Gerald “Jerry” Mohatt’s resume hits one high point after another in relation to Native American and Alaskan Native education.
Mohatt, who was 69, headed the Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the time of his death this week in Fairbanks. He previously was the dean of the College of Human and Rural Development and College of Rural Alaska, and he founded what is now Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
He also helped develop the College of Rural Alaska, turning it from a snail mail operation to an electronic program.
Mostly, Mohatt’s friends and colleagues tell Mary Beth Smetzer of the Fairbanks News Miner: “He was a good man.”
“He’s recognized nationally for his work with Alaska Natives and other indigenous people and on top of that he is the best man I ever knew, and the best friend I ever had,” says Ralph Gabrielli, director of the Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
A professor of psychology, Mohatt earned his doctorate degree in community clinical psychology and learning environments from Harvard University in 1978, and a master’s degree in psychology from St. Louis University. He was tri-lingual, speaking English, Lakota and French.
Diana Campbell, who works at Center for Alaska Native Health Research as a communications specialist, tells Smetzer that Mohatt’s interest and focus always was “What is right about Alaska Natives, not what is wrong.”
“One thing that characterized his whole career was a commitment to social justice and self-determination to American Indians and Alaska Native people,” says Bert Boyer, who has worked closely with Mohatt for 12 years and is now acting director of CANHR.
“He was a person of great integrity who committed his life to service of others, a person of great wisdom who people often turned to for advice and counsel. He was a great support to many people.”
Diana Campbell, who works at CANHR as a communications specialist, tells Smetzer that Mohatt’s interest and focus always was “What is right about Alaska Natives, not what is wrong.”
Tags: Alaska Native Studies, Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development, Alaska Natives, buffalo post, Center for Alaska Native Health Researc, College of Rural Alaska, Gerald Mohatt, Harvard University, Lakota, Native American news, Rosebud Indian Reservation, Sinte Gleska University, St. Louis University, University of Alaska Fairbanks