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Evaluations of Subsistence Units or Materials



1. Athabaskans of the Interior Alaska, Teacher's Guide, 4th Grade Social Studies Unit, written by Patricia H. Partow, Produced by Indian Ed. program, Anchorage SD.

FULL Curriculum Units 28-44 days (6-9 weeks) Sections include:

Adaptations to Basic Needs

Athabaskans (different groups in the state)

Upper Tanana Athabaskans (Tetlin in the 1950's)

The Yearly Cycle

There's More to Culture Than Basic Needs

Could You Survive

Subsistence is the major theme throughout the unit.

2.Tlingit Indians of Southeastern Alaska, Teacher's Guide, 4th Grade Social Studies Unit, written by Patricia H. Partow, Produced by Indian Ed. program, Anchorage SD.

FULL Curriculum Units 23-30 days (5-6 weeks) Sections include:

Tlingit Country (environment, peoples, clans--1/2 subsistence)

Clans (not subsistence)

Summer Camp (subsistence)

Tlingit Economy (subsistence)

Wrap Up (1/2 subsistence)

Subsistence is the significant theme throughout much of the unit.

3. Athabaskan Winter Studies, THE DENE' Kindergarten Unit, FNSBSD ANE

(A 2 week kindergarten unit which is largely subsistence focused. It has some obvious problems, such as it gives 9 instead of 11 Athabaskan Languages in Alaska, plus some outdated names, and is currently being revised)

4. Nunaniak--The Alder, Ukalliq--The Snowshoe Hare by Grant Spearman, Simon Paniak Museum, Anaktuvak Pass

Well written descriptions of alder uses and of rabbit habitat, traditional capture techniques and uses, with some suggestions for teachers, Iñupiaq glossary and post test questions. Not classroom ready, but treasure troves of ethnographic material.

5. Juneau Indian Studies Program Elementary Curriculum Guide: Grades K-5. (mid-late 1980's).

K. "Our Southeastern Environment" and "Living in a Fish Camp"

(two good 10 day subsistence units. teachers may have to make some of the props which were formerly available from the Juneau Indian Ed. Program

1. "Our Southeast Environment" and "Living in a Fish Camp" (good, mostly subsistence based units totaling 2 weeks).

2. "Our Southeast Environment" and "Living in a Tlingit Winter House. (2 week unit that is about 1/2 subsistence focused.)

3. not directly subsistence related

4. "Tlingit Trading" subsistence related 2 week unit.

5. "Athabaskan Trading" subsistence related 7 day unit.

6. Iditarod ASD Materials: Excellent materials for various ages including:



Berries in Interior Alaska



Rabbit Snaring

Materials are classroom ready, thought the in-district packets contain copied material as well.

7. Village Science,Village Science: Teachers Edition, and Northern Science , by Alan Dick, Alaska Native Knowledge Network. Great work for jr. high and high school students (and ideas could be adapted to lower grades as well). It all relates directly or indirectly to subsistence and subsistence pursuits.

8. Secondary Yup'ik Language and Culture Curriculum, Level I by Phyllis Morrow and Chase Hensel, LKSD 1985. Has a 4 to 6 week unit on doing interviews and mapping of village subsistence resources.

9. Teacher's Guide to ALASKA: A LAND IN MOTION by Patricia H. Partnow (1995). Alaska: A Land in Motion by Nancy Warren Ferrel. Written at a 3rd to 4th grade level, the text has generally good coverage of Alaska Natives and Alaska Native topics. Specific subsistence related units in the Teacher's Guide include:

p.45-50 Several day trade activity, including preparation. Takes place between different AK. Native groups trading traditional subsistence products.

p. 51-53 1-2 day activity on adapting to local climate.

p. 56-58 Koyukon riddles. observing the natural environment

p. 59 Cultural Resource Posters.

10. ALASKA IN MAPS: A Thematic Atlas, Roger W. Pearson and Marjorie Hermans, eds. Teachers Guide to ALASKA IN MAPS: A Thematic Atlas, by Patricia H. Partnow (The atlas itself is mostly maps with a few charts and some exploratory material. The Teacher's Guide has some good subsistence related ideas.)

11. Cutting/Drying Fish (Mary Fields and Twila Strom) Yukon Flats/Ft. Yukon

12. Land and Native American Cultures: A Resource Guide for Teachers; Readings, Activities and Sources, Grades 9 - 12. Smithsonian Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies. Interesting well produced materials (including slides) on different aspects of land, has some brief sections on Tlingit-Haida. It would be better for a larger discussion of the topic which covers all three cultures included, rather than solely picking out the Alaskan examples.

13. Elmer JacksonFour Units on Caribou. (Units are in draft form and need further development. They are designed for use in areas where students can actually go on a caribou hunt, and do butchering and crafts production from caribou products when they return to the classroom.)

14. YUPIIT CULTURE CURRICULUM by Sophie Kasayulie, Yupiit School District. Units relating to subsistence which require both local experts (elders) and locally available subsistence opportunities to use.



