first_imgThe Sealaska Heritage Institute unveiled its new structure in downtown Juneau on Friday. It’s called the Walter Soboleff Building after the late Tlingit scholar, elder and religious leader. Inside stands a full-sized replica of a traditional red cedar clan house.Download Audio:Singers in front of the newly unveiled artwork on the clan house (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)At the opening ceremony, the Aangun Yatx’i dance in their regalia in front of the Walter Soboleff building.Davina Cole is the arts assistant here. She clutches her four-month-old baby girl tightly to her chest.“We’re Yanyeidí from the T’aaku Kwáan area. We’re little wolves. She’s my baby pup,” she says.Cole says she’s looking forward to what the Soboleff Building will offer her daughter. They’ve already gone to a Baby Raven Readsclass before the grand opening. It teaches pre-literacy through Native stories.“So even right now she’s benefiting from the center because it’s going to be really good for her to be surrounded by that and even have a place to go and learn that,” she says.The building is a museum for Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian artifacts, a space for cultural ceremonies and it houses a gift shop. The building is part of an initiative to turn Juneau into the Northwest Native arts capital. But designing a space that could serve all those functions and reflect the past was difficult.“When we got the responses, the designs were all very traditional,” Rosita Worl says.Worl is the president of Sealaska Heritage Institute and a Tlingit from the Eagle moiety. She says the Native artist committee wanted a structure that was more “traditionally inspired.”“They don’t like the word ‘contemporary,’” she says.A large crowd gathered in front of the Soboleff Building listen to a series of speakers (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)SHI sifted through submissions and picked architect Paul Voelckers’. The design was influenced by the form of ceremonial clan houses with chunky beams of yellow cedar. It has an open feel and a wall of glass at the entrance.“I will tell you that we made the right decision in selecting Paul. It might not have even been the lowest bid. But we all said we got to go with him,” she says.Voelckers is the president of MRV Architects. The firm’s founder Linn Forrest Sr. specialized in totem pole and clan house reconstruction.“The firm has sort of tried to maintain that legacy of involvement in the cultural design issues from Southeast ever since,” Voelckers says.Most recently, MRV worked on a clan house in Kasaan. For the Walter Soboleff Building, Voelckers looked at old photos of clan villages. Some were covered in moss from age.“But it would have the angles of the house. You know, the big massive beams on the front. And sometimes the old house post inside. That became the essential element that was left in these villages. And so what we tried to do in the new design was capture some of that heavy framework,” he says.The basement level floor houses the research lab and mechanical room. The whole building is heated using wood pellets.“It simply flows down like grain or something,” he says.The building was designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s gold standard for energy efficiency. The wood pellets come mostly from the Sealaska Corp. land on Prince of Wales Island. Rosita Worl says that’s part of keeping the core cultural values in the design.“Haa Aani: our relationship to the land,” she says.On the main floor is a full-sized replica of a clan house. It can seat 300 people and fits with tradition: pitched roof, windowless and built with adzed red cedar. The floor is tiered with sunken-in seating. Worl says she knew it would a special place.“But what we hadn’t counted on, what I hadn’t thought about was this almost sacred feeling that you get when you go into that clan house.”Worl says she has a strong connection to her ancestors.“And it was almost like they were saying to us, ‘Rosita, you know you’re talking about being progressive, you want to move into the 21st century.’ It almost became like their space and they said, ‘This is where we are.’”At the the Walter Soboleff’s closing ceremony, the clan house was given the name Shuká Hít.Canoe coming in to dock (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)last_img

