Until 1912, the only federally supported schools in Alaska were run through various missionary groups exclusively for Alaska Natives. The immigrant American population built their own schools based on private donations. The territorial government, established in 1912, built an educational system for nonindigenous peoples, while the federal government continued to run Native schools until the 1970s. Today the state of Alaska provides the primary financial support for all public schools in the state. Private schools, primarily associated with religious groups, are self-supporting.
The University of Alaska, established in 1917 as the Alaska Agricultural and School of Mines, became a university in 1935. It currently is divided into three major units based in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Juneau, and has community colleges and extension centers in almost every large Alaskan community. The University of Alaska Fairbanks is a world leader in research concerning the Arctic, Antarctic, fisheries, volcanology, and numerous other fields.
Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka is private and retains an identification with the Presbyterian Church. Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, founded by the Methodist Church, is also private. There is also a religious college in Glenallen and an Orthodox seminary in Kodiak.
Art shows, theater, and musical and dance groups are widespread in Alaskan communities, including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Sitka, Haines, Kodiak, and elsewhere. The Alaska State Museum in Juneau, the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka, the Anchorage Historical and Fine Arts Museum, and the museum of the University of Alaska Fairbanks have notable collections of Native artifacts and relics. In the museum in Juneau are relics of the Russian occupation, one of the pens used to sign the Alaska Statehood Act, and a facsimile of the canceled check for $7.2 million used to purchase Alaska. Anchorage and Fairbanks have symphony orchestras. Much of the culture of Alaska’s Natives disappeared with the great epidemics prior to the 1950s. The educational system also discouraged Native arts and culture, while Alaska Natives for the most part sought to join in the economic, social, and political life of Alaska. In recent decades, however, there has been a significant revival of interest in Native culture as well as Native arts and crafts. Native languages, except in some regions, have significantly declined, but language training programs now exist.
Even with the many cultural and economic impediments that have existed over the past century, very significant elements of Native life remain in Alaska, and Native cultures, although modified, remain strong and vibrant. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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