Aviaja Egede Lynge | Saturday, 8 October 2011 - Friday, 21 October 2011
Aviâja Egede Lynge traveled to Anchorage, Alaska in October to present several programs concerning the Inuit model of education in Greenland. Her host, Diane Hirshberg from the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage thought that Alaskan educators could benefit greatly from some of the Greenlandic practices.
On 10 October Aviâja flew to Bethel to visit the Ayaprun Elitnaurvik Yupik Immersion School. The schools mission is to, "help strengthen Yup'ik language and culture, to promote understanding of cultural differences, to enhance one's own cultural identity and to accept that of others".
From Bethel, Aviâja flew to Barrow on 12 October with her host Diane Hirshberg. There she visited with the Ilisagvik College faculty and president and discussed, "Education as a Decolonizational Process." At 7:00 pm that night in the Tuzzy Library (http://www.tuzzy.org) she gave a presentation to the public entitled: "Mental Decolonization in Greenland." On 13 October, Aviâja toured the Inupiat Heritage Center and gave a presentation to Barrow High Schools students who are taking an Inupiaq Literature and Composition course. Her presentation was entitled "Taking Responsibility for Our History." Also while in Barrow, she met with the North Slope Borough School District Board of Education and discussed the Education Reform in Greenland.
After returning to Anchorage on 14 October Aviâja gave a talk entitled "Reforming Education in Greenland: Recognizing the Culture and Identity of Greenlandic Children" at an event open to the public at the Institute of Social and Economic Research in the Diplomacy Building fifth floor conference room at 12:00 pm. A brief synopsis of this presentation follows: "Greenland is a former colony of Denmark, and used the Danish school system for 250 years. But in 2002, Greenland passed the first law requiring the education system to take into account the culture and identity of Greenlandic children". Aviâja spoke about efforts to put the 2002 law into practice, focusing on results and experiences of public school teachers.
Aviâja also presented at the Elders and Youth conference part of the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention on 17 - 18 October. The AFN Convention is the largest representative annual gathering in the United States of any Native peoples. During the convention, the entire state of Alaska is blanketed with discussion on current events and issues. International observers are present at most meetings, both exchanging information and learning from the Alaska Native experience. Aviâja's lecture, "Mental Decolonization in Greenland and Alaska: Comparing Issues" was open to the public with registration to AFN.
Also while in Anchorage, Aviâja visited the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School and participated in other AFN sessions. On 20 October she had her last public event at the Native Student Services on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus in Rasmuson Hall, Room 108. Her 12:00 pm presentation was entitled "Indigenous Values Gathering." The Native Student Services mission is to provide quality support services to native and rural students which promotes their scholastic achievement, student retention, and personal success. They aim to foster academic excellence, career development, leadership skills, personal growth, college-transitioning, a sense of belonging, and the attainment of one's scholastic and life goals. Aviâja traveled back to Greenland on 21 October after her very full tour of Alaska.