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first_imgHubs of several individuals claiming to be holders of terminal degrees from creditable foreign-based institutions have been discovered in Monrovia.Most of those in the web have reportedly been transitioning from one institution of higher learning in the country to other entities of substance.Those masquerading (cloaking, passing themselves off) with fake academic credentials were recently discovered to be mainly based in Monrovia, gainfully employed with various ministries, agencies and institutions of higher learning.Among the reported intellectual fraudsters were those destined for Gbarnga, Bong County, where the Cuttington University (CU) is said to be ripe for employment.Following the recent discovery of the ring of academic ‘fraudsters,’ it is being reported that among those involved are some highly placed officials, who should soon face investigation. The pending investigation is expected to be led by authorities at the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) and other stakeholders to include personnel from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).According to documents in possession of the Daily Observer, some of the suspected academic ‘fraudsters’ have for many years, been misleading the public about their so-called academic achievements.Copies of some of the fake credentials in possession of this paper contain information highly inconsistent, contestable and debatable. For example, photo-copies of the ‘To Whom It May Concern,’ terminal degree of one of the academic fraudsters carries a different metric number against a purported transcript with a conflicting metric number.In another case, the date of graduation on one set of documents dating back to 2008 differs from the document’s transcript, dated 2005. Most of the documents involved are from ‘universities’ in Nigeria.  “These are some of the most sharp contrasts in the academic industry especially with intellectual property that must be well-arranged and structured,” one highly placed source in the country’s education sector observed.Additionally, one of the fakers, now gainfully employed with a Liberian-based entity, made his getaway after he reportedly submitted ‘fake credentials’ with misspelt words and poor grammar on the purported degree.Apparently, the board of interviewers missed a gross misspelling of ‘Columbia,’ printed on the submitted terminal degree; or did the Board decide to turn a blind eye?Our investigation discovered that one fraudster claimed that his documents had been issued by Columbia University, based in the Washington District of the United States of America. Columbia University is actually based in New York.The documents of another fraudster  contained two different spellings of the name of the same ‘graduate’ who claimed to be in possession of a terminal degree in education.Our investigation has further discovered that most of those involved with such academic fraud are acquainted with each other.The universities from which some of the individuals claimed to have graduated cannot be found online; when found, their names are never on the listing of any of the graduating classes.With this latest development in the educational sector of the country, both the Ministry of Education (MOE) and NCHE have promised to conduct separate investigations into the alleged academic scams.MOE’s director of communications, J. Maxime Bleetahn, confirmed the information on the fraudulent activities in the sector.He told this paper via mobile phone over the weekend that the Ministry will not take the allegations lightly because those acts are some of the academic frauds that have besmeared the country’s educational system.The discovery of people with false intellectual credentials was made recently following the discovery of one Ndien Peters with false credentials while serving as vice president for academic affairs at the St. Clements University. This situation compelled the NCHE to order the institution closed on grounds that it had employed an academic fraudster.Another incident included the recent exposure of a ‘fake’ degree granting institution—CUSWORTH International Business School— based somewhere in Fiama, Monrovia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img

first_imgUnited States (US) oil giant ExxonMobil said it has made significant progress when it comes to increasing its local workforce, by creating opportunities for more Guyanese to join their team.ExxonMobil Country Manager Rod HensonExxonMobil’s Country Manager, Rod Henson revealed that his company currently employs 585 or 52 per cent Guyanese. The company’s local office grew to 40 employees, of which 70 per cent are Guyanese, he said on Tuesday.Henson made this statement while delivering remarks at the Liza Phase 1 Development reception on Tuesday evening, where he noted that things are progressing smoothly as they should.In addition to that, Henson said Guyanese have joined the Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) team and are serving in several professional capacities.These include facility engineers, materials management coordinator, management system coordinator, health and safety coordinator, and health and environment coordinator, among others.Speaking briefly on local content, Henson said over US$14 million was spent on Guyanese suppliers. Together with their contractors, the company has also utilised many local suppliers.About 50 per cent of ExxonMobil’s employees, contractors, and subcontractors are Guyanese. That is expected to grow. ExxonMobil has also opened the Centre for Local Business Development here to promote the establishment and growth of small and medium-sized local businesses.In essence, Henson said his company has been able to grow local business capacity and has made huge investments into the local economy, through a series of strategic development policies.Meanwhile, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman recommitted to ensuring that Guyana gets the best out of the nascent oil sector, and will use it to develop the nation further.The Minister also maintained that the renegotiated oil contract will benefit Guyana tremendously.Following mounting pressure from the Opposition, the Government through the Department of Public Information (DPI) reported that ExxonMobil utilised the services of 309 companies last year.Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo was the most recent person to make calls for Government to release the names of the local companies that ExxonMobil has utilised the services of.The report said for 2018, the oil giant also utilised the services of approximately 227 local suppliers. However, Government has, so far, only released the list of local suppliers for 2018.Among other things, ExxonMobil had said it “submits the list of companies to the Government on a quarterly basis,” while outlining that the “Government can verify the list and or attest to the public that we do in fact submit the data to the Government. Or the Government can choose to disclose the list.”While stakeholders were optimistic that the oil giant was utilising hundreds of local businesses, many had called for the names of the over 300 companies to be divulged.The Opposition Leader even said he found it “surprising that ExxonMobil has been relaying information to the coalition Government, on a quarterly basis, given the reticence of this Administration when it comes to keeping the Guyanese public informed of the developments in the oil and gas sector.”last_img

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VALENCIA – Academy of the Canyons, the Hart District’s early college high school, is holding a series of information meetings starting today for students in grades 11 and 12 interested in revamping their education. Under a partnership with College of the Canyons, the Hart Union High School District program allows students to take four high school classes each semester and at least six units of college classes. By graduation, students typically have completed a year of college courses. Students get priority registration for college classes and can take those courses – which usually run about $60 per class – for free. Meetings to explain the application process will be held at 8tonight at Hart High School; Tuesday at Canyon High, March5 at Valencia High; and March8 at College of the Canyons. The school boasts individualized attention and smaller classes, but students interested in the program should be able to work independently. Academy students also have full access to the college’s resources. connie.llanos@dailynews.com (661) 257-5254 last_img

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