Critical Race Theory: 'Settler and colonizer' woman takes Native Services role at University of Alaska Anchorage - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, September 23, 2021
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Critical Race Theory: ‘Settler and colonizer’ woman takes Native Services role at University of Alaska Anchorage

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She’s white. She has taken a Native Student Services job. And the University of Alaska Anchorage seems to think it has some explaining to do.

The Native Student Services office at the University of Alaska Anchorage hired a woman the school describes as having “Settler-Colonizer heritage (mostly Czech and German).” The settler-colonizer “grew up in what is now Colorado on the land of the Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples.”

Valerie Svancara is the new assistant director for NSS. She came to UAA as an admissions counselor with a focus on rural Alaska students. With a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning from UAA, she has immersed herself in a “Participatory Action/Indigenous Methodologies research project focused on university transition and retention experiences of Alaska Native students.”

This settler-colonizer label is part of Critical Race Theory. Brown University’s Critical Race Theory course uses the Settler-Colonizer term to educate whites about whose land they occupy.

“This week we start to engage ideas around settler colonialism, and the ways the racialization of Indigenous peoples and enslaved Africans emerged with and through the process of colonization in (what is now known as) the United States. Often conversations about race and racism ignore indigenous peoples, or fail to address the role of ongoing settler colonialism in creating racial stratification. The readings offer theoretical foundations into understanding just what settler colonialism is (and what it shares and how it differs from other forms of colonialism), as well as two Indigenous scholars approaches to CRT and indigeneity. Native identity is both racialized and also political/legal (Native peoples in the US are considered a racial group as well as citizens of sovereign nations), which we will work to unpack and put in conversations about racial formations and the tenets of CRT,” the course authors write in introducing the subject of Settler-Colonialism

“Questions to ask yourself this week: Whose land are you on? Which tribal nation(s) specifically? How are the Native people in your community represented (or not)? For non-Native people: in what ways have you benefitted and continue to benefit from settler colonialism?” the Introduction to Critical Race Theory 2017 class asks students to consider about their own flawed identity.

Read more at this link.

Not all are happy with the emphasis on Critical Race Theory in the hiring practices at UAA. “

“UAA may discover that labeling people as settler-colonizers has a dampening effect on raising funds from those very people who they hope will support their programs,” noted one observer and critic.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Aren’t people that move from a blue to a red state, and vice versa, , and try to change the community that they moved to into one that they left a modern day settler-colonizer?

    • Excellent!!!!!

    • lol…bravo!

  • This is just the tip of the iceberg all across UA. The Board of Regents is considering support for mandatory CRT training for all employees. UA administration is all in with CRT and “decolonization.”

  • We’ve had settler/colonizers since the beginning of mankind. We have legs, are bipedal, and can walk/crawl long distances over various terrain. We were “born to wander.” Our indigenous tribes all came from somewhere and displaced other peoples. Our “woke” and “climatologist” population needs to look back further than a few hundred years..

    • Exactly!

    • Exactly. These woke morons think American Natives sprang up out of the rocks. Our future generations have never been taught about land bridges, canoes, migration, and conquering tribes. That’s what happens when we allow our public schools to be hijacked by leftists communists.

  • The critical theory classes at public universities are designed to create radical political activists, and students are probably less employable after taking them than they were when they started college. Why are we funding this radical political activism with taxpayer money?

