Empowering Tribal Youth in Cultural Heritage Management: A Case Study from the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Abstract

This paper explores a collaborative program focused on identifying the role of archaeology in heritage education and management delivered under cultural leadership. The method of delivery and teaching is reflexive and adaptive, via on-ground conservation projects that have tangible social outcomes focused on empowering Alaskan Native youth. A case study from the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska examines how action-oriented education, via conservation, is critical to the development of a more socially relevant archaeology. At the same time, the program ensures the archaeological process links with the transmission of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and the incorporation of local cultural structures for practical landscape management.

Résumé

Cet article explore un programme de collaboration axé sur l’identification du rôle de l’archéologie dans l’éducation et la gestion du patrimoine dans le cadre du leadership culturel. La méthode de prestation et d’enseignement est réflexive et adaptative, par le biais de projets de préservation sur le terrain qui ont des résultats sociaux tangibles axés sur l’autonomisation des jeunes. Une étude de cas de la péninsule de Kenai en Alaska examine comment l’éducation orientée vers l’action, par la préservation, est essentielle au développement d’une archéologie plus pertinente sur le plan social. En même temps, le programme assure le lien entre le processus archéologique et la transmission du savoir écologique traditionnel et l’intégration des structures culturelles locales dans la gestion pratique du paysage

Resumen

Este artículo explora un programa de colaboración centrado en la identificación del papel de la arqueología en la educación del patrimonio y la gestión del patrimonio como parte del liderazgo cultural. El método de entrega y enseñanza es reflexivo y adaptativo, a través de proyectos de preservación de campo que tienen resultados sociales tangibles enfocados en empoderar a los jóvenes. Un estudio de caso de la península de Kenai en Alaska examina cómo la educación orientada a la acción a través de la preservación es esencial para el desarrollo de una arqueología más relevante socialmente. Al mismo tiempo, el programa asegura el vínculo entre el proceso arqueológico y la transmisión del conocimiento ecológico tradicional y la integración de las estructuras culturales locales en la gestión práctica del paisaje.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4

Notes

  1. 1.

    Unless otherwise noted, all quotes are taken from taped interviews with Madison Dapcevich, University of Montana master student, in July 2016.

  2. 2.

    In this paper, the ‘youth’ engaged as part of this program are Kenaitze Indian Tribal members or members of other Alaskan Native tribes.

  3. 3.

    For more information on the structure and goals of these camps, see: https://www.kenaitze.org/programs/yaghanen-youth-programs/camps/.

References

  1. Agbe-Davies, A. S. (2010a). Archaeology as a tool to illuminate and support community struggles in the black metropolis of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Public Archaeology, 9(4), 171–193.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Agbe-Davies, A. S. (2010b). Concepts of community in the pursuit of an inclusive archaeology. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 16(6), 373–389.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Atalay, S. (2006). Indigenous archaeology as decolonizing practice. American Indian Quarterly, 30(3), 280–310.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bardavio, A., Gatell, C., & González-Marcén, P. (2004). Is archaeology what matters? Creating a sense of local identity among teenagers in catalonia. World Archaeology, 36(2), 261–274.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Boraas, A. (2002). Results of subsurface testing: Proposed Kenai River Bridge Access Road Pedestrian Pathway. Report prepared by A. Boraas under contract to Wince-Corthell-Bryson, Kenai, Alaska.

  6. Boraas, A., & Donita, P. (2008). The role of Beggesh and Beggesha in Precontact Dena’ina culture. Alaska Journal of Anthropology, 6(1–2), 211–224.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bruchac, M., Hart, S., & Wobst, H. M. (Eds.). (2016). Indigenous archaeologies: A reader on decolonization. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Cipolla, C. N., & Quinn, J. (2016). Field school archaeology the Mohegan Way: Reflections on twenty years of community-based research and teaching. Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage, 3(2), 118–134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Drake, S. C., & Cayton, H. A. (1993 [1945]). Black metropolis: A study of Negro life in a Northern City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  10. Dumond, D. E. (1998). Maritime adaptation on the Northern Alaska Peninsula. Arctic Anthropology, 35(1), 187–203.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Jordan, R. H., & Knecht, R. A. (1998). Archaeological research on Western Kodiak Island, Alaska: The development of Koniag culture. In R. D. Shaw, R. K. Harritt & D. E. Dumond (Eds.), The late prehistoric development of Alaska’s Native People (Vol. 4, pp. 356–453). Monograph Series. Anchorage: Alaska Anthropological Association.

