Native Traditions, Languages, And Customs From Their Ancestors

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Alaska Native inherited traditions, languages, and customs from their ancestors. There are twenty languages indigenous to the State of Alaska. There has been important federal laws passed as well as important organizations created to fight for the Alaska Native people rights. A question that arises is whether the Alaska Natives are acculturated or assimilated? Acculturation is different in subtle ways from assimilation: acculturation is the process of learning and adapting to a new culture and assimilation is being absorbed into the new culture. Alaska Native peoples are acculturated with the power of education and they are also assimilated with the post-colonial history that they have undergone. Many factors lead to the development of identity, most Alaska Native develop awareness of themselves as being acculturated or assimilated based on their relation in time with education and with history. Understanding the distinction between acculturation and assimilation is important for society’s ability to grow in knowledge. Both acculturation and assimilation was manifested in the reading In the Past’s Familiar Tongue by John E. Smelcer (2000: 321) who was part of Cherokee and Ahtna Athabaskan Indian ancestry. Assimilation can be similar to Smelcer’s (2000: 323) character, his father Charlie Smelcer, who was punished if he was caught speaking non-English, which cause many of his generation to forget about their Native language. The government boarding schools wanted the Alaska
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