  • Everyone non-white is blaming the ‘white’ people (original ‘colonizers’) for their inequity, lack of ambition/work ethic, lack of supposed ‘equality’ and every woe their people suffered, from the beginning to current. One should remember that ‘white’ Americans were not the colonists. England, Spain, France, Russia (in Alaska), even Portugal were the ‘colonizers’. England had the colonies on the eastern third of North America and England owned slaves until 1833. French ‘colonized’ the middle third of North America. Spain/Mexico claimed the western third of the new world that made up North America. The French and English, perpetually at war, fought over Canada. Both sides of that conflict used indigenous people as fighters against the other
    indigenous tribes and each other. England was the first semi-modern country to use biological warfare against the indigenous people of North America by giving the indians ‘presents’ of blankets infected with smallpox. The indigenous natives that had been used by the English to fight their war against France in the ‘New World’ were nearly eliminated by smallpox, after they had served their purpose for the English, French and Spaniards. Smallpox spread from sea to shining sea in the indigenous populations, almost exterminating them.
    The ‘colonialists’ were ran out of England as heritecs against the king’s belief. The Pilgrims, Puritans and other ‘heretics’ left England for Holland/Netherlands and stayed there several years. Being a ‘burden’ on Holland/Netherlands, they were strongly encouraged to leave there too. The only solution for them was ‘banishment’ to the English (futureAmerican) colonies. The original ‘colonizers’ were English, French and Spaniards. About 125 or more years after coming to America, the ‘colonists’, having been banned from England on religious grounds, were so oppressed by England, they revolted in what is now called the American Revolution. The ‘colonists’ won and formed America. After America was formed through revolution and established as it’s own country, the French decided they needed money instead of land in a far off country and the Louisana Purchase was entered into, where America bought the middle third of the country from France. Russia sold Alaska to America later. Spain and by extension, Mexico (France was involved in Mexico after Spain, too) still controlled the western third of the continent. The Mexican/American war, started by Mexico (remember the Alamo), ended with Mexico surrendering their claim to that western third of America.

    America was founded by ‘white’ people alright. The new Americans had to fight for their lives against natives, disease, hardship and religious persecution. Current history is teaching our kids the wrong history.

    A very short education on America, its founding and its people.

    • A very short uninformed history lesson, probably the result of public education.

      • Ben is more accurate than the nonsense they teach today.

        • Sadly you are 100% correct.

    • EXACTLY!! Good reminder!

  • I am sooo weary of the double digit IQ pandemic. Common sense is now an endangered species and the zombie apocalypse theme is no longer fiction.

  • Since Ms. Svancara identifies as a settler/colonizer, and more specifically from Czech-German background, maybe Ms. Svancara would do much more good in this world by simply moving back to her Czech-German area of origin. Jdi do prdele!

    • Really?? Following your logic, where is your heritage and are you in the right place? So now we are not only being judged by the color of our skin, but who our grandparents are??? How very un-American!
      What an asinine statement. This lady did not identify herself. Only the “uber-righteous ” leadership at UAA felt compelled to atone for their choice of hire. Sounds to me that UAA picked the best qualified candidate and got push back from the woke /CRT crowd.

  • BS. The state should close dysfunctional UAA and surplus the campus as a homeless treatment center. Do I owe myself reparations for things some ancestors did to oppress other ancestors?
    As Wayne Allen Root said yesterday, the only ones who owe reparations are Democrats, the party of slave traders, slave holders, and the KKK. Robert Byrd, KKK Exalted Cyclops, was praised eulogized by our current president for his service. That should clearly identify who the oppressors are.

    • I guess in the world as in psych class the truth the ego can be stuck in the past is too much for the poor little whiners.

  • Canada is leaps and bounds beyond us in its acceptance of responsibility as a settler-colonizer. They discovered and publicly acknowledged the still-growing genocide of over 1000 First Nation children in Catholic boarding schools across Canada from the late 19th century through the mid-20th century. These deaths occurred from neglect, disease, physical and sexual abuse. The children were summarily buried, on the grounds of the school, without a word to their families. Disposed of like trash.

    Now, Canada tells their story, the Prime Minister personally taking responsibility on behalf of the Commonwealth and calling on the Pope to come to Canada and apologize personally to all First Nation peoples for the spiritual harm and destruction to generations of cultures.

