Newly hired Alaska teachers participate alongside Elders, culture bearers, local youth, and peers in a cultural immersion and supportive gatherings under the structure of a university-level multicultural studies course.
For thousands of years, Alaska Native communities have developed rich and varied traditions that encourage the values of Sharing and Cooperation, Respect for Others, Hard Work, Respect for Nature, Spirituality, and Humor.
Today, people in remote, rural Alaska constantly navigate the tension between sustaining their traditional culture and thriving in a changing world. The teachers who serve these communities are challenged to negotiate these tensions themselves, while adapting to a way of life that is unfamiliar, and discovering who they are within a new cultural context.
The Alaska Humanities Forum partners with communities, Alaska Native organizations, and school districts across three rural regions to provide the Creating Cultural Competence (C3) program. Newly hired teachers participate alongside Elders, culture bearers, local youth, and peers in a cultural immersion during the summer and supportive gatherings during the school year, all under the structure of a university-level multicultural studies course.
Cross-cultural experience: Orientation, immersion, and a debrief process assist participants in gaining knowledge of the region as well as local communication, learning, and teaching styles.The C3 journey invites teachers not only to learn about the culture of the community they'll become a member of, but also to develop a deeper understanding of their own racial, ethnic, and cultural identities and how those identities shape their values and assumptions about teaching. Through the C3 program, teachers build relationships that help them connect with the people, communities, and region where they will be teaching.
North Slope Region: Download Brochure
Partners: Arctic Slope Community Foundation, North Slope Borough School District, Iḷisaġvik College
Northwest Arctic Region: Download Brochure
Partners: Maniilaq Association, Northwest Arctic Borough School District
Educators must be:
A 2017 five-year study shows a significant impact:
C3 is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Alaska Native Education Program.
Photos from the 2022 North Slope Cultural Immersion
The Alaska Humanities Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that designs and facilitates experiences to bridge distance and difference – programming that shares and preserves the stories of people and places across our vast state, and explores what it means to be Alaskan.
April 25, 2022 • George Martinez
November 9, 2021 • Nancy Hemsath
September 14, 2021 • Nancy Hemsath