine of attentiveness? Wilson states that"through his reason man observes himself, but only through consciousnessdoes he know himself" (1969:150). I asked myself constantly, "Am I doingthe right thing?" and "am I doing OK?"Another difficulty I had to overcome was seeing human misery. TheAlaskan villages are no exception to the modern institution of poverty. Isaw children ill-clothed, ill-fed and ill-cared for by parents who sufferedfrom drug abuse or malaise of the spirit which has rendered the parentsineffectual as providers and homemakers. However, this adversityprovided incentive and motivation to work for a greater degree of self-determination and self-reliance in working on the problems. In the past,the Yupiaq lived a life that required a balance between quality of life andan environmentally determined set of needs. If we could develop a newconsciousness with a new Yupiaq identity and a cultural mix of chosenvalues, traditions, and customs, it would go a long way toward alleviatingthe physical and psycho-social problems we face and helping us find ourplace in the world (Gamble, 1986). For too long, we have left the study of62our values, habits, customs, beliefs, and ourselves as a people to outsiders,and likewise, the "solutions" to our problems have come from outside,often without consideration of our Yupiaq values and other human factors(Gamble, 1986; Hau'ofa, 1982).One tenet of faith in Western science has been "objectivity," but howcan we truly be objective if we manipulate information in our minds? Onecannot represent others except on one's own terms (Van Maanen, 1988)This attempt at isolation restricts seeing or understanding as it applies tothe real world (Gamble, 1986; Nollman, 1990). B. L. Whorf has said that"all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the samepicture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar orcan in some way be calibrated" (cited in Gamble, 1986).I do have cultural and educational biases which I took into the village,so I had to find a way to deal with the subjective and lessen its effect onme as a researcher. If I had let my feelings and emotions run rampant, Iwould have come out with a product slanted only to my prior way ofthinking. It would have been an individual product. As a participantobserver using the methods of listening, observing, interviewing, andinterpreting visual arts, I think it important that I overcame a lot ofpotential subjectivity through discussion, ironing out differences of opinionand maintaining a constant verbal and written exchange between myselfand the villagers (Koentjaraningrat, 1982). I had to learn routines ofrigorous note taking, attempting accurate descriptions of observations, andverbatim quotations of villagers (Gamble, 1986; Pelto, 1965). I had tolearn what constitutes an effective appraisal of activities, conversations,and settings as being of value to our project (Van Maanen, 1988). I had topractice writing accurate descriptions, especially at the beginning, for63review by myself and others to see what observational biases mightmanifest themselves for me to correct in the future (Pelto, 1965). This lentitself to coherence, insight, and the instrumental utility of seeing things ina way that satisfies, or is useful to me and to the villagers, leading to a gutfeeling that it "seems right" (Eisener, 1991).Rigorous note taking required that I write down my impressions,hunches, and hard information during or soon after the event (Freilich,1970). It was helpful to write down summaries of what I thought I knewand what I know now (Freilich, 1970). This began to show what biases Icame with.When a certain amount of information was gathered, I cross-checkedthe information for accuracy with villagers (Pelto, 1965). The informationwas structured into cultural domains and themes for exploration ofrelationships (Pelto & Pelto, 1970; Spradley, 1979). Again, verbal orwritten summaries of the results were done for reactions by valuedinformants.This form of community-based research was a mutual learningexperience for all of us. The villagers and I experienced the reciprocallearning process involved in data gathering. My intellectual curiosity waspiqued and I learned to understand the decision-making processes, honeinterpersonal skills, and (re)learn cooperative skills as a participant (Shug& Beery, 1984). Community-based research looks at past ways ofknowledge production and doing things as well as those of the present. Weput into practice the notion that the human being "has the capacity toadopt, adapt, and reconstitute present and past ideas, beliefs andinventions of others who are living or dead" to make a new Yupiaqconsciousness (Pelto, 1965:102).64DOMAINS AND INSTRUMENTATIONThis dissertation project was not intended to determine whether theYupiaq people should return to a traditional way of life (if this were evenpossible), or try to expunge the modern from their life. Rather it is todelineate the choices that will need to be made in order to establish aquality of life that has a balance between their human needs and wantsand what is available locally and naturally. Collaborative and integrativeprocesses need to be undertaken. According to Stake and Easley, sciencecan be conceptualized as inquiry, as explanation, or as science andtechnology (1978). Gould goes on to point out that "science must beunderstood as a social phenomenon, a gutsy, human enterprise, not thework of robots programmed to collect pure information" (1981:21).For the Yupiaq, knowledge and skills are derived from their humaneffort to develop a world view consonant with themselves, nature, and thespiritual world, so the Yupiaq youngster develops a sense of being part ofthe universe as a result of his or her culture's teaching and learning. TheYupiaq junior and senior high-school students enter school with a greatdeal of traditional scientific knowledge, most of which is ignored or notconsidered applicable to science teaching in the school, where science mostoften comes from textbooks, manuals, and teacher-directed learningactivities. My observations and questioning of Yupiaq scientific knowledgeand skills had a natural orientation, that is, I recorded observations andconversations as they occured in a natural environment. The questionthen becomes, are the knowledge and skills that I observed in thecommunity reconcilable with the molecularization and sequencingapproach used in the school? In the school, a definition of behavior to be65taught, identification of components, and the sequential ordering forteaching purposes can be readily observed. The "scientific method" workswell in the age-tested recipes for experiments in the classroom orlaboratory, but how well does it work for transmitting the practicalscientific knowledge used in the Yupiaq fish camp? How is traditionalYupiaq knowledge learned, and how is it understood by practitionerstoday? These are the kinds of questions to which my inquiry was directed.Following is a list of some of the domains of activity in which I focusedmy initial observations, along with the kinds of instrumentation anddocumentation that I used to obtain data associated with each domain.Domain^ InstrumentationSplitting fish Participant Observation (PO)Drift netting POSet netting POSite selection Interview (I)Garbage and sewage disposal PO/I/Document Analysis (DA)Gardening PO/IHousing PO/I/DABoats PO/IHeating PO/I/DAPower generation I/DASpirituality and values PO/IClothes washing and drying PO/IBody cleanliness POInsect control (self and fish) PO/I66Potable water PO/I/DAFermenting fish PO/IUses of plants, brush, and trees PO/IAdaptation of tools PO/ITent styles and frames PO/ICooking PO/ISmokehouse design and use PO/IMeans of measurement PO/IScience curriculum in school PO/I/DAScience teaching practices in school PO/IThe findings from the above data gathering, along with other domains ofanalysis and sources of information, were cross-checked to determine thedegree of representation and accuracy in the community.FIELD METHODOLOGIES IN RETROSPECTSome of the methodological problems I tried to anticipate inpreparation for the fieldwork were borne out and others were not.However, there were important issues that I did not foresee that becameproblematic, at least to me. My idea of being a participant/observercertainly did work out, but some of the tools that are spelled out bynumerous authors did not work as I had anticipated. Although I hadprepared sample questions for use in interviews (see Appendix 1), I had adifficult time doing the interviews with local people, especially the elders.There may have been some questioning methods or protocol that I did notfollow. Whether they mistrusted me, or wondered "what is this person67going to do with the information that I might share with him?" I was notfully satisfied with my planned interviews with elders.The interviews with teachers worked out well. There were nineteachers, one of whom was an Alaska Native. They all willingly let meinterview them, which I appreciated very much. Their classrooms wereopened to me. The principal was very welcoming and very supportive ofmy project. He was the one who put the teachers at ease and let themknow that I would be visiting their classrooms. The Tribal Council andBoard of Education were very supportive and let it be known that I wouldbe around, what I was trying to do, and that they were fully behind myefforts.For men and women in the community, it became expedient andworked well that I informally visited with them wherever they happenedto be -- at the post office, the laundry, sitting on a log on the riverbank,chatting with women cutting fish, attending community activities at theschool building, visiting at tribal or corporate offices, going drift nettingwith villagers, chatting at the village store, riding on a vehicle with elders,being invited to homes, and mostly just hanging around and observingpeople doing what they normally do. All this was done without a videocamera or cassette recorder, and most often without a pencil and paper.Information and feelings were freely expressed, but it meant that I wouldhave to listen very carefully and write down information and ideas as soonI got back to my room. I got pretty good at this after a while.Other times I would take a camera, a pencil and paper, and just strollthrough the village taking note of children at play, activities of grown-ups,or local adaptations of tools and machinery to fit their needs. I looked atdesign, construction, and use of old log homes, old frame houses, and new68houses funded through the federal and state governments. I looked at theproblems and kinds of pollution, with the accumulation of trash outside thehouses and around the village because the modern waste is no longerbiodegradable.The KYUK radio broadcasts from the nearby community of Bethel werean excellent source of information, especially their interviews andstorytelling by elders. It got so that I looked forward to the special timesallotted to this very important activity. I jotted down notes and names ofpeople who participated. The elders often talked of values that werehanded down through the ages, with the occasional diagnoses of the basesfor current Yupiaq confusion, its causes and effects. The speakers includedelders from the local area. All these added to the things that I had learnedfrom my grandmother, family, community, and readings.I had not anticipated deaths of close relatives, but it happened withinthree weeks of my arrival in the region. I was called upon to care for anuncle who was dying, and this I did not expect. It was a time of sadnessand distress, and perhaps I did not perform as well during that time. Iremember the very last time I saw him. I flew with him on an emergencyflight to Bethel, and was with him as he was admitted to the hospital.Every so often, he would ask the doctor or nurse if I was still there in theemergency room. This was a responsibility I could not ignore. The otherunanticipated experience was with my aunt, who never let on that she wasterminally ill. She and her daughter had just returned from a visit to theAlaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. She was so happy to meet myyoungest daughter, whom she had never met. She fed us and talked andwas so happy and caring. I learned later that she had passed away a weekafter our visit with her. Both of these deaths affected my ability to focus69on my fieldwork, but both were also instrumental in socializing me backinto the way of life I was studying.My observations and research may not always have adhered to themethods and techniques as espoused by experienced field researchers.However, I believe that I had an advantage over most researchersattempting to address the issues of this study, in that I am a Yupiaq, Ispeak the language, I am very familiar with the Yupiaq sense of thesacred, and I experienced many changes in my own lifestyle while I wasan exile and emigrant from my people for two decades after graduationfrom college. In retrospect, I see that I relied heavily on the traditionalYupiaq method of research -- that is, patient observation throughparticipation over a long period of time, reflection on things that I saw andheard, and, in an unobtrusive way, informally, checking out my tentativeconclusions with villagers. Hopefully, the results show that this tactful,adaptive approach to fieldwork produced the insights and information Iwas seeking.CHAPTER IV. AKIAK AND THE YUPIIT NATIONTHE YUPIIT NATIONThe focus of this study is the Yupiit Nation and its school system. Thistribally governed nation is located on the Kuskokwim River and iscomposed of three Yupiaq villages. They are Akiachak, Akiak, andTuluksak. Their populations range from 275 to 500. The largest village isAkiachak, which is the seat of government for the nation. It is locatedapproximately seventeen miles downriver from Akiak, which is thecommunity in which the fieldwork was centered.1^ 400 miFienup-Riordan (1990) has stated that many Westerners were doubtfulas to whether the Yupiit Nation would work at all when the three villagesreconstituted themselves in the early 1980s, because from a Western71perspective they lacked the necessary bureaucratic system with tiers ofhigh-paid, well-titled workers. Now the surrounding villages that makeup the Association of Village Council Presidents are considering a tribalgovernment for the whole region. This is after three small villages defiedthe federal and state governments and faced the uncertainty of conflictinglaws and a reluctant bureaucratic system to establish their own tribalgovernment (Fienup-Riordan, 1990).Shortly after statehood (1959), the Yupiaq of the villages of Akiak,Akiachak, and Tuluksak had watched Yupiaq hegemony slip further andfurther away from their villages. Yupiaq culture was not being used toenhance and strengthen the Yupiaq way of life. As long as control was inthe hands of the state and the school district, it was felt that no changewould occur. It was the wish of the villagers that education reflect theculture of the village. The passage by the U.S. Congress of the AlaskaNative Claims Settlement Act of 1971 further complicated matters, as italtered the villages' control over land and resources. Subsequentcongressional action, the Alaska National Interest Lands and ConservationAct, attempted to reestablish certain Native rights, but many questionsremain, and different interpretations of the law abound. Each special-interest group attempts to interpret and translate the law to support itsown views.To illustrate the complexity of the current legal status of Yupiaq people,the following excerpt is taken verbatim from the testimony of thechairman of the Yupiit Nation Council of Elders on April 13, 1992. Itaddresses many of the concerns and problems as experienced by the YupiitNation:The issue of self-government by the residential indigenous peoples isthe important goal of the Yupiit Nation and its member villages.Although there is no clear policy towards indigenous self-government authority from the federal and state governmentperspective, the movement to revitalize indigenous governments isthe strongest within our people in the Southwestern part of Alaska.The Yupiit Nation was created by Resolution 84-07-01 of thePinariuq Conference conducted by the Inuit governments ofAkiachak, Akiak and Tuluksak on the 6th of July 1984, at AkiachakNative Community.The purposes of the Yupiit Nation were identified as (1) tostrengthen unity among the Yupiit of Southwest Alaska, (2) topromote Yupiit rights and interests on the local, national andinternational levels of policy development effecting the Yupiit, (3) toensure Yupiit participation in political, economical and socialinstitutions which we deem relevant, (4) to promote greater self-sufficiency of the Yupiit in Southwest Alaska, (5) to ensure theendurance and growth of the Yupiit culture and societies for bothpresent and future generations, (6) to promote long-termmanagement and use of non-renewable resources in western Alaskaand incorporate such resources in the present and futuredevelopment of Yupiit economies, taking into account other Yupiitinterests.The United States government experimented with Alaska Natives bysettling land claims with corporations rather than with indigenousgovernments. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act provided 44million acres of lands to all indigenous residents of Alaska and paidclose to a billion dollars for the rest of our traditional homelands andextinguishment of certain rights. For that reason, the Yupiit Nationviews the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act as a genocidal andtermination act because of non-involvement of our children bornafter the settlement of lands. Attempts have been made to provide atransfer to tribes from corporations and to include children in thesettlement in the so-called 1991 amendments to ANCSA. Althoughthe amendments addressed indigenous youth, there is no guaranteethat they will benefit.The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act forced the indigenousresidents to change from hunters and gatherers to corporatebusinessmen in a very short period of time. Many of the businesscorporations are facing bankruptcy. Because these corporations ownthe traditional homelands, the lands are in jeopardy of being lostforever. I have to say that some of the village corporations are alsodoing well and are providing limited benefit to their shareholders.Because the corporations are visible in all indigenous communities,the tribes' economic rights are almost non-visible to almost non-existent. Because of statehood, many of the indigenous communitiesare organized as governmental entities or subdivisions of stategovernment. Although the indigenous governments do exist, the74municipal governments are assuming responsibilities on a villagelevel for both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.Because of the emergence of non-indigenous governments andbusinesses, the way of life of the indigenous residents of Alaska isfast disappearing. Unless people on a grass-roots level evaluate theirpriorities through revitalization of their traditional governments, away of life will be lost forever.By involving ourselves in the Indigenous Peoples PreparatoryMeeting at the Palais des Nations July 24 to July 28, 1989 for thedrafting of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of IndigenousPeoples and our presentation on our developments to the WorkingGroup shows our support and the importance of the adoption by theUnited Nations of the Universal Declaration on the Rights ofIndigenous Peoples.It is essential that this declaration of the universal rights ofindigenous peoples be adopted because many of the principles do notexist for the indigenous peoples of Alaska due to lack of clear policyfrom the United States government.Two specific examples are the right to ownership of subsurface landsby the villages and individual indigenous peoples of Alaska. Thesubsurface lands are owned by the regional ANCSA corporations andnot the villages. Individual indigenous peoples who own landallotments also do not enjoy subsurface rights and cannot develop75them even though the same federal laws are used to grant landownership to individual Alaska Natives as for the Indians in thecontinental United States.We feel that through the use of the indigenous governments, ourcustoms, cultures, languages, and histories can be preserved andflourish into the future and benefit the world community in betterunderstanding of each other's cultures.One of the first areas in which the Yupiit Nation asserted its rights waseducation. A board of education was established under the Tribal Council,and a contract to run their own school was arranged under the federalIndian Self-Determination and Educational Assistance Act. Lackingformally educated and certificated people, however, the board has had tohire personnel from outside the region. These outsiders are usually non-Native. The degree to which the wishes and hopes of the Native board arereflected in the schooling and curricula of the Yupiit School District remainsa question (Madsen, 1983). In Fienup-Riordan's estimation, "Many non-Natives view the Yupiit Nation's attempt at political revitalization as acontradiction in terms. How, they ask, can Eskimos 'revitalize' traditionalgovernance and law ways when 'contained anarchy' characterized pastpolitical organization? They reject out of hand the Yupiaq bid to takecontrol, saying that with no history of chiefs or political institutions, theYupiaq people will be unable to govern properly. The Yupiit Nation (theybelieve) can be successful only insofar as it effectively mirrors non-Eskimomodels of governance" (1990:195). This to me represents a bias on thepart of the non-Native people who present such a view. The "contained76anarchy" notion was first used by Oswalt in his studies of Yupiaq people(1963).In an effort to counteract the erroneous views indicated above, theTribal Council contracted with Fienup-Riordan to investigate the featuresof traditional law and government used by Yupiaq people at the time ofcontact. In her report, she identifies several core values of Yupiaq peopleand their code of conduct (1990). Some of the relevant Yupiaq words are:qaneryaraat 'oral teachings'; alerquutet 'laws or instructions'; andinerquutet 'admonitions or warnings.' She goes on to say that "thetraditional system of laws was so elaborate and highly structured that itdefies characterization as 'informal' or 'primitive."' She quotes Yupiaqelder Paul John: "We have had laws from our very beginnings. The kass'aq(white man) thinks we have none because, unlike his, ours are notcontained in books. Like the kass'aq we have strong laws; the strength ofour law is no different from his. Our grandparents repeatedly told the lawso we could learn" (cited in Fienup-Riordan, 1990:205). With these ideasin mind, the Yupiaq people of Akiak and the Yupiit Nation are nowworking toward the development of an educational system for theirchildren that is Yupiaq in as many respects as possible, including the rulesof law and behavior under which it operates.AKIAK ON THE KUSKOKWIM:The Yupiaq Eskimo village of Akiak is located about 35 miles upriverfrom Bethel, the goods-and-services distribution hub of the southwesternAlaska tundra. Akiak currently has a population of 285. The older Yupiaqpeople recall how, during the early 1900s, Akiak was the regional center ofthe Kuskokwim River delta. They refer the inquisitive visitor to77photographs of a hospital, a sawmill and many large gardens. Bethel, acommunity of about 5,000, has since become the center of transportation,commerce, and communication in the region. The Bethel port is capable ofaccommodating ocean-going barges and fish processors, and the airportelevation is above flood level -- advantages that Akiak does not possess.There are various sources of historical information about Akiak, such asMadsen's unpublished dissertation of 1983, several books by Moravianmissionaries and various scholars (Collier, J., 1973; Collier, M., 1979;Fienup-Riordan, 1990; Henkelman & Vitt, 1985; Oswalt, 1990; Schwalbe,1951), and elders from the villages. At one time, Akiak was a thrivingkick-off center for reindeer herders as well as miners. It even had ahospital and several trading stores. It was a segregated village with Nativepeople living on the west side of the river where Akiak is presentlylocated and whites living in the now-deserted east side of the river.An eleven-bed hospital constructed in Akiak by the Alaska NativeMedical Service opened in 1918. In the succeeding years of its operation,it suffered from recruiting doctors who were ill-suited to the environmentand the people that it served. After two very unsatisfactory experienceswith two doctors, the hospital had to close its doors in 1933-34 (Oswalt,1990).The first Moravian Church was built and dedicated on Sept. 8, 1913.My great-grandfather and grandfather both became associated with theearly missionaries. "The work at Akiak was more than encouraging.Helper Kawagleg was working diligently among the people and most of thevillage was expressing an interest in joining the Church" (Henkelman &Vitt, 1985:211).The Presbyterian missionary, Sheldon Jackson, in his efforts to help theYupiaq people, conceived of and implemented, with the aid of the federalgovernment, the introduction of reindeer to the delta. By the early 1930sthe reindeer industry was well established locally, though most of theanimals at the time belonged to the government-recruited Lapps andwhites, not the Eskimos. Several large herds were located in the region.About 35,000 reindeer reportedly were owned by Eskimo and non-NativeAkiak residents, 5,000 grazed in the vicinity of Tuluksak, and 3,000belonged to the Bethel herd. In the late 1930s, the number was reportedto be nearly the same, although the herds were more widely distributed.The following was reported in the minutes of a Reindeer Herders gatheringin Akiak: "The whole group of herders, with their wives and familiesattended, discussing the relation between apprentice and herd owners, therelative rights of dogs and reindeer, the care of the herding dogs and thecare of the reindeer." (Henkelman & Vitt, 1985:310-1). Incredible as itmay seem, by 1946 only 600 animals remained in a single herd at Akiak,and shortly thereafter they had disappeared (Oswalt, 1990). Many factorsmay have contributed to the demise of the reindeer, among themgovernmental interference in management, predators, and perhaps thereluctance of the Yupiaq people to become herders.Madsen (1983) mentions that the river provided a means oftransportation and served as a provider of food for the villagers.According to Oswalt, early explorers may have found the deltainhospitable, "but the Eskimos living inland found the river to be a greatand highly dependable provider. They relied on fish, especially salmon, astheir primary staple. In addition, they depended heavily on the uplandtundra as hunting and trapping grounds. Whites settled among the79Eskimos to transform them into consumers of Western products as well asChristians, to educate them in schools, and to administer varied social,economic, and political programs intended to change the quality of theirlives" (1990, 11). The Akiak village school was founded by the Moravianmissionaries in 1911, which preceded the establishment of other villageschools by almost a decade, except for Bethel which was founded in 1886(Oswalt, 1990).Akiak possesses a tribal form of government, organized under thefederal Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934. Exercising its tribalgovernment authority, Akiak took the initiative in 1980 to contract theoperation of the local elementary school from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.Public Law 93-638, the Indian Self-Determination and EducationalAssistance Act, was the enabling legislation under which Akiak sought theauthority to run its own school. "Through grants and contracts, the Actencourages tribes to assume administrative responsibility for federallyfunded programs that were designed for their benefit and that previouslywere administered by employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and theUnited States Indian Health Service" (American Indian Lawyer TrainingProgram, 1988:15). After a long and difficult struggle, the application forthe IRA tribal government to serve as the contractor for the localelementary school was finally approved in 1980 (Madsen, 1983). At thesame time, the state-funded Lower Kuskokwim Regional School Districtestablished and operated a high school in the village independent of thecontract school. The school was operated by the village under contractwith the Bureau of Indian Affairs for five years, until the state of Alaskarecognized the three Yupiit Nation villages as an independent schooldistrict in 1985, making them eligible for regular state funding. At that80point, the elementary and high schools were taken over under the bannerof the new Yupiit School District.AKIAK AND THE MODERN WORLDWere my great-great-grandmother alive today, she would be astoundedby the changes that have been wrought to her homeland by the influx ofWestern institutions and technology. She would be inquisitive about theresearch I am attempting to do with the concomitant Western knowledgeand methodologies that I have