YRDFA staff attends Sharing Knowledge workshop in Boulder Colorado
By Catherine Moncrieff, YRDFA Anthropologist
Boulder, Colorado is beautiful in September. I have just returned from attending the Sharing Knowledge: Traditions, Technologies and Taking Control of our Future workshop hosted by the Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic or ELOKA. This workshop brought representatives from Alaska, the Canadian Arctic and Norway together to discuss ways that our groups have used information and communication technologies (ICTs) and social media to document, preserve, share, and exchange Traditional Knowledge in our communities and beyond.
Youth and experienced professionals traveled to the workshop representing groups like YRDFA. Gerald Patsy of Nulato traveled with me. He was a great addition to the trip and very enjoyable to get to know. Gerald currently lives in Fairbanks but has very strong connections to his home community and has plans to return there soon to live again. He was raised by his grandmother and has strong traditional values. He enjoys working with youth in his community. During his presentation, he was able to introduce himself in his language, Koyukon Athabascan or Dene. Other community groups from Alaska included the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, the Yup’ik Environmental Knowledge Project, SIZOnet (Seasonal Ice Zone Observing Network), and the Inuit Circumpolar Council- Alaska. Other groups from Alaska included the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Aleut International Association, Alaska Native Language Archive, and the Community of Barrow.
From Canada there were representatives from Clyde River Nunavut, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (a national organization representing Canadian Inuit), and the Youth Arctic Coalition. There were also representatives from lower 48 tribes such as the Comanche, the Haskell Indian Nation University and Yakima Nation. Finally there were representatives from the Snow Change project in Norway. Most of these groups have projects in partnership with ELOKA and more can be learned about them on their website www.eloka-arctic.org under the projects tab. We were invited to this workshop because of our Koyukuk Traditional Place Names Project, which we are partnering with ELOKA to produce a website featuring the place names and spoken language. In the future, you will find us listed on the project tab of the ELOKA website.
A highlight of the workshop was participant Ishmael Hope, a writer and storyteller from Juneau who worked on the Indigenous video game, Never Alone. One of the Boulder organizers invited her children who are experts in playing the game. They demonstrated the game on a big screen and answered many questions from our group about their experiences. It left many of us wanting to come home and purchase the beautiful game for our children.
Another highlight of the workshop for me was meeting the other participants, hearing about their projects and experiences, and building relationships and potential future partnerships with them. It was great to learn about the Canadian Arctic and their history and current experiences.