Paths Across the Pacific Speakers and Titles - 2016

Themes of our shared humanity, shared ocean, and shared responsibility will continue with our interest in human abilities to navigate coasts and oceans over great distances.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Clay Antioquia grew up in The Village in Sitka and served as the Regional Area Director in Juneau for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs during critical times in Alaska Native Land Claims negotiations in the 1970s. Biography:

    Mr. Antioquia graduated from Sitka High School in 1958 and then a attended Sheldon Jackson College in 1959. He began his federal career as a seaman recruit with the US Coast and Geodetic Survey, and was then hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as an Employment Assistance Technician. He has also been the Alaska Area Director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for Ocean Beauty Seafoods, and President and CEO of Triquest Precision Plastics, a Sealaska subsidiary.

    Mr. Antioquia is an active member of his Juneau community, serving as the president for the Citizen’s Advisory Council for the University of Alaska Southeast, the chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory board, and is an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

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  • Richard Callaghan, University of Calgary, has numerous publications on currents, winds, and oceans from around the world. His presentation will focus on the conditions for a successful eastern migration across the Southern Pacific. Biography:

    Dr. Callaghan graduated with a B.A. Honours from the University of Winnipeg, 1976 (Student of Distinction) and a M.A. from the University of Manitoba, 1981. His thesis title was “Analysis of the Fluoride Content of Human Remains from the Gray Site, Saskatchewan.” He then was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary in 1990. His dissertation title was “Mainland Origins of the Preceramic Cultures of the Greater Antilles.”  

    His major areas of expertise include Neotropical Human Ecology, the archaeology of Lowland South America and the Caribbean Basin, and global origins and development of water transport and navigation.

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  • Nancy Yaw Davis is the author of The Zuni Enigma: A Native American People’s Possible Japanese Connection. Yaw Davis will summarize evidence of a 13th Century contact in the American Southwest, and add new questions in her talk Priests Across the Pacific. Biography:

    Dr. Yaw Davis, a consultant with Cultural Dynamics, received her M.A. in Anthropology in 1965 at the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1971 at the University of Washington. She was the first woman faculty member at the new Alaska Methodist University in Anchorage. In her career, she has published 19 scholarly articles. Nancy has worked in and published research from all around the state of Alaska, focusing on Alaska Native issues and sociocultural systems.

    Dr. Yaw Davis, along with Curtis Ebbesmeyer, co-founded Paths Across the Pacific in 2002. This is the ninth conference. She is the author of The Zuni Enigma: A Native American People’s Possible Japanese Connection. Dr. Yaw Davis will summarize evidence of a 13th Century contact in the American Southwest, and add new questions in her talk “Priests Across the Pacific.”

    Nancy has three children, all working in the humanities. Her daughter, Caroline, is Poet Laureut of San Mateo County. Her son, Roblin, is a playwright and lives in Juneau where he is an artist in residence. Her son, Scott, is the Director of Social Science and Humanities in Seattle. Both of her sons have taught at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp. Nancy is an active hiker and is often seen along the many trails of Sitka, and wherever she travels.

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  • Curtis Ebbesmeyer, editor of Beachcombers’ Alert newsletter and author Flotsametrics and the Floating World will present Flotsam in Southeast Alaska, new information on Malaysia Airlines 370 research, the garbage patch and tsunami debris. He is also holding a Public Beachcombers’ Fair on Saturday, and leading a cruise and beach tour on Sunday, August 21. Biography:

    Dr. Ebbesmeyer is an American oceanographer whose work focused on monitoring ocean currents, specializing in forecasting the movment of oil spills and sewage. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1973.

    Since retiring, Curtis established links with beachcombers and formed a network of people reporting the landfall of the contents of marine debris spills. Using OSCURS (Ocean Surface Currents Simulation), a computer simulator developed by Seattle oceanographer Jim Ingraham, Ebbesmeyer tracked the oceanic movement of all kinds of flotsam.