garnered over the years. She would quietlyquery me about this new knowledge and its applications in the Yupiaqworld. She probably would not come out directly with the observationthat much of what I know is useless knowledge, but likely would remainskeptical and hold that what I have learned from my scientific training issecond-rate knowledge that is not particularly reliable for solving villageproblems.Be that as it may, Western science and technology have had anenormous impact in the villages. "Impact" infers passive acceptance ofnew things, which often has been the case with the Yupiaq. There were afew who resisted education and acceptance of modern tools andimplements, but the majority did not. My grandmother's parents wouldnot allow her to go to school, saying that she would get dumb. By "dumb" Ithink they meant that she would lose her values and traditions and beginto live another way of life. Much of the traditional knowledge andexperiences of the Yupiaq were adapted to the environment and learnedthrough the tasks of daily life in that environment. These were known towork down through the millennia, with slight changes that resulted fromclimactic permutations and the resultant changes in flora and fauna.81Complete and sudden change would mean destruction of the Yupiaq worldview. However, after some initial resistance during early contact, andespecially after the loss of leaders and shamans during the Great Death atthe turn of the century (Napoleon, 1991), the Yupiaq became morereceptive to innovation. Science and technology continue to be theconveyors of change in the Yupiaq region.Most homes are very well furnished with a modern flare. Clothing ispredominately Western, with only the most traditional people sometimeswearing a pair of Yupiaq boots, commonly called "mukluks." Foodconsumption to a large extent depends on the income of the household,with store-bought food interspersed or mixed with Native foods. It hasbeen estimated by Nunam Kliutsiti, a regional resource monitoringorganization, that on the average, food consumption in the delta consists ofabout 50% Native foods and the other half outside foods. This indicatesthat the Yupiaq people have been adapting to a cash economy for quitesome time.Since the time of early contact when Arlicaq, a respected traditionalchief, moved from the east side of the Kuskokwim river to the present siteof Akiak and built his sod house, there has been tremendous change. Nolonger are the villagers living in semi-subterranean sod houses of Yupiaqdesign. These traditional houses were heat efficient, with cold air traps atthe entrance and openings above the door to allow for natural airconditioning. The materials were of nature -- driftwood or local trees, sod,grass, and wooden planks. These houses belonged to nature.There are several old timber-constructed houses still standing and inuse that probably date back to the time that Akiak had a sawmill, but themajority of homes today are frame houses built by funds from the federal82Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or Alaska StateHousing Authority. All building materials are imported from the "South48." The new homes are built on pilings and suspended above the groundbecause of flooding and permafrost problems.Older homes have a kitchen stove which serves as a cooking source aswell as heat for the building. The newer ones have an elaborate furnaceand heat delivery system. This is an enclosed system in which a heatedglycol mixture is pumped through piping to various parts of the building.The furnace is an oil-fired system controlled by a thermostat. All newhouses have a divided interior configuration with bedrooms and acombination living/dining section and storage space. There are oftencomplaints by villagers of the new houses falling apart in a matter of twoto four years. The maintenance cost of these homes, including heating andelectricity, is exorbitant. The occupants pay whatever they can afford tothe Association of Village Council Presidents, Inc. (AVCP), a regional tribalorganization whose responsibility it is to construct, maintain, and overseepayments on the housing.Many of the newest homes built during the oil money glut of the early1980s have an individual septic tank and well, providing running waterand flush toilets. Older homes have "honey buckets" for human waste,which are usually emptied into the backyard. Garbage disposal posesanother problem imported from the outside world, with its penchant fornon-biodegradable packaging. Sewage and garbage are endemic problemsin the villages. Most village sites are barely above sea level, which causesadditional storage problems and health hazards.Many homes have modern appliances, including refrigerators, toasters,microwave ovens, electric or oil-fired stoves, freezers of varying sizes, and83many other items that are now considered essential by the families. Thetelevision set and VCR are often among the most prominent items in thehome and often serve as the center of activity. Many homes haveNintendo games, which people of every age enjoy playing. Sometimes theTV is left on all day whether anyone is watching or not.Research on the impact of television in rural Alaska has indicated thisoutside element alone can cause the cultural lens to become astigmatic inyoung developing minds, when a very channelized version of outsidecultural values and traditions are seen, most often blurred or distorted(Forbes, 1984). There is a constant barrage of television programs beingbeamed into the villages. These establish pseudorealities for the young,and the advertising links up with the desperate expectations for a betterlife, and because Native people have a less sophisticated sense of deceptionby modern communications (which is most often one-way), they thinkthey need and want more. They mimic what they see on TV, try to dresslike its characters, have fun and recreation with electronic gadgets, long tobe beautiful white people with beautiful homes, and adopt the mannerismsand language of another world without realizing that these are inimical totheir traditional way of life. This causes confusion among the young, andeventual disillusionment with the Yupiaq way of life.Most homes have telephones and/or a citizens band radio. The latter isleft on most of the time, so that individual messages can be relayed orcollective village messages delivered through it. It is used to announce thearrival of a dignitary or a meeting that will take place. The radios areoften carried on boats, snow machines, and vehicles for emergencypurposes or just to stay in touch. The post office employs one person andis a very important source of shipping and receiving packages and mail.84As with other communities, there is a blight of unwanted and unsolicitedmail.Upon changeover from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)funded school to the state-funded Yupiit School District, the old BIA schoolhad to be brought up to state codes. The old school was a verysubstantially built school and after refurbishing is a highly functionalbuilding. In addition, a new school was built to accommodate local high-school students. It is a replica of most of the village high schools that werebuilt as the result of a lawsuit against the state in the mid-'70s. This caserequired the state to build high schools in villages where there were atleast eight students of elementary age and one or more high school agestudents. So, in the '70s and '80s the state went on a building frenzy withthe dollars available from oil revenues. The design was similar for eachwith the exception of a half, three-quarter, or full-size gymnasium,depending on the size of the school. Due to inadequate attention tooperational efficiency considerations, an inordinate portion of the schoolbudget now goes toward maintenance, electricity, and fuel. The equipmentis so complicated that experts have to be flown in sometimes from thedistrict central office or from Anchorage to make repairs. The biggestshare of the budget goes for teacher and administrative salaries. Of thenine teachers in Akiak, two are Alaska Native and the principal is partAmerican Indian. There are a number of local Native people employed asteacher aides, cook and cook's helper, maintenance personnel, secretary,and bilingual aides. The school is the biggest employer of the village.About seven families own dog teams, which are used more forrecreational purposes than for hunting and trapping. Some ownerscombine training dogs with putting meat on the table by using them for85subsistence hunting, but the predominate use is for dog-sled racing. Mosttransportation is by aluminum boats with outboard motors, snowmachines, three- and four-wheelers, along with some four-wheel drivecars and pickups. The cost of outboard motors varies from $1,000 to$6,500, and the aluminum boats range from $900 to $11,000, dependingon size. All-terrain vehicles and snow machines range from $1,500 to$7,000.Adding to the accumulated pollution in the village are manycannibalized machines of all sorts -- cars, trucks, aluminum boats,outboard motors, three- and four-wheelers, washing machines, electricgenerators, heavy equipment, an old fire engine, sundry wrappings, andnumerous other discarded modern things. The village dump isoverflowing, and there is no sewage disposal except for a few homes thathave running water and flush toilets. Waste disposal is a big problem.Many boats with motors still attached are left on the river shore duringthe winter. This is quite a change from the time that I grew up, when itwas expected that one would take good care of the boat and motor. Thismeant making sure the boat was placed on the riverbank, overturned andthe motor stored in the smokehouse or under the boat. This recent"throw-away" mentality treats such equipment as merely a technologicalappendage and easily replaceable.There are two locally owned stores, a village Native corporation office,and a community center which houses the tribal and municipal employeesas well as the laundry. The village corporation runs the oil and gas service,a small store that sells oil products, and a recreational and sport fishingoperation on the Kiseralik River. State, federal, and private funds are usedto operate these ventures. A number of small air-taxi services takepassengers, mail, and freight from Akiak to Bethel or vice versa.There are perhaps eight miles of road in Akiak. It is a very expensiveundertaking to make a road in the river delta. The gravel must be bargedin from up-river gravel bars. First the tundra and brush are removed by atractor, then a base of gravel poured and compacted. Then it is a matter ofpouring more gravel on top of each compacted layer to build it up a foot ortwo above ground level. The airport is one of the most important facilitiesand is maintained with equipment and funds from the state Department ofTransportation. Enough funds are allocated to provide for a small tractor, agarage for it, maintenance, and an operator. It is his responsibility to keepthe airport serviceable by smoothing it of potholes in the summer andkeeping it plowed of snow in the winter. Responding to snow and windsduring the winter occupy a lot of his time.The city has a non-running fire engine and non-functional earth movingtruck. Heavy equipment must be barged in to do construction work, suchas building the electric generator house, during which heavy timbers hadto be moved and placed. Once the building's foundation was completed,the generator had to be lifted into place. All this required heavymachinery. Anything major, such as a construction project, requires thatneeded equipment be transported to the site along with heavy equipmentoperators. The manual labor is provided by the locals.What has been presented thus far is a glimpse of some of the morediscernible features of the traditional and contemporary worlds of theYupiaq Eskimo of southwestern Alaska. Given the complexity and rapidityof the changes that have taken place in villages such as Akiak and amongthe Yupiaq people as a whole, many cultural, educational, and technological87adaptations have been necessary. It is to an examination of some of thoseadaptations and their implications for the Yupiaq world view that theremainder of this study will be directed.CHAPTER V. YUPIAQ SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SURVIVALYupiaq science and technology are mediated by both nature andculture. Capra (1984) defines technology "as the application of humanknowledge to the solution of practical problems." This the Yupiaq havedone to an exemplary degree, except perhaps in the last fifty years. In thedistant past, they concentrated on "soft" technology, whereby the makingof tools and implements, construction of shelter, means of governance,conflict resolution, and so forth, were done with as little harm to thenatural and supernatural worlds as possible. The shamans were thecentral figures for communications with the spiritual and natural worlds.They were the ones to expound on what was appropriate or not in Yupiaqdealings with the earth. Their consciousness and knowledge determinedtheir "built" environment as well. Their housing technology was made todisturb the environment as little as possible. Their transport and huntingand trapping technology made use of natural materials which wererecyclable and did not offend the creatures whose lives they had to take tolive. They took extensive precautions in their practices to ensurecontinued life of the creatures they depended upon. They practiced a setof values that gave meaning to and guided their actions in all aspects oftheir existence. In this chapter, those values, meanings, and actions andsome of their consequences will be examined in greater detail.SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS FROM A YUPIAQ PERSPECTIVEAt a gathering of several Yupiaq elders, I asked them to consider waysthat we might improve the school curriculum. In the course of thediscussion, the five Yupiaq speakers spent considerable time trying todefine the Western notions of "mathematics" and "science" in Yupiaqthought and terms. Previous to this, they had been talking about theYupiaq ancient ways as being bountiful and prescribed to maintain abalance with nature. The elders mentioned that the young people of todayare not being taught Yupiaq and were thus losing the knowledge of theirancestors. They said that the young are taught the culture of the Westernworld in high school, and then those graduates who stay in the villagecannot fit very well into the ways of the village. They have been alienatedfrom the traditional Native ways, looking upon them as being "primitive"and "useless." Yet these young high-school graduates, who grow innumbers every year, must still live with their parents and relatives butcontribute little to their own support. They tax the already burgeoningneed for housing, recreational facilities, welfare, subsistence resources,social and psychological aid, health services, suitable land, and a jobmarket.The Yupiaq elders continued and said that those few who do go on tohigher education often find their education useless upon return to thevillage. The job market is so small and the things learned are notnecessarily suited to the village life style. They spoke in sympathy andempathy, especially for the young men who do acquire a Westerneducation and as a result, find it difficult to return to the village after anexperience away from home, with all its concomitant problems ofhomesickness, limited financial support, and ethnic tensions. In the90process, they unlearn what little Native values and ways they had learnedin the village. They in essence become emigrants and exiles from theirown language, values, traditions, and homeland. It is difficult to try to livein two worlds without adequate bridges between them. The elders'conclusion was that the Yupiaq students should be taught both theWestern and Yupiaq cultures in the schools, in a way that recognized theiressential interconnectedness as occupants of the same land.In the elders' words, the land and the water provided the resourcesthat served as the livelihood of our Yupiaq ancestors. The plants and theanimals of the land and the fishes and mammals of the waters were thesources of the ancestors' lives. They lived prosperously on their ownterms and had few worries. Their lives were quiet with a minimum ofstress, and thus the Yupiaq people were kind and polite toward otherpeople. They were very conscious of family ties and the bond that existedamong them. Through sharing of food, thoughts, and service theydeveloped and maintained this strong tie. They extended thisthoughtfulness to others in places both far and near. "Love thy neighboras thyself' was brought to fruition in their lives. When there was a need,help was given freely without need for payment.With respect to education, the elders agreed that if the students wererequired to learn both ways, then they would be able to say, "I havelearned that my ancestors lived this way, and since I don't have a job, Iwill continue to live following the methods and livelihood practiced by myancestors." Learning both ways, the graduates would not be ignorant ofthe options available to them and be comfortable in using either way.The elders' discussion of the definition of mathematics focused on theYupiaq word Cuqtaariyaraq, 'the process of measuring.' The other91definitions that were considered reflect further abstractions of theirthinking processes as applied to one who uses mathematics. Theseincluded "someone who is astute and perceptive"; "an expert evaluator";"an expert assessor"; "someone who evaluates something, mentallyassessing the feasibility and coming pretty close to the estimate";"becoming good at calculating"; and "becoming good at visualizing." Finally,they agreed that the best Yupiaq definition of mathematics would be "theprocess of measuring and estimating in time and space."In ancient times, it was not important to measure things precisely. Itwas much more convenient to use common-sense measurements andestimations. For example, it was not necessary to count the number of fishcaught but to look at the space filled and compare it to times past to judgewhether or not one has enough to last the year. The need for more preciseand complex mathematics to divide the land for individual ownership wasnot necessary either, since the land and waters were collectively owned.Trying to define "science" elicited the following ideas from the elders,though no corresponding Yupiaq word was identified: "trying to know,""trying to understand," "trying to grasp the origin," "trying to find thesource," "the process of understanding," "way to try and understand byprocess of elimination," "a process that is the science of life," and "a processof forseeing and predicting the future." In the course of the discussionthey made comments such as, "and this is what our ancestors have said,they've said not to pollute the land. They've said that if we're not carefulwith our refuse, some animals, though they were plentiful once, will nolonger be around. They were actually foreseeing their future when theytold us that." "That's the science of life. We have to take care of ourtundra in order to have plenty and have abundant wildlife."92Science is a quest for knowledge to the Yupiaq, as well as the means tolive a long and prosperous life. By assessing the physical phenomena ofthe present and juxtaposing it against past experience, we gain an idea ofwhat the future holds. The Yupiaq ancestors would use their pastexperiences as examples of how life was to be lived and as lessons to belearned.SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR SURVIVAL ON THE KUSKOKWIMHow do the Yupiaq people of Akiak use "science" to learn and predict?The Yupiaq elders and older members of the community still have theability to look at a young child and predict the type of person this youngchild will grow up to be. They observe the youngster's actions, how fast orslow the child learns the language, how the child reacts to admonitions orinstructions, how observant or unmindful the child is of activities going onaround, how curious or detached the child appears, how dexterous orclumsy the child is, how the child will or will not share toys with others,how cooperative the child is with others, if the child is capable ofovercoming obstacles, how aggressive or timid the child is, and so forth.Based on these observations, the Yupiaq will speculate as to what the childwill most likely be as an adult.Foreseeing what will happen with natural phenomena is based onreadily observable causes and effects, but what the future holds for thepeople or community is not so easily predicted, because there are fewcause-effect variables on which to base the prediction. One 67-year-oldelder, when asked to try to predict what Akiak would be like in the future,absolutely refused and would not comment on it. She said that this was a"no-no," and that whatever she said may become true or the oppositemight happen, as we have no control over the future.According to the elders, there are many signs that the earth gives toindicate what is going to be available at any particular time. The language,especially with respect to subject and activity, changes slightly during eachseason to accommodate different weather, flora and fauna. Nature is theYupiaq metaphysic.WeatherPredicting weather was of much importance as a matter of survival intimes past. In the present time, all people need to do is turn on the radioor TV to get a prediction of what the weather is expected to be. Only theelders still retain some of the traditional skills of reading the environmentto determine what the weather will be in the near future. One elder saidthat the modern predictions are often wrong because they rely too muchon pictures from way above the earth and do not make use of the sensesto interpret the indicators provided by the environment. The elders of thepast used all their endosomatic sensemakers and powers of observation topredict weather. The gatherer-hunter had to have a good idea of weatherconditions so that he or she would be prepared. The elders would go outearly in the morning to look at the sky. They observed the cloudformations, noticed whether they were light or dark, and compared thedifferent layers of clouds. They did not have technical names for thedifferent kinds of clouds, but they knew what each would indicate todetermine the temperature, wind direction and speed, air pressure, andapproximately how long that weather condition would persist. Advicegiven to people when going outdoors was "Don't forget to look and observethe ella (environment/surroundings) out there."Not only was the person to observe early in the morning, but he or shewas to be aware of changes that occured during the day as well. Earlymorning observances included the clouds, the horizon, and the sun'semergence. By using his or her eyes, the person could begin to understandthe weather by studying the ella (sky) and its permutations. The eldersmade reference to a Yupiaq saying which when translated means, "The elladoes not try to surprise people, but usually tells us ahead of time what it isgoing to do." They go on to say that we of the present do not know orunderstand ella, so when the weather takes a turn for the worse we saythat the weather has suddenly gone bad. This is exercising our ignorance.Had we been observant we would have known that the weather was goingto change for the worse. So our elders admonish us to begin to use oureyes and learn to recognize the processes of weather change.A story is told by one of the elders in which an older man is travelingwith his younger cousin. The older man looked at the sun and remarked,"I see that ella is about to bow down. Very bad weather is just about tocome." There was not a cloud in the sky, so the younger replied, "Sure,you, being just an ordinary person, do you think this gigantic ella will doas you say?" Later that day they portaged over from the campsite to theKialiq river. As they approached the last bluff, the ella suddenly "boweddown" and wind-driven heavy snow began to fall. They had to stop andmake shelter because the snow was so thick that they could not see theend of their boat. "They say the sun gives you signals. They say that if weare attentive we would learn to recognize its behavior. It gives signalstwenty-four hours before it happens." The notion that the sun declaresthe weather conditions came true for this young man.There are many environmental signs that the hunter-gatherer learns toread -- clouds, sun, moon, northern lights with differing colors andpositions in the sky, the stars twinkling, strong winds moving through, andso forth. Those who assess weather by wind are called angiatuli, whichmeans to loosen or unravel, to assess, to calculate the mysteries of theweather. These are just a fraction of the indicators that the Yupiaq eldersused to tell weather.The Science of Obtaining Fish The fish camps from the early times to the present consist of tents forhousing, a smokehouse, fish racks and racks, for drying out nets. In recentyears, there often is a shell of a house using a framework of two-by-fourscovered with plywood. This serves as a family's home for the duration ofthe fishing season. In addition, there may be a small smokehouse usedspecifically for salmon strips, and very often a plywood steam bath. Thewomen no longer cut fish on the ground covered with grass or bark, butinstead they use tables with a carpet piece to keep the fish from slippingaround. All-weather and shag carpet pieces are used. Very often thewomen have to cut fish in inclement weather, so raingear of all kinds areused.The people use nylon nets for catching fish. They use steel traps andmetal snares for trapping in the winter. Rifles of all calibers and shotgunsof all gauges are used for hunting. Fencing materials of all sizes anddesigns are used for making fish traps. The only traditional Yupiaq toolstill extensively used by women is the uluaq, a cutting instrument. The96size of the uluaq determines whether it is used for cutting large animals orfish or for delicate work.During the king salmon run in early summer, families carefully folddried and smoked king salmon slabs and wrap them in plasticized freezerpaper. They are then placed in the freezer, where they keep very fresh.Smoked king salmon strips are often vacuum packed using a vacuummachine with special plastic bags made for that purpose. These are kept inthe freezer also. In the '40s and '50s, it was the practice to place salmonslabs in wooden barrels to keep them from getting moldy. At that time tooit was often the practice to salt fish, but this is not done quite as often now,for it is easier to freeze them. Use of plastic, aluminum, and freezerwrapping materials abound.Nature gives signs as to when fish will start up the river. Today, onlythe elders pay attention to the sign-markers of nature and are able topredict when the fish will arrive. Shortly after river break-up the smeltwill come, followed closely by king salmon, then chums and coho. Thebudding of leaves on alder and willows, the arrival of certain migratorysong birds, flowering plants, and water conditions (silty, clear, high water,tides, etc.) are observed to know when a species of fish will be arriving.The elders point out that fish will be most numerous when there is asoutherly wind blowing. They say that the wind is pushing the fish up theriver. In my observations, growing up in the fish camp for many years,this seems to be true. When one observes the effects of the south wind,there are inordinately high tides, which make it easier for the fish to swimup the river.The younger people, on the other hand, know when fish will get to theirvillage by listening to announcements on the radio or TV. They get an idea97of how many fish will be available by state Fish and Game estimates(which are very often wrong). The Department of Fish and Game biologistsdetermine when and where the fisherman will engage in commercial orsubsistence fishing. They determine when the setnets will be placed andremoved. This is done so that a certain number of fish will escape to theirspawning areas. There is no longer need for the villagers to observe andthink about the once-vital signs of a subsistence life style. It is being donefor them, because the press of a population increase makes regulatorymeasures necessary. So people set their nets at the assigned hour, even ifthe times may not be opportune for the best catch.The setting of set nets requires that the individual know the river andits currents. The person learns to look for eddies in the river. This is doneby observing the debris of various wood floating on the surface. Theaction of the wood is carefully watched and, if the detritus movescircularly, it is a good place for the net. The net is checked each day, andtwice daily if the fish are running heavy. If left alone for more than a day,the gills are discolored and the flesh is soft. If the fish is to be used forhuman consumption, it must be firm. The others are usually cooked fordog food. Finding a good place for the net requires that the person knowabout river currents, effects of strong winds, and riverboat wakes. If theanchor on the outer end of the net is light, then a person may haveproblems with that end drifting down river or drifting away in a