Critical Articulations of Labor & Care in Indigenous Alaska and Arctic

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Polar Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Governors Square 17, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Organizers: Jen Rose Smith
Chairs: Jen Rose Smith


Alaska’s Arctic and sub-Arctic landscapes are often presented in light of dominant alarmist metaphors in the contemporary moment of climate change: the poster children on the ‘front lines’ of global warming; the perished canaries in the mine. Alaska is made to serve as a spectacular example of human-induced catastrophe as pertains to the more-than-human--the melting glacier, the blemished pristine, the polar bear stranded on a drifting ice-floe. But this portrayal narrates Alaska’s past as static perfection while simultaneously neglecting “the arts of living” with what has always been a dynamic landscape. This panel considers Alaska otherwise, particularly by contemplating and centering indigeneity--Indigenous labor, Indigenous craft, Indigenous techno-scientific expertise, and Indigenous return. In centering critical interfaces with indigeneity in Northern spaces, the papers on this panel problematize narrations of Alaska as an ahistorical sacrifice zone for capitalist extractivism without fetishizing Indigeneity or traditional ecological knowledges as ready-made answers to the global ecological crisis. We focus on the local and emplaced scenarios of climate as it changes and the myriad responses that relationally emerge. This session is interested in the potential productivity of a changing icy-landscape for Xunaa Tlingit in what’s for now known as Glacier Bay National Park; in the yoking together of Indigenous ecological and linguistic labor as implied and expected labor in Eyak, Alaska; and to problematizing the paradigm of resilience for socio-ecological systems in rural Alaska. Moving away from master narratives of destruction and demise, this session offers a series of situated scenarios in Alaska that require an attention to the minutiae of colonialism as it has historically taken shape and continues in ongoing forms in Northern spaces.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Jen Rose Smith*, University of California, Davis, Linguistic and Ecological Labor in Eyak, Alaska 15 1:45 PM
Presenter Sonya Gray*, , Change in climate in Glacier Bay National Park 15 2:00 PM
Presenter Danielle DiNovelli-Lang*, Carleton University, Karen Hébert, Carleton University, Mapping and making resilient rural communities 15 2:15 PM
Presenter Alexander Arroyo*, University of California - Berkeley, Charts & Labor: Hydrographic Frontiers and the Geotechnics of Race in the North Pacific & Arctic Oceans, c. 1867/2017 15 2:30 PM

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