While many people were tanning on sunny, southern beaches this summer, several students from West Virginia University flew north to Alaska to study the native society on the island of Kodiak and the indigenous Yup’ik culture in Tuntutuliak.

On Friday, Sept. 24, four students involved in the cultural exchange will share their experiences with the public. The students will speak at 12 p.m. in Hatfield’s, room B in the Mountainlair.

Anyone wishing to attend may bring their own lunch to the event, which is free and open to the public.

During the summer, English major Tarik Kalwar worked with Dr. Donald Fidler, director of transcultural psychiatric programs at the WVU School of Medicine, for a month in the village of Akhiok on Kodiak Island, to build and launch a summer spirit camp for native children. The camp offers programs to keep native children away from drugs and to help them succeed in modern society while still maintaining their cultural identity.

The three other students who will speak at the luncheon studied native cultures in Tuntutuliak, a Yup’ik native village. Erin Clemens, a multidisciplinary studies major with a minor in Native American studies, examined the history and culture of the tribe. Arnita Sitasari, a doctoral candidate in political science, traveled to study gender dynamics and the status of women in native society. The fourth student participating in the teaching luncheon is Saya Bobick, a doctoral candidate in curriculum and instruction. She spoke with tribal elders about traditional ways of knowing and relating to their community and the natural world.

The Teaching Luncheon Series is an annual event sponsored by the Native American Studies Program, the Center for Women’s Studies and the Center for Black Culture & Research.

For more information, contact Bonnie M. Brown, coordinator of the Native American Studies program, at (304) 293-4626 or BonnieM.Brown@mail.wvu.edu.



CONTACT: Rebecca Herod, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
304-293-7405, ext. 5251, Rebecca.Herod@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.