Keynote 3 – Learning / Knowledge Systems Theme
Presented by Jana Harcharek
Director of the North Slope Borough School District’s Iñupiaq Education Department, Alaska. Barrow, Alaska, USA
Acknowledging, honoring and recognizing the way of life of the Iñupiat in the schools of Alaska’s North Slope was the vision of founding Mayor Eben Hopson. The road to the realization of his dream has been long, winding and fraught with obstacles. 40 some-odd years later, the history, language and culture of the “real people” is forming the basis for the articulation of the North Slope Borough School District curriculum. The creation and implementation of the Iñupiaq Learning Framework facilitates the fostering of a holistic and interdependent approach to education that is guided by and rooted in “iñua” the Iñupiaq soul. This presentation describes the process and imparts the results from an inquiry designed to engage community members in visioning and articulating their needs and desires for a schooling system reflective of their identity as Iñupiat. As directed by our people, bringing Iñupiaq knowledge front and center is the focus of this on-going work.
Jana Harcharek is an Iñupiaq woman from Barrow, Alaska with decades of experience thinking about the intersections between Iñupiaq and Western ways of knowing as they come together both in and beyond the classroom. She is committed to having Iñupiaq forms of teaching and learning validated. For the past several years she has been working with teachers from the North Slope Borough School District to design curricula which reflects Iñupiaq models of learning and knowing. In her discussion, she will offer some of the ways her experiences have helped to open up indigenous pathways for learning and teaching.