Groups seek class on Alaska cultures

Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A coalition of Anchorage groups, spurred by the January paint ball attack on Alaska Natives, proposed Monday that the Anchorage School District add a required high school course to teach students about Alaska cultures and history.

''The way you develop caring is to develop understanding,'' said Ira Perman, executive director of the Alaska Humanities Forum.

The attack by three white youths was recorded on videotape. Two juveniles involved face proceedings in juvenile court. The adult involved, Charles Deane Wiseman, 20, has pleaded innocent to misdemeanor assault charges.

The Humanities Forum, the Alaska Native Heritage Center and the Bridge Builders multicultural group organized a task force and presented their proposal to the School Board Monday. The board took no immediate action.

Board members said that they like the idea of requiring Alaska studies but are concerned about how to fit the course into students' schedules without further restricting choices for electives.

The Legislature is considering a similar requirement for all Alaska students. The measure did not make it through the legislative session just ended, but will be taken up again next year.

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