    • Sophie, that’s garbage. They’ve found graves but there is nothing indicating anything nefarious. In times past the norm was for many children to die of diseases easily treated today. And evidence from one site in Saskatchewan shows that wooden markers were placed but have deteriorated with time. Don’t use your personal bitterness and hatred to foment lies and division just because you think that you can use a little tidbit of ambiguous information to further your cause. Investigations are initiated, how about waiting to see if there is enough information to discover the truth? Or is the truth dangerous to your vile agenda?

      • AK…Nothing NEFARIOUS?

        While white Canadian children were allowed to stay with their families and go to school, then back home every day, Indigenous Canadian children were shipped HUNDREDS of miles away from their families to live until they turned 18 (if they were LUCKY enough to live that long.) These children were dehumanized. Wooden markers? Those children had families who were NEVER told what happened to them. Their deaths were secreted away. There are no records of them dying at the school or township. I’ve been following this on CTV news and podcasts. Also, the Catholic Church is not forthcoming with their recordkeeping, so it appears this will become another scandal for them.

        The only thing vile here is the depth and breadth of your presumptuousness.

        • And again you jump to hysterical conclusions. OMG! Mt Edgecumbe is hundreds of miles away from home villages! We must close it immediately! You espouse hysterical conspiracy theories before the investigation even begins. Are you a Q-Anon too? Of just a mindless MSNBC zombie fool believing whatever drivel they espouse?

        • So…in your view, Americans are guilty because Canada is guilty? I fail to see the connection. Also, I’m not sure how much stock I’d put in anything coming from the bastard love child of Fidel Castro.

          • Is Canada guilty? The investigation is only begun. I say let’s wait and see the conclusions before hysterically screaming Guilty! or Vengeance! like Sophie or everyone on left wing networks.

  • I always find it amusing that Anchorage is on land which once was homeland for the Chugachmiut Eskimos but was invaded by and taken over by (along with most of Cook Inlet) the Denaina Athabaskans, an interior group. Doubtless, they took lots of Sugpiat slaves too, which was the norm.
    Point is: the world is full of countless stories of settling and colonizing done by every shade of human being.

    • You are absolutely right. And it wasn’t white people who went and captured black slaves from the continent of Africa. It was warring tribes – of the same race – that captured and enslaved each other and sold them off to other peoples or kept for slaves to their own tribe. This has been going on since the time of humankind began and it still goes on there even today. The strong overpowering the weak and taking advantage of them in some fashion. Not saying it is right, but it is what was. Are the descendants of native Americans who enslaved members of other tribes being made to pay repatriations to descendants of those they enslaved, both white, Hispanic and other native American tribes? When will this madness stop? Learn from history so it is not repeated, but for God’s sake, leave it in the past where it belongs!!! And quit trying to change it so it reflects modern ideology…it was what it was.

    • Steve, Steve, Steve…you are the reason law schools like mine had elective seminars in Critical Legal Studies and Critical Race Theory.

      It’s Chugachmiut. Period. The word you used alongside the tribal name is a slur. If you wish to refer to certain groups of tribes from the same area as the Chugachmiut, refer to them as Inuit. Also, “Denaina” literally means “The People,” and this is what THEY call themselves. It is much better than the arbitrary self-appointed anointing of “Athabaskan” given to Southcentral Alaska Natives — along with the entirety of the speakers of Native American languages across the northwestern part of North America — by one extremely arrogant white man, Albert Gallatin, in 1826.

      • Have you read Shadows on the Koyukuk, by Sydney Huntington?
        It’s an interesting tale and speaks to the animosity between the coastal Eskimos and interior Athabaskans. If those words are “slurs” they are the author’s, a self proclaimed Athabaskan. I highly recommend the book.

      • Sophie, I think a larger question is, where did freedom come from? From where did this concept of human rights and equality under the law begin? In light of the whole of Human History I would think that the question above just might be important.

      • Sophie, Sophie, Sophie…. you are the reason we need more instruction in logic, reason and morality in our education system. The word you used to describe Gallatin is a slur. If you wish to describe people originating from Switzerland, refer to them as Swiss…. which is what THEY call themselves. Hypocrisy is an ugly trait.

