Nunalleq, Stories from the Village of Our Ancestors: Co-designing a multi-vocal educational resource based on an archaeological excavation

Alice Watterson* (Corresponding Author), Charlotta Hillerdal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


In 2017 the Nunalleq Project initiated the co-design of a digital educational resource for schoolchildren in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, that curates the story of the archaeological excavations in a way which engages with Yup’ik ways of knowing and traditional oral storytelling. Here we present an account of an archaeological outreach project which creatively unites science and history with traditional knowledge and contemporary engagements. Co-creation of the Nunalleq educational resource revealed the diverse ways in which people connect to the past, sometimes expected, sometimes surprising. In particular, the project made space for a younger generation of Yup’ik who are forging new relationships with their heritage inspired by the archaeology from Nunalleq through traditional dance, art and shared experience. Ultimately, this article explores co-design as a means to illuminate the processes of interpretation from varied perspectives and worldviews with the aim of better understanding how the methods we use frame the knowledge we create.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-227
Number of pages30
Issue number2
Early online date24 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

This work was funded by the UK-based Arts and Humanities Research Council through grants (AH/K006029/1) and (AH/R014523/1), a University of Aberdeen IKEC Award with additional support for travel and subsistence from the University of Dundee, DJCAD Research Committee RS2 project funding. Thank you to the many people who contributed their support, knowledge, feedback, voices and faces throughout the project, this list includes members of the local community, colleagues, specialists, students, and volunteers. If we have missed out any names we apologize but know that your help was appreciated. Jimmy Anaver, John Anderson, Alice Bailey, Kieran Baxter, Pauline Beebe, Ellinor Berggren, Dawn Biddison, Joshua Branstetter, Brendan Body, Lise Bos, Michael Broderick, Sarah Brown, Crystal Carter, Joseph Carter, Lucy Carter, Sally Carter, Ben Charles, Mary Church, Willard Church, Daniele Clementi, Annie Cleveland, Emily Cleveland, Joshua Cleveland, Aron Crowell, Neil Curtis, Angie Demma, Annie Don, Julia Farley, Veronique Forbes, Patti Fredericks, Tricia Gillam, Sean Gleason, Sven Haakanson, Cheryl Heitman, Grace Hill, Diana Hunter, Joel Isaak, Warren Jones, Stephan Jones, Ana Jorge, Solveig Junglas, Melia Knecht, Rick Knecht, Erika Larsen, Paul Ledger, Jonathan Lim Soon, Amber Lincoln, Steve Luke, Francis Lukezic, Eva Malvich, Pauline Matthews, Roy Mark, Edouard Masson-MacLean, Julie Masson-MacLean, Mhairi Maxwell, Chuna Mcintyre, Drew Michael, Amanda Mina, Anna Mossolova, Carl Nicolai Jr, Chris Niskanen, Molly Odell, Tom Paxton, Lauren Phillips, Lucy Qin, Charlie Roberts, Chris Rowe, Rufus Rowe,Chris Rowland, John Rundall, Melissa Shaginoff, Monica Shah, Anna Sloan, Darryl Small Jr, John Smith, Mike Smith, Joey Sparaga, Hannah Strehlau, Dora Strunk, Larissa Strunk, Lonny Strunk, Larry Strunk, Robbie Strunk, Sandra Toloczko, Richard Vanderhoek, the Qanirtuuq Incorporated Board, the Quinhagak Dance Group and the staff at Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat. We also extend our thanks to three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on our paper.


  • community archaeology
  • co-design
  • digital heritage
  • Yup’ik
  • Alaska Native
  • outreach and impact


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