A Letter to the Alaska Anthropology Community

Date Posted: June 23, 2020       Categories: Uncategorized

Dear Colleagues and Friends in the Alaska Anthropology Community,

The year 2020 has brought immense changes and challenges to the social interactive work we do in our organizations and communities. Amidst the tensions and uncertainty of the Covid-19 public health emergency, the past few weeks have witnessed a public outcry against ongoing racism in our country. The anthropology community carries a unique role to reflect and critically respond to renewed calls for social justice.

The Alaska Anthropological Association Board of Directors has committed to ongoing advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization and communities. The Association offers a range of student scholarships and travel grants each year to support emerging professionals and increase access to the annual meeting. In 2019, the Alaska Anthropological Association adopted an Anti-Harassment Policy to promote a professional and welcoming environment that is free from bias and intimidation. This was followed in February 2020 with an open conversation on the policy and a training workshop held in partnership with STAR (Standing Together Against Rape) during the 47thAnnual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association in Fairbanks.

The Covid-19 public health emergency of 2020 has checked our habitual travel patterns and increased financial strain to organizations and individuals within the Alaska anthropology community. It has also brought us together as we work to safeguard our vulnerable populations, support local businesses who are struggling, and find creative ways to move projects forward together. To help address the current needs of our members and communities while continuing to make space for conversations, the 48thAnnual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association will be offered as a virtual conference (#AkAA virtual) in March 2021.

#AkAA virtual will be organized around the theme of fostering a culture of equity through the removal of boundaries. The virtual conference affords the opportunity to offer both research-driven presentations as well as social events that encourage conversations and connections. The boundary-less conference format also offers us a significant opportunity to better serve our underrepresented communities. To increase accessibility, all conference participants will be available to register for free with special features available to AkAA members.

If you are interested in joining the Organizing Committee to help shape the vision of #AkAA virtual, please send a brief note of interest to: by August 1, 2020. The committee is typically active from September to March with 2-4 hours a week devoted to the conference. Participation is open to all current members of the Alaska Anthropological Association.

The concerted efforts of the Alaska anthropology community during this seminal time can impact the direction of the social sciences for generations. We support you in the good work that you are doing to build partnerships and advance community-driven change.


Alaska Anthropological Association Board of Directors

Amy Phillips-Chan, President

Morgan Blanchard

Joshua Lynch

Britteny Howell

Sam Coffman

Scott Shirar