6. 17. 14
We step into Alaska in Anchorage,
and the road into that world stretch-es so deep and wide before us. Because this is their home: the Athabascans, the Yup’ik, the Tlingit, the
Unangan, the Haida and so many
others. We are here to hear their
stories of the land they’ve known
since the beginning.
6. 18. 14
The hike to the base of Exit glacier is
less than a mile, but along the way,
we walk through time. Signs mark
the path with dates from years long
past, from when ice still covered the
land here. Far below us, the glacial
ice is melting, dripping, retreating
little by little.
6. 19. 14
At Seward, we take a boat through
Kenai fjords. The captain shuts
off our engine and we are adrift in
the ice water. It splinters, cracks,
shakes, and shudders in the deep
rumbling voice of a timeless giant. On the way back, a humpback
whale finds us and plays with us.
Since 2010, the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and
Planetary Sciences (EAPS) has partnered with Purdue’s
Native American Educational and Cultural Center
(NAECC) on field courses to geological sites located in
or near Native American lands, including the Colorado
Plateau region, Mississippi Delta and Rocky Mountains.
EAPS professor Kenneth Ridgway, a sedimentary
geologist with Lenape (Delaware) lineage, and NAECC
director Felica Ahasteen-Bryant, who was born and
raised on a Navajo reservation, lead the trips, which are
open to students of all ages and grade levels who share
a Native American heritage, even those from different
disciplines and educational institutions.
Participants engage with tribal leaders, elders,
families and organizations to show how science can be
beneficial to solving problems that affect Native
The 2014 field course explored the geology of the
southern Alaska convergent margin and was detailed
by Kyle Bemis, a Purdue student of Zuni Pueblo descent.
Here, we share photos and excerpts from his blog, which
is hosted on the NAECC website at www.purdue.edu/
BY KYLE BEMIS, PHD STUDENT,
DEPARTMENT OF STATISTICS