strongstorm.Drifting on the river is the best way for catching most fish, thoughthese days it can be done only during the time prescribed by Fish andGame. In the old days, the best times were when the tide was justbeginning its inward or its outward journey. This was noted by placing a98stick on the water's edge, or by observing the upward current changealong the shore. The local people long ago determined that the bestdrifting areas were where the river is relatively straight and free ofsunken logs and other debris.Knowing the length of the net, the "captain" determines where the netshould be set by looking at the distance from shore and the position on theriver, slows the outboard motor, gives the driving responsibility to the sonor brother, and begins to throw out the net. The engine is kept running allthe time to keep the net straight as they float down the river. At a certaindistance, they decide to pull in the net. Again, the motor is kept runningto keep the net straight. One person controls the boat while the other(s)pulls in the net and removes the fish. They are careful to handle the fishby the head and not the tail so that little bruising is done. If they arecommercial fishing, they usually have a plastic box and a container of icefrom a fish processor, so that as fish are removed from the net, they arecarefully placed in the box. Ice is added upon each layer to keep the fishas fresh as possible until they are sold to a fish buyer.Fish Preparation and Storage for Subsistence The fish for subsistence use are handled in a different way. Again, theDepartment of Fish and Game designates certain hours for subsistencefishing, and within the allotted time, as many fish as possible are caught.Upon return to the fish camp, the boat is unloaded and the fish are placedinto a four-cornered structure placed on the ground, at which point thewomen take over to prepare the fish for drying. Some women prefer toleave the fish for a while so that they become firm and are easier to split.The women I interviewed said that king salmon require the most care.There are usually three pails beside the cutting table. One for heads,another for entrails, and the last for fish eggs. Once the head and entrailsare removed, they then fillet the fish on both sides with the uluaq(woman's cutting knife), producing a very large slab of salmon meat whichis to be dried and smoked. To facilitate drying, they make cuts about aninch apart laterally. Sometimes these cuts are made approximately at a45-degree angle to the midpoint, then the angle reverses on the other side,so that when the slab is hung on its midsection, the cuts will open up forbetter aeration. Some women sprinkle table salt on the salmon to keepflies off. The backbones still contains much flesh that is good for dog foodin the winter. Cuts are made at an angle on each side again, so that whentwo backbone of like size are tied together and hung, the flaps will openup to allow drying. The drying of fish slabs requires that this be done inthe shade. The sun will dry out the flesh at a rapid rate, causing the fleshto separate from the skin and become mildewed.Some of the king salmon slabs are salted by immersing them in saltsolution for 20 to 30 minutes. The solution is prepared by adding salt to abarrel or pan of water. Testing for the right salinity is done by mixingrock salt with water, then placing a potato into it. When the potato floatsthe solution is right. This was said to have been learned through oldtimers from the outside world, but density and bouyancy were nostrangers to the Native mind.When a family is out at fish camp bringing in and preparing fish, themother and older daughter(s) cut the fish, while younger girls ages 7 to10will watch the process. I observed one middle-aged woman cutting fishthat her husband had beheaded and gutted. While she was doing this, her100thirteen-year-old daughter was watching her mother using the uluaq tocut the fish. After watching her mother cut several fish, she said that shewould like to cut fish also. Her mother did not deny her, but immediatelygave her a smaller uluaq and looked among the fish until she found asmaller one that was somewhere between five to seven pounds. She gaveit to her daughter and proceeded with her task. The young lady set tocutting the fish while her mother would give a glance at her daughter'swork every so often and demonstrate by saying, waten -- like this. Thejoint effort proceeded well, but very slowly, with the motherdemonstrating and the daughter emulating. When she got done with it,you could see the pride in her young face. Her mother praised her fordoing such a good job of cutting. The daughter told her father which oneshe had cut and the father gave her a big smile. The young lady madesure her fish was hung with the rest of the fish to dry.The uluaq, or woman's cutting knife, is a traditional tool. The sizedetermines whether it is used for delicate or heavy work. The one forcutting fish is usually five to six inches across its curved blade. For cuttingthough fish bone, the front end of the blade is placed against the bone,then pressure is applied with the hand and arm. The cutting force can beawesome because the arm, the handle, and the blade become aligned whenweight is applied. For filleting, the blade and wrist become a smoothlyoperating machine. If the cut is away from the woman, the filleting isstarted with the front of the blade, the wrist is rotated away as the cut ismade. The opposite move is enacted if the woman is cutting towardherself. Many women have very smooth, efficient wrist movements,bringing the hand back and forth to make a deft, even cut. It is truly amarvelous tool, using a minimum of materials and energy, and hasnumerous uses.The modern fish-cutting table is usually covered with a piece of shag orall-weather carpet. In times past, it was a practice to cut fish on a patch ofground covered with grass. In the upriver areas where spruce treesabound, bark was used to keep the fish from slipping around. The slimefrom the fish makes any surface slippery, so these means were used toovercome this troublesome problem. After a period of use, the carpetsurface has to be washed or scraped with the blade of the uluaq to removethe slime.Boys eight to fourteen will often go out set netting or drifting with theirfather or older brother(s). Here again there is a minimum of verbalinstruction, with the younger ones expected to watch. The father may say,"This is the right spot to set the net." Upon picking up the net, those withexperience will demonstrate how to free the fish from the mesh, how tohandle the fish, and estimate how much will be enough for the women tohandle. One does not want to exceed the capabilities of the other membersof the team. A new practice is having one person pull in the float linewhile another handles the sink line and either one or both remove the fish.Occasionally, the net may hit a snag in the river. Immediate action istaken to start picking up the net so that it becomes almost perpendicularto the caught end. As much tension as possible will be placed on the netuntil the boat lists to the weighty side. Once this is accomplished, a foot isplaced on the net to secure a hold and the boat is gently rocked, makingsure to take up the slack without breaking the rhythm, until all of asudden the net will float to the surface. In so doing, the fisherman hasused a simple machine, the lever or a modified version of the pulley, and102has exerted a minimum of his strength to free the net, using insteadprinciples of weight, energy, and force very effectively.Fish entrails are used either for dog food or thrown into the river.Different parts of the fish are used or preserved to give variety during thewinter. Some fish heads are dried and smoked or salted for winter use,first removing the gills and then splitting the head in half. Some of thefish eggs are hung on horizontal poles to dry. Once dry, a layer of driedeggs is formed in a wooden barrel, followed by a layer of fresh eggs andthen another layer of dried. This is done alternately until the top of thebarrel is reached, making sure the top layer is dried eggs. They are thencovered and placed in the ground or in a cool, dry place. This "caviar"serves as high-energy food, especially in cold weather, and will keepindefinitely. Even if it becomes like ash, it will still be edible. It can alsobe used to make soup in conjunction with edible plants.Another way of using fish eggs, as told by an elderly woman, is to makea pit, line the bottom and sides with grass, and place the eggs inside.Cover the eggs with grass, then earth. Again, this will keep indefinitely,and even though it may dry up, shrink in size, and become very much likeash, it will still be edible. This woman said that her husband predictsthere will be great starvation in the future. Being mindful of this, she hasmade sure that she has eggs put away where she could find them in caseof future need.Tepa, or 'stink heads' is a delicacy among the Yupiaq. To prepare it, ashallow hole is dug in the ground, grass is placed in the bottom, and kingsalmon heads placed on the grass. The salmon heads are then coveredwith another layer of grass, and earth is piled on top. It is recommendedthat this be done in loamy soil. Sandy soil will hasten the bacterial action,103causing the heads to "cure" too fast. The closer the fish are to the surfaceof the ground, the faster the bacterial action. With about a foot of earthover the fish, they will be edible in about two weeks. It is usually thepractice to check every so often by digging a small hole to see, feel, andsmell readiness. If one wants to have the fish ready in several monthsthen one digs further down. If one wants to have the fish keep for severalyears, then it is necessary to dig down to the permafrost. The Yupiaq arevery knowledgeable about refrigeration and have used it effectively topreserve fish, berries, meat, and seal oil.When the fast-tepa are ready in about two weeks, the required amountis removed, washed in the river, and made ready for consumption. Onemust be careful not to eat sweet foods, berries or fruits at the same time,as this will cause a reaction with severe stomach aches. The remainingtepa is kept covered, sometimes curing beyond consumption, in which caseit is left in the ground to become part of the soil.Fresh fish are not to be placed in man-made material containers, suchas plastic, as it is likely to induce botulism. The drying and curing of fishis never to be done in direct sunlight as it will develop a bacterial infectioncausing sickness or death. Another practice is to cover the fish with grass,cover the grass with a layer of wood, then seal it with a mound of soil.Once this has been done, it is a rule that no fish be added, as this upsetsthe curing. Fish stored in this manner can be kept indefinitely. When dugup, they can be eaten as is or cooked. The safety practice to keep in mindis to make sure there is no way for flies to get to the fish, for if they do, itspoils and will no longer be edible. The people have to be very aware oftemperature, bacterial action, and use the senses to gauge edibility. Underproper care and conditions, the end product will be nourishing food.104One of the elders told a story to illustrate the need to carefully storefish. They were in their camp when their father died. They no longer hada provider, and they ran out of food. The mother remembered a pit filledwith fish quite some time ago. It was a very old pit, and she rememberedthat it was somewhere around the cache. The young boy took on the taskof looking for the pit in the cold of winter. He used an ax to hit the ground,doing this for several days. Finally, a day came when he had gone a littlefurther than before. Upon striking the earth with the axe, there was afaint ringing sound, so he began to chop into the soil. Breaking through, hefound grass, under which were white fish, which were flat and hard.Returning to the house, he gave them to his mother who said they werestill good to eat. In the many years underground, they had dehydratedbut were still nutritious. This knowledge and advance preparation hadsaved their lives. The elders say this is very much like putting money inthe bank, except that this is food for the future.An important rule when aging whole fish is to make sure the visceraare removed. They are of different texture and composition and tend tospoil more easily. One elder said that he had made a discovery when hetried to put pike and lush (burbot) fish underground. He later found thatthe lush fish had only the skin left while the pike were still in goodcondition. Smelts are another that will not keep in this manner. Yupiaqelders engaged in experimentation to learn these facts.In places where there were a lot of whitefish, they were often split anddried. When sufficiently dry, they would be placed in a sealskin whoseopenings had all been sewn shut, except for the neck opening. The driedfish would be placed inside, and after the skin "poke" was filled, whitefishoil would be added. The container would then be placed in a cool food105shed or cache. The elders say that fish placed in oil never spoils. This isno longer practiced much in the tundra villages because of the modernfreezer, but making poke fish is still being done along the coast.The Akiak villagers have found that it is best to smoke dried fish whenthey are first hung to dry to prevent infection. The first 24 hours arecritical to prevent mildew and bacteria from infecting the flesh of the fish.If infection sets in, the fleshy parts of the fish become soft, spoiled, andinedible. After this initial smoking process, they do not require closeattention. This was explained to the young sons by the father when theboys were supplying the wood.The Native DietNowadays, berries can be placed in plastic containers and frozen forlater use. Salmonberries, cranberries, blackberries, and blueberries arethe most numerous on the tundra and therefore favored to be picked andstored for winter use. Most often, these are used to make akutaq, which isa mixture of shortening, berries, and sugar, though in these modern timesmashed potato mix, dried fruit, or commercial berries may be added tomake this popular treat. Berries were an important source of vitamin Cduring the traditional times. The Yupiaq people often wove grasscontainers which were filled with berries and placed into a lake, and thenweighted down to keep from surfacing. It is said that the berries whenpulled out in the fall or winter, were almost in the same condition as whenplaced in the water. Blueberries were the only berries which could not bepreserved in this way, for they would break and escape into the water.Another technique was to line the grass baskets with water lilly leaves tohelp keep them waterproof for better preservation.106Mare's tail plants grow in the lakes, and it was the practice of thepeople to gather these before the snow covered the ice, to be used muchlike rice, such as in soups and as a side dish. When people were short offood, this plant was often used to make soup with dried fish eggs, or foodparticles gathered from the fish pits from past times. It is still used bysome villagers today. These plants will continue to stand when the lakewater begins to freeze, so this is the usual time to go out and look for themto be scraped up and put into containers in a cool place for later use.Sometimes they are gathered in the springtime as well. The plants aresaid to be tasteless by themselves, thus the need to mix them withsomething else.In times of hunger, lichen are used to make soup. Adding a little fishor meat gives a good taste and is very nourishing. Another local plant thatis used as a vegetable is marsh marigold, which is eaten with seal oil. Theroot of the Alaskan cotton grass provides mouse food (anlleq), which thepeople go out in the fall to retrieve from mouse storage houses. Thismouse food was eaten with fish eggs or cooked, diced when done, andmixed into akutaq. The young people would be shown how to use theirfeet to find where the mouse houses were located.When I talked with hunters, they pointed out that commercial breadfreezes in cold weather, while the homemade "fry bread" does not, andthat frozen fish, seal oil, "cheese" (fish eggs), poke fish, and akutaq aregood in cold weather when the hunter is cold. They say that these will getthe "internal furnace" going. It has often been said that the youngergeneration gets cold easy because of the hot meals, junk foods, and poorlymanufactured clothing usually made for a more moderate climate.The elders interviewed were emphatic in not wanting to glamorize orromanticize our ancestors' lives and ways but wanting rather to tell it asthey understood it to be. They pointed out that the people back in the olddays were healthy because of their diet. They ate natural foods. They didnot add anything to their food, such as we do now. Because of theirnatural foods they had good, strong flesh which healed very quickly.Several elders spoke on the radio station one morning, encouraging youngpeople to eat as much Native food as possible, saying that this wouldstrengthen the body as well as the mind. In a newspaper article, a medicaldoctor from the Bethel hospital endorsed the consumption of Native foodsand advised against use of non-Native "junk" foods.The elders have conceived and visualized the ill effects of modern foodswhich are attractively packaged and pleasing to the palate and olfactorysense. They say that these weaken the flesh which then cannot resistdisease. One obvious consequence of the change in diet is missing teethamong the majority of the people, especially the middle-aged generation,who seem to be the most adversely affected. Attention has been broughtto the diet problem through various news media, with instructions for thepreparation of Native foods published in booklet form and recipes given ina weekly newspaper.Traditional Medicines and Admonitions The plants that are utilized vary from one area to another, and manyof these plants had medicinal uses in the past. Only the useful plants weregiven names. The others whose use was unknown or had no special valueother than an ecological one were lumped together under one term:carangllut (plants). Today, some plants are regaining popularity for their108medicinal value. The ones most often used are wormwood, chamomile,and Labrador tea. There are many others that we have lost because of themodern hospital and pharmaceutical products at our disposal, but thereare a few village health aides who do have knowledge of some Yupiaqremedies to complement the modern drugs when nothing else works. Iheard of many instances where modern medicine failed and traditionalmedicine worked, and some elders say that is because the naturalremedies integrate human expectations and spirituality along with usingan herb.Berries which are tart are considered to be helpful to the health of theperson. They are good for skin conditions and often for stomach problems.The soft willow shoot with its skin removed and chewed will numb andfacilitate healing of mouth and gum sores or sore throats.Qanganaruat (wormwood) is often used for treating heartburn orindigestion. This is done by adding the leaves to your cooking or drinkingthe juice. The elders referred to this as the "Eskimo Turns." It is also usedto treat arthritis. The plants are cooked and the hot plants applied directlyover the affected area and covered to retain the heat. If the location is inthe knees, the patient is required to soak the feet in the solution while it ishot. It is said that after several treatments, there will begin to exude a gel,very much like fish slime, from the affected area. Recovery follows.Several cases were cited by the elders including one that happened withinthe last ten years. Apparently this plant has many uses. The mothers pickthese plants and tell their children when to pick, how to preserve, and howit is to be prepared for use. Several homes in Akiak always had the juiceof wormwood available, including the home in which I resided. Another ofits uses is for treatment of infected cuts. The wormwood is boiled and109allowed to dry and then crumbled up into small pieces in the hands. Inthe times past, this crumbled wormwood was mixed with seal oil andplaced on the wound as it was bandaged. These days, the wormwoodparticles are mixed with shortening first. After a day or two, the bandageis removed with pus adhering to the mixture, and the wound heals.Another treatment of arthritis uses ash from the stove. Ash is placedin a pan of water and boiled and then allowed to cool. The ashprecipitates, leaving a clear solution. After it cools, the solution is carefullypoured into another container, the ash is removed, and the pan cleaned.The solution is poured back into the original container, and the boilingprocess repeated. During the second boiling, a precipitate forms at thebottom of the pan. When this happens, the solution is allowed to cool. Thecooled solution is poured into another container, and the white, hardprecipitate is pried loose and removed. The pan is washed, and thesolution placed back into it. The process is repeated again, until noprecipitate forms. It is allowed to cool, and the affected joints are soakedin the warm solution. After several treatments, the skin breaks out inwhat looks like sores much like water blisters. The treatment is continuednevertheless. It is said that this solution will "pull out" whatever iscausing the inflammation.The experimental process leading to the development of a treatmentsuch as this had to occur over a very long period of time before realizationof its medicinal value. This required experimentation using the rationalability of the human being, establishing a process for refining a naturalsubstance, using very practical means at hand, observing and committingto memory the process of change in the solution, and noting the affects onthe human body for determination of its effectiveness. The traditional110Yupiaq were well versed in experimental methods and in transmitting theknowledge thus gained from one generation to the next.One elder told of the things learned in the past.Back in those days the old men used to say this: 'The poor old ellaout here, we the inhabitants are damaging it.' They would say theperiod when it would get very bad had not arrived yet. They'd sayin the future its inhabitants would really damage ella by notfollowing traditional practices associated with birth, death, illness,puberty, etc., consisting of abstaining from certain food andactivities, not honoring ella. Thus, they would not honor the landanymore. When they talked about how the earth was going to bedamaged, they would say it was going to be damaged if people don'tabstain from certain foods and activities. That is the way it is now.Another elder added:Una taringeqerciu (understand this). This is what I had heard. Theywould say that if my first child dies I must abstain from certainactivities that are prohibited. I would abstain and not participate insome things. When they stop doing certain activities they arefasting. And again, if my daughter menstruates for the first time, Iwas to abstain from certain activites. I was to follow certain laws ofnature and the land. And again, if my wife has a miscarriage, thatwas considered very important. They would say if people stopobserving these practices, as people begin ignoring these ways, ourenvironment would be damaged, including the land.111Laws of nature and the land as discovered and established by the Yupiaqpeople down through the millenia are now being ignored. In our newoverpopulated villages and confused state of consciousness, we have cometo dishonor and disrespect nature and our way of life. One elder pointedout that we do not follow the instructions of nature and obey the naturallaws. We, as a Yupiaq people, are instructed not to go against the laws ofnature, at least the ones that have not been forgotten or have been placedin the remote recesses of the brain. "The laws they had are real from wayback in time. They should not be disobeyed."Healing and Mental Health Not only were our ancestors concerned with physical health, but withthe psychological and mental health of the people as well. One rule ofbehavior was an admonition against promiscuity -- men were told not tofool around with women. To be promiscuous or rape women or have sexwithout their consent was to bring guilt to our body and soul, for whichthere was no medicine except to admit to another the trouble. To hold itinside was to become sick. An elder explained that a shaman might tellthe affected one, "It's you who committed this act, speak and reveal yoursecret. If you want to save yourself, speak. Even though it is shameful,talk about it."Another area where open expression was encouraged had to do withgrieving for the loss of a loved one. A person was told to show the griefand not to hold it in. A certain time for grieving was specified, and it wasnot to go beyond that time. If one continued to grieve, illness was sure tofollow. That is why villages practiced the "Feast of the Dead" to bring to112closure the passage of a loved one to another world. It was believed thatthe spirits of the departed joined the villagers during the ceremony. Thenamesakes of the loved ones were clothed and fed, believing that thespirits of the departed were receiving these gifts directly. When therituals and ceremonies were done, the spirits departed. The spirits wereclothed and fed and could then make their journey to the land of thespirits. They were remembered with the names adopted by extendedfamily members or other villagers not related. Those with the same namewere greeted and accorded the kinship term of the namesake, whetherrelated or not. Unresolved grief was considered a potential danger to thegriever.An elder in the qasegiq (community house) was sitting quietly with hiseyes closed. Upon opening his eyes, he related a vision he had justexperienced. The vision told of the time that the bones of the Yupiaqwould reach the qasegiq skylight. He said that when this happens, the"people will become crazy. They will no longer cry over deaths of lovedones or over others." In the traditional past, it was a sad occasion forsomeone to die in a village, no matter how far away. They termed thisnunalikut - the village is sadened, or a place of sadness. This is a practicewhich only the elders and older people recognize today. Death of anotheris no longer a time for quiet thought about life and the certainty of death.Several elders said that the people of today no longer have respect forthe property of others. They will steal, break or harm someone else'sproperty with no remorse. They say that the white man's way is to presscharges if it is known who the perpetrator is. This does not correct theproblem but merely aggravates the situation. It was also pointed out thatchildren now misbehave and do not listen to parents because they are113taught the "Bill of Rights" in the schools. "You cannot do this to me becauseI have my rights as a child." This adds to their disenfranchisement andalienation from parents and community, with an attitude toward elders asbeing old and primitive in their ways. The elders say that the traditionalway of teaching young children to not steal and harm someone else'sproperty is a better way, using psychology and spirituality to teach theyoung right from wrong. It is better to teach by myths, early morninginstructions to correct behavior when the young mind is not cluttered withother concerns, and role models, with an emphasis on the developing anunderstanding of the consequences of dishonesty and misbehavior.It is important to understand the extent to which our Yupiaq ancestorsbelieved in the need to maintain a balance of mind, body and soul. This iswhy there were abstinence and fasting rules that accompanied deaths,miscarriages, puberty, menstruation, and so forth. These were made notonly to balance one's own life, but to maintain balance with the world.Today, the Yupiaq have many problems because we have lost thatessential balance and have become exiles from our own cultural, natural,and spiritual worlds. When the Yupiaq maintained and sustained abalanced life, it is said that there was very little illness. The elders haveobviously made comparisons with respect to physical and psychosocialproblems and patterns of disease of the past and those of today. Throughcomparisons and thoughtful discussions of observations among themselves,the elders have retained the tools for doing investigative thinking andproblem solving. The elders corroborate this fact through their lives,myths, legends, and stories.TECHNOLOGY AND MODERN LIFEThe villagers have readily adapted to the use of modern conveniences:propane and oil cook stoves, coffee makers, Coleman stoves, microwaveovens, electric hot plates, refrigerators, and freezers are all found inabundant use in the villages. Television is watched by everyone withoutrealizing the negative effects of it. It is only now being assessed as beingvery destructive of some of our cherished values, traditions, and culture(the practice of visiting in particular). It is not known how to control thetime allotted to television and its impact on the young. It establishes anunattainable wish for the "American Dream," which is not possible in ruralareas, as well as in the