2020 Alaska Anthropological Association Meeting Accepted Sessions
SESSION: Early Days in Large Project Archaeology in North Alaska (Organizers: Ken Pratt, Matt
Ganley, and Julie Esdale)
Large field projects in Alaska during the 1970s and early 1980s spawned a breed of archaeologists
whose diverse accomplishments and sometimes bizarre behaviors are the stuff of legend in Alaska’s
anthropological community. To help preserve that rich history, selected members of the breed were
invited to this session to share scholarly anecdotes, accounts of archaeological discoveries, favored
stories and memories with a broader spectrum of colleagues. Designed to be informal and amusing, the
session features open commentaries from not only the panelists but also a knowledgeable and
mysterious discussant (or possibly two).
SESSION: General Session on Archaeology of Yukon and Northern Interior Alaska (Organizers:
This session is a group of papers that focus on archaeological research within the Yukon and Northern
Interior of Alaska.
SESSION: General Session on Aleutian Archaeology (Organizers: NPS/AkAA)
This session is a group of papers that focus on archaeological research within the Aleutian and southern
Bering Sea region.
SESSION: Placename and Language Research in Alaska (Organizers: Hannah Atkinson, Nicole
Braem, Justin Junge, Marcy Okada, and Jillian Richie)
This session presents examples of recent placename and language research in Alaska with an emphasis
on community driven or requested research. Presenters include local knowledge holders to northwest and
northern Alaska as well as throughout the state. The session will also include a period of discussion of
current needs, available assistance, and future direction of placename and language research to assist
Alaskan Native communities and tribes.
SESSION: Assessment of Digital Technology in Alaska Field Archaeology (Organizers: Ted H.
Parsons and Diane K. Hanson)
Digital technology promises to reduce documentation time, improve accuracy, and provide data not
otherwise available to archaeologists. Most technology is developed in temperate or controlled
environments. Alaska provides variables that might not be considered during the development of some of
the techniques. These might include traveling to remote locations necessitating gear weight or space limit
considerations, frozen ground, extreme weather, and the lack of electricity to charge batteries or generate
the power required for some equipment. Participants in this session will present their assessment of some
of the many digital aids designed for field archaeology, but under Alaska or Arctic/Sub-Arctic conditions.
SESSION: Current Directions in Alaska Medical Anthropology (Organizers: Sally Carraher)
Medical anthropology is a growing field within Alaska, as evidenced by the past decade of medical
anthropological conference sessions at the aaa; an increasing number of medical anthropology faculty
and students in Alaskan universities; and the different agencies that employ medical anthropologists.
However, we are spread out across communities where we work and live, different types of employment,
and across a wide array of research interests. To learn from and support each other, we invite paper
submissions that will speak to the diverse current directions of research, pedagogy, and applied practice
in this growing anthropological subfield in Alaska.
SESSION: Community-Based Participatory Research in Alaska (Organizers: Dougless Skinner)
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a methodological approach that includes community
members in all aspects of the research—from inception to dissemination. CBPR is also purpose-driven,
designed to address a social injustice, development effort, or research question of relevance and interest
to the community. In the circumpolar North, CBPR has been focused on small, rural communities, usually
with mostly or fully Indigenous populations, and research for whatever purpose relies on the local
Indigenous knowledge to inform the research. But more than community-based research (CBR), CBPR
includes more than only the knowledge of the people, also taking into consideration their worldviews,
values, and local beliefs in helping to shape the project and understand its implications in local terms. A
wide variety of topics are studied within CBPR efforts, including environment and climate change,
economy, education, health, local cultural traditions, history (including local and ethno-history), and
archaeology, among others. The session presents place-based participatory and community-driven
methods for recent projects in the circumpolar North, followed by a roundtable panel discussion on CBPR
and related topics.
SESSION: General Session on Alaskan Archaeology (Organizers: NPS/AkAA)
This general session is a group of papers that focus on archaeological research within Alaska.
SESSION: Recent Archaeological Research of the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Archipelago
(Organizers: Sam Coffman and Linda Chisholm)
SESSION: Innovations and Experiences in Undergraduate Anthropological Research (Organizers:
Undergraduate students play an important role in the production of anthropological knowledge. These
students bring new energy and new ideas to enduring anthropological questions. While some students
gain research skills and experience through course-related assignments, others embark on independent
or collaborative projects with fellow students, faculty, and community members. This session presents
innovations and experiences in current undergraduate anthropological research and creative activities,
followed by a roundtable panel discussion on the transformative power of experiential learning.
