Sven D. Haakanson

Associate Professor, Anthropology
Adjunct Associate Professor, American Indian Studies
Photo of Sven Haakanson

Contact Information

Denny Hall, M233
Office Hours
Available by appointment


Ph. D. Anthropology, Harvard University, 2000
M.A. Anthropology Harvard University, 1996
B.A. English University of Alaska, 1992

Sven Haakanson is a leader in the documentation, preservation, and revival of indigenous culture, including his own native Alaskan Sugpiaq traditions. He is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (2007), the Museums Alaska Award for Excellence (2008), the ATALM Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Leadership Award (2012), and his work on the Angyaaq led it to be inducted into the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame (2020). He was Executive Director of the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository (2000-2013 Kodiak, AK), and joined the University of Washington as an associate professor of Anthropology and curator of Native American collections at the Burke Museum in 2013. He played a central role in the design of the new Burke "Culture is Living" Gallery (2016-19). Dr. Haakanson engages communities in cultural revitalization using material reconstruction as a form of scholarship and teaching. His projects have included the reconstruction of full-sized angyaaq boats from archaeological models, as well as halibut hooks, masks, paddles, and traditional processing of bear gut into waterproof material for clothing. He continues to collaborate with the community of Akhiok at their Akhiok Kids camp since 2000. Through such hands-on collaborations Dr. Haakanson brings traditions alive and engages students through active learning methods. Dr. Haakanson serves as a board member of the First Alaskan Institute (since 2006), the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (from 2009-2020, Chair 2016-20), and Koniag Inc. (since 2015). He is also an accomplished carver and photographer.


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