cities for most folk.Three- and four-wheeler all-terrain vehicles abound in the villages fortransportation and carrying packages, oil and gas cans, fish in plasticcontainers, and wood for the winter. While the imported technologyserves many useful purposes, it also presents numerous problems to whichpeople must apply their ingenuity. There was one man who had a trailerfor his four-wheeler. One of his big balloon tires had a hole. He checkedaround the stores and asked friends if they had patching materials. Therewas none available. After thinking about it for a while, he got a smallpiece of driftwood, carved it, making one end conical, and made a cutabout 1/4 inch into the circumference of the one-inch diameter piece ofwood. After forming it thus, he inserted the conical end into the hole andcut off the remaining exposed wood, leaving about 1/2 inch exposed. Heproceeded to pump up the tire, and once inflated, he was able to go on hiserrand of gathering wood. He later said that he even improved on hisimprovised plug.I ran into another man with a long piece of gnarled wood on the backof his four-wheeler. Since my son and I were using a chain saw, I offeredto cut it for him. His response was, "No, I am going to use this for acrosspiece for my fish rack." We asked why he was using this particularpiece of wood. He replied by saying, "This piece is very strong. You seethe twisted grain? This is what gives it strength compared to trees with astraight grain." We looked at it closely, and sure enough the grain wastwisted. I suppose it was due to a combination of wind and snow and iceload during its early growth that caused this. It must have taken manyyears of experimentation to come to that conclusion.The sleds of today are entirely different from the carefully constructedsleds of the past. The early sleds were constructed for lightness,flexibility, and ease of handling. This was done by cutting and dryingspruce or birch and splitting the dried wood into strips. The strips wereplaned and shaped, holes were drilled for fitting uprights and for tying,and strong thongs of skin were used for tying joints. The finished productwas very light and flexible, but with a good payload capacity.Today's sleds are made of two-by-eights, two-by-fours, and plywood.These materials are used because of the ease of construction, and the extrapower required will be provided by a snowmachine, not dogs. They areheavy, but a powerful machine will provide the necessary pulling force.The animal-bone runners of the past have been replaced by fiberglass.Before fiberglass, runners were steel for moderate temperatures, and hardwood for cold weather, with the variations in coefficient of frictionaccounting for the differences. The elders complain that the sleds todayare very noisy along trails, acting much like drums. They can be heardfrom a great distance as they are pulled over bumps, so they scare the116game away further from the trails. Also, the fumes from the machine andoccasional leaks of oil and gas cause certain game animals, such as mink, tomove away from their natural habitat. One elder proposed using machinesonly up to a certain distance from animal habitats and either walking orusing a dog team to go into the area.Dog teams seem to be making a comeback. With the high cost of fuels,it is not surprising. As one of the elders said, "the dog teams may beslower but they get you there." Several deaths occur each year due tobroken machines or running out of fuel. The users do not take theprecaution of carrying survival gear in case of breakdown. They havesuch faith in the power and supposed infallibility of the technologicalproduct of the Western world that they do not think of potential dangersto themselves.Travellers are told to carry some food, an ax, shelter, extra clothing,spare parts, and tools when travelling over the rivers and tundra. Manypeople have lost their lives because of the belief that the machine will getyou there in a short period of time. The elders point out that the machinesdo break down, there is always the possibility of a weather change, andaccidents may happen. Never take conditions for granted. It is alwaysheartening to hear the elders talk about survival tactics on the newsmedia. Wisdom that has been gained down through the many years is stillapplicable today.Yupiaq fish camp facilities have changed, although there are still a fewNative people who choose to carry forth the tradition of using a woodenframe for a tent and a smokehouse frame and drying racks made ofdriftwood. Most people nowadays have one-room shells of plywood onframes of two-by-fours (no insulation is necessary in the summer), with a117wood stove and often a steam house for bathing. A few still have thetraditional fish cache on stilts. The pilings on which the structure restsusually have metal covering made from tin cans nailed around thecircumference of the piling close to the top to keep rodents from gettinginto the cache and doing damage to its contents. A few caches in Akiak areplaced on 55-gallon drums. The more affluent Native people have smallgasoline-powered generators at fish camp to run a TV and other smallappliances. There are many non-Native people who have fish camp sitesalong the river as well. These are usually more elaborate and have thelook of the owners being more well-to-do.Aluminum boats are used extensively. Very few families use thetraditional wooden boat. The metal boats are not made with the villager inmind, so some men make modifications to fit their needs. These mightinclude a stern deck made of two by fours and plywood; a control box forthe outboard motor gearshift, speed regulators, and steering wheel; and asmall housing unit in the aft section to protect the driver from wind andthe elements. For those that catch only a limited number of fish for thewinter, there may also be a board about twelve inches wide with sidingsthat extend an inch or less above the surface of the board. This "trough" isplaced over the top edges of the boat and allows the owner to clean thefish in the boat and slide the heads and entrails into the river. Then therinsing of the fish is only a matter of dipping the fish into the river andwashing it off. These people have had to assess what they think wasneeded, plan and implement the idea.The uluaq or woman's knife was mentioned earlier. Traditionally, thehandles were made of moose horn, bone, wood, or caribou antler. Somefamilies now use wood handles from broken or worn knives because the118handles are often of hardwood. Large 33-gallon garbage bags are oftenused for aprons or raincoats. A hole is cut in the middle of the bottom ofthe bag and two holes cut in the side. It is said that they are veryserviceable and do not collect moisture on the inside. Smudge pots usingrotting wood or "punk" (a fungus growth on trees) ward off mosquitoes infish-cutting areas.The school possesses a fishing permit enabling local knowledgeable andskillful men to teach the young boys how to look for locations for setnetting and how to go about drift netting. Girls are taught the process ofsplitting fish by the women. This is done mostly by example, with littlecommentary or answering questions from the girls. The little verbal inputthat is provided consists of telling why certain ways are used for cuttingand processing the fish.VILLAGE LIFE IN CHANGING TIMESThe Yupiaq people have found many ways to adapt to changing timesthrough a blending of old and new. Sometimes the blend has met withsuccess and other times it has not. For example, most villagers have noqualms about taking advantage of federal and state grants for generatingelectricity, roads, airports, housing, and assistance to the needy. This hasbrought new opportunities to the village and local administrators havelearned to account, budget, report on activities, and to live by the rulesand regulations attached to these new institutions. From the point of viewof some elders, however, this is seen as a disease of the newer generation,especially with respect to assistance to the needy. In their view, it haseffectively relieved villagers of their self-esteem, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and self-determination.119As outside interest and influence in the region grows, possiblecommercial ventures have been advanced, including tourism, hunting andfishing, guiding, bird watching trips, raft trips, and a whole host of otherideas for bringing income to the area. The village corporation in Akiak hasset up a sport fishing recreational project on the Kisaralik River. Thevillagers want to have control over the number of people allowed into thearea -- a form of eco-tourism in practice. The villagers have realized thattoo many people and uncontrolled use of the area will bring destruction,but they must also be mindful of the uneasy tension between profit andpreservation. They have done the best they can to prepare for the impactof outsiders, knowing that use of this area will disrupt the balance of floraand fauna. They have realized that with a camp and people travelling onthe river there will be problems with human and commercial wastes.However, in their planning, including consultants and studies of otherprojects, they have tried their utmost to strike a balance between thefrailties of the ecosystem and the pressures for tourism and sport fishing.At this point, the project is strictly fishing, and therefore the danger ofcommercializing the Yupiaq culture is not immediate. The villagecorporation board meetings are open to all villagers, so all are informed ofthe project and its progress.An interview with a middle-aged dog musher illustrates how somepeople have successfully integrated old and new ways on their own. Hehas 35 dogs in his kennel. He feeds his dogs fish until the fall, thenswitches to commercial dog food interspersed with fish. He has a brandthat has worked the best for him. He has had to develop a knowledge ofnutrition, stamina, diseases of the dog, and signs of non-producers. To dothis, he has to have knowledge of each dog individually, their personality,120their strengths and weaknesses, and conditions under which they performbest. He must be able to diagnose disease, for example tapeworm,distemper, diarrhea, and so forth. He must be able to remedy these. Hehas been trained to vaccinate dogs, and, therefore does it for other dog-team owners. He has had to work with a veterinarian and read materialson dog diseases and vaccinations. The traditional use of the dog team haschanged drastically from that of pulling heavy loads to one of racing greatdistances pulling a light sled. The dogs must be sleek, rather thanmuscular and heavy as in past times. He has been adapting to newknowledge and ways with dogs and sleds.In the Yupiaq region, medical knowledge and practice seems to showthe highest level of integration of modern with traditional knowledge. TheNative health aide or community practitioner uses the stethoscope,sphygmometer, and visual means of diagnosing and often communicateswith the patient in Yupiaq. He or she uses modern means of recordkeeping, and in cases where symptoms are not understood, consults with amedical doctor over the telephone. He or she is able to dispensepharmaceutical drugs at her or his discretion or on advisement from adoctor. In worst-case scenarios, the aide arranges for medical evacuationto the Bethel hospital.Most men of the village are in good physical condition due to the typeof life they lead. The subsistence way of life requires that they use themind as well as the body, which is quite contrary to the modern personwho sits behind the desk and uses a computer to make a living. In mostoffice work, a physical body is relatively useless except for thepsychomotor use of hands, so the worker must seek jogging, aerobics, andother means of excercise to keep the body in shape. Keeping in shape isthe least of the villager's worries.The village elders advise to respect the river. The wind, currents, andcold can be lethal. They say that those who use alcohol, drugs, or inhalantssuch as gasoline and glues, lose respect for the river and lose their lives.They say that the river gives life and takes life. Again many tips are givenby radio both in English and Yupiaq. Radio and TV certainly have beenforces of integration. Health and survival tips, news, talk shows onsovereignty, subsistence, myths, legends, lifeways, ways of doing things,and messages are often conveyed by these means.Among the elders, comments about needing enough king salmon andchums for the winter were heard quite often during the summer, whilecomments about needing enough dollars for the winter were never heard.Younger people, however, who have large aluminum boats and powerfuloutboard motors are under pressure to make payments during thesummer as there are very few jobs in the winter. The pressure is so greatthat they have to make as much money as possible to make payments sothat their boats and motors will not be repossessed. It is said that thosewho hold jobs have to be married to the job to be able to make payments.In fact, there are usually a number of fisherman caught fishing duringclosed times or areas. It is unfortunate for Native subsistence hunters andgatherers because they often have to break federal and state laws andregulations to make a living. These are some of the pressures brought bymodern financial institutions, often leading to mental strife for theborrower. Some, perhaps, go to the point of excess in seeking resources ofvalue and forget about the balance of nature. Bigger and faster seems tobe among the new values that Native people have adopted.122Many cannibalized machines, such as trucks, cars, three- and four-wheelers, outboard motors, and damaged metal boats abound in thevillages. There is one home in Akiak that has four useless outboardmotors, three all-terrain vehicles, an aluminum boat, a wooden boat cut inhalf, and other metal fragments of items lying around as reminders of ourinclination to a throw-away society. Pollution as a problem is just nowbeginning to be recognized by the village people. They are beginning tosee that sewage and materials from packaged goods which they buyaccount for pollution within the village. There are efforts to encouragepeople to save aluminum cans which will be shipped to Bethel when thebarges bring goods to the village in the summer. Garbage and sewage willcontinue to be problems, especially due to increasing numbers of people inthe village.A relative of mine has adopted the practice of cleaning and arranginghis yard. Since he has been in the modern world for many years, he hasacquired the sense of aesthetics from the world outside. He has cleaned uphis yard, planted flowers, and maintains a garden in his front yard as wellas on his former property. He has transplanted rhubarb, rose hips, ferns,and other wild plants to his front yard. He is the only one in the villagewho has adopted this practice. He also has about five alders growing in hisfront yard; however they tend to grow outward in a disorderly manner.To control this, he has used nylon rope to tie them together so growth willoccur upward, and they will be grouped in a desirable way.I came upon a young man in his early twenties who was working on a30-horsepower outboard engine. I asked him if he had gotten formaltraining in small engine repair. Another man was with him and it turnedout that the other person was there to give advice if needed, as he knew123about engines. The other man said that this was the first time that he hadworked on this particular kind of outboard motor. I asked if he knew howto work on other types of engines and where he got his training. He saidthat he knew how to make repairs to chain saws, snow-machines, andelectric generators, and that some of his training came from the NationalGuard. He said that he learned most by taking engines apart, figuring outthe problem and making the necessary repairs. One time during a trainingcamp, another outfit had generator problems which their mechanic couldnot repair. They sent for him and he found the problem quickly. It was aclogged fuel line. The young man working on the engine commented, "Heis a good person to have around when repairing an engine. He knowsthem well." He is a small engine mechanic of the highest caliber, self-trained in problem-solving, who does not even possess a high-schooldiploma.Some people seem to place more importance on taking care of thethings they own than others do. This is no longer simply a matter ofkeeping things in repair, however. Since there are now problems ofstealing and vandalism, the owner of a boat has to remove tools, gas tanks,oars, and anything else not bolted down and make sure the motor ischained and locked to the boat. There still does exist a vestige of honorand respect for someone else's property, such as the story told me aboutone of the villagers who forgot to lock her house when she left the villagefor several weeks. Upon returning to the village, she found that no onehad entered her place and that nothing was missing from around thehouse.I observed one home where a modern telephone with automaticdialing, speaker, and other niceties was removed by the owner and124replaced with an older model when it began to malfunction. The newerone was given to the children to play with. It could have been kept forrepair at a later time, but Yupiaq people have adopted the easilyreplaceable, throw-away mentality of the modern world. Perhaps thesemodern things have not truly become a part of the Yupiaq world view.Most items produced by the modern world, such as guns, steel traps,TV's, microwave ovens, refrigerators, and snowmachines, produce noise.This is a very real difference between Western technology and the nature-and culture-mediated Yupiaq technology. In addition, Yupiaq tools, like anuluaq, which were designed, fashioned, and modernized by the Yupiaqmind, are to be used, not owned. It always surprises me to see housesfalling into disrepair, rifles and shotguns rusting, and many other moderntools and appliances lying about, not being cared for, while Native artifacts,such as harpoons, ice picks, adze, and crooked knives, seem to be muchbetter cared for. One elder said that fur hats are "so much more efficient,warming, and closer to the heart" than manufactured hats made of man-made materials. Maybe it is still a oneness with nature and all beings thatgoverns the modern Yupiaq world view.SUMMARYThe presentation so far of the Yupiaq applications of science andtechnology shows that the Yupiaq people survived by learning to ask theright questions, use extensive observation (requiring self-discipline),experiment, memorize useful data, apply data for explanation of naturalphenomena, and use available resources to develop their technology. Allof this was done in such a way that there was minimal conflict betweenscience, nature, and spirituality. To do so required that certain qualities be125present. Empathy was a necessary and desireable trait to giveconsideration to the needs, rights, and feelings of fellow human beings,nature, and the spiritual realm. Empathy also means that the person hasself-control to not do what he wants, but to do what seems right.Heterogeneity of experience and perspective is another key to asuccessful and satisfying life in a rural village. Once one gets out of thevillage on the river or into the tundra, the homogenization andstandardization brought on by man-made things slowly fades away to theheterogeneity of landscape, flora and fauna, weather, and ever-changingconditions. One becomes a part of the ecological system, as if assuming the"cosmic" consciousness, a sense of oneness, a synchronicity with theuniverse.Down through the millenia, the Yupiaq people produced and maintaineda science and technology to support a sustainable social and economicsystem in tune with nature. At the advent of the white society, the Yupiaqways were pronounced primitive and savage and therefore to be eitherdestroyed or changed to a foreign way of life. Most Native people slowlyadopted and adapted in varying degrees to the new ways of being,thinking, acting, and doing. However, the subsistence way of living wouldnot be completely given up. It traditionally has worked for the Yupiaq forthousands of years, so why should it not continue to work today withadjustments to and the melding of the Yupiaq and the techno-mechanisticworld views? This is one of the primary reasons why the Yupiit Nationcame into being. Several years ago a Yupiaq elder said to me, "themajority of prime land is owned by newcomers, but the few real Yupiaqsare still vigorously Yupiaq. You can educate us, change our dress, changeour ways, but we still have black hair, brown eyes, yellow skin, language,and are Yupiaq as hell."CHAPTER VI. EDUCATION AND SCIENCE IN A YUPIAQ SCHOOLThe focus of this chapter will be on the role of education in thedevelopment of scientific understanding, as it is experienced by Yupiaqpeople in the Kuskokwim region. How do Yupiaq students learn aboutscience in the school, and what implications does that have for theintegration of Yupiaq and Western scientific traditions? These questionswill be addressed in the context of the school in Akiak, where I observedand participated in classes, interviewed teachers, and reviewed thecurriculum being used. The relationship between schooling and the role ofscience in the traditional and contemporary lifeways of the Yupiaq will bediscussed.EDUCATION: THE MEETING OF OLD AND NEWWestern science tends to emphasize compartmentalized knowledge (bydisciplines) which is often decontextualized and taught in the detachmentof a classroom or laboratory setting (Berger, 1977; Franklin, 1990;Livingston, 1981). Native people, on the other hand, have traditionallyacquired their knowledge of the world around them through directexperience in the natural environment, whereby the particulars come to beunderstood in relation to the whole and the "laws" are continually tested inthe context of everyday survival. For a Native student imbued with aNative experiential/scientific perspective, the typical classroom-baseddisciplinary approach to the teaching of Western science can present animpediment to learning, to the extent that it focuses on compartments of128knowledge without regard to how the compartments relate to one anotheror to the surrounding universe.Another potential interference to learning by the Native student is thedomineering, manipulative aspect of western science and technology(Capra, 1984; Deloria, 1990; Franklin, 1990; Milbrath, 1989; Page, 1989;Rifkin, 1980), which is often contradictory to the Native's view of who heis, what his place in the world is, and how he relates to it. Native peoplehave learned to live in harmony with the earth for millennia bydeveloping a complex integration of cultural values, traditions, spirituality,and an economic base tied to the land. They have not supplanted naturalplants and animals and have acknowledged nature's supremacy through itsnatural forces and processes. They have acknowledged that nature isdynamic and, concomitantly, that people and cultures must be also.Western thought also differs from Native thought in its notion ofcompetency. In Western terms, competency is based on predeterminedideas of what a person should know in a certain body of knowledge, whichis then measured indirectly through various forms of tests (Franklin,1990). Such an approach does not address whether that person is reallycapable of putting the knowledge into practice. In the traditional Nativesense, competency had an unequivocal relationship to survival orextinction. You either had it, or you didn't, and survival was the ultimateindicator.Western science and technology are more than ways of knowing, butalso consist of particular practices and methods. According to Franklin,"The scientific method works best in circumstances in which the systemstudied can be truly isolated from its general context" (1990:39). Thisprocess of isolation is expanded upon by Nollman (1990:74) when he129indicates that "the objective viewpoint cannot perceive the context of thewhole because the objectivists, themselves, insist upon utilizing only a partof their/our whole being." Nollman goes on to say that this viewpointplaces a perpetual buffer between our conscious thoughts and our "veryimportant gut connection to nature." One of the interests of the Westerncorporate world has been the natural resources found in the Arctic. Intheir desire to exploit and extract these resources, they have overwhelmedand displaced the people indigenous to the land. From a scientific"isolationist" perspective, the Native people are considered transmutablephysical elements of the environment and objects that can be removed to anew village site, where they often become "human animals in a culturalzoo" (Hall, 1988:217). Already, there are several villages where affluentoutsiders can fly in to view the Native in his "natural" habitat, which isdemeaning to the people on display.In the past, Native people tended to view formal education as ahindrance to their traditional ways, but now they are beginning to look atit in a different light. They are seeking to gain control of their educationand give it direction to accomplish the goals they set for it, strengtheningtheir own culture while simultaneously embracing Western science as asecond force that can help them maintain themselves with as much self-reliance and self-sufficiency as possible. They have learned to thrive in atough environment, and they can make it easier and less harsh, first ashumans, secondly as scientists, with a carefully developed technologysupported by an attuned educational system.I have observed and taught in rural and urban classrooms in whichscience was taught from textbooks, using the scientific method and age-tested science experiments. My own undergraduate science education was130derived from textbooks and laboratory manuals. These teaching andlearning processes do not, however, take advantage of the students'environment, or the environment's ecological processes. Nor do theyprepare the students to recognize a creative force flowing in and aroundthem at all times. This removal of the mystical force from scientificprocesses has rendered a society which places primary credence and faithon the rational faculties of man, a society which no longer honors andreveres nature, but often misuses, abuses, and disrespects nature(Schumacher, 1977). Without the ability to integrate the human, natural,and spiritual worlds, science education risks contributing to the decay ofthe physical environment, with a concomitant diminishment of theresources on which society depends.It is apparent that there is a significant contrast between Westernscientific and Native world views. The former is formulated to study andanalyze objectively learned facts to predict and assert control over theforces of nature, while the latter is oriented toward the synthesis ofinformation gathered from interaction with the natural and spiritualworlds, so as to accommodate and live in harmony with natural principles.Native reciprocity with the natural and spiritual realms impliescommunication which perhaps must be relearned by the Native, as it isnow being learned by Western scientists:The science of ecology, the study of the interactions between livingthings and their environments, circles back to the ancient wisdomfound in the rich oral traditions of American Indian stories. Timeand again the stories have said that all of the living and non livingparts of the Earth are one and that people are a part of that131wholeness. Today, ecological science agrees (Caduto & Bruchac,1989).EDUCATION ON THE KUSKOKWIMThe school complex is located on the east end of Akiak. The old Bureauof Indian Affairs facility has been upgraded and houses three elementaryclassrooms. A newer building houses the library with tables and chairs forclass use. A garage for housing the school vehicle, a school shop wellstocked with modern tools, and various other storage buildings areincluded in the school complex. The newest building is the high school,which has five classrooms, office space, and a multipurpose room whichdoubles as the lunchroom. It is well heated and lighted, and water ispumped to it from the city well. It has most things found in any modernschool, including computers, books of all kinds, audiovisual aids,telephones, citizens band radio, facsimile machine, kitchen, showers, andmany other items considered essential in the act of schooling.The Akiak school, headed by a principal, serves sixty-one elementarystudents with four teachers, and fourteen high school students with fiveteachers, though responsibilities are shared across the grade levels basedon the expertise of the teachers. The school maintains a high attendanceand retention rate. However, for the district as a whole, the studentachievement scores on standardized tests are among the lowest in thestate. The district has implemented several curriculum initiatives inrecent years to address this issue.I was invited by the principal to attend a kindergarten through sixthgrade assembly in the library to give recognition to students with perfectattendance (there were four), those who finished all assignments (four),132and good citizenship (six). The first group received $2 each, the second abeautifully designed certificate and a can of pop, and the last groupreceived a