        • Wayne, Sophie’s reference to the Dena’ina was to inform you of her special knowledge, gained attending a Grad School Seminar. Sophie enlarged our understanding by telling us that the Tribe’s name means “The People”. This is not an unusual moniker however, as many tribal names have similar meanings. For example Cheyenne means, “like hearted people”. Tlingit translates to ” people of the tides”. Haida refers to the islands where the tribe lived or “Islands of the people”. England translates to “Land of the Angles”, in honor of the Germans from Angle who showed up suddenly, knocked a few heads off and sort of took over. The Normans or Norsemen followed the Angles over the channel and knocked off even more heads and assumed control but kept the name England. But I digress… Mr. Coogan, Logic is not a virtue in modern Education. Emotions, Slogans, Caring more then you do, VOLUME and well, being “woke,” which means burning down 20 centuries of enlightenment is the dominate theme now. Sorry, old Pal. If we cannot beat them, let’s at least join them, roll up a big fatty and let’s get stoned to ease the pain…

      • IMO it’s more correct to call us Americans.

      • I sense more than a bit of projection when describing Albert Gallatin…the irony is palpable.

      • Interesting you assert that Eskimo and Athabascan are insults, as if you alone can speak for all people to whom those names have been applied?

        And, of course, you use the “Racisssss!” cry to avoid addressing the actual point, that even in very recent history “settler-colonialism” was committed by and against the last peoples, of a long line of such, from Asia to “invade” and “colonize” this part of Alaska.

  • There’s a difference between teaching history, and promoting an agenda … just as there’s a difference between equal opportunity, and equal outcome … and a difference between race and simply being in the way.

  • I agree that if the management of UAA and the rest of the University system can’t cleanse this type of false indoctrination from their system we should defund the University budget for any of these courses. I attended UAA and my three sons graduated from UAF several years ago. One granddaughter graduated from UAF. But the next grandson went one year and left because of the chaos. He now attends an out of State University. I will encourage my next five grandchildren to seek out of State education at a conservative university that doesn’t participate in these junk classes. I also have donated the last dollar to any University activity or alumni fund raiser. Get your act together if you want to educate Alaskans.

  • The Outer Space beings were here first, planting DNA and sowing humans. Everyone after that is a colonizer and settler. Whoever can take the land and hold the land………get to keep it. Those are the rules. No more crybabying.

    • So, their “poo” was our primordial soup? Ahahahahahaha!

  • Well you only have to apologize for past crimes to humanity if you’re white… what anyone else did is irrelevant and acceptable I guess.

  • Being Norwegian, I come from a long line of “conqueror” heritage. My ancestors used to kill Englishmen for sport.

    • Well then Jay, we’re probably cousins way back. I demand reparations for the things that our ancestors did to my English and Irish ancestors (they didn’t just kill them). Since you’re likely more Norwegian than I, should you pay more? By the way, I can trace to Harald Fairhair, of which my red bearded son is very proud.

  • Is it any wonder Alaska’s youth are idiots?

    From K-college they get the worst education possible taught by politicians masking as teachers.

  • How about a law banning mandatory CRT/decolonization training or evaluation at all state institutions including the university? No employee may be required to undergo training in Critical Race Theory, Decolonization, “cultural safety,” or “anti-racism.” No employee may be hired, fired or disciplined based on acceptance/non-acceptance of these theories.

    As a further step, Alaska should have a law explicitly banning hiring targets based on racial quotas. (UA is also planning this.)

  • I think I will move to Iceland. As I understand it, Iceland had no indigenous people living there when the Norse settled the place a thousand years ago. Maybe that will make it impossible, or less likely, for CRT to thrive there.

    • Building on the CRT foundation we’d have to define the Norse as “original inhabitants” and anyone coming after would have to be declared as the hated “settler-colonizer” invader.
      If CRT enthusiasts actually believe their drivel then they’d apply the original inhabitant versus later immigrant analysis to every instance of human migration and settlement…including the current mass “settler-colonizer” invasion we’re seeing right now coming from Central and South America.
      That shows how dishonest and disingenuous these CRT idiots are because if you aren’t descended from white Europeans then the CRT theory doesn’t apply.

