Ca. 7,000 year old caribou mandible from the Tingmiukpuk archaeological site in Gates of the Arctic National Park. NPS photo by Jeff Rasic

Accepted Sessions

Alaska Museums and Artists Respond to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Organized by Amy Phillips-Chan and Dawn Biddison

The Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in a new era of educational outreach in which museums and cultural organizations are pursuing alternative strategies to stay engaged with the public and provide meaningful experiences. Alaska museums have responded to the pandemic with innovative programs that offer remote access to educational resources from online exhibits and robotic tours to virtual activities and social events. The dynamic intersection between the contemporary art field and museums has also experienced a surge of creativity as artists partner with museums to visualize emotive responses to the pandemic. This session highlights forward-looking approaches taken by Alaskan artists and museums to reflect, respond, and connect during this period of social transformation.


“Academic Support & Success/Career Development” Workshop

Organized by Marine Vanlandeghem

This Career workshop is dedicated to helping students (members of Native and rural communities, juniors, undergraduates and graduates, international students, etc.) prepare for their future academic or professional careers in archaeology, anthropology, humanities, science, and education in Alaska. This is a very good opportunity for Alaska Anthropological Association members to be seen by potential future coworkers or to be helped if looking for a new position.


One Love. A Session in Honor of Mary Pete

Organized by Rose Meier, Lisa Strecker, Sveta Yamin-Pasternak

With the title that famously stands for unity and inclusion, this session honors the memory of anthropologist Mary Ciuniq Pete. A life-long practitioner of Yup’ik values, Mary dedicated herself to family, community, scholarship, and leading in advocating for equity and justice. Her professional career included several high profile appointments at federal and state offices, including UAF. Organized by the faculty in the Ethnobotany Program – a part of Mary’s vast legacy created during her years as the UAF Kuskokwim Campus Director – this session invites academic presentations, poetry, storytelling, song, and visual art that celebrate knowledge and love in and of Alaska.


Papers in Medical Anthropology

Organized by Sally Carraher

The conference theme for the AkAA meeting is “Fostering a Culture of Equity through the Removal of Boundaries.” Medical anthropology draws from all anthropological subfields to understand human health in a holistic scientific and humanistic context – and works to identify, address, and sometimes directly fight the social inequities that drive health disparities. We invite papers in medical anthropology and closely-related human health research and practice to reflect on how we have, are, or could remove the boundaries that contribute to social and health inequities in our work. Format is open to slide presentations, oral presentations, short video, and multimedia presentations.


What NOT to do in academia: Lessons learned from the trenches

Organized by Britteny Howell

Academic anthropologists have learned some hard lessons over the years and now is our time to share some of those lessons learned! A mixture of funny (horror) stories and insights, this session will gather papers to help the novice and seasoned academic alike succeed in the ivory tower. From choosing your projects wisely, to working with collaborators and co-authors, to teaching and mentoring students, this session will share what NOT to do in academia, as well as what you maybe should do, from academics across the ranks.


Archaeology Site and Survey Reports: Removing the Boundaries

Organized by Brian Wygal

This session presents archaeology site and survey reports with the intention of submitting written versions for consideration in an upcoming volume of the Alaska Journal of Anthropology. This session is especially designed to allow underrepresented scholars a space to launch. In an effort to remove the boundaries in archaeology, we especially encourage contributions from members of Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQIA+, student, or anyone else interested in participating.


On the Edge: Saving the Ascension of Our Lord Chapel in Karluk, Alaska

Organized by Shina duVall

The Ascension of Our Lord Chapel in Karluk, Alaska is in imminent danger of being lost to the Karluk River due to bluff erosion. Currently, it is <25 feet from the edge. The church is the oldest extant church in Alaska, dating to 1888. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An interdisciplinary team is working to develop a plan to relocate the building and identify solutions for the rest of the site, which includes the Karluk Cemetery and extensive archaeological features. This session will include perspectives from team members working to relocate the church.


Talking Circle–Conducting Collaborative Community-Based Participatory Research

Organized by Mike Koskey and Yoko Kugo

Social and natural scientists have recognized that community-based participatory research provide them insider perspectives and lead to a holistic approach to their findings. This session invites panelists who have worked on community-based participatory research, participatory action research, and community initiated projects. Panelists include community elders, academic professions and students, and Indigenous scholars to discuss their works, concerns, and goals of the projects from various perspectives. Panelists will use a talking circle style to carry conversations with questions, and introduce to the audience advice on how to conduct respectful, effective, collaborative research with study communities.


Dealing with the Loss of Cultural Resources: What Can Alaska Learn from What Others Are Doing?

Anne Jensen

Environmental change poses a dire threat to cultural heritage in and around the world. In Alaska, sea level change, coastal erosion, permafrost degradation, changes in hydrology and increases in forest and tundra fires all threaten the archaeological record. Currently, there is no organized professional response. But does that need to be the case? Other areas have developed responses involving professionals and citizen scientists. Alaska is unique, and no existing model is ideal, examining a variety of solutions should help in developing a better system. This session provides an overview of various existing models, to see what might be adaptable to Alaska.