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Dorothy Jones grew up in Chicago during the Great Depression and dreamed of being a writer. With little encouragement from family or teachers, she abandoned writing and turned her attention to the social sciences, earning a B.A. degree in psychology and a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
After World War II, she married her sweetheart and, on his return from overseas service, they moved to Los Angeles. They had three children but a deteriorating marriage – and after 13 years, she divorced. Jones then returned to school for a second master’s degree, this one in Social Work.
Seven years later in 1963, when two of her children were nearly grown, Jones married Bob Jones. With her youngest child, they moved to Cold Bay, Alaska, a village of 150, on the western edge of the Alaska Peninsula, where her husband managed the Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
Jones’ first visit to a nearby Aleut village excited her interest and she was determined to understand and write about the Aleut way of life. To equip herself for this task, she returned to the University of California, Berkeley, for a doctor’s degree in Social Work and was then hired by the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska as a professor in 1968. For the better part of the next 11 years, Jones visited many Aleut villages. During this time, she published four books and 10 papers and articles on various aspects of Aleut life, including history, demography, economy, material culture, family relations, race relations within the villages and between the villagers and outside welfare agencies.
Much of her work and writings focused on the lives of Alaska Natives and their communities. She wrote articles on sociology, anthropology, and clinical social work which were published in Anthropologica,Social Service Review, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, and Clinical Social Work Journal. Several of her papers were also published by the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska. Jones’ books include: Aleuts in Transition: A Comparison of Two Villages(1976), and A Century of Servitude: Pribilof Aleuts Under U.S. Rule (1980).
The second book portrays the U.S. government’s virtual enslavement of a group of Native Americans in the operation of a for-profit business on the remote Pribilof Islands. The government, as owners and managers of the Pribilof seal industry, paid their Aleut sealers in kind until 1962, required the Aleuts to obtain permission to leave the islands or have relatives from other villages visit, and dictated daily cultural routines such as bedtimes. This book contributed to the establishment of the Pribilof Trust to provide restitution to the citizens of the Pribilof Islands by the United State of America. The book is available online at her web site: www. dorjones.net .
When she and her family moved to Anchorage, she expanded her studies and writing to include urban Natives, the status of women in Alaska and women’s psychotherapy. She left the University research institute in 1981 and turned her attention to women’s therapy. Jones helped organize a women’s therapy collective and, later, a private practice, as well as writing a number of clinical articles.
Jones was an outspoken champion of women’s rights in Alaska, serving as the chief author of a book documenting the leadership of women across the state , entitled: The Status of Women in Alaska, (Alaska State Commission on Human Rights, 1977). She also served on the Alaska Commission of Women, established by the state Legislature in 1978. She was also one of the founders of ALASKA WOMEN SPEAK, a periodical by and about women, and a founder of the counseling program at the Alaska Women’s Resource Center in Anchorage.
Jones also helped start the Feminist Scholarship fund at UAA, which has been named the Dorothy Jones fund, and is designated for scholarships to students who are working for women’s rights.
After the death of her husband, Jones left Alaska and settled in Washington state. There she began engaging in her childhood passion of creative writing. She wrote her first novel, Tatiana, which was inspired by her close relationship with an old Aleut woman known as chief of all the Aleutians. It is a compelling story of the struggles of Tatiana, her family and her village to survive a cultural onslaught. Tatiana is available at local book stores and through the publisher, University of Alaska Press.
Her second novel, When Shadows Fell, was inspired by her earlier experience as a grass-roots communist in Los Angeles. This book brings the reader into intimate contact with the inner life of the Communist Party and with the frightening parallel between the repression of the McCarthy era in the U.S.A. and the intimidation and erosion of civil rights in those troubled times. When Shadows Fell is available at most local bookstores and from the publisher, PublishAmerica, Box 151, Frederick, MD 21701. Currently, Jones is writing a novel set in 13th century England about the lives and relationships of three women – a noblewoman, a serf, and a Jewish money lender.
As an instructor, therapist and author, Jones inspired generations of women to engage in the fields of social work, anthropological research and community activism. She contributed to knowledge and theory about women’s counseling and therapy in Alaska and has been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights.
Publications by Dorothy M. Jones are listed below and can be found at the University of Alaska Anchorage archives in the UAA Library.
