Our main goal at Cultural Alaska is to work with you on a proactive approach to preserve traditional resources and customary practices. Being proactive means:
- Coming up with new ways to pass on traditional knowledge
- Documenting your heritage beyond what a project proponent has done
- Anticipating the steps of regulatory processes and working to ensure your ideas and concerns are heard and addressed
- Establishing rules for researchers coming to your community
Being proactive empowers you ensures you are prepared to preserve your traditional resources and customary practices. Cultural Alaska can help.
Our main goal at Cultural Alaska is to work with you on a proactive approach to preserve traditional resources and customary practices. This may include youth outreach based on traditional skills, archaeology, mapping, and historical information. It can consist of working with you to review, comment, and respond to letters, reports, and agreement documents for projects that may impact your community and heritage. Through our partnership you will learn what we know, so you can continue on without us and share what you have learned with others. Here's a list of our services.
Regulatory Compliance & Permitting
Permitting a proposed project in Alaska is an involved process. Cultural Alaska will work with on complying with federal, state, and local cultural resource laws.
- Federal Laws
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
National Register Nominations and Determinations of Eligibility recommendations
Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA)
Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act (AHPA)
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)
- State Law
Alaska Historic Preservation Act (AHPA)
- Local Ordinances
North Slope Borough Title 19 Traditional Land Use Inventory (TLUI)
- Traditional Skills Workshops
In these workshops, kids will practice traditional skills, which includes processing ochre to make paint and then painting with it; grinding slate stone to make knives, ulus, or spear points; or working bone into harpoon points. There will be a presentation and handout on the use of these traditional skills in the region to kick off the class. Participants will then use traditional and modern tools to make paint or tools. Ochre paint was primarily used for decoration, personal identification, and protecting organic tools. Slate and bone tools had many uses including cutting fish, sea mammal harpoons, and hide scraping. Elders and community members are encouraged to attend to participate and educate the kids and the instructor!
- Archaeology Presentations
Sharing what you know and learning about Alaska's history is important. This is why we offer presentations on archaeology and ethnographic research. Presentations may cover what archaeologists do and what they learn from excavations and surveys. Another presentation we do is "Archaeology from the Sky," which consists of exploring various types of aerial imagery and then locating archaeological sites using this imagery. To go with these presentations, we try to get the kids outside to practice an archaeological survey where they'll learn basic surveying techniques and how to document an archaeological site.
- Cultural Atlases
For this workshop, kids can expect to work in groups to explore ancestral ways of living through mapping. This will consist of identifying, organizing, and relating Native place names, resource locations, travel routes, and seasonal information in the region to gain a perspective on how ancestors lived throughout the year. The mapping can be done using Google Earth or paper maps. As a part of this class, an elder or other community member is encouraged to work with with each group to share knowledge about ancestral ways and places, resource availability, traveling the land, and seasonal changes. At the end of the workshop, all of the groups' work can be combined into a single document or file for future use by the participants and community.
Consultation & Scoping Assistance
Providing your input on federal, state, and local regulatory processes, commonly referred to as consultation and scoping, can be frustrating when you lack the human resources, time, and expertise to participate in a meaningful way. Cultural Alaska can further your understanding of your rights and roles in these regulatory processes, increase your participation, and get your thoughts and concerns considered in the regulatory processes that affect traditional resources and customary practices.
- Research Protocol Development
Developing protocols for researchers to follow when conducting studies in your community will give you greater control over your community's knowledge. A well written and implemented protocol can clarify knowledge and data ownership, community participation in studies, methods for presenting back to the community and for publication, communication channels, researcher behavior in the community, identify research questions the community is interested in, and whatever else you would like researchers to know prior to conducting studies in your community.
- Report & Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Review
Reviewing reports, letters, maps, and EISs with response deadlines from project proponents and agencies can be overwhelming and frustrating. Partnering with Cultural Alaska can help you review these documents and respond in a timely manner.
- Comment Preparation
Cultural Alaska can work with you to prepare written comments for local, state, and federal regulatory processes that express your concerns about a proposed project or action that may affect traditional resources and customary practices.
- Writing and Critiquing Agreement Documents
The Section 106 process of the National Historic Preservation Act frequently ends with legally binding Memorandums of Agreements (MOAs) or Programmatic Agreements (PAs) between federal agencies and consulting parties. These agreements detail the history of the project or action leading up to the agreement and the responsibilities of parties bound by these agreements in resolving adverse effects to historic properties. In addition to a legal review, it is crucial to critique these agreements from a cultural heritage perspective that will safeguard locations of traditional resources and customary activities that are eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Creative Mitigation
Finding ways to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts and effects to your traditional resources and customary practices beyond the commonly used "document and destroy" approach.
- Traditional Resource & Customary Activity Documentation
Partnering with you to document traditional resources and customary practices through replicable methods. This can include:
- Archaeological Survey, Excavation, & Monitoring
- Artifact Analysis & Curation Assistance
- Archival Research
- Grant & Land Trust Background Research
- Proposal Writing Support
- Object & Activity History
People are really interested in knowing the stories behind things, perhaps no more so than today. When and where did people first start using or doing this? How has it changed over time? Write ups for histories of objects & activities you sell or offer will inform your members or customers and can increase your sales.
Cultural Alaska's training workshops provide information and solutions on Alaska-specific challenges frequently encountered on federal, state, and local regulatory processes that are missed by Outside firms offering similar training.
- How to Write an Effective EIS Comment (1/2 day)
Learn the National Environmental Policy Act scoping process for EISs and methods for drafting detailed and data driven comments. Comments that inform federal agencies of what should be in the EIS, your concerns about potential impacts from major federal actions. In addition, there will be an overview of the National Environmental Policy Act with a focus on the scoping process
- Cultural Resource Law Basics (1/2 day)
Gain an understanding of laws and their regulations that affect traditional resources and customary practices. These laws are commonly referred to as cultural resource laws and may include local historic preservation ordinances like ones for the North Slope Borough, Municipality of Anchorage, and city of Cordova; the Alaska Historic Preservation Act, the state law governing archaeological and historic resources; and federal laws such as the National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Archaeological Resources Protection Act.