  12. Kari, J. (1996). Linguistic traces of Dena’ina strategy at the archaic periphery. In N. Y. Davis & W. E. Davis (Eds.), Adventures through time: readings in the anthropology of Cook Inlet, Alaska. Proceedings of a Symposium (pp. 49–64). Anchorage: Cook Inlet Historical Society.

  13. Kerber, J. E. (2003). Community-based archaeology in central New York: Workshops involving native American Youth. The Public Historian, 25(1), 83–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Layton, R. (1994). Introduction. In R. Layton (Ed.), Who needs the Past: Indigenous values and archaeology (pp. 1–20). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Little, B. J., & Shackel, P. A. (Eds.). (2007). Archaeology as a tool of civic engagement. Lanham: Alta Mira Press.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Martinez, D. R. (2014). Indigenous archaeologies. In C. Smith (Ed.), Encyclopedia of global archaeology. New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  17. McGuire, R. H. (1992). Archaeology and the first Americans. American Anthropologist, 94(4), 816–836.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Nicholas, G. P. (2006). Decolonizing the archaeological landscape: The practice and politics of archaeology in British Columbia. American Indian Quarterly, 30(3/4), 350–380.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Preucel, R. W., & Cipolla, C. N. (2008). Indigenous and postcolonial archaeologies. In M. Liebmann & U. Z. Rizvi (Eds.), Archaeology and the postcolonial critique (pp. 129–140). Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Reger, D. R., & Boraas, A. (1996). An overview of the radiocarbon chronology in cook inlet prehistory. In N. Y. Davis & W. Davis (Eds.), Adventures through time: Readings in the anthropology of Cook Inlet, Alaska. Proceedings of a Symposium (pp. 157–171). Anchorage: Cook Inlet Historical Society.

  21. Reger, D. R., & Mobley, C. M. (2008). Dena’ina use of marine resources for food and tools. Alaska Journal of Anthropology, 6(1–2), 199–210.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Rizvi, U. Z. (2015). Decolonizing archaeology: On the global heritage of epistemic laziness. In O. Kholeif (Ed.), Two days after forever: A reader in the choreography of time (pp. 154–163). Reader for the 56th Venice Biennale, Cyprus Pavillion. Berlin: Sternberg.

  23. Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Pantheon.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Smith, C., & Jackson, G. (2006). Decolonizing indigenous archaeology: Developments from down under. American Indian Quarterly, 30(3, 4), 311–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Tennessen, D. C. (2009). Stone tools and behavioral ecology on Alaska’s Katmai coast. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota.

  26. Workman, W. B. (1998). Archaeology of the Southern Kenai Peninsula. Arctic Anthropology, 35(1), 146–159.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Wylie, A. (2008). Legacies of collaboration: Transformative criticism in Archaeology. Patty Jo Watson Distinguished Lecture, presented at the American Anthropological Association—Archaeology Division, San Francisco, CA.

Download references

Acknowledgements

Funding for the 2016/17 season was provided via a grant from the Kenai Mountains Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area. Youth internship wages and support were provided by Cook Inlet Tribal Council. We are forever grateful to Alex Kime and his passionate team at Alaska Horsemen Trail Adventures, who provide a unique, safe and fun place for all of us; the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, the Yaghanen Youth Center team, Elders and youth, who provide so much energy, compassion and motivation to learn, explore and work together; and the USFS team led by Sherry Kime, who continue to work above and beyond, and remain committed to the community outreach and site conservation.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David R. Guilfoyle.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Guilfoyle, D.R., Carey, G., Rogers, A.J. et al. Empowering Tribal Youth in Cultural Heritage Management: A Case Study from the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Arch 15, 42–63 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11759-019-09357-8

Download citation

Key Words

  • Alaska
  • Dena’ina Heritage management
  • Indigenous collaboration
  • Traditional fishing
  • Youth education