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


A Letter to the Alaska Anthropology Community

Date Posted: June 23, 2020       Category: 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

AmQua 50th Anniversary Conference “Holding the torch & turning the corner”

Date Posted: June 4, 2020       Category: Uncategorized
You are invited to the AmQua 50th Anniversary Zoom conference “Holding the torch & turning the corner”
When: June 15-19, 2020
10:00am – 12:00pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

Dear Quaternary enthusiasts,

We hope you are staying well, and we look forward to your attendance at this online conference event, reorganized to share our mutual excitement in and dedication to Quaternary science in this time of global disruptions.  As you know, the in-person AmQua meeting “Quaternary Futures” has been postponed a year.  In its place we have organized an exciting Zoom meeting to help keep us engaged in the interim.

We invite you to join us for daily 2-hour sessions for:
1. a great lineup of speakers who have graciously agreed to present talks in this rapidly restructured online setting.
2. posters and poster “lightning talks” – we have several submissions and encourage new poster proposals (just submit a poster author/s, title, and abstract to by the end of the day June 7th).
3. a Publishing Workshop hosted by Quaternary Research and Cambridge University Press (June 16th)
4. opportunities for collegial discussion about all of the above.

The full program (exclusive of posters at present) can be found on the AmQua 2020 Conference Web Site:

Instructions for registration can be found on the website or below. To help us manage the meeting we ask you to follow the following 3-step process:

1.  Sign-up at Eventbrite well before the conference to receive instructions for the Zoom meeting registration.
a.      Sign-up in advance for this meeting:
b.      In Eventbright: select “1” ticket. The event is free, but you will be given the chance to donate to AMQUA to support student/early career participation in future in-person AMQUA meetings.

2.  Register for the Zoom Meeting: When you receive an email from Eventbright, click on “View Now” button. This will take you to the Online Event Page, where you will follow instructions for registering for the Zoom meeting.

3.  After registering with Zoom, you will receive a meeting access link and password, along with additional instructions for how to connect to the conference over Zoom, should you need them. This registration system will help us keep track of attendees and maintain the most secure meeting (i.e., minimize the risk of “Zoom bombing”).

Yours truly,

The AmQua 2020 Conference Organizing Committee and the UW Quaternary Research Center

Call for abstracts for special issue in AJA!

Date Posted: May 11, 2020       Category: Uncategorized

Guest co-editors are soliciting abstracts for a special issue of Alaska Journal of Anthropology on “Current Directions in the Anthropology of Health in Alaska.” Please send 150-200 word abstracts for papers, “research notes,” or any inquiries to corresponding editor, Sally Carraher at Abstracts are due August 1, with final paper submissions due December 31, 2020.

AJA 2021 special issue CFP

2020 Winning Poster: Alaska!

Date Posted: May 5, 2020       Category: Uncategorized
State Archaeology Celebration Poster Contest winners are selected by popular vote of conference participants at each year’s SAA Annual Meeting. The 2020 winners were voted on by conference registrants and SAA members in an online contest. Below are current and previous years’ first, second, and third-place winning posters. Congratulations to all participating states!
More here:

2020 NPS Alaska Archaeology Month Poster: Antler!

Date Posted: April 3, 2020       Category: Uncategorized

This is number two in a series focused on vital raw materials. Last year we focused on clever ways people used wood in the past. This year the poster highlights antler, a valued material in all corners of Alaska and for as long as people have been here because of its great resiliency and plasticity. The range of uses included snow goggles, combs, net shuttles, arrowheads, snowshoe needles, fish hooks, fish spears, war clubs, armor, harpoon heads, and even food, on occasion.

Cast your vote for the SAA poster contest!

Date Posted: April 1, 2020       Category: Uncategorized

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 SAA Annual Meeting, voting for the 2020 State Archaeology Celebration Poster Contest will take place online. Voting is now open until April 8 at 5:00pm EST. Any SAA member or registrant for the 2020 annual meeting will be eligible to participate. View the entries below and consider casting your vote for Alaska’s entry on “Wood!”


Annual Meeting Photos: Group Share

Date Posted: March 3, 2020       Category: Uncategorized

Members are invited to view and contribute to photos from the 46th Annual Meeting in Nome and 47th Annual Meeting in Fairbanks!

Share your favorite moments from the past two conferences here:

Nome (2019):

Fairbanks (2020):

AkAA Anti-Harassment Policy Training

Date Posted: March 2, 2020       Category: Uncategorized

Please click here for a copy of the presentation from the 47th annual meeting on our anti-harassment policy and how to prevent and respond to harassment. Thanks to STAR for facilitating!

Help save the UAA Master of Arts degree in Anthropology!

Date Posted: March 2, 2020       Category: Uncategorized

Many of the AkAA members already know, but for those who don’t, the MA program in Anthropology at UAA is in jeopardy. The Dean has made a recommendation to delete the MA program in Anthropology at UAA. The BA/BS degrees are recommended for continuation. Alumni and friends of the department have stepped time and again over the last five years to support our program by writing letters and testifying before the Board of Regents and we appreciate your efforts. This time the situation is more dire and the UA budget will be cut by 70 million dollars of State support over the next three years. The loss of the MA program may be a consequence of this. The department submitted on February 28 our response to this decision – they are united in wanting to fight this decision and save the MA program for continuance in the future, once the budget crisis is over. UAA is asking that rather than deleting the MA program, the university suspend it so it can be re-established when conditions are more favorable.

The process will go through several steps. The Provost will review the recommendations from the Dean of our college and submit his findings to Chancellor Sandeen on March 9. There is a period from March 9 to March 18 for feedback, then the Chancellor makes her decision on March 23. This process will be finalized through a meeting of the Board of Regents on June 4/5.

So what can you do to help? UAA department of anthropology faculty are asking that you send letters of support by March 9 to Chancellor Sandeen (with a copy to the anthropology department) describing how their applied program is unique to Alaska, and our place and importance within the anthropological community. Chancellor Sandeen’s address is: University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508. You can also email her at (Please cc Clare Dannenberg, the anthropology department chair,

Call for 2021 conference host site!

Date Posted: February 12, 2020       Category: Uncategorized
The board is currently seeking proposals from organizations or agencies to organize and host the 2021 Alaska Anthropological Association annual meeting. This is an exciting opportunity to draw attention to your organization’s work and highlight your community while providing hands-on learning experiences and opportunities for student or volunteer involvement!
If you wish for your organization to be considered to host the 2021 conference (usually in mid- to late-February), please send a letter of interest to the board at before 5pm on Friday, Feb 28, 2020.
Thank you!