Zaretta Hammond speaks at a 2017 cultural education conference sponsored by the Sealaska Heritage Institute. Hammond will be back again this year. (Nobu Koch via Sealaska Heritage Institute | Courtesy photo)

Zaretta Hammond speaks at a 2017 cultural education conference sponsored by the Sealaska Heritage Institute. Hammond will be back again this year. (Nobu Koch via Sealaska Heritage Institute | Courtesy photo)

Conference aims to increase cultural, trauma awareness

Experts, educators from all over the world to share ideas

This week, educators from all around Alaska and the world will be in Juneau for a conference to learn more about culturally aware approaches in classrooms.

The conference, called “Our Cultural Landscape,” is sponsored by the Sealaska Heritage Institute and other organizations in town. This is the second conference that the nonprofit has put on, and SHI Education Director Kevin Shipley said this one will be much larger than the one last year.

About 150 people attended last year, Shipley said, and as of Monday there were 220 attendees confirmed. People are coming from as far away as Denmark and New Zealand, according to a list provided by SHI.

Despite the conference’s global reach, Shipley said about half the attendees are from Juneau and Southeast. Juneau School District principals and educators will be involved, and members of the Board of Education have been invited as well. Topics at the conference will range from the rejuvenation of Alaska Native languages to addressing broader challenges educators face, such as relating to children dealing with trauma.

“This will give something to teachers and administrators,” Shipley said. “It will give them opportunities to add to their repertoire of being able to deal with students successfully and ultimately help those students achieve and that’s what our goal in education is. It’s just an availability to let teachers have the most recent available information and make it available to them.”

[Program increases awareness of effects of childhood trauma]

Registration is closed, and Shipley said it’s not open to the public. The majority of programming will take place at Juneau-Douglas High School from Wednesday to Friday. It should make a difference in Juneau and Southeast, he said, with the expertise of diverse visitors and keynote speakers.

Those keynote speakers include: Dr. Christopher Blodgett, a clinical psychologist and Washington State faculty member specializing in trauma-informed education; Zaretta Hammond, a national education consultant and author of a book about engaging with culturally and linguistically diverse students; Dr. Randall B. Lindsey, a professor emeritus of educational leadership at California State University-Los Angeles; and Rev. Michael Oleksa, a leader in the development of cross-cultural education in Alaska.

The program is part of SHI’s “Thru the Cultural Lens” program, which sponsors cultural education and orientation for educators in the JSD. Shipley said this conference is a group effort, as SERRC, the Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA), the Alaska Department of Education, SHI’s Baby Raven Reads program and the University of Alaska Southeast all worked with SHI to make it possible.

“The big thing people may want to know, it’s bringing together resources from people in Southeast to bring quality professional development to Southeast,” Shipley said. “That’s the goal and I would say it’s a great thing. You don’t always have all these organizations come together and focus and do one thing, but we’ve done it and I think it’s going to be a great conference.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of June 26

Here’s what to expect this week.

Drag queen Gigi Monroe reads a book about a wig during Drag Storytime at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
One for the books: Drag Storytime returns

Balloons, books, bustin’ moves.

FILE - Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. Sweeney's campaign manager said, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, that the campaign did not plan to sue over a finding released by Alaska elections officials stating that she cannot advance to the special election for U.S. House following the withdrawal of another candidate. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen, File)
Alaska Supreme Court ruling keeps Sweeney off House ballot

In a brief written order, the high court said it affirmed the decision of a Superior Court judge.

President Joe Biden signs into law S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Saturday, June 25, 2022. First lady Jill Biden looks on at right. (AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President signs landmark gun measure, says ‘lives will be saved’

The House gave final approval Friday, following Senate passage Thursday.

Three people were arrested over several days in a series of events stemming from a June 16 shoplifting incident, with a significant amount of methamphetamine seized. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Shoplifting investigation leads to arrests on drug charges

Significant amounts of drugs and loose cash, as well as stolen goods, were found.

Ben Gaglioti, an ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, stands next to a mountain hemlock tree damaged in winter on the outer coast of Glacier Bay National Park in Southeast Alaska. (Courtesy Photos / Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Bonsai trees tell of winters long past

By Ned Rozell A GREEN PLATEAU NORTH OF LITUYA BAY — “These… Continue reading

This photo shows a return envelope from the recent special primary election for Alaska's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. On Friday, a judge sided with the state elections office on a decision to omit fifth-place finisher Tara Sweeney from ballots in the special general election. Al Gross, who finished third in the special primary, dropped out of the race, creating confusing circumstances ahead of Alaska's first ranked choice vote. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Judge rules Sweeney wont advance to special election

Decision has Sweeney off the ballot for special election.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, June 25, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of June 19

Here’s what to expect this week.

Most Read