  • Q.) Whose land are you on? A.)God’s or
    in Native term the Great Spirit’s land.
    Q.) Which tribal nation(s) specifically? A.) The people of Shem, Noah’s son.
    Q.) How are the Native people in your community represented? A.) God’s children.
    Q.) What ways have you benefitted and continue to benefit from settler colonism? A.) We have a bigger family.

    There! I answered the questions. Thoughtful and self-reflective.

  • Past time to stop teaching racism. It will disappear completely if we do stop teaching it in one or two generations. CRT and its derivative claims only perpetuate racism – and that is what it is designed to do, to further destroy America and promote communism. As for UA, time to BDS. As for us now, just respect one another – we’re all humans.

  • Well, the “whites” national group colonists thought the other white tribes seriously “underlived” each other. The Dutch thought they were better than the Brits; the Brits felt the same toward the Dutch. The French thought themselves more refined than the others; the Irish came over often as indentured workers (slaves) and were willing to duke it out with all comers, the Spanish had the conquistadores thing going strong. And to begin with they all oved their hosts the American Indians and quickly married and made alliances and started smoking tobacco and sold tobacco around the world. Of all the black slaves sold in those slave prevalent years only four (4) percent landed in America at all. Also, to be employed at all for others was likely slavery. The sailors owed their labor to their captain who ran a tight ship. England was the first to eradicate slavery entirely. So the world has come a long ways especially in America with liberty and justice for all.

  • From the beginning of humanity, every time people migrated there was the possibility that others could have been displaced. It’s something that occurs with any species. Do we need to apologize for it? NO! I’m sure CroMagnon displaced Neanderthals, and that 10-15 thousand years ago migrations of humans across the New World resulted in frequent displacements.

  • The problem with these people is that all the movements have already taken place, and they feel the need to create a movement out of thin air because they feel their lives are boring and worthless unless they can create a problem to fix. To just move on, live a good life, and be a good person isn’t exciting enough for their new age computer over stimulated minds.
    Just as when after Commie Hillary did Not win the election they acted as if their was some kind of new womens suffrage that needed to take place, as if there was never an original legitimate one that had already taken place.
    It’s the day and age of remaking the past for sheer lack of creativity, and uselessness. Just like the remake of Gilligans island, dukes of hazard, Mcgyver, Xena, and many others with inputting their sick new age twist to them. Let’s face it, uncreative Fake Reality Shows have mostly run their course.

  • Before the colonials showed up, the AmerIndians weren’t organized as a homogeneous race. There were AmerIndian tribes, in the same vein as Normans and Saxons of Europe. There were Indian Nations, similar to European countries, such as Spain, France, Germany, and etc.
    It was simply convenient and efficient to lump all into one definable category, as Indians, and later AmerIndians. The label of Alaska Native lumped the Alaska tribes and nations the same way.
    As for CRT, the last real Indian died in the Modoc wars. We lost and need to get over it. Our only real future now is “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do.” We’re in “Rome”.
    Remembering our past, our history and traditions is a good thing. Clinging to it is like holding on to a child’s comfort blanket. We’re not an immovable object resisting an irresistible force.

  • How much sense does it make for the US government to call a tribe a “sovereign nation” while at the same time requiring its members to file IRS tax returns? It’s so obviously nothing more than a corny “feel-good-label” that anyone uttering it loses credibility.

  • Pulling funding from this trash organization is the only way to stop this insanity

  • There were multiple waves of people across the Bering Straits into North America. Appears to me ALL of them were settlers and colonizers. Please explain why that is a Bad Thing. Cheers –

    • And evidence of coming up the Aleutians, maybe across the South Pacific, and even from Africa. Perhaps the progressives just want to push us all back into our primitive caves.

