Alaska Native Studies Minor - Course Descriptions

Core Courses:

AKNS A201 Alaska Native Perspectives

Introduction to Alaska Native perspectives on kinship, time, philosophy, symbolism, spirituality, communication, justice, oral traditions, storytelling, material culture, and the relationship to the environment. Students will become familiar with the diversity of Alaska Native peoples, languages, and world views and how these influence contemporary and global issues.

AKNS A492 Cultural Knowledge of Native Elders

Provides students exposure to and interaction with prominent Alaska Native tradition bearers in order to ascertain knowledge of the traditional values, culture, and world views which comprise the heritage of Alaska Native people. Students will gather information on traditional values, governance, and leadership by eliciting accounts of the Elders' experiences, and by comparing Native and "Western" culture, understand the significance of cultural differences in world view, heritage, and communication.


Focus Areas:

Policy Focus

AKNS A290 Selected Topics in Alaska Native Studies

A topic of contemporary or continuing interest in Alaska Native Studies, treated at an introductory level. Prominent leaders in the Native community are brought into direct classrooms contact with students to discuss important issues in rural Alaska and the larger Native community. 

and/or

AKNS A490 Selected Topics in Alaska Native Studies

A topic of contemporary or continuing interest in Alaska Native Studies, treated at an upper level. Tradition and change in Native social institutions in contemporary society. Methods of identifying and analyzing significant Native social change processes for public understanding.

AKNS/PS A411 Tribes, Nations and Peoples

Analyzes and evaluates the history of expansion, invasion, contemporary questions, and issues that confront Indigenous tribes, nations, and peoples, including their political, social, economic, and cultural activities. Investigates corresponding relations with non-Indigenous governments and private entities as well as international developments concerning Indigenous human rights.

Language Focus

AKNS A101 Alaska Native Language I

Introductory course for students with little, or no, prior knowledge of the offered Alaska Native language. Develops listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in the Alaska Native language for effective communication at the elementary level. Addresses history of Alaska Native languages and cultures.

AKNS A102 Alaska Native Languages II

Continuation of introductory course. Further develops elementary listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in a selected Alaska Native language for effective communication. Enhances appreciation of Alaska Native and cross-cultural perspectives.


Approved courses for minor:

AKNS A101 Alaska Native Languages I

Introductory course for students with little, or no, prior knowledge of the offered Alaska Native language. Develops listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in the Alaska Native language for effective communication at the elementary level. Addresses history of Alaska Native languages and cultures.

AKNS A102 Alaska Native Languages II

Continuation of introductory course. Further develops elementary listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in a selected Alaska Native language for effective communication. Enhances appreciation of Alaska Native and cross-cultural perspectives.

AKNS A109 Alaska Native Language Orthography

Introduction to reading and writing an Alaska Native language for students with oral proficiency in the Alaska Native language. Students will be introduced to alphabet and phonetic classification, dialects, and a history of the selected Alaska Native language writing systems. Enhances cross-cultural perspectives.

AKNS/MUS A215 Music of Alaska Natives and Indigenous Peoples of Northern Regions

Explores the music of Alaska Natives and Indigenous Peoples of Northern regions by group, including influences from Euro-American music.

AKNS/MUS A216 World Indigenous Music

Survey course on indigenous music cultures of the world. Musical traditions of Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Near/Far East are examined within the context of musical styles and cultures. Ability to read music is not required.

AKNS A290 Selected Topics in Alaska Native Studies

A topic of contemporary or continuing interest in Alaska Native Studies, treated at an introductory level. Prominent leaders in the Native community are brought into direct classrooms contact with students to discuss important issues in rural Alaska and the larger Native community.

AKNS/PS A346 Alaska Native Politics

Introduction to historical relationships among federal, territorial, state and local laws and policies as they affect Alaska Natives and Native/non-Native relations. Includes contemporary issues and comparative case studies.

AKNS/PS A411 Tribes, Nations and Peoples

Analyzes and evaluates the history of expansion, invasion, contemporary questions, and issues that confront Indigenous tribes, nations, and peoples, including their political, social, economic, and cultural activities. Investigates corresponding relations with non-Indigenous governments and private entities as well as international developments concerning Indigenous human rights.

AKNS A490 Selected Topics in Alaska Native Studies

A topic of contemporary or continuing interest in Alaska Native Studies, treated at an upper level. Tradition and change in Native social institutions in contemporary society. Methods of identifying and analyzing significant Native social change processes for public understanding.

AKNS A495 Alaska Native Studies Internship

An opportunity for students to apply the subject matter of Alaska Native Studies to the practical life of their community. Internships are available in a variety of governmental, non-profit and profit settings, and require a formal agreement between the student, the faculty member and the supervisor; a work evaluation; and a student report.

ANTH A200 Natives of Alaska

Introduction to culture and history of Alaska Natives. Includes environmental settings, linguistic subdivisions, traditional sociocultural organization and subsistence patterns, contact with non-Native groups, and contemporary issues, including education, politics, and law.

ANTH A427 Ethno-History of Alaska Natives

Examination of major changes in Alaskan Native societies from initial contact to 1940, through the integration of archaeological evidence, oral traditions, historical narratives and governmental documents.

ANTH A435 Northwest Coast Cultures

Indigenous peoples and cultures of the Northwest Coast, including prehistory, regional variations, key institutions (potlatch, art, slavery, spirituality, warfare), cultural history, ethnohistorical change and contemporary issues such as cultural revitalization, land and resources rights, and self-determination.

ANTH A436 Aleut Adaptations

Intensive study of traditional and post-contact Aleut (Unangan) culture. Includes origins, prehistory, biological and cultural adaptations. Also considers contemporary Aleut social, economic and political status.

ENGL A455 Alaska Native Literatures

Study of traditional, historical stories and contemporary texts written in English by Alaska Natives.

HIST A341 History of Alaska

An introduction to Alaska and its relationship to America and the world, including Alaska geography, Alaska Native anthropology, and a detailed chronological history of the 49th state. Topics include Russian exploration, occupation, and management; Native-Russian relations; the Alaska Purchase; U.S. military; missionaries; gold rushes; territorial era; statehood; Native land claims and corporations; oil development and the disposition and management of Alaska lands.

JUST A355 Rural Justice

Investigates rural crime and criminal justice. Examines the specific geographic, social and cultural characteristics of rural communities and how these factors influence the prevalence and nature of crime and criminal justice. Reviews and assesses competing theories of justice. Comparative analysis of rural crime and criminal justice in other countries, with emphasis given to other Circumpolar nations.