Inclusive technical writing with Dr. Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq

Did you know that technical writing is all around us? From manuals, recipes, to tribal codified values, they have served as guides and instructions about how to live our lives for ages. But what would you do if instructional design didn't apply to you? How do you ensure that all voices are heard, included, and valued? To help with that, listen to this episode as Dr. Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq shares how to challenge the status quo and be inclusive through socially-just technical writing and equitable research that's relevant to your life and community.

Dr. Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq (she/they) is an Iñupiaq scholar and member of the Noorvik Native Community in Northwest Alaska. As an assistant professor of professional and technical writing at Virginia Tech, Cana's research integrates humanities and environmental sciences to support culturally appropriate environmental justice work. Her expertise includes developing effective methods, protocols, partnerships, and programs that support community-driven and community-led environmental justice action in marginalized communities. As the academic project lead for the Rematriation Project, she aims to create capacity and access for digital archiving of Inuit cultural, tribal, and scientific knowledges and history, which are led by Inuit; assist tribal communities in developing solutions to their own self-determinated needs, such as climate change, by developing culturally-appropriate localized approaches and solutions.


(02:03) - Foraging as a hobby versus as a way of life and using technology to identify and classify plant life for decoloniality

(08:22) - Icebreaker: How to grow as a musician while playing the piano on a budget

(11:13) - Icebreaker: Value labels and stigma of body parts and the implications of having rules around what can and cannot be talked about

(17:09) - Learning while traveling from Northwest Alaska to Chile and back to Idaho

(21:15) - The most important role of an elder, the difference between Cana's culture and Western aging, and why she abstained from centering her community in her dissertation research

(25:50) - Technical writing and how it shows up in our daily lives

(30:49) - What counts as writing, how it impacts society, and how to make it socially just

(34:28) - How her passion, experience, and background played a role in pushing against academia status quo and her advice for folks who are trying to be more inclusive but aren't represented or maybe represented for the first time

(38:13) - Her ongoing projects and 3 ways you can access her publications


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