letter with a certificate and a can of pop. Before the informalpresentations began, I was introduced to the certificated teachers, bilingualteachers, teacher aides, and students. It was a very nice get togethergiving students recognition for their accomplishments.Following the assembly, I was asked by one of the teachers about myinterest in science education. He commented that he was taught sciencefrom textbooks and that it was such a bore. He learned science the sameway in college. His explained that his class had done their first scienceexperiment making chemical models, that the kids enjoyed the project, andthat he hoped that they will be doing more before the year was over. Hecommented that he thought meeting me was good because it caused him tothink more about how to teach science.The administrative office houses the various curricula for the teachers.The principal was very cooperative and gave me permission to examinethe curriculum guide. Since my focus was on science, I was given thescience curriculum guide, which included all grades from kindergarten tohigh school. I was told that this was the locally developed curriculumpresently being used in the Yupiit School District. There were also otherscience curricula materials available for various grades, but I restrictedmyself to the examination of the official curriculum currently in use.The science curriculum guide consisted of a compilation of ideas forlessons and could be easily applied and changed by the teacher. To me,this was a very easy document to use, after having seen so many complexand monolithic curricula in my time as a school teacher. The introductionencouraged teachers to "use the curriculum and adapt to fit educational133and cultural needs of students," and to "use textbooks and other materialscurrently used in classrooms as they work on it."The elementary curriculum pages were divided into three columns foreach grade, with the following headings: (1) concept, (2) learning concept,and (3) activities. This was done for each grade up to grade six, withgrades seven and eight combined. The concepts listed for each grade wereas follows:First grade: senses, living things, earth, staying alive, time, how big,growth and change, magnets, air, rocks, soil;Second grade: weather and water in the air, sound, light, force,oceans and beaches, parts of plants;Third grade: living/non-living things, rocks and fossils, change inmatter, earth and solar system, magnetism, habitats;Fourth grade: earth, light (prism), weather, machines, living things;Fifth grade: ocean frontiers, sound, sensing and moving, electricityand magnetism, living organisms, exploring the universe;Sixth grade: motion and energy, the changing earth, matter and itschanges (chemical reaction), human body systems, earth'sresources;Seventh and eighth grades: process skills (observing, testing,measuring), living world (chemical symbols and formulas), lifeprocesses (diffusion, osmosis, respiration), classifying,development and heredity, ecology, biomes of North America,energy and natural resources.The elementary science teaching is done in two or three 55-minutesessions per week. Except for a husband and wife teaching team who hadbeen involved in some science curricular work previously and who were134using materials oriented toward the flora and the fauna of the Alaskanenvironment, science was taught using traditional commercial scienceresources and texts. The local Native people were not asked to participatein any of the classroom sessions to share their scientific knowledge.One elementary teacher was very forthright and stated that he hatedscience. How did this attitude come about? It was the way that math andscience were taught to him. He remembered math and science asconnected to tedium and boredom. In my observations, he appeared to bea bright, concerned teacher, but the teaching of science was on the backburner of his mind. One of the positive things that he had done was to askthe students what they thought might be useful knowledge and then hepursued that path. The students expressed an interest in the ozone layerbased on what they had heard on the news, and so they spent timestudying about it. Another session had to do with ecology, especially rivererosion. In this, they studied river currents and how trees and otherplants slowed down erosion. This required walking out the door to theriverbank to see the effects of currents and waves caused by winds andpower boats. The students were free to draw their observations in brightcolors and were encouraged to express their feelings in any way. Anotherproject involved planting seeds and seeing them grow. It was an enjoyableexperience for the students to see something grow.Other positive things that this teacher did included developing ascientific vocabulary. He did this by writing down the terms connectedwith concepts they were working on and placing them on the bulletinboard. The students were required to write down the meanings in theirnotebooks. For the development of the terminology and concepts he usedavailable science texts. In addition to these, he used the National135Geographic series to acquaint students with different parts of the world.He had to spend much time explaining so that students would understandthe terms and concepts, though he made little attempt to apply this to thelocal situation as far as I could see. He did comment that he was thankfulfor my time, as it got him to thinking about science and about things thatthe villagers do that might be applicable to science teaching.Two of the most enthusiastic elementary teachers, the husband andwife, had attended workshops and seminars on teaching science. The twohad put together a teaching packet on wolves which had been adopted bythe schools in the area. In this, the students learn of the wolf habitat,habits, social organization, and hunting strategies. In addition to teaching,the husband was involved in counseling and social work. He had learnedto sew skins, and showed me the hat he had made for himself.These two teachers stress making careful observations, makingpredictions, and trying to figure out why something happened. They useProject Wild, Wildlife for the Future, Model Rocketry, and a standardscience textbook. They stress learning appropriate terminology, concepts,and doing some experiments. Just a few weeks before the school year wasto terminate, one of them was doing the model rocketry project. These twoteachers certainly were the most enthusiastic about science education, yetscience was being offered only on Mondays and Wednesdays for 55-minute periods, though their students received more science and scientificprocess exposure than the other elementary classes.The junior and senior high-school humanities teacher, a Yupiaq, did notteach science as such but saw the importance of understanding thingsabout life and knowing what scientists do. He felt that the theory ofevolution was crammed down his throat and was taught as fact rather than136theory. He, being a Christian, thought that Christians need to be scientistsso they can support what they believe, and that there is a "lack of a moralbasis for science." He believed that teachers of English and science musthave a background in technology. He had taken computer courses andtaught computer use. He thought the local students are sheltered from theoutside world and thus, must travel together to other parts of the world tomeet other people. He encouraged students to read about other people andused the National Geographic television programs to bring this about. Hecommented on pollution in the village and wanted the villagers andstudents to know of it and its effects. He also observed that the Yupiaqfamily unit was once very strong, but the opposite is the fact now. Hestated that the teachers now have to play the role of parent in someinstances. He commented on the fact that he was a junior-high studentwhen Mt. St. Helens blew, which gave first-hand evidence that nature canchange things, and that the students must know of this.The high-school mathematics and science teacher at Akiak had beenthere for only three years. I found him to be well educated in his chosenfield, caring, personable, and of easy-going demeanor, which is often arequirement in a village situation. But his knowledge about the ways ofknowing and skills by the Yupiaq was quite limited. He had theresponsibility to teach all math and science in the junior and senior highschool. As with most teachers in small rural high schools, he had otherresponsibilities as well, such as sponsor of a club, counselor-chaperone forvarious high-school trips to Bethel and other places, and otherresponsibilities which the district superintendent or principal assigned tohim. An important impediment to his work was that the school had nothad science taught for five years before his arrival, because no one was137qualified to teach science. The students from this period were lackingterminology, concepts, and an understanding of the scientific process.This teacher's classes were small, with only seven students at the most.The classes were well behaved, with cooperative effort by students oftendisplayed and rewarded when a project was successfully accomplished.The reward was a choice of listening to music of his or her choice, playinggames involving math, or doing whatever the student wanted to do, withinreason. The students were very relaxed, listened attentively, and did seatwork without being constantly reminded. I never witnessed anydisruptive behavior. There was a lot of playful kidding around, joking, andasking of questions, but never anything disruptive.The teacher established a weekly goal for students to pursue andaccomplish. He had one student who was doing advanced work inmathematics and another doing physics. The teacher had a master'sdegree with a strong background in physics. He taught math and Alaskascience to ninth and tenth graders, and biology to eleventh and twelfthgraders. He had nineteen years teaching experience, with part of hiseducation at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.In my initial visit with him this teacher stated that I would find scienceteaching in "the mode of rote." I asked him what science means to him. Hestated that science should give the opportunity for the students to practicethe skills they have learned and help them begin to use all of theirabilities. Science should not be relegated to a discipline, rather it should bemore holistic. He said that he uses the curriculum, which he thought wasdevised to meet the state requirements. Most teachers, he stated, areafraid to teach science, especially those that have no or weak backgroundsin science. He feels the current science curriculum, which I commented on138for its simplicity and brevity, gives him freedom to do things on anindividual basis, which is important since he has one student in physicsand two in algebra II.This teacher stated that the community was only beginning to workwith the school, but he feels they have a long way to go. Indications werethat local people want more culture taught in the school, but when askedexactly what that means, there was no response. The school needscommunity direction for cultural development and especially to meetindividual needs.Science equipment was expensive to buy, and therefore this teacherhad to try to use everything that was available in the school. He statedthat several chemicals were overstocked and many have never beenopened. This, the teacher stated, was due to teachers not having thetraining or literature or manuals to determine what their needs would be.This teacher cited a problem which I believe is common to all teachersin small rural high schools. The problem is one of balance betweenacademic and practical knowledge, especially for those who haveaspirations of going on to institutions of higher learning. He stated that theacademic oriented students needed scientific vocabulary and some basicscience concepts. He felt those students needed a classical background insciences, but he used the Alaska science course as his basic curriculumbecause it incorporated the environment, developed skills, manipulatedexperiments, and used the students' abilities. It incorporated other fieldssuch as first aid, safety, earth science, biology, but had a weakness inbotany. The simplified school district curriculum gave him freedom to dothis, but was it meeting the needs of students wanting to go on to college?139This teacher spent much time on vocabulary and concepts and tried toclarify them through class discussions. He used audiovisual supplementssuch as Nova, scientific movies, and other aids. He recognized the Nativestudents' visual acuity and memory for detail. He gave many examples ofhis students' ability to remember what they saw. Another observation hemade was that the students appear uninterested in a lecture, but he hadfound that they in actuality were listening and thinking.Their means of communication with this teacher was to leave notes ontheir desks for him to read. They expressed their feelings with the subjectmatter at hand, often pointing out problems that they were having athome, and let him know what they did not understand. Perhaps it wasrespect for the teacher and the traditional value of holding things insideand acting stoically that prompted this unusual means of communication.The Native students still respect their elders, this teacher observes.During student body meetings it was often pointed out that elders shouldnot pay admission to attend activities in the school. He felt thatcommunications was hampered because of teacher instability, meaningthat every year or two there was a high teacher turnover. The localvillagers did not want to invest time to teach new teachers the languageand culture when they knew that they would likely be leaving before theyreally understand. If language and culture were to be taught in the school,the Native people needed to teach it or teach the teachers what and how toteach it. Both of these options were lacking at the moment. There waseven mention that the school was situated on village land and that itshould be moved. His reaction was to question them and ask, "Whoseschool is this anyway?" The sense of the school belonging to the villagershas not been inculcated into their consciousness. There is still the sense of140it not belonging to them. The villagers have not expressed what it is theywant Native students to learn.When I indicated that I was very interested in the Yupiaq ways ofknowing and doing things, the teacher stated that each society has its ownway of expressing science. Each society has a way of explaining aphenomenon and is happy with its explanation. I was gratified to hear thisfrom a white man schooled in the Western tradition. He was becomingaware of the distinctive thought patterns of the villagers.The math-science classroom was situated in the northwest corner of thehigh-school building. In it were desks arranged in rows facing theteacher's desk, along with science books, an aquarium, models of theinternal human organs, a poster of the planetary system, an overheadprojector, a TV with VCR, and various other science tools. Soft musicplayed in the background. Five biology students consisting of four girlsand one boy entered and settled into their desks. Instructions werewritten on the blackboard: "Biology: 5 pt. bonus on lab test for writingdown the differences between plant and animal cells. 3 differences, canuse the Biology text to research."I was told by the teacher that the students had spent two weekslearning about the microscope and its applications, followed by a test on it.He explained to me that life science was offered last year, and that thisyear they were attempting to find ways to use what had been learnedduring the previous year. The teacher spent time giving instructions as towhat to do, what to use, and what to look for. The students were veryrelaxed, and each went to the corner where the microscopes were storedand returned to the desk with one. There were two boxes of twenty-fiveslides each of plant and animal cells. After getting a slide, the student141placed it on the platform, focused, and drew what he or she saw. Therewere occasional questions as to what part of the cell was being observed.The teacher went to the student to give help. Several drawings of thedifferent cells were drawn by each student. They were to try to see thedifferences by doing this, then corroborate their findings by use of thetextbook. The girls consulted with each other to see what the other hadfound and to compare drawings and labels. The one boy was working byhimself.The math-science teacher indicated that he thought a goodunderstanding and background in math was important. He said that hewould be offering chemistry the following year. He expected to introducethe periodic table and possibly concentrate on kitchen chemistry.Another class session was held, this time with the eleventh and twelfthgraders, in the microscope laboratory. There were four girls and two boys.The students rearranged the desks so that groupings of three girls, twogirls, and two boys worked together. They got their slides and beganmaking drawings then labeling their drawings. They showed muchenthusiasm for the task at hand. Toward the end of the session, thestudents began to ask questions not associated with the topic. One boy wasinterested in vocational education. He asked about the difference in goinginto academics versus a vocational program. The teacher talked about thedifferences and made the statement that the college undergraduateprogram is probably tougher, as one has to study a broad spectrum ofcourses. The teacher was also doing counseling with respect to study afterhigh school.The student asked how he could get certified to teach vocationaleducation in school. What would it take and what might be his chances in142getting a job upon graduation? He was told that once he got hiscertification, he would have to earn five credits every five years to renewhis certificate. One of the girls entered the conversation by expressing herinterest in college. The others acted as though they were not listening, butone could immediately see that they were by the occasional notes writtendown and a nodding of the head. The teacher had told me that thestudents would often act indifferent, but they would leave notes on theirdesks indicating understanding of the topic and even leave notes askingfor clarification. The small class size and the opportunistic approach by theteacher left room for talking about topics of interest to the students.The five girls and two boys of the ninth and tenth grade health classmet. An overhead projector was used with a cross-section of the femalereproductive system projected on the screen. The students were to namethe components and know their functions. Questions were asked about thevarious parts and what they do. They were to determine how sperm andegg production occurs and how fertilization happens. The students weregiven photocopied worksheets on "Human Reproduction -- Anatomy of theFemale and Male Reproductive Systems" and "Fertilization and EarlyEmbryonic Development." Two groups formed, one consisting of three girlsand the other of two boys and one girl. The interest was keen and thestudents worked cooperatively. The girls group worked consistently, butone boy in the other group wandered off and did other things. I was toldthat he allegedly was a "gas sniffer" as a young boy, and his attention spanhad been affected.The follow-up class was a PBS Nova program called the "Miracle ofLife." The terms to be learned and to become familiar with were on theblackboard. There was a class discussion on the terms and what they143meant. They were told that the video was the result of microphotographywhich was done by incising a small opening in a woman's abdomen andinserting a spectroscope. It was a technological wonder, getting into thesmall world to see what had been only talked about in the past and seeingit unfold in the Fallopian tube before their eyes. The video was oftenstopped to review the terms and what was happening in the Fallopiantube.They learned that there are forty-six chromosomes, which are thegenetic molecules that are absolutely necessary for life, that it takes fourto five days for the sperm to travel five inches, that cilial action moves theegg down the tube, and that there is a twenty-four hour limit within whichthe egg must be fertilized. All students listened attentively, but only oneyoung lady took notes. They had not been instructed to take notes. Duringthe showing, the students were allowed to arrange themselves in a waythat was comfortable to them. Some sat at their desks while othersreclined on the floor. The terms and the concepts to be learned were beingbrought to life. At the conclusion, there was lively discussion about thefilm. One young lady expressed embarrassment at the film showing thebaby's head coming out the orifice. When the students were asked whatthey thought of the film, the girls giggled. Finally, the slightly rattled girlsaid, "It was good, except for the ending." This was a part of life in thevillage as elsewhere in the world and was of intense interest to them.At the very end of the class, the restless boy went to a cardboard boxwhich had light packing material in it. The teacher explained that this wasno longer made of plastic but was made of material soluble in water, atwhich the boy put one into his mouth, and, lo and behold, he opened hismouth and it was no longer there. They were told that it could be eaten,144but they must be careful, not knowing how it had been handled. Theremight be negative side effects.Although there was much time given to rote learning, the teachercharged the sessions with enthusiasm by allowing the students to askquestions, entering into discussion and allowing them to address topics ofinterest. The small class size was conducive to this type of teaching. Hisconcluding remark was that communication between school, staff, andcommunity was important if changes were to occur, but it was going to bea long and trying process to change entrenched teaching methodologies toones fitting the village situation.NATIVE PEOPLE, SCIENCE, AND EDUCATIONAn increasing number of high-school graduates in the villages are idleand have no place to go. Jobs are limited, so they create an added burdenfor housing, recreational facilities, subsistence resources, and other needs.They fit into neither the traditional nor modern worlds as they have notbeen given tools by the schools with which to achieve their aspirations.Their schooling leads to disillusionment and alienation from the Nativeways while instilling values and aspirations from another world that is outof reach.A bilingual teacher aide spoke to me about learning the Yupiaqtraditions by having to teach the Yupiaq language. The Yupiaq languageholds within it the Yupiaq world view. The Yupiaq youth are in a confusedand disoriented state and should be taught their language, values,traditions, and culture in the classrooms. This would do much to allay thepsycho-social problems experienced by the young people. I have heardelders and middle-aged Yupiaq people say that the young people of today145"no longer have brains," "have little common sense," and are irresponsible.They are a generation of dependents.In my discussions with teachers, I often heard comments about theunwillingness of the students to read directions, the discipline problemsconnected with the student's independent attitude and parents allowingtheir children to get away with everything, student irresponsibility withschool property, the sense of ownership due to the sovereignty movement,and the culture shock they themselves experienced in coming to a placewith a different way of being, knowing, thinking, and doing. Theyacknowledged, however, that discipline has improved in recent years,though students still had a difficult time adjusting to the expectations ofthe school.Things have not changed very much since my own elementary, highschool, and college experiences. My own early teaching reflected the sameproclivity toward conformance to the way I was taught. Only years laterdid I begin to try more innovative activities. I think that this had much todo with feelings of insecurity. Everything, including knowledge, the school,the curricula, professional practices, deportment, evaluation, and use oftime and space, were handed to me from a preordained world, and it wason these things that I was to be judged and evaluated as a teacher ofworth. The teaching methodologies have not changed much, except nowthere is an overflow of information and as a result the content of what toteach becomes problematic (Silvertsen, 1990).Teachers very often feel that they must have control over theclassroom, an attitude which can interfere with the kind of learning that iscapable of happening when the community, teachers, and students startworking together. I heard the comment that it was difficult to get the146villagers into the classroom. Perhaps the villagers have not been askedinto the classroom to speak on things which they have intimate knowledge.Perhaps Native knowledge and skills have not been acknowledged andrespected by the school. This is one factor that leads me to make theunpopular observation that Yupiaq control of education is an illusion. Theschool board members may be Native people, but they work withinparameters established by the state board of education with state rulesand regulations. Local control is really in the hands of newcomers, with anadministration composed of outsiders.Recently, the U.S. Congress established a commission to work withAlaska state officials and Native people to "develop recommendations tothe Congress and State of Alaska that would help assure that AlaskaNatives have life opportunities comparable to other Americans, at thesame time respecting their cultures, traditions, and special status"(Blatchford, 1990). Having relinquished key aspects of their traditionalways and spirituality in response to an array of physical, political,economic, and educational pressures, Native people have experienced anexistential and ontological discontinuity, with extensive social andpsychological consequences (Schumacher, 1977).The Western idea of a modern technological world has not been readilyaccepted by Alaska Native people. Many still opt to live in their ownmade-from-scratch houses, and they use many of their traditionaltechnological tools in hunting and gathering while adopting a limitednumber of modern devices. But there are also many others for whom thehome environment has changed so much that there is little to remind themof their Nativeness. They all retain one thing in common, however, andthat is reliance on a subsistence lifestyle, which transcends their physical147living conditions and technological conveniences. Although non-Nativepeople tend to view the subsistence way of life as being very simple, theNative practitioner sees it as highly complex. A subsistence-orientedworld view treats knowledge of the environment and each part'sinterdependence with all other parts as a matter of survival and, as such,provides a complex model for maintaining and sustaining a balance withnature.Traditional Native subsistence technology was based on the use ofnatural materials for making tools. These consisted of skin, bone, stone,and wood. This was a nature-based, nature-mediated technology. Thetechnology included metallurgy, as naturally refined copper was oftenused for making tools. The tool-making process was integrated into dailylife and allowed sufficient free time for contemplation of natural andmythical forces. Marshall Sahlins (1972), has referred to hunting andgathering people as the "original affluent people." His research hasindicated that traditionally, these people spent less than forty hours perweek foraging for food. Unfortunately, for many Alaska Native people, this"affluence" is no longer a feature of their life style.Native people are beginning to realize that technological andbureaucratic solutions as a road to "progress" are a myth. Labor-savingtools and consumer-oriented gadgets tend to create a dependency onexternal resources and expertise that can lead people down a pathway ofcultural dislocation and destruction. There is a need to demystify andhumanize science and technology, and the place where this can begin is inthe teaching of science in school.Science teaching need not be from the textbooks alone, nor need itespouse the scientific method as the only way to construct knowledge.148Rather, what traditionally is understood through myths, collective thinking,experiential learning, intuition, and the ontological presence of mindneeded to guide, temper, and get things right should also be included. Theontological discontinuity referred to earlier need not persist. The Nativeways, rituals, and sense of sacredness can be understood as outwardexpressions of a highly developed ecological mind set. According to Cajete(1986), Native ways represent an ecological mindset of sacredness, withecological relationships and a constant "seeking of life."Students can be taught to become thinkers, inventors and creators,always mindful of environmental balances. Their awareness of Native andWestern science perspectives for visualizing a world where harmony existsand where there is comfort and security for