Nov, 2018 | Richard Carstensen | 36 minutes

Presentation for Evening at Egan

On November 9th, 2018, I gave the second in a series of 4 lectures for National Native American Heritage Month. It was part of the UAS series, Evening at Egan. Kolene James, DaxKilatch, coordinator for the Native & Rural Student Center, asked for something in the vein of “resilience in a time of change,” her chosen theme for this academic year. As a naturalist, I have no particular qualifications to speak on cultural aspects of resilience, but thought it might be interesting to weave together some ideas on ecological resilience with what we know about the history and geography of Áak’w & T’aakú Aaní (land of Auk & Taku people).

The talk has 4 subtopics:

1) Glacial history & Southeast biogeography: implications for human migration and residence.

2) Through alien eyes: insights from journals of Euro invaders.

3) Why do we live here? Factors in village site selection.

4) Ecology of resilience: navigating the coming crests.

You have 2 choices for streaming the talk.  All Evening at Egan presentations (and many other videos and slideshows) are archived on the UAS youtube channel. Mine, running 88 minutes, is here:

Many thanks to Cody Bennett, User Services Manager at UAS, and his capable team, who do such a great job of recording these 3-ring circuses. Cody had to rescue me at the podium several times when my powerpoint froze or leaped ahead (?*^#!?). A good portion of Cody’s recorded version is Q&As afterward—when some interesting points came up.

I also routinely upload more concise versions of my presentations to Vimeo:

This narrated slideshow runs 36 minutes. Graphics are more detailed, and maps, especially, benefit from the ability to pan and zoom—rather limited in powerpoint. (Also, in this version you don’t have to twiddle your thumbs through the enforced powerpoint intermissions 🙂 ). This would be the recommended version to project in class, for example.

For those unfamiliar with Tlingit conventions in public speaking, the first part of my talk might seem confusing. (Probably also amusingly amateurish to a traditional orator, and for that I apologize!) Tlingit style introductions are becoming commonplace at UAS, thanks to folks like Lance Twitchell and Joe Nelson, and with endorsement by Chancellor Caulfield.

Typically, presentations begin with: 1) thanks to the hosting kwáan and clans. Then, 2) apologies in advance for any mistakes or hurtful comments. Traditional orators also 3) introduce their mother’s and father’s clan, and often grandparent clans as well. I chose not to do that on this occasion.

Although these conventions may feel to a white person attempting them like ‘putting on feathers,’ they represent centuries of evolution. Initial discomfort may morph into appreciative wonder—at why we all don’t speak this way. On the rare occasions when I adopt the 3rd protocol and introduce my parentage, it changes what I then go on to say. It’s like having Mom and Dad standing behind me. Gunalchéesh, Pam & Ed!  And Gunalchéesh to the elders for showing us the way!