Ethan Petticrew or Qanglaagix
Qanglaagix was born and raised in Alaska. He is Unangax from the Aleutian Islands. His
mother’s family comes from Chalukax (Nikolski) on Umnak Island, one of the oldest
continuously inhabited communities in all of North America. His father’s family is from
Southeast Alaska, and are descendants of fox farmers and whalers who came to Alaska during
the Civil War period.
Ethan Petticrew has worked all over the state of Alaska as a teacher, administrator,
and curriculum coordinator. His experiences and education have given him unique perspective
into what makes the field of teaching such an important one; especially in a state as diverse as
Mr. Petticrew is very proud of his heritage and works to make sure that all students’
cultures are recognized in a classroom. When asked about why he became a teacher, he declared,
“we should not feel ashamed for who we are or how our parents have dressed us. Our lifestyle,
our language, our culture; anything that we do, we should not have to feel shame for that.
[Realizing] that, that’s when I decided to become a teacher.” It is Ethan’s desire that every child,
regardless of their background, receive an appropriate and positive education without fearing that
they will be looked down upon or mistreated because of their heritage.
Debates surrounding the ideas of the westernization of education in Alaska and
maintaining Native traditions have ignited the political and education landscape for more than 50
years. Ethan sees a future where “our children should be able to walk in both worlds and do
equally well in both of them.” He goes on to say, “I think that we as a country, as a state, as
communities, as school districts seriously need to look at how we’re educating children and we
must change. We cannot continue doing the same thing.” According to Ethan, the only way
progress will be made is by doing what is in the best interest of every child without exception.
At the end of the day, “…it must come from us. We have to change this,” Ethan says. By
encouraging more Alaskan students to go into the field of education, he firmly believes that an
increase in traditional knowledge and a respect for cultural values will be reflected. “If we’re
going to have any success as a people…then education is a big part of it.” His strive for success
in education, both locally and globally, is a quality that professionals in all fields should aspire