1. ALASKA'S NATIVE CULTURES in FOURTH GRADE SOCIAL STUDIES: Alaska Geography, Native Cultures and History Curriculum Supplement. by Marcia Baker and Sharon Russell. This is part of the K-12 Social Studies Curriculum adopted 3/1/94 by the FNSBSD. Book contains numerous errors and oversimplifications. It also only provides information and tests, no suggestions on how to actually teach the materials.

2. Pratt Museum--Homer Society of Natural History, Native Cultures kit. Currently under construction, and, in draft form. Needs more revision and, at completion, will be more generally about different Native cultures in the state than useful for specifically teaching about subsistence.

3. Alaskana 3rd Grade Curriculum by FNSBSD 1980 Consists of X units, each designed to include classroom teacher support materials, ANE staff delivered classroom teaching and classroom teacher follow-up with ANE provided materials.

People of the Northern Ice. (focuses on seals)

Athabaskan Transitions. (Some subsistence, mostly not)

Alaska Native Folklore.

Interior River Cultures.

Interior River Cultures Kit.

Ceremonies and Celebrations.

The Iditarod.

(In general these units have lots of good but dated information, a few games and tests and little in the way of a hands-on approach.

4. Cultural Change in the Aleutian Islands by Patricia H. Partnow. Anchorage SD, 6th Grade Unit. Great material, but only incidentally about subsistence.



1. Yukon Kuskokwim Region Trappers Handbook 1983 by Calista Professional Services, Inc. Good, brief descriptions of furbearers, with lots of details on trap and snare sets. Would be useful for units on trapping. Could combine with Tanning Fur Skins at Home by Cooperative Extension Service UAF ($1) for units on trapping and tanning.

2. Science in Our Lives: Culturally Relevant Science for Iñupiaq Elementary Students CD-ROM by Magdanz et al. Lots of good natural history and information on fish and game species in Iñupiaq and English, including elder's presentations.

3. A Way of Life 1986 Ed Hall, ed. Government of the NW Territories. Gives brief profiles of individuals, as well as workable descriptions of making Snowshoes, Waterproof Kamiks, and a Spruce Bark Canoe. It also includes info. on: The Fur Trade, Simple Ways to Prepare and Eat Country Food, Troubleshooting Snowmobiles, Trap Sets and Notes on Humane Trapping. Would be suitable as a basis for unites on the three main topics as well as a resource on the subsidiary ones. It is out of print.

4. People and Caribou in the Northwest Territories. 1989 Ed Hall, ed. Government of the NW Territories. Lots of information on Caribou distribution and Western Science, some attention of Native concerns in the first section (People) with coverage of: Traditional Use, Present Use, Clothing, Nutrition, and Stories and Legends. Useful as background for caribou or clothing units. It is out of print.

5. New Paths, Old Ways: An Alaska Native Studies Catalog for Teachers. Susan Andrews, ed., Dixie Dayo, researcher. 1988 DOE

An easy to use reference to works on various AK. Native topics up to 1987.

6. Axe Handle Academy: Working Draft Materials by Richard and Nora Dauenhauer. Excellent materials for training teachers,

7. Salmon Curriculum Matrix/Grid by Richard and Nora Dauenhauer. Thoughtful, well written and exciting materials which promise to integrate local culture and concerns (including subsistence) and environment across the curriculum. When completed, this will likely have a major subsistence component, though not strictly focused on subsistence.

8. Tlingit Moon & Tide: Teaching Resource: Elementary Level by Dolly Garza, Alaska Sea Grant (would be useful adjunct to subsistence units on sea resources.)

9. SUUGUCIRPET (OUR WAY OF LIVING) by Aron Crowell (a draft chapter of a museum catalog). (When published will make an excellent resource for developing subsistence units on the Alutiiq Region.)

10. Chugach Lessons taught at Nuuciq Spirit Camp. by Rita Miraglia. Descriptions of 4 (less than 1 hr.) lessons taught including:

Territories of the Chugach People

Building a Bidarka

Chugach Games

Personal Ornamentation

(could be used by teachers. There is a subsistence connections with both the bidarka building and the games, some of which mimic subsistence activities.)

11) Deborah L. McLean, ed. Subsistence: A Child's Eye View of a Rich Cultural Heritage. (Good description of the importance of linking home and school; and subsistence practices and content as a pathway for doing that.)

12. Bicultural Curriculum Bering Strait School District. Judging from the Table of Contents, it should contain lots of information on subsistence and subsistence related activities. I was told that it had been scrapped because it became in practice largely a handicrafts curriculum. Bering Straits is working on a new curriculum.

13. Iñupiaq Heritage Curriculum, Level I High School Northwest Arctic School District, 1981. Not currently being used, and would need to be updated. Has quite a bit of information and activities relating to subsistence, and is an excellent resource.



1. Alaska Center for Documentary Film (formerly The Alaska Native Heritage Film Center) has produced many excellent films, including the following:

Tununermiut: People of Tununak

Uksuum Cauyai: Drums of Winter

On the Spring Ice

In Time of Whaling

From the First People

Joe Sun

Reindeer Thief

In Iirgu's Time

Atka: An Aleutian Village

2. Newark Museum People of No River (film)

3. KYUK Bethel

Let's Eat (video)

The Way We Live (with LKSD) (video)

St. Mary's Potlatch (video)



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Last modified August 14, 2006