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The Induction Seminar: Nurturing Culturally Sustaining Teaching and Learning in Rural Alaska Native Communities

Culturally Sustaining and Revitalizing Pedagogies

ISBN: 978-1-78441-261-6, eISBN: 978-1-78441-260-9

Publication date: 5 June 2017


Western schooling has contributed significantly to the colonization of Indigenous peoples in Alaska. Non-Native approaches continue to dominate in many schools that serve Indigenous P-12 students. This disconnect can lead to students and families who are disengaged from school (Castagno & Brayboy, 2008). In rural schools serving Indigenous students in Alaska, most school staff are hired from out of state, leaving youth vulnerable to practices that may not include their knowledge systems, languages and values. Unexamined practices by Western teachers can unknowingly perpetuate, “… ongoing legacies of colonization, ethnocide and linguicide” (McCarty & Lee, 2014). As one way to address this ongoing issue, faculty at the University of Alaska Anchorage College of Education developed a course called the Induction Seminar. The Seminar is a yearlong, online course for non-Native educators serving in rural Indigenous communities which combines an Alaska Department of Education teacher requirement for a multicultural course and an Alaska Studies course. The class content and processes familiarize Western educators with Indigenous ways of knowing and encourage them to examine their role in bringing about positive school reform. The course is increasingly requested by new-to-Alaska educators teaching in Indigenous communities and is making a small and hopeful impact in preparing educators to become more confident and competent in implementing culturally sustaining and revitalizing practices (Paris, 2014). This chapter describes how Western university instructors and P-12 educators used an “inward gaze” (Paris & Alim, 2014) to examine current practices and seek out pedagogies that support Indigenous education in rural Alaska.



Roth, K. (2017), "The Induction Seminar: Nurturing Culturally Sustaining Teaching and Learning in Rural Alaska Native Communities", Culturally Sustaining and Revitalizing Pedagogies (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 29), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 169-187.



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