Editorial: Oscar Kawagley leaves a strong legacy in Alaska

"Reading about Oscar Kawagley's long career as a teacher, writer, actor, corporate leader and philosopher brings a very western description to mind: Renaissance man. The Yup'ik scholar's upbringing, education and fine mind made him the right man to pioneer thinking about how western and Native ways of knowing could work together, rather than be exclusive. His work has had a long reach in academic and scientific worlds, but it's also reflected in other realms. Where Native knowledge and lore once were dismissed or simply ignored, now the rule is to learn from them. Governments, industries and researchers are more likely to consult indigenous peoples, tapping knowledge gained from centuries to enrich their understanding and refine their work.

Kawagley also sought to incorporate western knowledge into indigenous ways.

He was a man well-schooled in the ways of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and in the ways of modern North America, and understood the value of both. While he rejected the notion that he was a role model, he might well have been the model for the aim of walking with one spirit in two worlds."

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Our view: Legacy (The Anchorage Daily News 4/28)

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Oscar Kawagley, Alaska Native scholar, passes at age 76 (4/27)

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