everyone could go far to instillthe motivation needed to make a better world. Native students' academicaversion to mathematics and sciences is often attributable to an alienschool culture, rather than a lack of innate intelligence, ingenuity, orproblem-solving skills. The curricula, teaching methodologies, and oftenthe teacher training are based on a world view that does not alwaysrecognize the Native notion of an interdependent universe. Sioux ChiefLuther Standing Bear has said, "The old Lakota knew that man's heartaway from nature becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growingliving things soon led to lack of respect for humans too" (Nollman, 1990:3).SUMMARYThe Western educational and scientific paradigm developed over thepast several hundred years need not be dispensed with. However, a shiftneeds to be made toward a more holistic education, in which a teacher-student-community collaborative approach is developed to address the149needs of a fast-changing society. To achieve this, the formal educationalsystem needs to reassess and redirect education to a holistic mindset, inwhich education is viewed as multidisciplinary, multidirectional, andmultisensory, with the total environment serving as the laboratory. Thecritical task is to find ways to help people, and especially teachers, to beginto recognize (and re-cognize) that the earth is indivisible and that it mustbe understood as a whole. To do so can help the learning process of Nativestudents, who enter school with all the linguistic and intellectual tools oftheir culture at their command, but are seldom called upon to put them tofull use in the classroom setting.The Random House dictionary defines "science" as "a branch ofknowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematicallyarranged and showing the operation of general laws." If science is but a"branch" of knowledge, it implies that there are other branches as well thatmake up the knowledge tree. Mixed in with those other branches, with itsown complementary "body of facts or truths systematically arranged andshowing the operation of general laws," is the "scientific" view of the worldconstructed over millennia by Alaska Native people. There are many waysof making sense of the world around us, each branch with its own rules,laws and meanings that form a basis for carrying out the tasks of everydaylife. Our challenge is to devise an educational system that is capable ofrespectfully accommodating the multiple ways of making sense of theworld, and it is to that task that the remaining chapter will be directed.150CHAPTER VII. YUPIAQ CULTURAL ADAPTATIONIN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLDAs I survey the uses and effects of modern technology in Yupiaqvillages, I see a confused people and a disparity in the distribution of re-sources, wealth, and goods. Although the Yupiaq have ancient tenure onthis land and although they may be sitting on wanted natural resources,they are invariably shunted aside and receive peripheral tidbits from thewealth derived from their land. Contrary to what many people say aboutan easier life with access to Western goods and services, life continues tobe hard and sometimes bleak in the villages (Blatchford, 1990). Theoutside perception of villages as quaint places where people live aromanticized lifestyle persists because we are unwilling to admit thatmany of our villages are little more than ghettoes by conventional Westernstandards.New technological tools and devices are introduced to the villages daily,and although they may seem to make things easier, many of thesemachines have hidden costs to us and our environment. Take, for instance,the snowmachine -- a fast, untiring machine with ample pulling power todo the work. But do we consider what the noise does to us and to thegame, what the occasional oil leaks and small gas spills do to the fragiletundra, how the breakdowns lead to accidental deaths, and the unsightlycluttering of discarded machines? The snowmachine has changed ourways of courting and dating, hunting and trapping, and it makes a bigdemand on money resources for gas, oil, repairs, and maintenance. These151machines were made for the affluent middle class and thrill seekingAmericans. The process of development paid little regard to materialcosts, mechanical and fuel efficiency, or the degree of technical complexity-- in fact, the more complex the better. The Western scientific method isutilitarian and is not disposed to ecological considerations.We Alaska Natives have lived down through the millennia in harmonywith our world. It is time that we demand to consider technology before itis introduced to our villages. It is time that we demand of our schools andinstitutions of higher learning that they make accessible to our Nativestudents an understanding of mathematics and sciences. We need Nativescientists and technologists who are capable of looking at development andresearch projects from two different perspectives, and more importantly,are able to work with elders to develop soft technology in tune with andconducive to nature (Hopkins, Arundale & Slaughter, 1990). Machines arehere to stay, but we must find ways to humanize technology with toolsthat are not violent or destructive to people and their environment.SOFT TECHNOLOGY: ADAPTATIONS TO CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENTTraditionally, Alaska Native people developed a nature-based andnature-mediated science and technology to suit their needs, along with theneeds of their environment and nature. As Natives have learned to utilizeWestern scientific and technological processes, it has been with aninclination toward "soft technology" (Lovins, 1977), which provides ameans to temper Western technology and use it as a tool for adaptation tolocal culture and ecology. The focus of this "soft technology" can be toupgrade and update traditional skills, to develop tools that can be easilyrepaired, to be conservational and non-polluting in the use of renewable152resources for energy and raw materials, and to fine-tune the subsistencelifestyle. In searching for examples of implementing soft technology,Harrison has offered the following as representative criteria for its use(1983):1. improving an existing traditional technique2. modifying a modern machine3. inventing a new machine from scratch4. finding a useful and economical Western antique5. applying a bit of indigenous wisdom to the solution of a new problemTraditionally, everything that was used was recyclable andbiodegradable. Now, the Native people are wallowing in garbage andsewage. Pollution is an "inevitable consequence of life at work," but now,"There is only one pollution . . . people" (Lovelock, 1987:27) and theirdesire to buy prepackaged foods and gadgets. The educational andeconomic systems have taught Native people to be consumers, often in theform of inappropriate products, including housing and complextechnological tools and machines ill-suited to the Arctic. The harshenvironment makes many of these externally designed and overlysophisticated products last a relatively short period of time, though theirfrozen remains last forever. For instance, snowmachines will operate anaverage of three winters then deteriorate very rapidly. This places anadded burden on the owner for maintenance, oil and gas, and ultimatereplacement. The villages are strewn with cannibalized and discardedmachines. With all these cumulative environmental problems, Nativeviews about the quality of life need to be reassessed in modern times.Native people are no exception when it comes to modern wants andneeds. The numerous TV stations beamed to the villages by satellite153present pseudo-realities for both young and old. They live torn betweenthe desire to retain their traditional hunting and trapping practices and thedesire to obtain the modern advantages gained through exploitation ofnatural resources. However ambivalent Native people might be, "mostpeople who are on the receiving end of offshore and Arctic oil operationshave greeted these enterprises with a comprehensive lack of enthusiasm,because they directly perceive the prohibitive social and environmentalcosts" (Lovins, 1977:4). Indeed, the syncopating lights of growth anddevelopment from the Western perspective can be mesmerizing, butNative people have come to realize that they are dealing with a perceptionof progress that is no longer appropriate for indigenous survival. Thereare many ecological niches on earth where primal man learned to live as apart of his or her surroundings. But with the onslaught of Western societyand the accompanying technology, his numbers decreased drastically, hisidentity flagged, and he became dependent on institutionalized socialservices to make a living.We have been slow to realize that when we become dependent onoutside technology and services, we reduce our self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and identity (Anderson, 1991). Let me use a simple exampleof the Alaska State Housing Authority (ASHA) housing and othergovernment-built facilities in the villages. At first glance, they areaesthetically beautiful with good lumber and materials, but upon closerscrutiny they have inadequate insulation, a non-functional bathtub andshower, a partitioned interior configuration, and they are elevated off theground on pilings. This might be a good design for the Louisiana bayou,but why was it transplanted to the Alaska tundra? Would it not have beenjust as easy to ask the local people, "What kind of home, materials, design,154and use would you suggest?" Such an approach may have produced ahouse more suited to the environment, in fact, fitted to the environment.But we accept without question, because the builders and designers are ofthe great omniscient and omnipotent society. In our haste to please, wecompletely disregard our own housing technology, viewing it as beingarchaic, damp, dismal, and uncomfortable. We forget that it enabled ourancestors to survive for thousands of years: it was heat efficient in thewinter, naturally air-conditioned in the summer, circular in form for betterair circulation, semi-subterranean to make use of the insulative crust ofthe earth, the framework covered with sod with the vegetation on theinside to make an air barrier, and it was made with available localmaterials. By accepting the modern house, we denigrate our identity andwe relegate a lot of time and energy to its maintenance, heating, andelectricity. A larger portion of our income from hunting, trapping, fishing,and jobs goes to these new survival items. Why can't we say, "Just wait aminute -- before you bring in your version of a new house or school, let usexamine the specifications. We don't want another technological dinosaurintroduced to our community."We have no real economic base other than fishing, trapping, andgovernment-funded jobs and services. Finding alternatives for jobs is adifficult task which, if undertaken, must involve Native people to draw upa plan and establish a goal for their particular region, much as the Yupiaqare doing with the Yupiit Nation. Wage-labor is limited, and isolatedcottage industries have been tried without success. Perhaps we can drawan analogy from the Amish. These people have been in constant clash withthe American technological society, but have surprisingly been able toendure. The reasons for their success seem to be that they have a155language, have a place they can call their own, have a tie to the land, havea history, have allowed a limited number of technological tools into theirsociety, and train their people for work to maintain their economic system.However, they have one advantage over us: they have never had theirself-esteem crushed.From my perspective, it seems that each region needs to determine if itis going to maintain a quasi-traditional life style having only a few basic,culled-out Native values to mix with chosen outside values. This, of course,presupposes that the Native people exercise self-determination and takeon the responsibility to work for solutions to their own problems. I wouldpropose that Native people address themselves to local flora, wildlife, andfish habitats and learn to increase productivity without resorting torecombinant DNA, hormones, antibiotics, special feeds, and other artificialmeans to which Western society is inclined. Native people have alwaysbeen curious about all living things on the earth and how they interrelate.They have much experiential knowledge gained through keen and patientobservation where nothing is left to chance. The subsistence life styleleaves little room for a gambling proclivity.The bogs and marshlands provide an abundant source of nutrients formany species of birds, fishes, and animals. The streams, creeks, rivers, andsea are being rapidly polluted by effluent wastes, erosion, and man'sactivities. Trained Native people are needed to protect them from furtherdestruction. This may mean, for example, that we compromise our high-powered motors for less speedy, energy-efficient engines, cutting down onpollution and wave action. The boats may become smaller and lighter butwith a payload comparable to that of the traditional qayaq. The qayaqmay get motorized with a lightweight solar-powered engine. The hunting156weapons might be a combination of the principles of the bow, the scubadiver's spear gun, and the rifle. A rifle might be designed with a shellcontaining an inflatable float and high-tensile line to keep the hunter fromlosing a seal or walrus. As the shell hits flesh, the float is automaticallyreleased. This would minimize losses due to sinking. Thus huntingimplements become more humane and efficient. For continuity of lifestyle, experts cognizant of both the traditional and modern knowledge andskills could be encouraged to work in nurturing and enhancing biota andrelated ecological processes.Since our traditional ontology places a barrier to "owning" living beingsthat often possess more power than we, we have to seek new approachesto working with our cousins in the animal world. Our earth is the giver oflife, and we are placed on her to work with her. This is traditionally whatwe have always done. This would mean a need for a combination of Nativeexperts and cooperating land and wildlife managers, fisheries biologists,hydrologists, architects, doctors, engineers, ecologists, botanists,economists, and chemists, to name a few. We need scientists who are incontact with Native life. For example, the health-care services under thevillage health aide program are closing in on integrating traditionalmedical practices into the health care system. Psychology and psychiatryremain Western in orientation, treating part of the person without regardto the total being. Elders have much to contribute through their lives, theirmythology, and their ceremonies in establishing balance in the whole oflife. After all, the Spirit of the Universe gave us the ability for rational,intuitive, and mystic communications so that we may know what to do towork in balance.157Why then are we so troubled? I can advance one possible explanation.We, as Natives, are blinded by Western knowledge and its technologicalproducts, often confusing means with ends. The syncopating strobe lightshave been transformed into a myth, a religious play, and we faithfullyaccept these gods of the new world. It is now time for the natural man,the primal man to step in. He has remained quiet, but now he must beginto pose questions to young people on the appropriateness of the modern,utilitarian scientific method and its products. This is a demythologizingtask, calling into question science for science's sake, technology fortechnology's sake.Much of communications, medical, and transportation technologies, aswell as various appliances, have been very useful to Native people, but formany superfluous gadgets, we pay dearly by surrendering our self-reliance, our self-sufficiency, and our identity. We confuse our children,whom we recognize as our greatest resource to carry and transmit ourculture and values. We voice and espouse the value of our ways, buteschew our traditional and technical tools and methods in everyday life.We leave to the formal school setting the teaching of language, values, andtechnics by employing Natives through "supplemental" programs, such asfederal Indian Education and Johnson-O'Malley Act funding. I am notsaying that it is bad for the school to be involved in cultural transmission,but is it a true extension and reflection of the home and community? Weare no longer traditional Alaska Natives. Men are no longer full-timehunters. Women are no longer full-time homemakers. Our youngsters areconfused because our cultural template has been unrecognizably eroded.The task is to carefully reconstruct and redefine ourselves by replacingmissing pieces to engender a new Native identity with its infrastructure158being built around valued Native traditions. Right now it is emotionallyand mentally costly to try to succeed in either world, much like trying tofit a round peg into a square or triangular hole. So our youngsters enterschool confused and graduate confused and disoriented. They may showsigns of pride and smugness for being Native, but, I venture, it is often afragile facade. Anxiety is skin deep, ready to burst as an antisocial act atany questioning or slight of this supposed Native reality and being. Is itany wonder when we complain about owning substandard ASHA or HUDout-of-context housing, relying on the store for a hard-to-fix four-wheeler,shopping at Sears and Roebuck for myriad specialized appliances, payingthe grocery store for less-than-nutritional food, or receiving the lategeneral assistance check? We are trying to become what we are not meantto be -- a dependent, specialized, and homogenized people. We havebecome, as the Anchorage Daily News put it, "A People in Peril," aconsequence of confusion and disillusionment. Therefore, I proposesynthesizing the traditional with modern technologies to create a "softtechnology," reflecting a people at home in their own dynamic andtechnology-enhanced environment, working as philosophical tenders of theearth.In the past, Native people tended to view formal education as ahindrance to their traditional ways, but now they must look at it in adifferent light. We must control education and give it direction toaccomplish the goals we set for it, strengthening our own culture whilesimultaneously embracing Western science as a second force that can helpus maintain ourselves with as much self-reliance and self-sufficiency aspossible. We must learn to thrive in a tough environment, and we canmake it easier and less harsh, first as humans, secondly as scientists, with159a carefully developed technology. Soft technology is intended to helppeople become the producers of those things that are needed for humansupport and comfort.ALASKA NATIVES AND SCHOOLINGIn reviewing the previous descriptions of the contrasting world viewsthat coexist in Yupiaq communities, one begins to see that there arevarious characteristics which can potentially clash with one another(Chrisjohn, Towson & Peters, 1988). For example, the holistic approach toteaching and learning of the Native people represents a significantdifference in perspective from the incremental and componential ways ofWestern education. The modern idea of "progress" results in circumstanceswhere "the mindless rush for new tools, discoveries, and physical progressproceeds at an ever accelerating rate; now the earth itself sheds tears ofabuse and environmental stress" (Simonelli, 1991:58). On the surface,there does not appear to be any relationship between "modernity" andtraditional Native ways of life. However, ways have to be found tointegrate some ways of modernity into a new Native consciousness or"being in the world" (van Manen, 1990:11). Many ideas in the modernideology need redefinition to fit into a "new" consciousness, which can leadto a new form of education for being and becoming. Among these arecurricula, policies, language of instruction, teaching methodologies,educational philosophy, administrative practices, educational goals, andtheir related objectives.The person charged with the responsibility for administration andcoordination of all activities in the rural schools is the principal. Sinceinception of schools in rural Alaska, she or he has been the primary agent160of Western ideology (Berger, Berger, & Kellner, 1974:103). The pool ofNative administrators is limited to a handful, so that villages, through theirAdvisory School Boards, must carefully interview and select theirprincipals from a pool of external applicants. In this situation, the attitudeof the principal, such as a positive attitude toward the people with whomthat person will work, is critical to the success of the school system -- i. e.,is that employee willing to work with less-educated people and take risksin innovative and non-traditional methodologies and programs differentfrom what that person has experienced before? (Hardwick, 1991).The principal must also be willing to accommodate the complex anddynamic quality of evolving educational programs and she or he must beteam- and people-oriented (Fienup-Riordan, 1990; Ryan, 1989). Inaddition, the principal must be adaptive, innovative, flexible, maintain aloosely structured administrative approach, and possess a high tolerancefor ambiguity (Barnhardt, 1977). Most importantly, she or he must bewilling to talk to people, especially the elders, to become knowledgeable oftheir thinking and ways of doing things, to become generous in thoughtand action, to reflect the will of the people, to render actions influenced bythe people, to speak out wisely, and to have a peaceful and exemplarybehavior (Fienup-Riordan, 1990; Hardwick, 1991). Further, the personhired to be principal must embody the proclivity to consensus, that is, theability "to arrive at one mind" (Fienup-Riordan, 1990:214).These are the attributes the principal as leader in a village school mustpossess. Hardwick (1991) goes on to say that a leader is like a tree withroots composed of integrity, ethics, and values. She continues by indicatingthat a leader with this foundation will make decisions based not only onintellect and logic, but on what "feels right" in the heart. A leader not only161has the function of teacher but has an open mind and is thereforeteachable. The leader strives for knowledge production from the villagers,with the realization that a broader and deeper knowledge base must begenerated. The collective will can wield such potential power, drawing on"a viewpoint or attitude about life which causes such power to be used inconcert with a deeper understanding of what it is to be alive" (Simonelli,1991).With respect to teachers, their selection must be just as stringent asthe selection of the principal. Teachers must be willing to learn at least therudiments of the Native language and culture in order to do an effectivejob of teaching, for "belief systems are the framework upon which culturesand societies function," and the language is its carrier (Locust, 1990:328).Non-native teachers may be opposed to this idea, but it is a desideratum ifa new consciousness is to be developed. It is a requirement consistentwith the Native peoples' sense of holistic teaching and learning.The principal, teachers, parents, older student representatives, andcommunity members must collaborate in teaching (Scollon & Scollon,1979). This is a requirement if new, innovative and out-of-the-ordinaryprograms are going to be tried. Close coordination and consultationbetween the various people within and outside the school system arenecessary to produce appropriate information-gathering tasks for schoolstudents. Parents and students of different grade levels have to be givenassignments to match the students' knowledge and skills. This effortcreates a team of teachers, parents, their offspring, and the community.More importantly, this collaborative teaching and learning avoids makingobvious the Native students' deficiencies or inadequacies, which themodern system does so successfully (Ryan, 1989). Self-esteem and self-162confidence will rise as the students deal with things that they know aboutand that are a part of their life. When they can learn about others throughtheir own world views, learning and tedium are no longer synonymous.Not only will students' attitudes improve, but it will bring the family closertogether and improve interpersonal relationships. This is amultidisciplinary, multisensory, holistic, and potentially exciting approachto education -- schoolwork connected to the work and play of thecommunity.YUPIAQ ETHNOSCIENCE: IMPLICATIONS FOR VILLAGE EDUCATIONI have briefly tried to explore the Yupiaq world view and ways ofknowing to form the foundation for a synergistic approach to teaching. Aswe look briefly at both the Native and Western ways of knowing, we seethat there is a scientific approach to both, although one goes heavily into amystical, pragmatic, inductive way of sense making while the other haschosen the secular, experimental, deductive way. Yupiaq science gets itsprofound discoveries from interacting with the mystical, transcendingman's ability to analyze and understand the world through mathematicsand the sciences. This expresses the dichotomy between the two views.They may have started from the same drive to understand and live in theworld we were given, but each chose its own way quite removed from theother.I propose that it is possible to teach Native youth mathematics and,more particularly, the natural and physical sciences by capitalizing on theNative knowledge and skills that already exist in their culture. The naturalsciences are nothing more than the observation, interpretation, andunderstanding of the interplay between nature and man. The Native has163perspicacious knowledge of nature. The teachers must realize that theNative students entering school are not empty computer disks or spongesto be filled with facts and knowledge by the teacher. They enter schoolwith language skills already in their minds and the beginnings of anunderstanding of how they interact and are part of a family. They havethe basic qualifications for success required of any student in the worldwho wishes to become a successful hunter, banker, scientist, teacher, worldleader, or renowned thinker. Their culture provides a basis to progress inacquiring new knowledge, new skills, and new ideas on how to increase thequality of life without having to dominate the earth and destroy it at thesame time, and without relinquishing those values that are deemednecessary to give life and distinctiveness to the group.I propose teaching mathematics and the sciences through oralliterature, mystical philosophy, conservation (including the sacredness ofthe Native relationship to the land), and utilizing the Natives' specialability in spatial relationships. This can be done with an elder who is aNative speaker and knows the little secrets and idiosyncrasies of thelanguage and can explain a concept in Native terms. Then take the sameidea or tool and introduce students to it from the Western perspective,helping them understand the differences. The Western thinker has chosenmathematics and scientific terms and nomenclature to explain the samephenomenon. These questions of semantics take on an exceptionalimportance, because the Western perspective can lead to further alienationfrom the natural world, and the learning can become based on wordsrather than on participation and interaction with nature.I advance this idea of "ethnoscience" as a way of improving theteaching of mathematics and sciences, especially to rural Native students,164recognizing that youth of the dominant society experience the samedifficulties in understanding abstractions and vernacular peculiar to thedisciplines. To forget that a child has sight and therefore sees images, hasa mind and therefore can imagine, and most often has the ability to drawor doodle is a gross oversight of educators. To make the basic conceptsunderstood in the elementary grades, one has to use all the sensory tools,including visual thinking, and apply them to experiences with which thestudent can readily identify. However, different values, concepts, per-spectives, and philosophy determine how they interpret the empirical dataand how they relate it to the natural world. Each culture, through themillennia, has established a way to make the natural world accessible toreasoned inquiry -- exploring what is real, what is truth, and what is goodand beautiful. This flows and is channeled through their science, art, andreligion. Natural phenomena in the Yupiaq world are explained in terms ofreadily observable characteristics or experiences involving a high degreeof intuitive thought.This analysis attempts to set the stage for a more systematic approachto teaching, based on a Yupiaq cultural perspective and criteria drawndirectly from cultural experience. We will increase the student'sunderstanding and achievement if we provide experiences that build,consciously or unconsciously, on Yupiaq cultural thinking processes.Ethnoscience is nothing more than Yupiaqized or humanized science. Thereare no good reasons why we are bereft of scientists in our region when theeducational system has been in place for over one hundred years. It justmanifests the failing of the educational system to recognize