    Ebesmeyer founded the nonprofit Beachcombers' and Oceanographers' International Association in 1996 for which he writes and publishes the magazine Beachcombers' Alert. In retirement, Ebbesmeyer has continued to work with Evans-Hamilton, Inc., a Seattle-based oceanography company offering physical oceanography services, meteorological conditions studies, and application of marine and freshwater instrumentation.

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  • Don Ryan, an expert on the life of Thor Heyerdahl, will narrate a movie night, with popcorn, showing the new Norwegian film, Kon-Tiki. Ryan will provide insights on the making of the film. In a separate presentation, he will address the concept of diffusion, an anathema for archaeology, but a useful tool for understanding trade in the past and globalization in the present. Biography:

    Dr. Ryan is an American archaeologist, Egyptologist, writer, and a member of the Division of Humanities at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. His areas of research interest include Egyptian archaeology, Polynesian archaeology, the history of exploration, ancient languages and scripts, and experimental archaeology. He is best known for his research in Egypt including excavations in the Valley of the Kings where he investigated the long-neglected undecorated tombs in the royal cemetery.

    Between 1995 and 2002, Dr. Ryan worked closely with the Norwegian explorer, archaeologist, and writer Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002), and has been entrusted with continuing some of the research aspects of Heyerdahl’s legacy. Other research by Ryan includes investigations of ancient Egyptian cordage and other technologies, biographical studies of early archaeologists, studies of the influence of antiquity on culture and the arts, and the documentation of petroglyphs on the island of Hawaii. His books include volumes in the popular Complete Idiot’s Guide Series (Lost Civilizations, Biblical Mysteries, Ancient Egypt, and World of the Bible), A Shattered Visage Lies…: Nineteenth Century Poetry Inspired By Ancient Egypt, and a memoir, Beneath the Sands of Egypt.

    Dr. Ryan is a Fellow of The Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Society, a founding member of the Scientific Committee of the Foundation for Exploration and Research on Cultural Origins, a mountaineering instructor, long-distance runner, and pianist.

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  • Harriet Miyasato Beleal Ms. Miyasato Beleal was born in Wrangell, Alaska and is of Tlingit and Japanese anestry. She attended Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka. She raised her seven children in Anchorage where she remained active in in the Tlingit/Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and in the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS). Harriet went to college at the age of 64, receiving a degree in Social Work.

    In 2005, Ms. Miyasato Beleal moved back to Sitka and worked to strengthen the ANS and Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB). Her daughters, Rachael and Paulette are currently very active in the ANS and Sitka Tribes of Alaska (STA). ANS and ANB has fought for Native rights to vote, attend public schools, and advocated for the Anti-Discrimination Act, passed into law in 1943. Before this law was passed, there were signs all along the route from Juneau to Nome saying, ‘No Dogs, No Indians Allowed.’

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  • Ian Hudson, a scholar and best-selling author from England, will speak first on August 18 about the blockbuster book 1421: The Year China Discovered America? by Gavin Menzies. A second talk on Saturday, August 20 about the 2014 book he co-authored with Gavin Menzies titled Who Discovered America? The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas. Biography:

    Mr. Hudson has focused on ancient sea-faring communities and global maritime exploration. He will speak first about the blockbuster book 1421: The Year China Discovered America? by Gavin Menzies. His second talk will discuss the 2014 book he co-authored with Gavin Menzies titled Who Discovered America? The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas.

    Hudson is an associate member of the China Maritime Centre at the Greenwich Maritime Institute in London. He recently founded the 1941 Research, Education, and Exploration Foundation which he hopes will help to uncover a “true account of the history of maritime exploration, fostering peaceful global relations and showing that the world was significantly one, long before modern day globalization.”

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Events include an opening reception at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on Katlian Street,  Wednesday at 7p.m., presentations and discussions from 9a.m. to 3:30p.m., evening talks at 7p.m., Beachcombers’ Fair on Saturday 12 to 3p.m., and the Cruise and Beachcombing adventure led by Curtis Ebbesmeyer from 12 to 4:30p.m., Sunday, August 21.

Come join the fun and discussions!