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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

Alaska Native Elders: Traditional Educators in the Urban Environment

Status Complete
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 09/01/2006
End Date 06/30/2007
Funding Source Diverse Voices
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 07/05/2008 01:25AM
Keywords Alaska Native

People

Faculty
  Ann Jache

Student Researchers
  Robin Morales

Abstract

The project, "Alaska Native Elders: Traditional Educators in the Urban Environment," studied the role of Alaska Native Elders who served as mentors in the UAA course AKNS 492, "Traditional Knowledge of Alaska Native Elders." This project identifies how Alaska Native Elders contribute to the support and well-being of UAA students, indicates ways that UAA could promote Elder participation on campus, and makes recommendations for future collaborative efforts. Data was collected through the principal researcher's direct participation in the Spring 2007 AKNS 492 course. Students participated in focus groups and conducted interviews with the Elder mentor(s). Students gathered information on topics, such as traditional values and culture, traditional medicine, art, or family and history by interviewing the Elder(s) in a group setting. Student focus groups were also documented. The first focus group was called "Circle of Objects." Students brought in an object that represented their ethnicity, family, or culture as a way to introduce themselves to the class. The second focus group identified current and future UAA support systems to promote Elder participation on campus. The third focus group discussed identity and cultural sensitivity topics. An on-line survey was also administered to research participants. Erik Erikson's model, "Stages of Human Development," was employed to interpret student responses regarding identity and Elder's comments about reciprocity. Analysis of student cultural sensitivity and confidence regarding interactions with Elders, through participation in the course, were also revealed. The study analyzed the reciprocal benefits of intergenerational relationships in the educational setting and generational differences in communication.

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