College students visit Old Togiak
As part of the Southwest Region School Exploration Week, May 1-5, Togiak School welcomed Dr. Kristen Barnett (Aleut), 12 college students from Bates College in Maine, and one graduate student from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. This included students from Brazil, China, and Afghanistan, as well as the U.S. They met with 25 secondary students from Togiak School to learn about the basics of archaeology with a focus on archaeology in Togiak.
They experimented with a variety of modern tools for archeology, such as 3-Dscanning for artifacts, 360-degree Virtual Reality cameras, digital cataloging systems and StoryMaps; an online interface for telling stories with maps, photos, and text.?They explored the local terrain, and they listened to stories from Togiak elders and created a group StoryMap that documented their experiences during the week.
Barnett explained that the Old Togiak village, across the bay, was the site of a 1960 dig by Makoto Kowta of the University of California at LA. Some of those artifacts have been returned to Togiak and they were examined by the students.
In 2012, Barnett pushed for the return of human remains that were taken in 1960. They were returned and buried under the auspices of Teo Pauk and Helen Gregorio. Barnett led her students the following week for further examination at the site of the original dig from 1960.?
It is hoped that more of the original artifacts, now housed at UCLA and UAF, will be returned to Togiak and displayed at the Togiak Public Library and Cultural Center. Dr. Barnett hopes to return on an annual basis with students from Bates College.
L. Dale Richesin is vice principal of Togiak School.