that culture isscience and that the teaching methodologies we use are too Westernized in165philosophy and thus are biased to that perspective only (Hobson, 1992;Pickering, 1992).Yupiaq people have a unified world view, with a deep appreciation ofeducational catch phrases such as "collaborative teaching" and "holisticthinking," but the thinking process stops there and confusion is rampant.Should it be bilingual? Which language should be dominant? Are wewilling to say, "Yupiaq is going to be the working language in our region,with English as the second language." Educators purport to endorsebilingualism and biculturalism, but their way of thinking often does notaccommodate either. Our children are on the losing end due to thisconfusion of not being able to master either language, with a resultantYupiaq cultural gap. As one elder pointed out to me, "My high-schoolchildren come home to our one room house. They are here, but a partitionexists between us. They are losing our language and way of life, yet therereally is no alternative life style other than subsistence for many years tocome. They now have needs and wants based on the white man's way."What a dilemma for a parent to be in.My personal approach to science teaching, which some will quickly sayis idealistic, is that we should make use of the Yupiaq language because itis a tool of the spirit and therefore the voice of the culture. I would payparticular attention to Yupiaq learning style and to the people's applicationof science principles. Our Yupiaq have been in touch with Nature since thebeginning of time. They have been in touch with the Ellam Yua and thus intouch with science, for science is nothing more than curiosity and theobservation of how and why things work and how life can be made betterthrough understanding. Since science is basically observation, modern166tools only refine our ability to observe, and the written language helps usto record the data.Elder participation is critical to Yupiaq science teaching. Their thinking,learning and desire to convey the age-old products of wisdom, includingindividual and group fortitude, values of life, liberty, and the pursuit ofhappiness, are based firmly on Yupiaq spirituality and world view. Thepremise then in teaching Yupiaq science is to begin with the environment,which ensures cultural sensitivity and relevancy, because it is somethingelders are most intimately in tune with.I'll use a simple example of an activity exploring science in the fishcamp. The science of making tepa or 'stink heads' leads to the concept ofaging by bacterial action, chemical equations, toxicity, etc. It can bepointed out in this and other activities that the interest of the Yupiaq is thewhole product, whereas the Western scientist is interested in breakingdown the whole into components to understand the end product and howit got to be that way (in this case without poisoning the consumer).You can study the splitting of fish using a simple machine, the wedge.Why and how is it done? What are the energy transformations involved incutting, drying, smoking, and storing the fish? Along with the fish, you canexamine the Yupiaq identification of plants and animals, the life cycles, thefood webs, climate and weather conditions, the traditional way of tellingtime, animal behavior and habitats, the common-sense measurements,plant and berry use, refrigeration techniques, inertia in a canoe and qayaq,and many other "science" principles.The students will learn to expand their knowledge and skills and wouldultimately realize that not only we but all people of the world areecological dependents, and what we do with the environment affects our167lives as a whole species. As they progress they would begin to think,"What can I do to contribute to the economic self-sufficiency of my regionand make it better environmentally?"The students would also be expected to master the content areas and doquality work in note taking, writing, diagramming, and labeling. Theirstudy should include visual thinking sessions to whet their imaginations tosee everyday pieces of their environment a little differently. Each exercisewould involve thinking in the humanities, as well as math and science. Inother words, this should be a multidisciplinary teaching and learningadventure. It can be fun to learn science tied to the world around us andthrough our own experiences, and then branch out to discover universallaws of nature! This is the meaning of Yupiaq ethnoscience -- a Yupiaqway of knowing.INTEGRATING SCHOOLING AND YUPIAQ WAYS OF KNOWINGIt has been my observation that most Native students' failure in mathand science is attributable to an alien school culture and not because theylack innate intelligence, ingenuity, and problem-solving skills. Thecurricula, methodologies and often, non-Native teachers and their trainingare not based on a world view that recognizes each of us as a necessaryand interdependent piece of the universe. Scientific knowledge andteaching is fragmented knowledge that is discriminatory, piecemeal, andanalytical. For Native people who have learned from particulars leading tothe whole, this can be an impediment to learning, as it addresses aspecialized segment of a phenomenon without regard to how it relates tothe rest of the universe. The Native student enters school with linguisticskills already developed, having all the qualifiers for success and the168intellectual tools of his or her culture at his or her command. Why then dowe not have many scientists from our people?Science, with its fractionalized detachment, has become anathema to theNative's view of who he or she is, what his or her place in the world is, andhow he or she relates to it. Scientific principles are used to developmodern technology, yet one can't help but hear reports, read accounts, andexperience the good and the bad affects, which leads one to ask, "just whatpurpose is science and technology if it is slowly destroying our world?"We have lived in harmony with earth for a millennia by developing acomplex set of cultural values, traditions, religion, and economic base. Thisis no easy task. We have only domesticated the dog, have not supplantednatural plants and animals, and have acknowledged our Creator'ssupremacy through attention to natural forces and processes. We haveacknowledged that nature is dynamic, and concomitantly, our people andculture must be also.The teachers in their education must learn to appreciate themultiplicity of realities that the language, whether indigenous or a versionof English, is intimately fashioned to express. It represents reality as thepeople who use it see it. Just because our language is different does not inany way make it less real. We Yupiaq, as well as people in the Westernworld, are beginning to question the world that we have created byscientific technology and its affect on the quality of life. Has it truly madelife better? If not, then all the disciplines should address how to make itbetter, especially in the area of schooling. We are going to have to stepoutside, take a look at our situation, and formulate a goal that we canimplement, at least on a limited scale, as all the world is not ready for aglobal change. We will have to think less in terms of the artificial level of169the quality of life we lead and try to recover the natural processes that arethe real basis for productivity. This then brings me to the main purpose ofthis study, that is, to find a way to integrate the humanities with thesciences and Native knowledge and skills with modern science andtechnology. Can this be done? What effect will it have on existingcurricula?We Yupiaq know something about Western philosophy and theaccompanying educational paradigm, but we know very little about ourown because we no longer hear our elders tell the myths, legends, andhistorical stories to really understand our philosophy. The educationalparadigm we have experienced over the last one hundred years must notbe dispensed with but must be made to serve as one of the foundationstones upon which a teacher-student-community collaborative approachcan be developed to address the needs of a fast-changing society. Onemust recognize that the present society is looking askance at a worldwrought askew by science and technology without regard to the life-givingplanet earth. Now our educational system must reassess and redirect itselfto a more holistic mind set, which means education must bemultidisciplinary, multidirectional, and multisensory, with the totalenvironment as the laboratory (Enook, 1989).The Fish Camp as ClassroomHaving identified some of the critical features of a Yupiaq world view, Iwill now attempt to show the implications this may have for the actualplanning and implementation of an educational program, which I will call a"fish camp science odyssey." I want to stress again that the so-calledbicultural programs in schools go heavily into the material and "how to," or170technical aspects of the cultural spectrum. It is easy even for our people,and especially outside teachers, to emphasize these superficial aspects ofthe culture. These, after all, are easily understood and do not require anyparticular analytical thought and merely require the appropriate materialsand the instructions of an often low-paid Native resource person. Even thestorytelling, when taken out of its natural context, becomes more anentertainment tool than an important means of cultural transmission.I chose the fish camp for selfish reasons. I remember it as being a timeof happiness, warm weather, and a place for orderly Yupiaq industry.Also, it presents a cornucopia of traditional and modern technologies.Although we did not have technical names for many natural processes, weused natural, scientific principles in preparing our food; catching fish;reading river currents and tides; assessing weather and wind conditions;preserving plants and edible berries; making plant, fish, and animalclassifications; and using solar energy. I propose to use traditionalscientific concepts that the student already knows as a basis for exploringnew realms. English and Yupiaq will be used interchangeably, withparticipation by elders a must. The students will be expected to mastercontent, do daily work in note taking, produce writing that includesscientific vernacular, make drawings (technical and artistic), and engage inlabeling, speaking, and discussing ways for possible application of anadmixture of traditional and scientific principles. Students will beexpected to sponsor an ethnoscience fair to culminate the experience.Much time will be expended for introspection and self-awareness,especially students' feelings toward themselves as a person of worth, theirplace in the world, and self-aspirations. The ways to do this will includemeditation (which clears and concentrates the mind), imagination (the171mind's wanderings), and visualization (which puts a spark of life andimagery into imagination). Not only will they verbalize and expressthrough writing, but also through the medium of art, which transcendsconscious thought to the unconscious. In addition to expressing theirinnermost thoughts, they will learn to appreciate and see the everydaypositions of their environment from a different perspective.The science teachers must be chosen on the basis of their openness toaccepting other ways of knowing, rich science background, and feelings ofcomfortableness in working with Native students. The element ofpresenting two mind sets simultaneously will require patience, especiallywhen seeming paradoxes are being presented, and careful integration ofthe two is required. This integration will require slow and careful guidedreasoning of the more obvious and easily explained aspects of the activityor experience. Planning the learning activities will require questioning bystaff, practice with manipulating variables, and testing of possible answersto be learned by the students.Perhaps the best example to draw on to illustrate how learning willoccur is the creation story as told by Joe Friday of Chevak, where a maleand a female discover themselves by a river bank. They find everythingthey need to make a living arranged along the riverbank -- clothing,cooking utensils, hunting implements, kayak, tools, and so forth. Theyhave no notion of what each item is, nor how it is to be used. They learnwhat they need to know through a combination of trial and error,imagination, visions, discussion and questioning (i.e. meditation), andspiritual intervention.The story would be told and the investigative process brought to thefore by student discussion. The ancient story uses discovery and inquiry,172which is espoused by modern educators to be one of the most effectiveways of teaching and learning. It enhances immediate learning, latertransfer of learning, and improved investigative learning in formaleducation settings. Science as an investigative process needs to bestressed, more so than the content. Students should recognize that thisprocess is not new but was used by their ancestors. They have to re-cognize how to question, experiment for possible answers, and if they fail,change the variables and try again. They should learn that failure is anecessary ingredient for success.Students should know that when people are in touch with nature, theyare in touch with Ellam Yua, the Spirit of the Universe. When in touch withHim, they are in the realm of science, the world of inquiry and discovery.In order for the Yupiaq to live in harmony with nature, they had to learnthe skills to live in and with nature; they had to learn the values of naturefor mutual nurturing and sustenance, from which they developed a holisticphilosophy of the universe. In light of this, there is no reason for a Yupiaqto have an inadequate self-image and shy away from mathematics and thesciences.The teacher has to use all the available perceptive and sensory tools ofvisualization or visual thinking to be applied to the experiences of thestudents. The environment becomes a laboratory, and thus the teaching isfrom an ecological perspective. All students have the ability to see,therefore see images; have a mind, therefore think; and have some degreeof ability to draw or doodle. These three faculties are often used by Nativeadults to arrive at solutions to problems. The empirical data are collectedin the mind and serve as the basis for formulating conclusions, which areshaped by the individual's perceptions, values, concepts, philosophy of life,173and how he or she relates to the world. Through the millennia, culture hasestablished a way to make the world accessible to reasoned inquiry anddiscovery, addressing questions of what is real, what is truth, and what isgood and beautiful. The resolution to these questions flows and ischanneled through science, art, and religion. The natural phenomena inthe Yupiaq world are explained in terms of characteristics that are easilyobservable or experiences involving a high degree of intuitive thought.This proposal attempts to set the stage, testing out the systematic studyof science based on Yupiaq and Western perspectives. My reasoning forthis is that it will enhance learning as we are dealing with experienceswith which students utilize, consciously or unconsciously, their ownculturally derived thinking processes. The mix of the two adds anotherdimension of comparative analysis and creative thinking. These two areoften missing in the modern educational paradigm.I do not include time schedules or logistical needs, for I feel my effort isto present ideas on how we could carry out a program that encompassestwo ways of knowing at the same time. There will be numerous Yupiaqcultural activities interspersed, including storytelling, videotapes and films,visiting speakers, Yupiaq dancing, traditional games of skill, men's andwomen's activities, and arts and crafts to especially express innermostfeelings, how they perceive the world to be, what they want it to be, andso forth.One also needs to develop goals. I propose the following, which will notall be met in a short period of time, but should be considered long-rangegoals:1. Apply and blend Yupiaq and modern science perspectives1742. Practice effective application of the scientific processes ineveryday life3. Practice flexibility in levels of thinking and foster effectivethinking in everyday life4. Maintain and enhance essential ecological processes and lifesupport systems by using complex scientific technology to developsimpler technology in tune with nature5. Practice Yupiaq conservation for genetic diversity6. Sustain utilization of species and ecosystems7. Exercise creative writing and creative applications of theimagination and visualization to improve the natural environmentand enhance natural processes of food production8.Adapt to changing conditions through a blend of Yupiaq (natural)and modern science principles9. Sustain a network of collaborative thought and effort betweendisciplines, maintaining a holistic approach at all timesThe staff will consist of a "chief," a science teacher, an art teacher, anelderly couple expert in fish camp life, a camp cook, and a maintenanceand carver person. The chief will not be the modern corporate style schooladministrator, but the servant of the staff and students. She or he will bethe person who maintains order by mere presence and age and the personto whom all turn for consultation. The chief will be the one to helpmaintain individual and collective balance. The camp will be acollaborative effort to attain synergy where the group is greater than itsindividual members, and the individual within the group is greater thanalone. It may sound idealistic, however, I would strive for this, putting ourtalents together to build esprit de corps and the highest standards of175success in self-esteem and achievement. With all these things in place, wecan begin the fish camp science odyssey.A Fish Camp Science Odyssey CurriculumLet us begin in the beginning, with the stories of creation as reflected inYupiaq legend and the Bible. The students will be told both creationstories, along with the theory of evolution. The Bible closely parallels ourmyths, though nothing is written to give either one credence over theother. The other theory, that of evolution, needs to be discussed as atheory of classifying animals and plants based on structural likenesses, butlike the creation stories, we cannot corroborate the theory through directobservation, but only by conjecture. In the creation stories, man, animals,and things were made by a being, and are guided by natural laws to assuresurvival, thus leading to a holistic view of the world. The theory ofevolution is based upon man's gift of analytical observation and hisperspicacious reasoning ability. Scientists observed, theorized and checkedto see if experience bore out the theory. These are the two minds ofscience. The students might be required to write a paper on theirunderstanding of these two systems of thought.In the Bear-Woman story presented in chapter two, there are twoyoung people who all of a sudden become conscious of being in a strangeenvironment. Much food, clothing, cooking utensils, hunting implements,and furs are at their disposal. But what are they? How must they beused? What skills will be needed to replicate items that slowly wear outor are expendable? How might these two young people figure out whatthe purposes of the various items are, what they are fashioned of, and howthey were fashioned? What is to be their relationship to the world around176them? What might have helped them ascertain use? Over a long period oftime, what outside help might the two have received? Eventually, howwould they determine who they are, their place in the world, and theirrelationship to everything else? This one story provides many topics fordiscussion and written assignments.There will need to be much time for introspection. Think aboutyourself. When do you talk to yourself? What do you call the pictures orimages in your mind? Draw a picture of yourself as you see yourself now.Draw another as you would like to be in the future. Draw a picture of yourfamily, including yourself.After a couple sessions of such activities, begin to consider the"scientific method." It is a method for exploring the world around you andwhere you fit into that world. It is asking questions, finding out what thevariables are, manipulating the variables and testing for possible answers.Go back to the boy and girl in the myth; was their method for exploringand finding an answer similar to that of a modern-day scientist? What, forinstance, do you boys do when your outboard motor or snow-machinestops all of a sudden? Or you girls, when you determine to make a clothingitem for your six-year-old sister and you have only one square yard ofcorduroy cloth? Both of you, essentially, use the same inquiry steps to tryto resolve your problem. Now make an outline of the steps used byyourself or a member of your family to solve a problem, or by a collectiveproblem-solving task recently in the village. These outlines can then serveas a basis for subsequent discussion.In the Bear-Woman story, a little robin became the messenger to thedespairing woman. Our Yupiaq philosophy presupposes that all plants andanimals have spirits. There is nothing wrong with this world view. No one177philosophy is right! Over a period of several days the students can makeforays into the environment to identify as many songbirds as possible andespecially to identify and record the call of the robin. With a variablespeed player, they can experiment with the songs. Could these songs be aform of communications between like species and to others? Were theydisturbed or frightened by a predator such as a hawk? What would makeyou think so? Is it possible that the robin could have been a messenger?The Yupiaq identify and call the birds based mainly on their songs. Is thisan acceptable way of classifying rather than the criteria from the "origin ofspecies"? Who's right? Have the Yupiaq been doing science? Since when?The songs of the birds when played back at a slower speed revealsounds that we, with our human hearing apparatus, do not discern, butwhich most likely the birds themselves understand. The students shouldbe asked to find a bird's nest and watch the actions when there is anintruder. When other birds trespass, what are the behavioral changes inthe nesting couple? Are you engaged in science? Can slight changes inintonations and sounds in the robin's song convey a message in Yupiaq?Highly probable, but this is conjectural on my part. Animals have helpedso many of our people to survive in times of danger through variousmeans that it is hard for me as a Yupiaq to discount the probability.Ask the elders about the different feathers and what they understandabout their functions. Look in the science textbook and see how themodern scientist explains this. What tools does the scientist use to come toa conclusion? How did the Yupiaq come to this conclusion? Were theirconclusions similar? How did they know this without modern tools?In the creation story, what are the intellectual attributes that made theboy and girl successful in solving seemingly insurmountable conundrums178about the function of each item? Are these attributes present in ourelders? The science teacher? The cook? The president of ChaseManhattan Bank? A Yupiaq hunter? President of the United States? AYupiaq housewife? Amazing, to have the same qualifiers for success!Draw and show how the boy might have felt when he discovered whatthe "paddle" was to do for him and the kayak. For the girl, draw herexpression as she discovered the use of the bone needle and sinew thread.Write an essay on how you feel inside and how you show it when you arehappy or have just completed an assignment successfully.Take several feet of a brightly colored surveyor's ribbon and tie aweight onto one end. Throw it into the air as high as possible. Wherever itlands, measure and mark an area five feet in radius with the weight as thecenter. How do you measure this? Within this circle, identify all theplants. Have the elders give the Yupiaq names. Find out what they knowabout the plants. What do they recognize as being necessary for plantgrowth? Find some broad-leafed plants, and using black constructionpaper, cover a whole leaf. Cover half a leaf on another. After three days,test for chemical composition, such as chlorophyll and starch.This is modern science in action. One can begin to talk about chemicalsymbols, formulas, and equations. There are 104 elements within ourworld which make up everything singularly or in various combinations.These are the things that a chemist works with. This is how the chemistdetermines what a thing is made of, what goes on in the process, and whatenergy is required for a chemical reaction to happen. They are the oneswho have come up with penicillin, nylon, crack, deoxyribonucleic acid, andso forth. This involves a lot of asking the right questions, researching,communicating, testing theories, manipulating variables, persistence,179intuition, and sometimes just plain happy accidents. Many discoveries areof the serendipitous kind -- penicillin was one, and the benzene structurederived from a dream was another.Have the elders demonstrate the traditional means of measurement.Traveling long distances required experience and thought on the part ofthe traveler, including means of travel, currents, load, presence of tides,winds, and means of propulsion. To be properly prepared, it wasnecessary to estimate distance and how long it would take to get there.The word cukneq, or 'measure,' implies visualization and estimation basedon comparing something to something else. This includes the availablefood and how long it will last. It is projecting into the future based onwhat we are doing and what is available now. Perceptions of space arealso shaped by this world view. The qasegiq becomes the center of one'sspace. Material things, spirits, time, people, or plants are all around. Thepast is important because it shapes identity and provides a lens forviewing space and time.Since the Yupiaq did not develop research tools as such, the notiontanguarluki kanginguakluki (to pretend to see, then to understand) impliesmuch intuition and visualization and thrusts insight into the spiritualrealm. Dreams, visions, and spirits working with receptive individuals,especially shamans, help us to understand phenomena that defy rationaland analytical explanations. I believe Western science short changes itselfby disdaining Native American thought. There still remains much thatmodern science cannot understand or explain in this world. However, itbehooves us, the Natives, to work to retain our identity and special lens,while borrowing from the modern scientific technology to enhance ourquality of life. As we do this we must adhere to the natural laws and180processes, so that the quality we obtain for ourselves is gained with natureand not at its expense.Domestication carries with it a notion of ownership, and to this we haveonly subjected the dog. It is considered to be like people -- take care of itand in return it will take care of you. Abuse it and you cannot expectanything from it. Perhaps our attitude toward domestication willeventually change, especially with respect to agriculture and aquaculture.The carrying capacity of the land and water is fast approachingmaximum utilization because of the increasing population and the ravagesof pollution. Since we are studying from an ecological perspective, thestudents should go to the marshes and bogs to collect vegetation and watersamples. This is an important source of nutrients, as well as a repositoryof pollutants. What do the elders have to say on this? What notions dothey have about the food web? How do they know what the variousspecies feed on and who uses them for food? Compare this with Fish andGame teaching materials on food webs.Of utmost importance to the hunter is the weather. The elders say,"The sun declares what the weather is going to be." "Use your eyes torecognize signs." "Read your environment." For the Yupiaq, the indicatorsare numerous. Ask the elders to read the weather every day and see howclose the predictions are. Then observe the wind direction, the direction ofwind changes, cloud formations, the layers of clouds, the wind direction onthe surface as compared to the direction of flow of a second layer of clouds,forming clouds over mountains, sunrises and sunsets, sundogs, and the feelof the air. Have the students use modern tools for measurement of windspeed, direction, air pressure, humidity, temperature, and satellite picturesfor cloud movement. It is interesting to note when the radio announcer in181the morning says that the beautiful weather we are having is contrary tothe modern satellite-based weather prediction. Have students observe theweather every day, recording the elders' predictions as well as recordingwhat actually happens. As elders advise, you get better with experience.Other signs to ask elders about include trees looking very dark; whiteor dark clouds forming around mountains; sundogs -- red outside, greeninside; mittens -- red but dark in the inside; northern lights -- dark on theunderside or red; moon with crescent emptying or upward; stars twinkling;sunrise slow; if the sun slips fast across sky and sets fast, and so forth. Theelders say we are making the weather bad and