Remembering Dr. Alan Boraas

Nov 15, 2019

 

Dr. Alan Boraas leads a field trip through a Dena'ina settlement near Kenai Peninsula College in September, 2018. He died November 4th at age 72.
Credit Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

Thanks to everyone who shared memories of Dr. Boraas on the Kenai Conversation. Here are a few from the show:


“I’ve known Alan since 1989 when I was a student at KPC. He was actually the first instructor who came up to me and introduced himself and helped me to get familiar with the college. That was profound for me. It helped me to get my degree and take a lot of anthropology classes. It’s a great loss to all humankind that he’s no longer here. We can take what we learn from him and continue his legacy. He’s taught so many and worked with so many exceptional people. What we have from him is something we can continue with our native language and cultures.” - Donita Slawson, Tyonek

“I work here at the college and I’ve known Alan for a long time. I worked with Alan when he had his first Dena’ina class with Peter Kalifornsky. I was a student there and was encouraged to learn about the Dena’ina language, but also encouraged to learn about my own language, which is Ahtna. He always encouraged us to learn about our own language and our own identity and help us in our classes in college, but also as native people at KPC. He was very much a strong component here at the college. He helped us have a voice in the university system. He was a bridge for many of us on the Kenai Peninsula. He will be very much missed here.” - Sondra Shaginoff-Stuart, Soldotna

“Dr. Alan Boraas said ‘we raise to the sacred what is most important in our lives’. For the last few days since he died, I’ve been thinking about what’s sacred to me. Dr. Boraas has taught me so much in the last five years he’s been my mentor and teacher. It’s been a huge privilege to be his student and work in the lab because I feel like I was afforded the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest; someone who’s lived his work. His compassion for others and dedication to his work is something I hope to emulate for the rest of my life, and to continue his legacy to make our community a better place. I went to Skyview High School and skied on Tsalteshi Ski Trails from seventh grade through high school. Even before I met him, he was affecting my life. He was influencing the very way that I lived and taught me the importance of enjoying the outdoors and respecting nature. I would see this guy, skiing around the trails in this big red jumpsuit and wonder who is this guy? And it was Dr. Boraas. There he was, just being in our lives.” - Catherine Wolk, Kasilof