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Alaska Natives: Between Past and Future Open Access

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This thesis concerns cultural difficulties and conflicts facing native Eskimos in the Bering Strait region of western Alaska. The question addressed was, what is the state and future of traditional native culture? This photojournalism project was filmed in the villages of Brevig Mission, Teller, Golovin, Nome, and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska. It includes photographs and interviews with elders and youth, and research from Indian Health Service. I discovered a sense of hopelessness and purposelessness in the rural communities, and that underlying issue is demonstrated in my multimedia documentary and community engagement. This project has changed our common view of the traditional Eskimo ways; they live in modern housing, but lead a subsistence lifestyle. The documentary film explores the factors that led up to present-day lifestyle of the Native Alaskans, such as missionaries, whalers, defective public schools and the Molly Hootch case, inbreeding, and alcoholism in native communities.

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