SESSION: General Session on Alaskan Anthropology and Ethnography (Organizers: NPS/AkAA)
This general session is a group of papers that focus on anthropological and ethnographic research within
SESSION: Learning to Replicate Past Practices, Replicating Past Practices to Learn: Experimental
Approaches and New Techniques in Alaskan Archaeology (Organizers: Marine Vanlandeghem and
This session seeks to bring together researchers working with experimental approaches to understand
past lifeways and site formation processes. Topics can range from short to long term experiments, tests
of new equipment, or application of new techniques or analyses within the field of archaeology. We
encourage participation from multidisciplinary researchers focused on replication of past tool and weapon
systems, food processing and butchery techniques, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, site formation
and taphonomic processes, and incorporation of traditional knowledge systems in analyses and
interpretation of the archaeological record.
The goal of this session is to stimulate interest in reconstructive and experimental archaeology and to
discuss key issues in the design and implementation of experiments (protocols, replication and
reconstruction, statistical analyses, etc.). Discussions will provide resources to help guide archaeologists
considering new techniques and experimentation in their research in Alaska. Furthermore, we encourage
inclusive conversations of research findings and needs, avenues for public outreach, and the co-
production of knowledge in archaeology in Alaska.
SESSION: The Military in Alaska: World War II and Cold War Cultural Resources (Organizers: Kelly
Eldridge, Forrest Kranda, and Joseph Sparaga)
Alaska has been shaped by military activities since the Treaty of Cession, and continues to be a
significant national defense asset. Some of the most impactful events in recent history involve military
expansion and operations during World War II and the Cold War. Military construction in Alaska modified
landscapes, reshaped communities, and influenced modern military tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Recent archaeological investigations of World War II and Cold War era sites can inform us about the
experience of military personnel during deployment, as well as how local communities adapted to and
continue to deal with the repercussions of military activity.
SESSION: The Early Peopling of Alaska in Connection with the Earliest Americans National
Historic Landmark Theme Study (Organizers: Richard VanderHoek and Rhea Hood)
The National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office, in partnership with the Alaska State Office of History
and Archaeology, has commissioned a new National Historic Landmark (NHL) theme study as part of its
Earliest Americans in Alaska project. This study will identify elements of past and present research about
the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene in Alaska as they relate to specific sites vital to the nation’s
cultural heritage. Themes will include the place of Alaskan sites in research about human migrations into
the New World, and subsequent adaptation of early Alaskans to changing paleoenvironments. The study
will incorporate emerging research on paleogeography and paleogenetics, and scholarly debate
surrounding the routes and timing of population movements. This project will include an NHL nomination
for the Upward Sun River site, an early archaeological site of great national importance. Comments by
discussants and attendees will help guide formulation of this project.
SESSION: Museums and Meaningful Consultation Panel (Organizers: Judith Ramos, Gail Dabaluz,
and Scott Shirar)
Our panel presentation focuses upon how to foster meaningful tribal and museum consultation to
implement the Native American Graves Protection Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Through our repatriation
experience, we observe that effective repatriation programs have hallmarks including:
– A shared commitment to foster greater collaboration between museum personnel and Indigenous
people regarding the management of scientific research and public programs related to
Indigenous cultural heritage.
-Advocating for organizational practices that act in ways that go beyond the minimum
requirements of the NAGPRA legislation.
-Establishing a long-term professional relationship that go beyond the successful repatriation
– Each panelist will discuss their experience working on repatriation
SESSION: 11 More Things: Collaborative Archaeology the Yup’iit Way (Organizers: Kristen D
This session is a follow up to the article 11 things, an article focusing on college student experience and
takeaways from community based archaeology field experience with the village of Togiak, Alaska. While
the article provided one perspective there is much more to it. This session provides a forum to engage
with the multiplicity of Indigenous, community bound archaeology, providing 11 more takeaways to those
interested in pursuing or exploring benefits and challenges of a new archaeology from the perspective of
community partners, college student participants, and students from Togiak.