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“Every Voice Matters: Recording and Sharing Alaska Native Educational Experiences

In addition to teaching the Introduction to Communication course at UAS as an Adjunct, I am also the program coordinator for the Juneau Public Libraries. Recently, we were awarded a StoryCorps @ Your Library grant which is funded by the American Library Association and StoryCorps, a national oral history project whose mission it is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and, preserve the stories of our lives. The theme for this oral history project is “Every Voice Matters: Recording and Sharing Alaska Native Educational Experiences” and you can find a flyer attached. Working in partnership with the Egan Library and faculty member Lance Twitchell, as well as a host of other community partners, we would like to invite you and your students to participate in this unique community project. Participants receive a free CD recording of their interview and can choose to archive their story with the Juneau Public Libraries, StoryCorps, and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Additionally, we are working to add Sealaska Heritage Institute and the Cyril George Alaska native Knowledge Collection at UAS as archive partners.

Our goal is to be a catalyst for civic engagement about education and to create an archive of stories that reflects that conversation. It has been an honor to be present as elders and their family members share their stories — some, painful memories of systematic erasure of their language and culture by historical institutions, and others, emerging new approaches to learning that strive to be inclusive of Alaska Native ways of knowing. We also hope the opportunity to participate in this conversation enhances other activities on campus like the “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness” exhibit and the “One Campus, One Book” selection of Ernestine Hayes’ book, Blonde Indian.

We’ll be using the recording studio this semester, which is located on the ground floor of the Egan Library, and can schedule interviews between friends, co-workers, or family members on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10a.m. and 1p.m. Other times and locations can be arranged as well. Please contact me at this email or by phone 907-586-0434 to make an appointment. Generally it takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and half to fill out the paperwork, record the interview, and sign the release forms.

Beth Weigel, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator
Juneau Public Libraries


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