Date of Graduation
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
School of Education
International and Multicultural Education
International & Multicultural Education EdD
"Wherever there is a situation of domination and subordination between any two groups, whatever their color or religion, this will be reflected in the language relationship: one language dominating the other." —wa Thiong’o (2011, p. 244) Indigenous language and culture education efforts in Anchorage, Alaska are limited by omissions in the public school curriculum. One of the many reasons for this is that policy makers believe there is not sufficient demand for Alaska Native languages in public schools. Further there is a perceived lack of language teacher-leaders and experts to build programs for Alaska Native language instruction. This study used a quantitative survey of 80 high school students, Native and non-Native, to understand actual student’s interest in Indigenous languages and their perceptions of the benefits in knowing an Alaskan language. The study also did a qualitative analysis of data from interviews from seven Indigenous language expert participants to explore who is doing revitalization work, understand their perspectives, and gather their recommendations for culturally responsive program format and content.Quantitative data analysis from the 80 student surveys revealed; 1) both Native and non-Native students have a strong interest in Alaska Native language programs and 2) most students are unaware of the multiple cultural, academic, and employment benefits associated with Alaskan language study. The qualitative data from the Indigenous language experts generated three key findings: 1) The arts are foundational for indigenous curriculum, 2) Technology must be incorporated for language revitalization, and 3) Indigenous students require language and culture education for their formation of identity, pride, and world views. The study also confirmed that there is a strong community of language experts and teacher-leaders supporting Indigenous language revitalization work in Alaska, Oklahoma, and around the rest of the world. Tribal Critical Theory explains how the contemporary language and culture education structure in Anchorage, Alaska reflects the colonization goals of status quo in Euro-centric language programs, ongoing erasure of Native languages, and a hegemonic perspective on the value of Native languages. Many of Alaska’s Native languages and cultures are now in jeopardy of extinction; timing is crucial for language preservation and revitalization. Successful language revitalization models from places like Canada, Hawaii, and New Zealand offer language and culture program roadmaps for Anchorage public schools.
Watson (Paskvan), Betsy, "Equity in language programs: Revitalizing indigenous languages in secondary school in Anchorage, Alaska" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations. 589.