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Life in Alaska

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A Closer Look at Alaska - Native Carving


In LitSite's Alaska Native Carving Alaska Native writer Joan Kane explores the importance of art and carving to Native people.

Read this and more by visiting History & Culture on LitSite, a section focusing on the memory of what life was like - or how it has changed - in the Last Frontier.
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PROFILE OF AN ALASKA LEADER
Byron Mallott Byron Mallott - Helping to Shape Alaska Toparticle

It has been argued that there is no more instrumental document in shaping Alaska's modern-day culture than that passed by Congress and signed into law by President Nixon in 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). LitSite Alaska provides an opportunity to connect Alaskans - and the world - with one another, offering a window into literacy, cultural diversity and life in the state. Because of Alaska's relatively young age and the developments surrounding its maturity, readers are privileged to hear directly from those involved in the trials and tribulations associated with issues involving statehood.

Byron Mallot is one Alaskan leader who has been intimately involved in decisions that have shaped the state.  He's been actively involved in the development of the State's future since he was elected mayor at the age of 22 in Yakutat, AK. 

In one interview on LitSite, Mallott reflects on the opportunity he received as a young man working for the state, "...We used to say back in those days that having a 'TR' book was power." (The 'TR' book was a state travel request form where one could approach an airline counter and essentially fill out a piece of paper and the agent would provide a ticket). The ability to exercise this privilege in the mid-60s as Mallott did when air travel was prohibitively expensive and nowhere near as reliable as it is today, was incredibly rare.  "...There I was, this young person, having an opportunity to travel, to go to Fairbanks, to go to Anchorage, to go to Bethel..."

In the piece, Mallott poignantly discusses the significance of ANSCA from his perspective as a young-man listening to elders in communities and villages across the state, and witnessing first-hand the unique conditions associated with their respective environments. Read on...

DIGITAL ARCHIVES GALLERY
Library Programs - What's Going on in Libraries Throughout Alaska?
Jumbled books at Anchorage's Loussac Library after the 1964 earthquake. View more images at LitSite.  earthquake.
Earthquake - Loussac, 1964, B69.11.22

Years ago, librarians were responsible for nurturing a deep knowledge of informational resources contained within a building, the library. Now, this responsibility extends beyond the walls of a traditional library building.

Find out what is happening in libraries throughout Alaska and how librarians and curators are promoting literacy in their communities. Visit LitSite's Libraries & Booksellers section for Alaska library and bookseller profiles and photo galleries as well as a librarian-submitted list of online resources and tools found on the Web.

For a list of programs and events happening in libraries near you visit LitSite's Library Programs page.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Helping to Shape Alaska - continued from topBottom

A follow-up post authored by Mallott, Unfinished Business: The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, celebrates the 30th year anniversary of the landmark legislation.  In the article, Mallott describes the thought and energy that went into initial drafts and their evolution, as well as the legislation's impact on Native people. "...As we look to the future and search for the path of our journey, we need to sit down and say, 'Who are we?' 'Where are we going?' 'What do we want?'..."

Now, almost ten years later, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the passage of the landmark legislation, Mallott reflects on this significant issue once again: "I think as Alaskans, we need to make more personal efforts to understand one another - socially, economically regionally.  Even in a place this intimate, people can be misperceived, marginalized or misunderstood.  We tend to concentrate on the mantra that 'all politics are local' but in Alaska, all politics are personal.  We tend to look through filters. It is especially important we try to understand one another. We have a small population and there are consequences to knowing one another better." 

Mallott notes there have been many changes to ANCSA since its adoption and more changes are necessary. "Sometimes there is a perception that if Native corporations are doing well, then Native people are doing well, and vice-versa, but the reality is, that is often far from accurate." He notes too, that ANCSA has largely succeeded in the progression of economic development across corporations but there are still 44 million acres that have been preserved for other uses of the land - subsistence, spirituality, Native identity, history and tradition. He suggests a long-term review of all ANCSA lands to determine the best overall value - going well beyond economic - to the benefit of the people.  "In Native Alaska, the notion of ties to lands, lifestyles, traditions, languages, values - is incredibly valuable."

Mallott says he is excited about the development and of what is still possible. "Alaska is still a very small place, huge with spiritual and material wealth. It has a huge sense of place that shapes us. Alaska is on a potential destiny that will carve a place in history that would shine forever."


Read Byron Mallot's original ANCSA at 30 interview here...
Read Mallot's article, Unfinished Business here...

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