Keynote Speaker: Julie Cruikshank
Julie Cruikshank's research focuses on practical and theoretical developments in oral tradition studies, specifically how competing form of knowledge become enmeshed in struggles for legitimacy. Her ethnographic experience is rooted in the Yukon Territory, where she lived and worked for many years recording life stories with Athapaskan and Tlingit elders. She has also carried out comparative research in Alaska and Siberia. Her current work draws on theoretical trends linking the anthropology of memory with environmental anthropology. She is presently investigating historical and contemporary encounters among environmental earth sciences and indigenous oral traditions within the recently designated World Heritage Site that spans the borderlands of Yukon, northwest British Columbia and Alaska. Her most recent book is Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters, and Social Imagination (UBC Press, 2005).
Ellen Frankenstein is an organizer and educator for community arts and school-based media projects from Los Angeles to Kake, Alaska and has exhibited her still photography nationally and internationally. Before becoming a full-time filmmaker and photographer, Frankenstein worked with the developmentally disabled, migrant farm workers, and the elderly. These experiences inspired her to take photographs and make documentaries to encourage people to tell their stories and participate in sharing their voice by using the technology themselves. Frankenstein lives in Sitka, Alaska and has helped her spouse sail a 30-foot wooden gaff-rigged ketch sail boat from Mexico to New Zealand. Ellen Frankenstein will screen her film called, Eating Alaska, a wry odyssey into sustainable food choices through the eyes of a former vegetarian on a quest to find the "right" thing to eat on the last frontier.
Ernestine Hayes lived with her grandmother, while her tubercular mother went in and out of the Public Health Hospital across the creek from their old house in Juneau. It was from her grandmother that Hayes received the knowledge of her identity and birthright as a Tlingit woman: "I am Eagle. I am of the Burnt House People Clan. I belong to Wolf House. I am a grandchild of the Gunaxteidi. I am a Kaagwaantann woman. My clan springs from the Sitka." After a long and varied life, Ms. Hayes articulates a sensibility and a way of apprehending the world that is truly indigenous. Therein lies the book's greater wisdom and strength. Blonde Indian is truly a memoir like no other.
Nancy Lord writes from her home base in Homer, Alaska. As a commercial salmon fisherman for twenty-five years (now retired)and later as a naturalist and historian on adventure cruise ships, she takes a particular interest in coastal Alaska and the sustainability of its resources and communities. Ms. Lord will do a reading from her latest book (released in January 2011 by Counterpoint Press) Early Warming: Crisis and Response in the Climate-Changed North. In this new work, she weaves stories of her own experiences in communities of Alaska and Northwest Canada, where the effects of climate change are most immediate, with reports of warming salmon streams, village relocation plans, and “polar bear tourism.”