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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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


This case study examines some of the cultural and educational implications of the intersection of a Western world view and a Yupiaq world view in a remote Yupiaq Eskimo village on the Kuskokwim River in southwestern Alaska. The study examines how the contemporary Yupiaq people have adapted their belief system, educational practices and subsistence lifestyle to accommodate a mix of Western and indigenous cultural traditions and technologies. It involves the documentation of Yupiaq practices in a traditional fish camp and science education in a school setting. The most important vehicle for data gathering was the role of participant-observer, because it was congruent with the way Yupiaq people learn. In addition to patient observation, emphasis was placed on document analysis, informal conversations, and interviews as the primary sources of data from the fieldwork. The study addresses the aspirations of Yupiaq people for self-determination and self-reliance by providing a pedagogical framework which attempts to meld Western and Yupiaq knowledge generation and use, based on the data gathered in the field. Special attention is given to the generation and application of scientific knowledge in a manner suited to the maintenance of Yupiaq cultural traditions and world view in a contemporary world.

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