Showing posts from July, 2013

Featured on Alaska Commons!

My recent post "Why Black Bears and Brown Bears Aren't 'Bears'" has now been featured on Alaska Commons, a website with all sorts of articles and features from Alaska writers. Although it has no comments after two days, I was flattered to share my writing and I hope a few more people enjoy it now.

This follows just three weeks after I was a featured blogger on the Alaska Blog Network, which Alaska Commons is also a part of. I'm quite happy to be finally connecting Peter's Publisher with other parts of the blogosphere, especially the Alaska blogosphere.

Danger in Yakutat, 1880

This year I've written a few different in-depth posts on the blog about moments from Tlingit history—a natural outgrowth, I suppose, from all the fun research I did while writing my senior thesis. I wrote about a Spanish expedition that came to Prince of Wales Island in 1779, (likely bringing smallpox), and I wrote about a battle in Prince William Sound in 1792 fought between Tlingit, Russians, and the Russians' Chugach Sugpiaq allies (the first recorded battle between Tlingit and Russians).

More recently, I highlighted some of my favorite facts from the book Land of the Ocean Mists by Francis Caldwell. Now I'd like to share a full story from Land of the Ocean Mists, paraphrased in my own words and with additional information provided. The story concerns a dangerous year spent in the place the Tlingit named Laax̱aayík, a place we now call Yakutat...

Why Black Bears and Brown Bears Aren't "Bears"

UAS recently put up signs for each of its student apartments (which, by the way, are very nice to stay in). The signs give a nature-related name to each building that begins with its already-established letter designator: I, for example, live in building A, which now has a sign saying "Aurora." The signs look great, and I love that a translation is provided for each word in Lingít (Tlingit), such that "Aurora" has "gisʼóoḵ" beneath it (a new word I'll remember now).

I have found one problem, however, and it's the sign in front of building B:

Highlights from Land of the Ocean Mists by Francis Caldwell

I recently finished the book Land of the Ocean Mists: The Wild Ocean Coast West of Glacier Bay, written by longtime Alaska fisherman Francis Caldwell. Caldwell covers all the information and stories most people would ever want to know about the coast between the Alsek River and Cape Spencer in Southeast Alaska, known as the Fairweather Country. Here's a roughly chronological list of some of the most interesting things I learned, all paraphrased or summarized from the book:

First, no person lives in the Fairweather Country today. In the past, however, there were Tlingit villages at Dry Bay, Lituya Bay, Cape Fairweather, on a stream coming out of Grand Plateau Glacier, and at a site on Palma Bay now covered by La Perouse Glacier.

Featured on the Alaska Blog Network!

I am now a featured blogger on the Alaska Blog Network! It's a growing community of great bloggers in Alaska, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

I wrote a short guest post for the site that introduces me, the Publisher, and my new blog, Teaching in Lingít Aaní. In my post, I began by explaining how my family came to Alaska, and then moved on to how I started blogging—unsurprising topics for a historian who loves finding the reasons for things.

I joined the Alaska Blog Network a few months ago when its founder (who blogs here and here) told me about her project. I was really excited to join, since I'd always lamented the small number of Alaskan bloggers I knew and the lack of networking between us. I especially like the two organized lists of blogs on the ABN—one by subject and one by location. I'd love to see some more teaching blogs and blogs from Southeast Alaska there soon.

If you happen to be another blogger from Alaska reading this post and haven't joined the A…

A New Blog: Teaching in Lingít Aaní

Last Friday the other master's students and I had a one-day technology workshop with our UAS education technology professor. We won't be taking his course until September, but I appreciated that the workshop gave us a jumpstart on what we'll do in the coming months. Most importantly, the professor had all of us create a website that will serve as an online portfolio for class assignments.

Most of my fellow students created an e-portfolio using Google Sites, but my own experience with that service has led me to feel that it's highly limited, and somewhat frustrating to work with. I far preferred its predecessor, Google Pages, which I used to create projects like this one. (It doesn't look as good as it did originally, since it was switched over.) Instead of using Sites, I opted for another Google-owned service that I'm much more familiar with: Blogger.

Reel Injun, Atanarjuat, and Breaking the Indian/Native American Paradigm

Recently I watched the film Reel Injun, a documentary about Hollywood's hundred-year history of portraying indigenous North Americans. Perhaps not surprisingly, Reel Injun is a Canadian film—not one supported by Hollywood. Near the end of the film, it also points to the Canadian (Inuit) production Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner as showing the way forward in indigenous filmmaking. My curiosity sparked, I watched Atanarjuat myself, (it's free to watch here), and I really was impressed.

Released in 2001, Atanarjuat was the first feature-length fiction film written, produced, directed, and acted by Inuit, and it was acted entirely in their language, Inuktitut. Simply put, it's a beautiful, superbly-acted film depicting a story of jealousy and revenge that dates from long before Europeans invaded Inuit lands. Not every indigenous film should depict only the past, of course, but I wholeheartedly agree that Atanarjuat is a strong example for future works, both in its use of indigen…