  • There is no such thing as race. It cannot be definitively defined. There are families, there are clans, there are tribes, there are cultures, and there are nations. But there is no such thing as race. If you go to Europe and identify a Norwegian as a Sicilian, a fight would likely ensue. Similarly, clumping the Tutsi and Hutu together is a recipe for conflict. No superficial attributes define the human race except those created by people who strive to divide us. My daughter is Chinese, yet she has red hair. Other Chinese have blue eyes. What race does that make them? Only the most vile depraved repugnant immoral scum of society would seek to divide us based on superficial attributes, and to do it in the name of advancing their own self righteous ambitions is beyond malevolent, it is pure evil and society should completely shun these self serving charlatans.

    • AK, got news for you. Chinese is a nationality–not a race. If you were inclined to label her by race, it would be Asian, or more correctly, Mongoloid… terms that are also problematic. That said, I agree with your proposition that race, in itself, is a flawed concept resulting from mankind’s failed attempts to categorize people by genotype and phenotype. As you know, the variations within these to not lend themselves to broad categorization.

      • Exactly! One daughter is Chinese, from China, her nationality, not her race. Asian is also a definition by location-Indians and Russians (some) are both Asians as well, but nothing like each other. We are all of the Human Race and should not be further divided.

  • Remember children, nowadays it’s not your character that matters, it’s the color of your skin.

    • Isn’t that the damn truth

  • Seriously, if this is an issue the budgets are bloated, severely. Cut, chop and axe the program and memorialize the idiots in support of this issue so it doesn’t happen again. It isn’t worth any argument.

  • As long as it pays to be a victim in America we will have multitudes of victims in America.

  • Ain’t nothin critical about their race theories…

  • It’s amazing how distorting history has created so much division in our Nation, almost as if it was planned. Every aspect of our life has been used to divide us from Godliness to Godlessness, from straight to gay, from black to white, from mask to no mask, from pro cop to anti cop. There appears to be a concerted effort to continually bring division amongst us so that evil men can sit back waiting to watch our Country unravel and we are playing right along with it. CRT is just another systematic effort to destroy us.
    Anything that promotes division in anyway, let alone by race, is wrong. This is a Marxist concept used to divide by race rather than build by character, originally pushed by Marxist in the form of critical theory where they pushed that laws where created by the rich class to keep the lower class subjugated in order to create a class warfare. Now they are taking the same plan and using it to divide race. People must educate yourselves on the evil workings of Marxism and get past these divisive efforts to see the real nefarious plan that we are blindly playing into the hands of.

  • Circular firing squads are the best.

  • Off topic … But where is the anti-Hamilton gang? They should be all over this issue, if their concerns are actually about U of A.
    So, the anti-Hamilton stuff really was all about Pebble, and a bunch of EnviroNazis boot-strapping Hamilton’s articles, wasn’t it……………..

  • I thought man was just another mammal, just a part of nature’s evolution. Or is man special? Which is it?

  • The Settler/ lColonizer have purposely put their European origins out of their minds and had to think about the fact that they are not Native to the lands they inhabit. That’s their problem, they have for decades pretended that they are the Ur American, and they have the right to dictate who gets to be American and who doesn’t. Reminding them of their roots puts them on the same immigrant boat that they force on every other non white American descendants of immigrants. There is only one Ethnic American race, The Indigenous American people, everyone else is a colonizer.

    • Uh, hate to disappoint you but no one is indigenous to the Americas. Some were just colonizers before others, and many different groups have occupied the land, pushing those before them off (or enslaving, or wiping them out). Records only document those on the land at the time of European conquest-lots of history occurred prior to that. Unless you are African, living in Eastern Africa, you are a colonizer.

  • STOP this stupidity! Hire whoever is qualified. Skin color be damned!!!

  • Laura Ingraham was celebrated on FOX when she declared her ancestors were settlers, not immigrants. Conservatives should cheer this addition to UAA Faculty

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