“Place-based Education\” Lecture- Ray Barnhadt 1

442-lRay Barnhardt
Professor of Cross-Cultural Education and Rural Development, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Co-Director, Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative


The work that I will be describing this evening is an outgrowth of a ten-year educational initiative aimed at helping schools in rural Alaska better serve the needs of Native children and communities.

The work was carried out through the Alaska Federation of Natives in collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Department of Education with funding from the US National Science Foundation.

I served as one of three Co-Directors for the project, working closely with Alaska Native educators and elders from throughout Alaska.

The most critical contributors on whom this work depended were the Alaska Native knowledge-bearers, such as Cecilia Martz, whom you will be hearing from in a short while, and these Athabascan elders from the village of Old Minto, who have acquired encyclopedic knowledge about the place they have inhabited for millennia.

Since Alaska is made up of many different cultural and linguistic groups (as illustrated on this map), each of which has adapted to a diverse set of environmental conditions ranging from coastal rainforest to Arctic tundra, the task of developing a more culturally appropriate educational system had to take into consideration the particular world view, values and traditions of each cultural region.