The Co-Create Collaborative 

A Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development Blog Post

March 2024

By: Charleen Fisher, PhD

Gwich’in Introduction

Drin Gwinzii! Shoozhrii Charleen Fisher, PhD oozhii. Beaver, Alaska gwats’an ihlii. Shii Dinjii zhuh oozhii Daazhrąįį. Assistant Professor Department of Alaska Native Studies ts’à’ Rural Development ihlii. 

English Introduction

Good day! My name is Charleen Fisher, PhD. I am from Beaver, Alaska. My native name is Daazhrąįį. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development. 

This DANSRD Blog post shares about the Co-Create Collaborative and the work they do to contribute to and highlight ethical norms for working with Indigenous people in the circumpolar north. The group are like minded individuals who work together when it is important to do so. 

The Co-Create Collaborative is an unstructured group of Indigenous rights holders and Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers who come together to write papers, organize and host workshops and presentations, and meet to share knowledge. I have worked with this group on several projects and will share about them here, please feel free to access the links and cite as you see fit. 

January 2022 (published paper) – Shaping Arctic’s Tomorrow through Indigenous Knowledge Engagement and Knowledge Co-Production

Shaping Arctic’s Tomorrow through Indigenous Knowledge Engagement and Knowledge Co-Production

This Sustainability, 2022, 14(3) 1331 publication is a foundational article that was worked on by researchers in 2021 and published in January of 2022. This paper advocated for co-creation or co-production of knowledge with Indigenous people and non-Indigenous researchers to be a priority and made recommendations for practical steps to be taken.

June 2022 (published paper) – Improving the Relationships between Indigenous rights holders and researchers in the Arctic: an invitation for change in funding and collaboration

Improving the relationships between Indigenous rights holders and researchers in the Arctic: an invitation for change in funding and collaboration – IOPscience

This article recommends strategies for transformative ways to integrate ethical research for meaningful collaboration in the area of research funding. There were 10 co-authors including Indigenous researchers and allies from the circumpolar north and Europe. The paper was published in Environmental Research Letters, Vol 17, No. 6 on June 10, 2022. The introduction was written by advocate Elle Merete Omma and highlights the Sápmi experience. This paper is steeped in helpful references and has a table with clear recommendations to research funders.

July 2022 (workshop) – Gwich’in fur mitten workshop & need for collaboration in research

Gwich’in fur mitten making and the need for collaboration in research

I was lucky enough to participate in a summer workshop in Potsdam, Germany with the Co-Create Collaborative. I held a workshop about identity, sewing, and research from an Indigenous perspective with co-create members and other people affiliated with the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam (RIFS). I shared a presentation, my sewing and then we worked on a beading project.

November 2022 (presentation) – CRCD Research Speaker Series

CRCD Research Speaker Series: Dr. Charleen Fisher

The UAF College of Rural and Community Development (CRCD) initiated the CRCD Research Speaker Series and I was asked to share. I was joined by Dr. Döring and we spoke about the current co-creation collaborative events of that time.  

August 2022 (published paper) – Shijyaa Haa Research: Reflections on positionality, relationality, and commonality in Arctic research by Charleen Fisher & Nina Nikola Döring

Dr. Döring and I worked on this paper for a couple of years and we were lucky enough to be published in the special issue of Ethical Space: Indigenous Communications Landscapes, Vol. 20, Nos. ⅔. The dialogic style presented a conversation between myself and Dr. Döring discussing our perspectives on co-creation issues and identity.

October 2023 (workshop) – A Week of Exchange: Ethics and Methods in Arctic Transformative Research 

a week of exchange: ethics and methods in arctic transformative research

WEMA III had so many great workshops with over 40 attendees at Oulu University in Oulu, Finland. I co-led a session titled Indigenous Knowledge, Language, and Positionality in Indigenous Research, facilitated by Ellen Marie Jensen (independent researcher) and Sigga-Marja Magga of the Giellagas Institute at the University of Oulu. I was so happy to share about the language work that I am involved in at the Tribal level. I shared the partnership website: and the materials that we work on and then did a hands-on sensory experience making a keychain with moose hide scraps, duck feathers, and glass beads. A report will be made available soon summarizing our workshop.

