The Alaska Native Language Center was established by state legislation in 1972 to document and preserve the 20 Indian, Aleut and Eskimo languages in Alaska. It is the major center in the United States for the study of Eskimo and northern Athabascan languages. ANLC publishes its findings in dictionaries, grammars, story collections and research papers. The Alaska Native Language Archive houses a valuable collection of manuscript materials in and on Alaska Native languages, including word lists and documentation dating to the late 1700s. The archive is available to scholars and students and is housed at the Rasmuson Library.
The Alaska Native languages program offers courses in Eskimo, Aleut and Indian languages spoken in the state. Major and minor curricula are offered in Central Yup'ik Eskimo, the largest Alaska Native language in terms of number of speakers; and Inupiaq Eskimo, the second largest. Regular courses are also available in Gwich'in Athabascan. Individual or small-group instruction is available in other Athabascan languages as well as in Siberian Yup'ik, Alutiiq, Aleut and Tlingit. UAF is the only university in the United States to provide such programs. Students interested in individual or small group interaction should contact the Alaska Native Language Center.
Established in 1971, the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies is a teaching, research, and development unit administered through the UAF College of Rural and Community Development. It promotes programs that concentrate on the needs of Indigenous societies, with particular regard to education and rural issues.
The Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development's (DANSRD) mission is to increase cultural awareness and strengthen leadership capacity for rural and Indigenous communities in Alaska and the Circumpolar North through degree programs that promote academic excellence, personal development, professional skills, global awareness and respect for Indigenous cultures and commitment to community. DANSRD offers degrees in Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development.
The Native Art Program offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Native Art studio practice. UAF is the only school in Alaska to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Native Art and is only one of a few universities in the country to offer a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Native Arts. The studio is equipped with Indigenous and contemporary carving tools. Areas of study include wood, ivory, stone and bone carving, woodblock printing, skin sewing, beadwork, basketry and mixed media. Courses offered include beginning, intermediate and advanced Native Art Studio classes each semester to approximately sixty students, many of which are Alaska Native.
The Rural Human Services program is designed to develop strong and healthy rural Alaska Native individuals, families and communities. The RHS program provides entry-level training for students preparing for careers as natural helpers/healers in village-based public, private and volunteer human service organizations. The curriculum draws extensively from Indigenous knowledge and wisdom about health and well-being and reflects a strong multicultural orientation that validates, incorporates and builds on Indigenous values and principles.
The Tribal Management program teaches the job-related skills and knowledge needed for positions within tribal and local governments and other organizations in rural Alaska. In response to the broad variety of job-related skills needed by tribal councils, administrators and staff, the tribal management certificate and A.A.S. degree programs are designed to allow students to tailor their education for specific employment-related skills. Students perform specific tasks, learn basic management rationale and explore issues in tribal government. The tribal management program provides students with fundamental knowledge of tribal governance and finance as well as hands-on education and training in subject areas important to tribal governments. Students work closely with their academic advisor to choose courses in one or more areas of study that target their employment needs.