Diversity Programs and Resources

  • Alaska Native/Native American Heritage Month (November)

    UAA is proud to celebrate Alaska Native/Native American Heritage Month. In 1990, George H.W. Bush declared November to be Native American Heritage Month. It is now more commonly referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse American Indian and Alaska Native histories and heritage, as well as educate ourselves about the historical and lived experiences of indigenous peoples who live(d) on the lands which became the United States.

    There are five-hundred seventy-four (574) federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native groups. Two-hundred and twenty-nine (229) of these groups are in Alaska. There are also hundreds of groups without federal recognition, who may have state recognition or no recognition at all.

    In the lower 48, tribal nations are represented in 35 states across 334 recognized reservations. The current location of these sovereign nations and their lands is based on 500 years of colonization, removal, government treaties, and reorganization.  The civil rights era of the 1960s saw movements for self-determination and self-government for American Indian nations. Today, seventy-eight percent of those who identify as American Indians live outside tribal lands.  As of the last census AI/AN persons made up only 1.7% of the total US population, but are one of the fastest-growing populations with a 39% increase over the previous Census.  

    Alaska has a rich history of indigenous cultural practices. There are about 20 indigenous languages spoken in Alaska, and 11 of them are Dene’ or Athabascan, who are related to the Navajo and Apache in what is now New Mexico and Arizona. There 5 Inuit based languages; the Inupiaq of northern coastal  Alaska, the Yupik of Saint Lawrence Island, the Yup’ik and Cup’ik of the Yukon-Kuskokwim region and Bristol Bay, the Sugpiaq or Alutiiq of Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula, and the Unangax or Aleut of the Aleutian Chain, and there are the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of the southeast archipelago. All of Alaska’s diverse indigenous populations have experienced difficult and dynamic transitions into the western culture and economy. The harshness of the geography and the lack of saleable resources in much of our state has left a few of Alaska’s indigenous cultures more intact if that were not the case. Annette Island, home of Alaska’s Tsimshian people, was developed before the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, so it stands as the only reservation in Alaska. The rest of Alaska Tribes and Nations are organized into 12 Regional Corporations, Village Corporations and Tribal Nations due to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971.  

    For more information on the diverse experiences and cultures of American Indians/Alaska Natives check out these resources:
    National Congress of American Indians
    Alaska Native Heritage Center
    Native Movement
    National Museum of the American Indian
    Alaska Native Knowledge Network

    As always, when you are celebrating a culture that differs from your own, be sensitive to avoiding stereotypes about that culture. It is important to be aware of the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation so that we are honoring and respecting other people’s values, beliefs, and norms.

    Alaska Native/Native American Heritage Month

    Alaska Native/Native American Heritage Month Events

    Nov. 3 | 1:00pm | Career Connections: Careers Supporting Alaska Native Communities

    Nov. 5 | 7:30pm | Gather — Film Screening and Indigenous Panel Discussion

    Nov. 6 | 6:00pm | Spill Your Ink

    Nov. 10 | 6:00pm | Indie Lens Pop-Up: Power Trip

    Nov. 11 | 6:00pm | Yuuyaraq: The Way of the Human Being

    Nov. 13 | 6:00pm | Dena’ina Dance & Tsimshian Dance Lessons

    Nov. 16 12:00pm | A Virtual Conversation With Ernestine Saankaláxt Hayes

    Nov. 18 | 6:00pm | Games of the North

    Nov. 20 | 6:00pm | Traditional Yup’ik and Unangax Storytelling

    All Month Long

    T-Shirt Sales
    A fundraiser benefiting Native Student Council and the Canoe Project. Indigeneous resilient art created by Amber Webb in honor of Missing Murdered Indigeneous Women. To order a shirt, visit tinyurl.com/nscfundraiser.

    UAA / APU Consortium Library | Alaska Native/Native American Heritage Month

  • LGBTQ2S+ History Month (October)

    UAA is proud to celebrate LGBTQ2S+ History Month. In 1994, a coalition of education-based organizations in the United States designated October as LGBTQ2S+ History Month. In 1995, a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the National Education Association included LGBTQ2S+ History Month within a list of commemorative months (Library of Congress).The month was selected to incorporate National Coming Out Day on October 11th.

    LGBTQ2S+ is an acronym representing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Two-Spirit. Some acronyms also include QIA at the end of LGBT, representing Queer (or Questioning), Intersex and Asexual.  The acronym is an umbrella term meant to encapsulate a general community, but in no way is representative of all terminology, experiences or self-descriptions.  

    The month is celebrated in recognition of the history of LGBTQ2S+ civil movements and to demonstrate support and solidarity with the LGBTQ2S+ community. Information is available about the timeline and specific milestones in LGBTQ2S+ civil rights.

    As always, when you are celebrating a culture that differs from your own, be sensitive to avoiding stereotypes about that culture.  It is important to be aware of the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, so that we are not disrespecting other people’s values, beliefs and norms.

    LGBTQ2S+ History Month

     

  • Filipino American History Month (October)

    UAA is proud to celebrate Filipino American History Month. Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian American group in the United States.  Filipino American History month is celebrated in October to commemorate the first recorded landing of Filipinos in America.  This occurred in California in 1587. Congress gave official recognition to the month in 2009.  Filipino Americans have a history going back over 200 years of living in Alaska.  Called “Alaskeros” they were instrumental in working the canning industry and helping unionize cannery workers.  Filipino Americans make up one of the largest ethnic groups in Alaska today.

    For more information about the Filipino American experience, watch A Filipino American Story Since 1587 (7 minutes).  

    For a modern and uniquely Alaskan perspective, read We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet by UAA professor EJR David, PhD (available in text and e-text at the UAA Consortium Library).

    As always, when you are celebrating a culture that differs from your own, be sensitive to avoiding stereotypes about that culture.  It is important to be aware of the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, so that we are not disrespecting other people’s values, beliefs and norms.

  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15)

    UAA is proud to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 - Oct. 15. National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American society and culture and honors five of our Central American neighbors who celebrate their independence in mid-September. The recognition started with a week in 1968 and expanded to a month in 1988.

    The word Hispanic, first coined by the Census Bureau as a means of categorization, refers to those who come from Spanish speaking countries. Latino/Latina (Latinx in gender-neutral form) refers to those who come from countries in Latin America. While there is great overlap, not all Latin Americans speak Spanish and not all Hispanics are Latin American.

    There is great diversity within Hispanic/Latinx communities, including ethnicity, food, music, folklore, art, religion, language, and many of the other things celebrated during this month.  To learn more about the variety of cultures, you can research specific countries of origin or learn about the immigration experiences of Hispanic/Latinx Americans. PBS has an extensive web series called Latino Americans that covers any topic you could want to know more about.

    As always, when you are celebrating a culture that differs from your own, be sensitive to avoiding stereotypes about that culture.  It is important to be aware of the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, so that we are not disrespecting other people’s values, beliefs, and norms.

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