Upcoming: Co-creation collaborative website! 

Mahsi’ choo or thank you for taking the time to read this Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development Blog post!

“The Alaska Historical Society Guide to Sources for the Study of ANCSA” by Dr. Charleen Fisher and Dr. William Schnieder

With the 50 year anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development (DANSRD) would like to share the Guide to Sources of Study for ANCSA as developed by the Alaska Historical Society (AHS). This blog entry will include an overview of the guide as well as highlight an example. We recommend that you use the Guide in your research activities.

The Alaska Historical Society is quickly moving from annotating sources to include in the master Guide to Sources on ANCSA to the next stage, formatting and managing the 700 plus page document. Karen Brewster is ably managing this compilation. The Guide will contain six sections:

  1. An introduction explaining the scope of the project and how the Guide is organized. 
  2. A second section lists collections by archive or holding institution.
  3. A third section that actually describes the content of collections at each site that relates to ANCSA. This third section is indexed down to the box and folder level when possible and is meant to give researchers a path to content that relates to their area of interest. To access the actual content they will need to go to the archive where it is held. 
  4. The fourth section of the Guide is an annotated bibliography of sources that are readily available in published or printed form in library holdings. 
  5. A fifth section is a listing of key players in the ANCSA movement. A one or two sentence describes each person’s role. 
  6. The sixth and final section of the Guide is a compilation of curriculum that has been developed over the years with a listing of key discussion topics for educators teaching this topic. 

An Example of How to Use the Guide 

Photo title: “Chiefs’ Conference at Tanana”, 1962. Bear Ketzler Collection, UAF Archives. Photo dated 1962. Photo number UAF 1992-202-18. 

One of the collections featured in the Guide is for Al Ketzler Sr., an Interior Native leader who worked for land claims. A collection of material was deposited at the Rasmuson Library, Alaska and Polar Regions Archives and is described in the Guide to Sources on ANCSA in sections 2 and 3 of the Guide.

Section 2

Al Ketzler Sr. Collection

Al Ketzler Sr. is an Athabascan leader from Nenana, Alaska who actively worked for the recognition of Native rights and was instrumental in organizing Native leaders in the Interior in the 1960s about land ownership issues prior to the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act. The collection covers the years 1961-1977, and topics of particular interest addressed by this collection include:

  • Material and correspondence from the first Chiefs Meeting in Nenana and subsequent meeting in Tanana in 1962, and the Dena’ Nena’ Henash (Our Land Speaks) organization that Ketzler was chairman of and its conference in Tanana in 1963; 
  • Material and correspondence related to the Alaska Native Rights Association; 

Correspondence and supporting reference to key people involved in early Native land claims efforts: Kay Hitchcock (English Department, UAF); Sandra Jensen (local Fairbanksan involved in helping the people of Nenana with their “land problem”); Charles Purvis (whose daughter, DeLois, was married to Al Ketzler and was a local Fairbanksan involved in helping the people of Nenana with their “land problem”); Grant Newman (Director of the Alaska Native Rights Association); Henry Forbes, LaVerne Madigan and William Byler of the Association of American Indian Affairs (AAIA) in New York City that supported Ketzler’s land claims efforts and helped provide funding; and William L. Paul, Sr, who was Tlingit and a Native rights attorney.

To see the listing of sources, researchers go to section 3 of the Guide where they find the following description:

  1. Al Ketzler, Sr. Collection 

Box 4: Alfred Ketzler Sr., Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Collection (Accession 84-044)

Box 4

Folder 10

“Chiefs’ Conference, Tanana, Alaska, June 24-26, 1962”

“Dena’ Nena’ Henash” (Our Land Speaks)