Ray Barnhardt and Oscar Kawagley honored with 2011 William Demmert Leadership Awards

By: Staff   May 16, 2011

UAA College of Education bestows awards on Alaska Native education leaders

ANCHORAGE, AK – The UAA College of Education honored Dr. Ray Barnhardt and the late Dr. Oscar Kawagley with 2011 William Demmert Leadership Awards for their groundbreaking work in the field of indigenous knowledge and culture. The College of Education presented this award to Dr. Kawagley before he lost his battle with cancer on April 24, 2011.

Drs. Barnhardt and Kawagley spent their careers working tirelessly to build awareness of Native ways of knowing. They created the Cultural Standards and established the Alaska Native Knowledge Network, and have provided thousands of Alaskan educators a better understanding of the need for culturally responsive practices.

The William Demmert Leadership Award reflects the shared mission of Dr. William Demmert and the UAA College of Education to provide educational opportunities for Alaska Native students. The award, established this year, recognizes Alaskans for their significant contributions to the education of Alaska Natives through advocacy, teaching, practice and outreach programs. Awards are based on work performed in the state of Alaska that has impacted, influenced and expanded educational opportunities for Alaska Native children and youth.

William Demmert was a lifelong champion of Native language and educational issues. Tlingit and Oglala Sioux, he earned an Ed.D. in Education from Harvard College in 1973 and spent the rest of his life as a leader, scholar and advocate for Native learners. He was also a founding member of the National Indian Education Association.

“We recognize and appreciate that their [Drs. Barnhardt and Kawagley] work over the past several decades not only impacts tens of thousands of students in Alaska, but has influenced research and practice internationally,” said Mary Snyder, dean of the UAA College of Education.

For more information, please contact Cate Schmid at (907) 786-4613 or ancas4@uaa.alaska.edu.