ruining it, because we havelost honor and respect for the earth. To know our place, our space, is toknow it intimately, its weather patterns, its natural features, its plants, itsanimals, with an openness of mind and sensitivity to subtle changes. Thisis identity -- who you are -- the pride of otherness!These suggestions present many possibilities for writing projects, artsand crafts, social studies, and mapping populations (animal, plant, andman). They lend themselves to ethnoscience projects, such as the qasegiq,with its architecture geared to fit the Yupiaq mind set. The qasegiq is builtof all natural materials, it fits into nature, it is nature -- heat efficient inwinter, cool in the summer. Study the qasegiq architecture, its materials,its place in nature as compared to the schoolhouse. Which would you thinkwould be most cost-effective and energy efficient? How would youdetermine the R-factor of the walls?In the making of dry fish, study the general purpose uluaq. It is amultiuse tool for everything from delicate to heavy-duty cutting, includingcutting through bones. Compute the increase in force (foot-pounds)necessary to cut through bone. In drying fish, follow the energy182transformations needed to produce the end product, the dry fish. With thesimplest of scientific technology, a delicacy is produced.Compare the engineering of the traditional dog sled to that of today.Consider the furs used to make parkas, pants, and mukluks. How did theYupiaq know of the capacity of some furs to absorb radiant energy? Howdid they learn about the transformation of energy to give warmth? Or thatdead air spaces help to retain body heat? Or the reading of weatherindicators to predict how cold and long the winter is going to be -- amatter of starvation or survival. Or the architecture and engineering usedto produce the qayaq, a marvel of an ocean-going craft. What gives itstructural strength yet flexibility? What is the tensile strength of seal orwalrus skin as opposed to aluminum or steel? What about the engineeringof the single and double paddles, with the blade being long and slim?Why? The arrow is aerodynamically superior to many rockets. It servedits purpose well for our people. Why was the three-pronged arrow usedfor birds or fish? For birds on the wing, it was necessary to allow for thespeed of the bird and the velocity of the arrow. For shooting fish, how didthe Yupiaq allow for refraction and diffraction?Everything the man and woman had -- clothing, hunting equipment,craft tools, and so forth -- were custom-made for the individual,personalized for strength, balance, accuracy, and uniqueness of the person.How does this contribute to identity and pride, as hunter and provider orfood preparer and clothier? In modern society, only the rich can affordcustom-made things; the rest of us are relegated to machine-madereplicated designs.Native people have engaged in highly abstract thinking at the spirituallevel, using visualization and blended expression in the art of spiritual and183pragmatic forms, for example, masks. The artistic and the practical cannotbe readily separated in Yupiaq society.Western scientific technology has given much to make life easier andlonger, but this has not always enhanced the quality of life. The high levelof modern living enjoyed by a few is accomplished at the expense of manyother people and of the earth. We therefore must press for working withinthe natural laws and processes by which our ultimate relationship with theenvironment is governed. We can ill afford to continue to do otherwise.A variation on the Hegelian triad (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) is what Ipropose needs to happen in the teaching of mathematics and the sciencesin this fish camp odyssey. The Yupiaq version of knowing can be taughtfirst as the thesis, with the Western version given next as the antithesis.The order of presentation can be modified, depending on the complexity ofthe subject being studied, the comprehension of the material, the readinessof the students, and whether the students have a good understanding ofthe basic principles involved. It is up to the teacher to gauge readiness.Once both approaches have been presented and considered, then thestudents may begin to search for a synthesis. To actualize the thoughtprocess, the students may have to be walked through by the teachers andelders with closely guided reasoning to incorporate the two mind sets onthe basis of discovery and inquiry.It is imperative that the students learn basic scientific principles andtechnologies, so they can use this understanding to develop simpler, morenature-sensitive technologies. For example, the housing in our region is ascourge to our people. Have the students review the technology of existingmaterials and structures, examining the advantages and disadvantages ofeach. Have them think about the natural materials and structures, with184their advantages and disadvantages. Have them think about the naturalmaterials available from their environment. Using the scientific method,they might then consider the following problem:Problem: Our original houses were derived from and a part of nature.What materials and designs can we use to develop a structureusing natural materials and incorporating modern technology?Materials available: sand, peat, thirteen varieties of bushes, sod,water, sunlight, iron rods, cement, resins, studs, plywood, lumber,glass, etc.Known: Elders remember how the qasegiqs were constructed.Experiment: Construct a traditional house using only natural material.1.Selection of site.2. Dig into the ground three to four feet deep.3. Construct a framework out of driftwood, using no nails, onlynotches.4. Cut blocks of sod for insulation. Place on wood or planks. Blocksare placed with the vegetation on the inside. Plants grownaturally on the outside.5. Make a skylight with removable seal intestine or bear intestinecover.Review and analyze the modern architect-designed house. Look atmaterials, site, elevation, insulation, heat sources, etc.Alternative designs to investigate: design a container and compresspeat for forming into bricks. Sun dry some, dry others in an oven.When dried and ready, arrange several bricks approximately 4' x4' upright. Arrange one with no adhesive between bricks, onewith a resin adhesive between each. The bricks now need185something to give structural strength and protection from theelements. Try covering one with a layer of cement on all sides,another with tar, one with tar on the outside and with cement onthe inside, one with cement on outside and resin on the inside.After several days, test for strength using all imaginable means.Findings by category: What is the next step? How? Water seepagecontrol? Test conditions for strength, durability, R-factor, etc.?Challenge: Can you develop a cheaper, more heat efficient, andstructurally strong house suited for the cold climates?The above "lesson," which has been successfully implemented in acoastal village, provides an idea of the possibilities for synthesizingdifferent approaches to come up with better solutions to everydayproblems, including the problem of making science education relevant tovillage students. Begin to think of other ways the students can use theirNative and modern intricate knowledge to devise simpler technologies.The possibilities are vast and varied.Another teaching approach might be to teach the concepts of elasticity,thrust, force, speed, velocity, aerodynamics, inertia, momentum, foot-pounds, trajectory, resistance, buoyancy, pressure, stabilizers, center ofgravity, payload, acceleration, deceleration, drag, etc., by using the bowand arrow and qayaq (kayak). Begin the class studies with the bow. Howdoes it provide thrust for the arrow? Here you can discuss potential andkinesthetic power. What determines the power of the bow? What mightthe Native hunter do to increase this? The hunter strung the bow onlywhen he was ready to use it. Why? The hunter would look for driftwoodthat was straight. He would then cut off a piece whose length wasdetermined by his height and reach. He would then split it, carefully186following the wood grain. Why do you suppose he did this? Using hismell'gag, or curved knife, he would fashion and smoothen its surface. Hewould then add a stone or flint point and feathers on the other end. Whatare some scientific principles he has to be aware of to do this? Thetechnology is simple to be sure, but he does it with care and uses allnaturally available products. He may even place on it the family crest, thesignature of his family, which clearly identifies the owner.The students could research several different arrow point designs usedfor different purposes. Other things they might ask the elders include howthey knew and allowed for refraction. Ask them how the warriors weretrained to use the bow and arrow and how they were to defend againstincoming arrows. To do this, estimation of distance, speed, and time haveto be calculated in the mind in fractions of a second. There were warriorscapable of this very difficult feat. The bow and arrow served our peoplewell.Next, take a look at the architecture and engineering of the qayaq, orkayak. It is streamlined, built for strength, uses natural products, is lightfor transportability, but with a high capacity for payload and stability.Again, the size is determined by the owner-to-be -- it is custom-made.The covering is made of sealskin or walrus skin. The skins are sewn ontothe framework. When it is finished, the seams and skins are coated with amixture of seal oil and peat. The mixture is first allowed to age. Why doyou suppose this was done? Several years ago, a group of Danish scientiststested out how seaworthy and strong a craft made in this way was. Theirfindings were that it was most seaworthy. The skin, in its moist condition,becomes resilient and flexible and has better tensile strength thanaluminum or steel of equal thickness. The framework adds to the strength,187as each piece is tied to the ribbing with skin thongs that get elastic whenmoist. It is highly resilient yet has great strength.Now you can contrast the bow and arrow and qayaq with the modernballistic missile and rocket power for controlled flight. The power source isdifferent, with man-made, highly combustible fuel. Its architecture andengineering employs the principles applied to the bow and arrow and theqayaq. However, the materials and power sources differ a great deal. Theformer use natural materials and are constructed mindful of spirits andnatural processes. The latter have taken a different path. Analyticalthinking has been applied through the scientific method to derive a highlycomplex machine of great power that can travel long distances. Thescientific principles and applications are the same. The former has chosena very simple survival technology to assure life for himself and his earth.It appears very simple from the point of view of modern man, but is verycomplex if considered from the panoramic viewpoint of maintaining anequilibrium for all life. We must train young minds into mathematics andthe sciences, so that they can use a blend of these very intricate scientifictechnologies to develop more appropriate technologies for survival and tobegin to undo the damage that has been wrought upon our planet Earth.The first two people in our origin story used the scientific method too,so it is not new to our Native people. Men use it every time they plan ahunting trip. The women use it every time they go out berry picking toprovide for the winter months.Whether derived from experiences in the fish camp setting describedabove or from textbooks in a school classroom, mathematics and sciencecurricula can be approached in a way that integrates Yupiaq and Westernknowledge systems and the methods by which they are derived. A188teacher, whether Native or not, can develop explanations andexperimentations by asking elders, young educated people, and thestudents themselves how something studied was or can be applied invillage life. I believe this process, if used honestly and creatively, canenhance the self-image of the young person, first as a human being ofworth, and secondly as a Native person. He or she can then strengthen thisNativeness with a valid need for otherness but with a natural respect forothers.The mystery of mathematics and science should begin to dissolve whenstudents understand that their ancestors have been applying "scientific"principles for a millennia and that these are very much a part of theireveryday life. Both Yupiaq and Western scientific knowledge andprinciples are a part of the whole body of human knowledge and skills andmust be approached from that perspective.From the Yupiaq Fish Camp to GaiaIn teaching students to become ecologically aware and to live withnature, we have to go back to the "time-honored pattern of the elements oflife: earth, air, fire, water and spirit" (Mills, 1990:xii). The students mustcome to understand each element that contributes to life, how our modernlife is endangering its life-giving processes, and what we might do toprevent or at least stem the destructive aspects of human enterprises. TheYupiaq creation legends, stories, rituals, and ceremonies attest to theinterconnectedness of the human to all things of the earth. Whatever thehuman being does to change the environment has an effect in the future.The ecological system is very delicate and interdependent. JamesLovelock's "Gaia hypothesis is that together the planet, its life-forms, and189its atmosphere are interacting and mutually creating, and have some of theproperties of living tissue; that the earth is like an organism" (Mills,1990:5).The Yupiaq desire would be to have this ecological knowledge clearlypresented and demonstrated by teachers, students, elders and othercommunity members. As is pointed out by Mills (1990), the Yupiaqknowledge can be broadened, strengthened, and given more detail byincorporating modern scientific knowledge without changing the originalYupiaq understanding. The Yupiaq people have been aware for a long timeof the destructiveness of the modern world with its emphasis oncontrolling and making money from the world's natural resources. Themodern world's bifurcation of the earth's natural resources into renewableand non-renewable has contributed to a mentality oriented towardrefining resources into manufactured items with built-in obsolescence.This includes new model automobiles, clothes with yearly changing stylesand fads, and throw-away packaging. To support this lifestyle, we engagein over fishing, decimating buffalo, clear-cutting forests, and drainingaquifers. The modern world is becoming aware of these excesses anddemanding more information on negative changes on earth and ultimatelywill have to recognize that ecology is a major force in the economy as wellas our future on this planet.Air, the "Earth's enveloping atmosphere is the cauldron of planet-girdling currents of wind, humidity, and temperature, the arena oftornadoes, blizzards, and drought. The weather is a mix of water and airdriven by fire (in the form of solar radiation). Impeded and rerouted byEarth's land forms, given its dynamic by temperature differentials and theEarth's rotation, weather governs our lives. Over evolutionary time each190living thing has developed a specific relationship to the weather andclimate" (Mills, 1990:62-3). The Yupiaq people in distant time knew muchabout weather and the permutations that controlled their activities. Nowthere is occurring an atmospheric decomposition due to industrializationand the teeming world population. Yupiaq people say that the weatherconditions have changed. What are the chemical agents for these changes?What can you as teacher, student, elder, or community member do toameliorate the situation?Fire is "at the heart of the Earth, just as fire is the heart of our solarsystem, and the heart and hearth of human culture" (Mills, 1990:91). Fireis necessary to cleanse the body, heart, and soul. Fire is used to give heatand light for the home, for giving light for performing ceremonies, forburning old growth to make room for new growth, providing new homesand reinvigorating plants and animals, for giving smoke to preserve meat,and many other uses. Fire today is used to create energy for homes andindustry using wood, coal, oil, or nuclear fuels. Fire is used to refine metalsto make various tools and machines. Fire is used to propel our automobile,snowmachine, outboard motor, airplane, etc. Besides fuel, what is requiredto make fire? How is fire contributing to decomposition of the air andpollution of the earth? What are alternative energy sources?"Water is so everywhere-present, and such a commonplace, that itsgifts seem almost limitless. Water is the only substance on Earth thatexists in all three physical states -- solid, liquid, and gaseous. . . . Earth isintegral -- the biosphere runs on water, sunlight, and minerals" (Mills,1990:123). Water is absolutely necessary for life. What has the modernhuman being done that is destroying water? Is this a renewable resourcein modern eyes? In some instances, especially underground, water is fast191becoming a non-renewable resource. How is this coming about? Ourcontinents are usually divided into countries, and the countries are dividedinto states, provinces, districts, or in some other fashion. This may beadvantageous for governance, but does it create problems of inappropriateresource utilization? Why?Spirit is "something larger and more mysterious than the individualself. As humans, our conception of soul and psyche is largely shaped bythe human mind. However, with the image of Gaia, and our deepeningunderstanding of ecology, it seems the life force itself shows intelligence --mind in nature" (Mills, 1990:157). The Yupiaq people have always hadthis in their consciousness as a way of life. They have held andacknowledge a force greater than the human being which flows througheach being as a soul of its own. Rituals and ceremonies were created toshow honor and reverence for the Ellam Yua, and to center oneself tomaintain or regain balance, ordering one's life. The tetrahedral model ofthe Yupiaq world view tries to show this.How can we use these five elements to teach science? It must not stopthere, however. The teachers must coordinate their activities so thatlanguage arts, social studies, arts and crafts, Yupiaq language, mathematics,and the sciences are all connected together. We must use the environment,elders, legends and stories, rituals and ceremonies, and Yupiaq artifacts toteach. "Learning is a function of a nuturant relationship, and the livingworld is the greatest teacher. The genius of traditional peoples is that theyteach their lifeways continually, and by a variety of means, from cradlesongs to pervasive symbolic connotation attached to seeminglycommonplace objects, to epic creation tales, to ritual offerings in specificplaces, to legitimating the authority of all elders in the tribe to teach the192correct lifeway, the lifeway appropriate to place" (Mills, 1990:159). This isvaluable wisdom for people to reconnect with the earth. The Yupiaqstudents will become motivated to learn from their distant ancestors andthe elders of today.SUMMARYYupiaq science education should attempt to take the Native student asfar intellectually as possible. This means that the student understandshow her or his own people make sense of the world and how they havedeveloped their technology. The Yupiaq people are doing science wheninvolved in subsistence activities. They know about flora and fauna, theyhave their own way of meteorology, knowledge of physics, chemistry,earth science, astronomy, the sacred, and one's inner world. The Yupiaqexplanations of natural phenomena must be explained in Yupiaq terms andnot only in Western terms. I say this because when I have tried to getelders to present their insights in Western terms and ideas, confusionseems to be the end result. Explaining an eddy along the river for placinga set net must be handled in the Yupiaq way of understanding, at leastinitially. This can then be explained in modern terms, such as speed offlow, resistance, turgidity, and tide tables. Let the teacher, students,elders, parents, and bilingual and teacher aides determine in what waysthe modern explanation adds to the Yupiaq explanation and understanding.All learning should start with what the student and community know andare using in everyday life. The Native student will become moremotivated to learn science when it is based on something useful andsuitable to the livelihood of the Yupiaq people.193The student should become scientifically literate -- that is, know whatscientists do, know something about the impact of science on society, orknow what some basic terms and concepts mean. The science teacher neednot try to prepare students only for advanced work at the university.Picking up on science and doing well at the university level seems to bebased more on the intelligence or ability and motivation of the studentthan on prior knowledge. The students must be shown first howmathematics, science and technology are dependent on each other andbear on their everyday lives in the modern world.Mathematics, science, and technology are human concerns and thus aresubject to advantages, limitations, use, misuse, and abuse. Together, theyhave enabled new surgical methods, medicines, engineering designs forautomobiles and planes, vast storage of information, rapid transfer ofmoney and materiel, nano-technology, trajectory to the moon, nuclearenergy, and new weapons of war. Yupiaq numbering and sciencing arenature-mediated and thus are not abstractions of the human mind, as aremodern math, science and technology.In the Yupiaq sense of the sacred there exists a nucleus of spiritualityand beauty as so graphically depicted by myths, legends, songs and dances,and masks and other artifacts in which respect and beauty are inscribedinto words and wood adorned with natural ornaments and paints. Yupiaqscience contributed to thinking, problem-solving, and preparing for thetasks of life and gave to the practitioner personal empiricism and thus asense of self-reliance and self-determination.The old manuals and laboratory experiments as we know them are nolonger adequate for the study of science. One cannot effectively study theecological systems in the laboratory or grow a balanced aquarium or194terrarium in the classroom or study the effects of sewage and garbage.Holistic science lacks the adaptability to the standard laboratory formatthat the old science topics fit.So it behooves science teachers to take a look at Native ways of science-- patient long-term observation in natural settings, reflection individuallyand in groups, testing out tentative theories, and paying attention tointuitive thought given from the natural and the spiritual worlds. Thelatter give a moral basis to Yupiaq science. The old adage, "nothing in theworld is constant except the process of constant change," has always beenforemost in the Yupiaq mind and should continue. We need to recognizethat the Western techno-mechanistic world view is no longer adequate orappropriate, and that a paradigmatic shift toward a holistic world view isnecessitated by the deteriorating global situation.Using the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and spirit as teachingtools will allow elders to contribute to the renewal of knowledge.Teachers, students, and community members will come to know andunderstand the Yupiaq philosophy of life and world view, with itslanguage, values, and methodologies for teaching. They will begin to knowtheir place in space and time intimately. They will begin to knowthemselves both inwardly and outwardly. In using math, science, andtechnology, Yupiaq people would learn what science is all about, the impactthat science and technology has had on their lives, what a scientist does,and scientific terms and concepts peculiar to their world. From such anundertaking, all humankind would benefit.195CONCLUSIONUsing a Yupiaq world view as a base, this study has attempted toprovide a conceptual framework for rethinking what we teach in schoolsand how we teach it, particularly as it pertains to science. Central to thisYupiaq-based framework is the need to understand the interrelatedness ofall things in the universe, including the natural, human and spiritualrealms. In teaching students about the five elements of life -- earth, air,fire, water and spirit -- it is important that they understand that each is asacred gift to the life-giving forces of Mother Earth, and that all arenecessary for life on earth to survive. Together, they make it possible forcreation on earth to continue. The Yupiaq people have honored andrespected these gifts in their rituals and ceremonies. In return, the earthhas provided homes for people, animals and plants. We can all expand ourknowledge and enrich our lives by seeking to better understand theYupiaq peoples' perceptions and behaviors in relation to the natural andspiritual worlds, which has served for millenia to sustain their lives.The modern schools are not teaching students how to live a life that issustainable. Rather, they are transmitting a lot of information to thestudents, but without also showing them how they can convert thatinformation into useful knowledge for making a living. Another step isrequired for people, individually and collectively, to sort out what is usableknowledge that can be transformed into the wisdom necessary to not onlymake a living, but to make a life. The many machines, modern tools, andvaunted computers are not enough to teach us a lifeway that nurtures thesoul. It is important, therefore, that we find ways to use the elementalspirit, values and cultures of indigenous peoples, such as the Yupiaq, to196create a new lifeway that achieves the harmony and balance necessary fora quality of life that is sustainable.To achieve this, we must come to recognize that the makeup of theworld is nonlinear, and that as a result we will never fully understand andexercise control over everything in the universe. We must also realize andappreciate that in modern scientific and technological endeavors,mathematics, science and technology are interrelated, as are all otherdisciplines. Science education must, therefore, become aligned with thecommon philosophical thread, or the "distant memory," as it is called by N.Scott Momaday (1969), of the ecological perspective. All peoples of theearth began from this vista, and we must return to it for attaining a newconsciousness and a sustainable life.To begin to understand these phenomena, Yupiaq science educationshould begin with the five elements -- earth, air, fire, water and spirit.The sacred gifts of each must be understood, along with the human beingsexploitative activities which contribute to our despiritualization throughthe reduction of the earth's life-giving qualities. In order to be holistic, theeducational activities associated with each element must include Yupiaqlanguage and culture, language arts, mathematics, social studies, arts andcrafts, and the sciences. All must be interrelated, just as all is interrelatedat the fish camp, and as all of earth is interrelated. Like the lessons fromthe many myths, such as the Bear-Woman story, all phenomena are verydynamic and ever-changing, and, like the myth, very mystical.The importance of this study is that it tries to show that the continuedassault on our planet earth is an assault on our personal and collectivefreedom. As the people and product pollution continues to encroach uponour lands, more laws, rules and regulations are enacted to try to mitigate197the adverse affects which cause physical, emotional, psychological, andearthly pains. These very laws, enacted to help make the situationtolerable, also serve to isolate people from nature. As a result, a lonely cryensues, heard not only from indigenous peoples, but from people globally.Among the Yupiaq people there is an attempt at reviving a sense ofsacredness in being, thinking, acting and doing, and restoring a sense of"place" where a lifeway that goes beyond making a living can be restored.This can be a gift of life from the Yupiaq people. 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Has what you have learned been useful knowledge?Yupiaq knowing and technology were developed through observations andinterrogations in close association with the spirits and Nature, with anemphasis on harmony in all things. Modern science and technology tendsto see its role as one of mastering Nature. How do these different viewsabout our relationship with Nature affect the way we approach theenvironment around us? What do you think about what is happening inthe world today?Do you think that the Yupiaq should have a part in determining what is tobe taught in school and in making our own tools and other things to fit ourown being, culture and environment? How would you suggest that this bedone? What do you think should be taught in schools?What should elders, parents and community members do to help advanceYupiaq knowledge?What would be the most important idea to be taught to students thatwould help them to become more kindly and respectful of others, honorand respect Nature, and care for all living things?Are there any other messages you would want to pass on to others?


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