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Joseph Arrssauyaq Slats
Joseph Arrssauyaq Slats

Joseph Arrssauyaq Slats was interviewed on October 12, 2005 by Louann Rank and Marla Statscewich at the Yupiit School District Office in Akiachak, Alaska. In this interview, Joe talks about about his experience as a teacher and education administrator in Alaska, and his role as Yupiit School District Superintendent. He also talks about the negative impact of missionary schooling and boarding schools, the importance of having local control over education, curriculum, and the teaching of Yup'ik culture, language, and values, the benefits of vocational training, and the challenges of teacher recruitment.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-07-39

Project: Akiachak - Then and Now
Date of Interview: Oct 12, 2005
Narrator(s): Joseph Arrssauyaq Slats
Interviewer(s): Louann Rank, Marla Statscewich
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education, Yupiit School District
Alternate Transcripts
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1) His educational and teaching background.

2) The Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD), Yupiit School District (YSD), and Bureau of Indians Affairs (BIA).

3) The three village communities (Akiak, Tuluksak, and Akiachak) that make up the Yupiit School District and the community of Akiachak.

4) The complexity of the PRAXIS examination and the need for more cultural awareness in the classroom.

5) The changes in the Yup'ik culture and language.

6) The impact of missionary schooling, the importance of parents being more involved their child?s schooling, and the need for elders participation in the classroom.

7) The reintroduction of culturally relevant curriculum and the negative impact of boarding schools.

8) The funding awarded to the Yupiit School District and stories of positive impact of certain laws passed in the community of Akiachak.

9) His schooling and employment background and the changes in school policies and funding for the Yupiit School District.

10) The benefits of vocational schooling, and the need to recruit instructors for distance delivery, music training, and vocational courses.

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Section 1: birthplace -- location\ employment -- type of\ teacher -- date of\ high school -- name of\ teaching -- story of\ Molly Hootch -- case\ Molly Hootch -- date of\ Molly Hootch -- background\ high schools -- villages\ college -- name of\ college -- location\ goals -- personal\ goal -- teaching\ graduation -- date of|

Section 2: Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) -- date of\ Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) - contract schools\ BIA -- transferred control of schools\ LKSD -- managed schools\ LKSD -- funding\ teachers -- non-residents\ teachers -- ethnicity\ employment -- principal\ principal -- date of\ Village of Chevak -- return to\ legislation -- authorization of school districts\ LKSD -- transfer control Yupiit School District (YSD)\ REA (Regional Educational Attendance Areas -- in place|

Section 3: village schools -- local control\ YSD -- three communities\ communities --Akiak, Tuluksuk, Akiachak\ school board -- number of\ school board -- background info\ curriculum design -- approval process\ superintendent -- responsibilities\ Chevak -- community background\ Akiachak -- model for\ Chevak -- model\ student population -- diverse|

Section 4: PRAXIS -- difficulties with\ PRAXIS -- language barrier\ PRAXIS -- standard written form\ cultural curriculum -- elders involvement \ elders -- story of\ elders -- positive influence\ discussion group -- cultural preservation\ discussion group -- cultural course\ cultural course -- purpose of\ teachers -- cultural awareness\ teacher -- retention\ retention -- improvements\ cultural course -- positive outcomes\ language -- appreciation of\ Yup'ik culture -- understandings\ Yup'ik values -- background info\ student project -- story of|

Section 5: Yup'ik -- crossover of values\ cultural course -- expansion of\ Yup'ik culture -- concerns with\ elementary students -- number of\ Yup'ik language -- loss of\ emergent programs -- cultural courses\ immersion programs -- purpose of\ emergent programs -- location of\ teachers -- recruitment challenges\ language programs -- background\ Akiak -- primarily English\ Tuluksak -- Yup'ik to English\ Akiachak -- primarily Yup'ik\ emergent program -- disagreements with\ emergent teacher -- concerns with|

Section 6: cross-cultural language -- balancing of\ parents -- story of\ schools -- parental trust\ missionaries -- degradation of Alaskan Native culture\ missionaries -- perception of role\ schools -- perception of role\ school -- replacing Alaskan Native cultural heritance\ elder to youth -- relational loss of\ elders -- school participation\ missionaries -- negative impact\ Alaska Native culture -- devalued\ elders -- devalued\ culture -- interpretation of|

Section 7: curriculum -- culturally relevant\ cultural curriculum -- reintroduction of\ instructors -- Yup'ik background\ instructor -- story of\ celestial navigation -- story of\ cultural curriculum -- types of\ boarding schools -- background\ boarding schools -- negative impact of\ Alaska Natives -- language restrictions\ Alaska Natives -- cultural restrictions\ parent modeling -- absent\ english language -- encouraged\ Yup'ik language -- discouraged\ youth -- attitudes\ parent to child -- disintegration of|

Section 8: Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) -- funding program \ funded program -- Secure the Future of Our Children\ Community Engagement Grant -- background information\ community -- involvement\ parents -- involvement with\ communication -- interaction\ youth -- engagement with\ bingo -- story of\ curfew -- story of\ communities -- story of\ youth -- concerns with\ youth issues -- pro-active\ laws -- enactment of\ laws -- positive impact\ curfew -- purpose of\ curfew -- results\ parents -- passive\ children -- dominant|

Section 9: employment -- background\ graduate degree -- type of\ employment -- types of\ residence -- mobile\ politics -- educational issues\ school districts -- consolidation\ budget -- surplus\ politics -- statewide\ legislative body -- differing\ legislative legislature -- changes in\ legislative -- priorities\ education -- limited priority\ boarding schools -- reintroduction\ Molly Hootch -- case revisited\ boarding schools -- conflict\ boarding schools -- story of\ high school -- building structures\ public schools -- regional\ regional school -- Akiak\ public hearings -- regional schools\ regional schools -- opposition|

Section 10: Kuskokwim Campus (KUC)\ KUC -- story of\ high school -- alternative\ distance delivery -- opportunities\ regional school -- background\ regional school -- benefits of\ Tuluksak -- story of\ vocational courses -- no instructor\ Akiak -- story of\ music course -- no instructor\ funds -- limited\ non-regional schools -- limited resources\ Akiachak -- no vocational teacher\ Atmautluak -- story of\ music -- instruction\ vocational courses -- benefits of\ music courses -- benefits of\ instructor -- recruitment\ distance delivery -- instruction\ Yup'ik language -- distance delivery\ son -- story of|