Series 1. Published Writings by Dorothy M. Jones; 1964, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1972-1974, 1976, 1977, 1980-1982, 1990, 1991.
1. Dorothy M. Jones, M.S.W. “Binds and Unbinds.” Family Process 3(2): 323-331, September 1964.
2. Robert D. Jones, Jr. and Dorothy M. Jones. “The process of family disintegration in Black Brant.” In Wildflowl Trust 17th Annual Report (pp.75-78); 1966.
3. Dorothy M. Jones. “Child Welfare Problems in an Alaskan Native Village.” Social Services Review 43(3): 297-309, September 1969.
4. Dorothy Jones. “Agency-Community Conflict.” In Science in Alaska 1969, Proceedings, Twentieth Alaska Science Conference, College, Alaska, August 24 to August 27, 1969, edited by Eleanor C. Viereck. Alaska Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science, July 1970 (pp. 145-158).
5. Dorothy C. Jones. Changes in Population Structure In the Aleutian Islands. Fairbanks: Insitute of Social, Economic and Government Research, University of Alaska, December 1970 (ISEGR Research Note, No. A-2, 9 pp.).
6. Dorothy M. Jones. “Adaptation of Whites in an Alaska Native Village.” Anthropologica 14(2): 199-218, 1972.
7. Dorothy M. Jones. “Contemporary Aleut Material Culture.” In Modern Alaskan Material Culture, edited by Wendell Oswalt. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Museum, April 1972 (pp. 7-19).
8. Dorothy M. Jones, with the research assistance of John R. Wood. Patterns of Village Growth and Decline in the Aleutians. Fairbanks: Institute of Social, Economic and Government Research, University of Alaska, October 1973 (ISEGR Occasional Paper, No. 11).
9. Doroth M. Jones. “Race Relations in an Alaska Native Village.” Anthropologica 15(2): 167-190, 1973.
10. Dorothy M. Jones. The Urban Native Encounters the Social Service System. Fairbanks: Institute of Social, Economic and Governmental Research, University of Alaska, 1974 (69 pp., 3 copies).
11. Dorothy Jones and David G. Katzeek. Management & Program Evaluation, Social Services and Employment Assistance Programs, Cook Inlet Native Association, Inc. Juneau: Katzeek & Associates, ca. 1976 (60 pp.).
12. Dorothy M. Jones. Urban Native Men and Women–Differences in Their Work Adaptations. Fairbanks: Institute of Social, Ecomic and Goverment Research, University of Alaska, April 1976 (ISEGR Occasional Paper, No. 12, 45 pp.).
13. Dorothy M. Jones. Aleuts in Transition: A Comparison of Two Villages. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1976 (125 pp.).
14. Dorothy M. Jones. “Strategy Straddling: A Community Organization Dilemma in an Alaskan Native Village.” Human Organization 36 (1): 22-33, Spring 1977.
15. Dorothy M. Jones, Marsha Bennett, Mariana W. Foliart, Mary Ann VandeCastle, and Joan M. Katz. The Status of Women in Alaska, 1977. Juneau: Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, Jan. 1977 (156 pp.).
16. Dorothy Knee Jones. A Century of Servitude: Pribilof Aleuts Under U.S. Rule. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1980 (photo illus., 190 pp.).
17. Dorothy M. Jones, Principal Investigator, Anne Shinwin, and Mary Pete. Alcohol as a Community Problem and Response in Alaska: Final Report Summary. Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska, March 1981 (50 pp.).
18. Dorothy M. Jones, Principal Investigator, Anne Shinwin, and Mary Pete. Alcohol as a Community Problem and Response in Alaska: Comprehensive Final Report. Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska, March 1981 (185 pp.).
19. Dorothy M. Jones. “Bulimia: A Food Binger’s Time Bomb.” Alaska Woman, pp. 28 & 30, June 1982.
20. Dorothy M. Jones, D.S.W. “Social Analysis in the Clinical Setting.” Clinical Social Work Journal 18(4): 393-406, Winter 1990.
21. Dorothy M. Jones. “Enmeshment in the American Family.” Affilia 6(2): 28-44, Summer 1991.
22. Dorothy M. Jones, DSW. “Alexithymia: Inner Speech and Linkage Impairment.” Clinical Social Work Journal 19(3): Fall 1991.